Month: August 2013

‘Papers, Please’ – Who knew bureaucracy could be so engaging?

PapersPleaseLogo_0

Describing itself as ‘A Dystopian Document Thriller’, ‘Papers, Please’ is a very unusual game. You play as an emigration officer, who works the border post for a fictional Eastern European country in the 1980s. As you can imagine, things are pretty grim; your country, the ‘great’ Arstotzka, has only just ended a 6-year war with their neighbour, Kolechia. You get to decide whether the people wanting to cross the border between the two countries, mostly desperate individuals from nearby states. Security is tight, terrorist attacks happen at your border post, and one wonders how long the peace will hold. Paid for each successful entrant, and fined if you let through someone who shouldn’t be let through, you also need to make sure you make enough money to feed your family, keep them warm, and keep them housed.

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The Lesson From This Summer’s Movies: There Are No Formulas

Now that the summer movie season has come to a close, it is worth taking a look at the business side of movies, and find out what can be learnt from the financial successes and failures of the latest batch that the industry has produced. We have been reminded of how in film, as with any artistic medium, there are no proven formulas. Take, for instance, The Lone Ranger. Same creative team as the wildly successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, same Johnny Depp on the posters, and westerns are similar to pirate films in being older genres ripe for pulpy adventures. Instead of following in Pirate’s footsteps, it stumbled, and has turned out to be one of the biggest flops this year. It will be interesting to see what lessons can potentially be learnt from this summer, particularly given the industry’s plans for 2015, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest, and busiest, summers ever.

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Primer-A Gordian Knot of a Film.

primer

Shane Carruth’s 2004 debut, this film asks how scientists would discover time travel, and what would they do with this newfound potential. Rather than use time travel as an excuse to have an adventure in the Wild West, or see Casanova seduce Cleopatra, this film asks how people would react to accidentally having immense power, and what affect this power has on them.

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Beauty and the Beast (1991): Part Two

Well, I’m just going to have to reblog part 2 of this, seeing as it maintains the quality of part 1. Particularly like how it gives as much weight to the implied as to the explicit.

Ladies through the Lens

Spoiler alert: If you still haven’t managed to watch this film, cancel your one o’clock, grab the popcorn and watch it now. If that’s just not possible, or you simply cannot deny yourself the pleasure of reading this magnificent post first, be aware that there will be spoilers. And more moaning about that baker.

 Welcome to part two of LttL’s first attempt to destroy your love of classic Disney films. No, not really. Actually, the plan is to offer you the chance to look beyond the heartfelt romance, sharp banter and singing clock, and examine it with a more critical eye. As we discovered in Part One, Disney have set up a female character who wants more than the role prescribed for her by her society. Belle is intelligent, imaginative, brave and desperate for adventure. This makes her a bit of an oddball in her town, which boasts…

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Beauty and the Beast (1991): Part One

‘Ladies through the Lens’ gives an in-depth and accessible look at the Disney modern classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I implore you all to check it out.

Ladies through the Lens

Spoiler alert: For anyone who has reached puberty without seeing Beauty and the Beast, go and have a serious talk with the parents/guardians/wolves who raised you, and explain to them that because of their inattention, this post is going to give away some of the plot before you’ve had a chance to experience it onscreen. Then watch the film and be amazed.

 As long-term fans may remember, this blog has Tangled with Disney before, in this previous post about Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. It’s not a classic Disney film, but it’s worth a watch if you like gutsy heroines and, er, diving horses. However, Beauty and the Beast is the first instantly-recognisable Disney film to go under the magnifying glass, and is particularly pertinent to a feminist critique since it features one of those oh-so lovable yet highly controversial figures, the Disney Princess. Loved and loathed for…

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Secret Level: “Spec Ops: The Line”

‘Spec Ops: The Line’ has been described, by the voices I respect regarding games, as worth playing.. ‘Save My Game’ adds itself to that list, explaining (in a spoiler-free way) how it is a valuable contribution to games as a whole.

Joe & Al's Big Ol' Blog

The modern military shooter is in a lot of trouble. Firmly entrenched (get used to it if you’re new) in tired cliche and staunchly avoiding the sort of political commentary which media in the unique position of allowing a person to experience war vicariously really should engage with, military games are rapidly becoming exercises in shooting all the men surrounded by green, brown and sickly beige. Sure, occasional innovations in gameplay and multiplayer efficiency will appear in pioneering games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, but the narrative aspect of these games remains archaic in the face of growing anxiety regarding the exact nature and purpose of the military in a world of drone warfare.

Enter Spec Ops: The Line, a 2012 third-person shooter which casts players in the role of Cpt. Martin Walker, a soldier dispatched to war-torn Dubai with his two squadmates in the hopes of…

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