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 Videogamer.com. 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. 


BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams

September 11, 2016

[SOEE #67]

This is the second of four podcasts covering this prestigious series. For time and pacing reasons I have separated out the BioShock 2 coverage. In the next show we talk Minerva's Den as well as the Protector Trials and Multiplayer mode, known to fans as Fall of Rapture.  

In this show we discuss the main story, to which I have re-applied the working title of Sea of Dreams. Just so we all know which one we're talking about and because frankly just shoving a '2' on the end does a disservice to the game, which in several very important ways is actually better than the original. Cease your protestations and allow us to convince you over the course of this rather emotional tale, which balances the political rhetoric of the first game with a personal, poignant story of love and loss, sacrifice and inspiration. Or on the other hand, depending on how you play it, something else entirely.

This also gives us a chance to talk about it's the combat throughout the game series, something honed to perfection here. We do talk about the action in Infinite but steer clear of anything remotely resembling a spoiler to that game. Storytelling through gameplay, collectivism, parental responsibility and pressure to exceed your predecessors are all discussed.

My guests are Sharon Shaw of Do Try This At Home, Mark Ord of Gonzo Planet and for the first time as a reviewing guest on Digital Gonzo, former Digital Cowboy and current co-host of Cane and Rinse, Mr Tony Atkins. 



September 10, 2016

[SOEE #66]

Strangely enough this was not a podcast series I had planned for. Right in the middle of the third act of the Mass Effect shows BioShock Infinite gets released and grabs me by the soul. I went back and started playing the 2007 original, then BioShock 2 and Minerva's Den. Mark Ord has done a fantastic video investigation on the first game for Gonzo Planet and an edited audio version of that piece forms the first act of this show. 

If you've not seen it, I recommend that you do. Alternatively if you have seen it and would like a refresher or would rather listen to it in audio form then enjoy the experience of his lovely, calm, Scottish voice talking us through the game. If you've seen it already or want to skip forward the main discussion starts at the 56 minute mark. 

I brought back Mark because he knows his Rapture. In fact we recorded and lost an entire two hour session last Monday. That almost never happens and can really take the wind out of your sails so the second attempt had to be even better than the first. I recruited James Batchelor and Gary Blower of GameBurst and we managed a fascinating 98 minute round-table discussion on the deeper aspects.

I pulled out all the stops with the edit to ensure you got the absolute best I could deliver. I have not left this kitchen table since 8am and it is now 8pm. 

But the end result might just be the best episode of Digital Gonzo I've ever put out.

Enjoy, and I will be back shortly with three more podcasts on the incredible world of BioShock.


Big Trouble in Little China

September 9, 2016

The second of our commissioned shows, this time we delve into John Carpenter's underappreciated (and downright ignored on release) mythical, gangland, kung-fu adventure Big Trouble in Little China. 

Kurt Russel (clearly having the time of his life) stars as the obnoxiously macho Jack Burton, self-styled cowboy hero who gets caught up in a kidnapping involving an ancient sorcerer, warring gangs and elemental magic he couldn't possibly understand.

Brendan Agnew joins us with Kaoru Negisa (of Sequentially Yours) and Neil Taylor (TheKidDog on Youtube) to explore the cultural implications of this being made in 1986 and the mooted remake starring The Rock. 

Next week: My 500th podcast extravaganza begins



September 2, 2016

We continue our Shyamalan season with his follow-up to The Sixth Sense, a story about a security guard who realises he's been Super his whole life.
Since this came about in 2000 it was ahead of the age of the superhero and arguably made some in-roads to legitimising the new wave of comic book to screen adaptations. 

Samuel L. Jackson joins Bruce Willis to deliver an everyday hero and a delicate man looking for their places in the world.

This was the first commissioned work we have done, as we were originally only going to cover The Sixth Sense but patreon supporter Nick Grugin rates this as a favourite of his, so you have him to thank for what we came up with.