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Archive for July, 2024

Episode 607: Legend of the Feral Pears

July 12th, 2024 | Robin

Gape in wonder at the Gaming Hut as beloved Patreon backer Steve Hammond asks how one might emulate the awe of the Jurassic Park dinosaur reveal scene at the gaming table.

Well-traveled backers Ed Sizemore and Rafael Pabst journey to the Cartography Hut for the story of fictive medieval travel writer John Mandeville.

The Monster Hut digs into the graveyard-dwelling Luison of Paraguay, Argentina and environs, whose many versions merge indigenous Guarani myth with European werewolf lore.

Finally our chrononaut’s superiors at Time Incorporated assign him a juicy, fine-grained Ken’s Time Machine quest—to keep the vanished Ansault pear in cultivation.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Our Patreon-backed Letterboxd list of all films mentioned on the show is now up and running.

Also check out the Goodreads list of books mentioned on the show.

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


The official CatStronauts board game is launching on Kickstarter, from Atlas Games! Designed and illustrated by Drew Brockington, this cooperative game brings 30-45 minutes of fast feline fun to 1-4 players aged 10 and up.

13th Age is ready to escalate! The second edition of the fast-moving, easy-playing encapsulation of the fantasy roleplaying hits Kickstarter on May 7th. Manifest your One Unique Thing and get updates on the campaign by sharing your email address with Pelgrane Press here.

Don your pallid mask and get all the Ken, Carcosa, and footnotes you require now that Arc Dream’s The King in Yellow: Annotated Edition is now available in paperback and ebook formats. With stunning art by Samuel Araya, this lavish tome of terror earns a space on any shelf.

Turn your digital dials to Gen Con TV, The Best Four Days in Gaming – All Year Long. Entirely free and streaming your way on Twitch, Gen Con TV offers actual plays, reviews, dramatized gaming shorts, minis painting and its flagship show, Table Talk, beaming to you Fridays at 2 pm with polyhedral news you’re dying to use.

[REPOST] Episode 606: Very Real Threat of Dialogue

July 10th, 2024 | Robin

Due to a posting error the week previous, some pod apps ignored this episode as already read and did not download it. Apologies to those receiving the file a second time.

In the Gaming Hut beloved Patreon backer Ross Ireland asks gamemasters tips to use when the player characters receive an imaginary tome chock-full of information.

The sun casts a burning eye on the Horror Hut when estimable backer Keelan O’Hea asks how to flip the switch and make daytime the scariest part of the day.

Finally Ken’s Bookshelf shares the vicarious joys of our resident bibliophile’s recent raid on the used shops of Austin, Texas.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Our Patreon-backed Letterboxd list of all films mentioned on the show is now up and running.

Also check out the Goodreads list of books mentioned on the show.

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.

Due to a posting error the week previous some podcast apps have skipped downloading this episode as already read. Reposting for the benefit of those who have been unable to access it. Apologies to those receiving the file a second time.


The official CatStronauts board game is launching on Kickstarter, from Atlas Games! Designed and illustrated by Drew Brockington, this cooperative game brings 30-45 minutes of fast feline fun to 1-4 players aged 10 and up.

13th Age is ready to escalate! The second edition of the fast-moving, easy-playing encapsulation of the fantasy roleplaying hits Kickstarter on May 7th. Manifest your One Unique Thing and get updates on the campaign by sharing your email address with Pelgrane Press here.

Don your pallid mask and get all the Ken, Carcosa, and footnotes you require now that Arc Dream’s The King in Yellow: Annotated Edition is now available in paperback and ebook formats. With stunning art by Samuel Araya, this lavish tome of terror earns a space on any shelf.

Turn your digital dials to Gen Con TV, The Best Four Days in Gaming – All Year Long. Entirely free and streaming your way on Twitch, Gen Con TV offers actual plays, reviews, dramatized gaming shorts, minis painting and its flagship show, Table Talk, beaming to you Fridays at 2 pm with polyhedral news you’re dying to use.

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Late Night With the Devil, Burgess Does Bond, and Oliver Sacks

July 9th, 2024 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Late Night with the Devil (Film, US, Colin Cairnes & Cameron Cairnes, 2023) In a bid to reverse his spiraling ratings, a weaselly talk show host (David Dastmalchian) invites a medium, a debunking magician and a demon-possessed girl and her handler onto his Halloween episode. A fun stew of 70s cultural references serves up a fresh angle on Satanic horror, with Dastmalchian joining the ranks of character actors capable of carrying a movie.—RDL

Night Games (Film, Sweden, Mai Zetterling, 1966) Brooding scion (Keve Hjelm) brings his fiancee (Lena Brundin) to his family manor, prompting his reckoning with his chaotic upbringing at the hands of his erratic, hypersexualized mother (Ingrid Thulin.) Drama of trauma and escape framed in stark sixties modernism, with an extraordinary final sequence skewering the supporting cast of decadent hangers-on. Shocking in its day and still shocking now, so look for content warnings.—RDL

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Film, US, Ric Burns, 2019) Having completed his memoir and learned that he has months left to live, the renowned neurological clinician and author sits down for a biographical interview. Sacks’ personal presence reveals elements obscured in his written works, making the surprising details of his early flailing and delayed acceptance.—RDL

Tremor of Intent (Fiction, Anthony Burgess, 1966) Adventurous British agent spectacularly bungles his assignment to retrieve an erstwhile school chum, a scientist who has defected to the Soviet Union. Brings unexpectedly deep characterization and Catholic eschatology to an outrageous, stinging satire of Fleming, Greene, and le Carré.—RDL

Good

A Thousand Billion Dollars (Film, France, Henri Verneuil, 1982) Conspiracy turns to murder when obsessive journalist Paul Kerjean (Patrick Dewaere) investigates a multinational’s attempt to buy into a French electronics firm. Pointed political thriller slackens the pace compared to Verneuil’s previous efforts, but maybe that’s because the score is a piano quartet and not by Ennio Morricone.—RDL

Okay

How to Rob a Bank (Film, US, Stephen Robert Morse and Seth Porges, 2024) True crime documentary describes the career of Seattle bank robber Scott Scurlock, who hit 19 banks between 1992 and his suicide during a police standoff in 1996. Though touted as a different kind of crime doc, it’s the same talking-heads, fat cops reminiscing, reconstructions in filter, and occasional map you’ve seen a thousand times. The case itself is pretty interesting, though.—KH

Episode 606: Very Real Threat of Dialogue

July 5th, 2024 | Robin

In the Gaming Hut beloved Patreon backer Ross Ireland asks gamemasters tips to use when the player characters receive an imaginary tome chock-full of information.

The sun casts a burning eye on the Horror Hut when estimable backer Keelan O’Hea asks how to flip the switch and make daytime the scariest part of the day.

Finally Ken’s Bookshelf shares the vicarious joys of our resident bibliophile’s recent raid on the used shops of Austin, Texas.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Our Patreon-backed Letterboxd list of all films mentioned on the show is now up and running.

Also check out the Goodreads list of books mentioned on the show.

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


The official CatStronauts board game is launching on Kickstarter, from Atlas Games! Designed and illustrated by Drew Brockington, this cooperative game brings 30-45 minutes of fast feline fun to 1-4 players aged 10 and up.

13th Age is ready to escalate! The second edition of the fast-moving, easy-playing encapsulation of the fantasy roleplaying hits Kickstarter on May 7th. Manifest your One Unique Thing and get updates on the campaign by sharing your email address with Pelgrane Press here.

Don your pallid mask and get all the Ken, Carcosa, and footnotes you require now that Arc Dream’s The King in Yellow: Annotated Edition is now available in paperback and ebook formats. With stunning art by Samuel Araya, this lavish tome of terror earns a space on any shelf.

Turn your digital dials to Gen Con TV, The Best Four Days in Gaming – All Year Long. Entirely free and streaming your way on Twitch, Gen Con TV offers actual plays, reviews, dramatized gaming shorts, minis painting and its flagship show, Table Talk, beaming to you Fridays at 2 pm with polyhedral news you’re dying to use.

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Doctor Who, The Bikeriders, Hundreds of Beavers

July 2nd, 2024 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

The Bikeriders (Film, US, Jeff Nichols, 2024) Chicago girl Kathy (Jody Comer) falls hard for brooding biker Benny (Austin Butler) but resents his loyalty to Chicago Vandals cycle gang boss Johnny (Tom Hardy). Nichols piles on the distance from his romantic story of girl-vs-masculine-ennui, but the individual vignettes that take the place of narrative still pop with power and (thanks to cinematographer Adam Stone and to Butler’s cheekbones) beauty. In fairness, that certainly is one way to adapt a book of photographs into a film. Perhaps drops to Good for viewers more annoyed by the unnecessary interview-as-frame-story and less enthralled by Nichols’ impressionistic recreation of 1960s Chicagoland.—KH

Crisis Negotiators (Film, China/HK, Herman Yau, 2024) When conspirators in the HKPF frame him for murder, an intense hostage negotiator (Lau Ching Wan) becomes a hostage taker himself, demanding that an ex-colleague (Francis Ng) be called out of retirement to handle the operation. Like any Hong Kong flick with a police corruption storyline these days, this gritty, crackling remake of 1998’s The Negotiator has to present itself as a pre-handover period piece.—RDL

Guilty Bystander (Film, US, Joseph Lerner, 1950) Boozehound ex-cop (Zachary Scott) hunts for his kidnapped son, leading to a tangle with a smuggling ring. Film noir notable for a grotty portrayal of down and out life unusual for its period and a rare tough guy role for Scott, better known for playing suave weasels.—RDL

Hundreds of Beavers (Film, US, Mike Cheslik, 2022) After beavers destroy his applejack distillery, Jean Kayak (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews) must pit his wits against them (and other mascot-costume animals) to survive and become a trapper. While flooding the zone with jokes, this combo animation-live action flick revels in twists and turns that ultimately pay off. “Charlie Chaplin crossed with Looney Tunes” is a solid log-line, but the zaniness and invention on display in this silent slapstick comedy transcend mere retro homage.—KH

The Settlers (Film, Chile/Argentina, Felipe Gálvez Haberle, 2023) In 1901 Tierra del Fuego, a young Mestizo man (Camilo Arancibia) serves as a guide for a tortured Scots ex-soldier (Mark Stanley) sent by their mutual boss, a big time sheep rancher, to wage war on the area’s indigenous Selk’nam population. Hard-hitting, evocative Western historical drama contrasts the stunning beauty of the landscape with the depravity of its characters’ actions.—RDL

Good

At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (Film, Brazil, José Mojica Marins, 1964) In a remote village, the murderous, blaspheming undertaker Coffin Joe (Marins) exultantly bullies the menfolk and creepily preys on women. Brazil’s first horror film, which launched Coffin Joe as a multimedia icon, presents a culturally rooted yet personally idiosyncratic take on the gothic.—RDL

Kalki 2898 A.D. (Film, India, Nag Ashwin, 2024) In the final (?) year of the Kali Yuga, the floating Complex dominates the last city Kasi, seeking fertile women to breed a mysterious energy keeping its tyrant alive. Pregnant SUM-80 (Deepika Padukone), mercenary Bhairava (Prabhas), and immortal warrior Ashwatthama (Amitabh Bachchan) find themselves caught up in ancient prophecy. The normal fight choreography and about half the props are kind of terrible, and it doesn’t justify its nearly three-hour run time, but the boss fights and chases are pretty great, and the lash of cosmicism from Hindu eschatology is a trip. If you can imagine a Hollywood that made the equivalent of Dune from the Book of Revelation you can imagine this film and the Telugu film industry; also like Dune Part One, this movie would get Robin’s Incomplete rating.—KH

Okay

Doctor Who Season 14 (Television, UK, BBC/Disney+, Russell T. Davies, 2024) In their exploits across time and space, the ebullient, empathetic fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and his youthful, down-to-earth companion Ruby Tuesday (Millie Gibson) encounter multiple iterations of a mysterious woman (Susan Twist) and investigate the mystery of her parentage. Davies’ return to the franchise finds his key strength—spotlighting his leads’ charisma and establishing a connection with the characters—still in place, and his main weakness—disregard for the structural demands of the problem-solving genre adventure—so glaring that he has written it into his story arc.—RDL

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