The Blair Witch Trilogy

October 21, 2016
The Spooktacular continues as we look at three different ways of telling effectively the same story. 

1999. The Blair Witch Project: An incredibly low budget found footage movie that took the world by storm.

2000. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2: A cash-grab meta-movie slapped together by a confused studio hoping to capitalise on unexpected success.
2016. Blair Witch: An in-world sequel to the original released to immense derision to an audience sick of remakes and reboots.
Sharon and I go in hard and tackle each film in turn. You get the raw responses from the first two as we watch and then account for their craftsmanship and how they make us feel. The third I saw at the cinema a few days before this review and Sharon hadn't heard anything about it so you get to hear about it fresh along with her. Major spoilers for all three in turn so leave off when you don't want to hear what happens. 
We both recommend you see the original, we can't advise seeing the second, as we both found it atrocious, and Alex actually really recommends the third, but with the caveat that most critics panned it so his is the minority experience. 
Next week, Halloween... literally! 

What’s Up With Alex 9

October 19, 2016

Here's where I am right now.


The Rocky Horror Picture Show

October 14, 2016

Our Halloween SPOOKtacular continues.

This is the 1975 adaptation of the stage musical written by and co-starring Richard O'Brien. In it, a straight-laced, white-bread American couple end up stuck in a Gothic castle full of strange people, presided over by the outrageous Doctor Frank N. Furter. It's a hilarious, toe-tapping musical which has developed a cult following over the years and means a great deal to a lot of people. It's also a bit of a mess and reviewed terribly when it first came out and bombed. In this episode you'll almost certainly find out new things about this influential oddball. 

With us are Neil Taylor, Iain & Megan Hopwood and Kaoru Negisa.

This is a birthday present for our dear friend Maureen Foley who has a serious crush on Tim Curry, especially in stockings. 

Next week Tim Curry returns in far less appealing form; that of the demonic Pennywise the Dancing Clown in a Stephen King's IT. We're going into full detail on the enormous book as well as the 1990 miniseries.


Resident Evil

October 7, 2016
Kicking off our Halloween SPOOKtacular in style. 

This is a deep dive into the very first Resident Evil game, as well as the GameCube remake and the HD remake of the remake. By no means the first survival horror, but a definite landmark in the genre and a stone cold classic that is somehow better today than it was in 1996. 

Far from the clodhopping buffoonery of the movie series the first game is a deceptively simple premise. Two special forces units investigating a bizarre series of murders which leads them to a darkened and horrifying mansion, itself the greatest character in this series. Before too long you're solving elaborate puzzles, avoiding traps, combing through rooms to find useful items, stockpiling ammunition (which if you're playing on the right difficulty setting for you there will always be scant available) and fending off attacks from the shadows from all sorts of bloodcurdling monsters. 

It's nothing short of a masterpiece, endlessly replayable and now with the HD remaster the obtuse control scheme is fixed.

With me is Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg on YouTube (and you should check out his Resident Evil video retrospective here)

Laura Kate Dale AKA Laura K Buzz of projects too numerous to name (here's her Patreon)

And we're also joined by my good friend Derrick Ritchie.


Big Data Interview [Part 1]

October 6, 2016

This is an interview Sharon and I hosted with Ryan Estrada, writer, artist, producer of many many different projects, the latest being Big Data.

*There are seven keys to the internet, what if each in turn was stolen? Could our repository of information and primary means of communication really be shut down?*

This nine part comedy anthology audio drama, funded by Kickstarter is currently on episode four. It's also got a cast that will set many geeks a-quivering with Paul F. Thompkins (Bojack Horseman) Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Felicia Day (The Guild), plus 69 other voices. Here we discuss with Ryan the inception of the story, the complex casting and direction process, and (in a fairly spoiler-free way) some of his favourite moments. 

Go here to listen to the first few (though you could also listen to this interview first).

As we say in the interview, episode 1 is a little chaotic so make sure you stick with it for the next few and you will see (or hear) the grander epic taking form. Huge thanks to Ryan for being so generous with his time, and it was fantastic to be able to discuss the finer points with him. The second part of this interview will be released in six weeks once Big Data is finished and we can talk endgame material. See you then for the conclusion. 


Kubo and the Two Strings

September 30, 2016
This is one of the films of the year. 

A Japanese fable delivered in stunning stop-motion by American studio LAIKA, the team behind Coraline, ParaNorman and Boxtrolls. 

Every single one of you needs to see it. 

Joining us are animation experts Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse and Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst. Among other things we discuss the climate for animated films and what it takes to make a hit, which this, tragically, despite its beautiful direction, tight, well-delivered script, vibrant, fun characters and playful yet heartrending score, is not. 

Next week we begin our October SPOOKtacular, starting with a gloriously detailed discussion on the original Resident Evil video game and its splendid remake. 

Episode 501

September 23, 2016

The second collection of clips from my shows, this time covering the period between 2013 and 2016 when Sharon became my co-host, Digital Drift and School of Movies. They are pulled from fewer overall episodes but they are more meaty and substantial with some of the funniest, sustained moments and memories. You'll also hear from my guest spots from That Awful Sound and The Mana Pool along with a host of new voices.

And of course the now-infamous introduction of Dramatic Readings and Bad Reviews Against Humanity.

Volume 3: Digital Drift

Avatar Responses [DD49 2014 - 0.01.00]
The formation of Digital Drift [0.02.05]
50 Shades Trilogy Rant [DD06 - 0.06.25]
We Hate Movies [DD05 - 0.09.30]
Rhianna Pratchett [DD08 - 0.25.38]
Spider-Man 3 - Harry's Problem [DD12 - 0.32.18]
Transformers - Non-Dairy Dessert [DD32 - 0.36.01]
I've Been a Bad, Bad Angel [That Awful Sound #18 - 2015 - 0.37.36]

Volume 4: School of Movies

Robin Hood - Hysterical Inaccuracy [SOM143 2016 - 0.57.53]
Flight of Dragons - Racist Wizards [SOM145 - 1.05.21]
Terminator 3 - Joshua Rants [DD72 Mid-2015 - 1.11.02]
Deadpool - Colossus on Music [SOM146 - 1.24.06]
Making Fantasy Fun [Mana Pool #393 - 2015 - 1.27.11]
The New Century Multiverse 101 [1.35.58]
Jurassic Wrestling [DD68 - Mid 2015 - 1.47.54]
The Daddle [DD44 - Late 2014 - 1.56.32]
Crap Chinese Toys [DD48 - 1.59.50]
RobertCop 2 [School of Everything Else #88 - 2.09.35]
Grey [SOEE87 - Late 2015 - 2.14.17]
Credits [2.22.50]


Episode 500

September 16, 2016

Alex's 500th Podcast.

I've been at this game for almost a decade and produced and hosted  four media discussion shows, Digital Cowboys, Digital Gonzo, Digital Drift and School of Movies. 

What we have here is a collection of highlights from the first few years. This celebratory episode ended up as two, simply because there was so much to choose from. So Episode 501 will be released next week. Consider them like Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2. 

This is significant interviews, first meetings, moments of particular insight and of course the absolute funniest bits, many of which were suggested by you guys while I was putting this together.

Volume 1. Digital Cowboys

  • Another Day at the Office [Joinee Radio, Early 2007 - 0.01.22]
  • Curse of the Golden Flower [Digital Cowboys Episode 01 - 0.06.36]
  • An Important Announcement [DC48, 2008 - 0.08.58]
  • First Meeting With Daniel Floyd [DC10, 2009 - 0.12.13]
  • Red vs Blue Interview [DC126 - 0.15.24]
  • Giant Bomb Snackbox [DC104 - 0.19.40]
  • Jonathan Coulton Interview [DC121 - 0.22.23]
  • Dominik Diamond Interview [DC133 - 0.27.07]
  • The Wii - First Meeting With James Batchelor [DC130 - 0.32.51]
  • First Meeting With Neil Taylor [DC167, 2010 - 0.34.37]
  • Duke Nukem Kicked Out [DC180 - 0.35.18]
  • Legends of Zelda - Opening Montage [DC164 - 0.38.41]
  • Paul & Storm Interview [DC163 - 0.42.53]
  • Digital Cowboys - The Last One [DC109, 2011 - 0.49.10]

Volume 2: Digital Gonzo

  • New Solo Show [Digital Gonzo Episode 42, 2011 - 0.55.23]
  • Thor - Alex Doing Mr Plinkett Doing Thor [DG70, 2012 - 0059.44]
  • Never Mind the BuzzGeeks: Cosmocats [DG33 - 1.02.20]
  • Back to the Future - Time Travel [DG19 - 1.05.00]
  • Fire [The Internet News - 1.09.42]
  • Never Mind the BuzzGeeks: Coffee Commercials [DG39 - 1.13.06]
  • Movie Clichés - The Wilhelm Scream [DG34 - 1.15.43]
  • Schools [The Internet News - 1.17.44]
  • Blue Sun Audio Drama [DG35 - 1.22.25]
  • James Bond - The Henchman Agent #1 [DG43 - 1.29.30]
  • James Bond - Henchman Agent #2/Herr Stamper [DG45 - 1.33.51]
  • Firefly - The Henchman Agent #4 [DG106 - 1.33.52]
  • Batman Returns - The Henchman Agent #3/The Finale [DG77 - 1.36.51]
  • Alien - Shotgun Penis [DG74 - 1.41.36]
  • Alien Resurrection - Alien DNA/Executives [DG82 - 1.45.29]
  • Superman IV - Physics! [DG133, 2013 - 1.51.56]
  • Sound of Gonzo - Snowboarding Spy [DG102 - 1.57.00]
  • The Last Airbender - Exposition Scrolls [DG95 - 1.59.26]
  • Sound of Gonzo - Vice City/Dance Hall Deadlock [DG142 - 2.00.47]
  • Iron Man 3 Avengers in Advertising [DG154 - 2.02.51]
  • Return of the King - Lyra on LOTR [DG112 - 2.06.40]
  • The Two Towers - Gollum [DG111 - 2.07.36]
  • An Unexpected Journey - Gollum-Off [DG113 - 2.11.29]
  • Fan Response - First Meeting With Bob Chipman [DG149 - 2.12.25]
  • Pacific Rim - Signing Off [DG161 - 2.21.30]
  • Tower of the Sorcerer - "Can I Ride It?" [DG150 - 2.32.15]

BioShock Infinite

September 13, 2016

[SOEE #69 & #70]

The discussion alone on this one lasted more than three and a half hours so I figured as with the Lord of the Rings shows, dividing this into two parts would make it as accessible as possible.

Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits and Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse make their first appearance on the BioShock shows here. In actual fact we actually recorded a session a week ago, but the file corrupted and not being slaves to calamity we geared up for another go.

A late addition to the cast is long-time gaming journalist Matt Lees of He was brought in to mitigate the gushing praise that dominated the first, doomed recording. The end result is a more balanced show. 

The show starts with audio adaptations of YouTube videos on BioShock Infinite from myself and Matt. If you've already seen them you can jump to the relevant time-stamp.

04.00: BioShock Infinite Explained [Gonzo Planet Style]
21.00: Everything BioShock Infinite Gets Wrong
37.00: Main Show

For Part 2 If I was going to suggest people who had problems with the game listen to the first part, I'd say by the same token that those who loved it will get more out of this second installment. Of course if you're up to having your feelings on this delicate matter royally challenged you should listen to both. 

Once again I'm joined by Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits, Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse and Matt Lees of Videogamer. 

This show starts with a trio of audio articles on BioShock Infinite. My deeper thoughts are scattered about the podcast in a hopefully cogent fashion. Among other things we talk music, sensory memory, free will, constants and variables, plot holes, religion, and the ramifications of this title on the greater games industry. 

02.04.00 Meeting Elizabeth [By Daniel Floyd]
02.15.00 Infinite Criticisms [By David Merrett]
02.21.00 Is a Better Home Awaiting? [By James Batchelor]
02.33.00 Main Show


BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den

September 12, 2016

[SOEE #68]

The third of four podcasts covering this wonderful, absorbing series. This time we focus on the DLC for BioShock 2, a five hour standalone narrative centering around Rapture's early computer system.

The fictional technology of BioShock is woven in with real world events and people, chiefly Alan Turing and in this show we get to discuss how this is presented and what makes this a powerful, effective, personal little narrative.

I would imagine everybody has played this by now, but if not it's well worth the 800 point asking price. This show is full to the brim with spoilers over the first three games so make sure you know everything you need to going in. 

My guests are once again Sharon Shaw of Do try This at Home, Mark Ord of Gaming ORDtopsy and we're joined by Chris Eason of GameBurst. You will also hear a snippet of Gary Blower from the GameBurst replay covering this game and more from Tony Atkins of Cane and Rinse on the multiplayer mode and Protector Trials.

We do of course steer clear of Columbia for one more week, but next time we're all about BioShock Infinite, and I will as always endeavour to put out the most entertaining, deep and complex podcast covering this game.