Archive for October 28th, 2010

Very often when I see a movie I find myself conflicted as to whether or not I actually like it very much. Over the course of this year I’ve seen a number of films that I’m more or less 50/50 on– the beautifully shot, but dramatically laughable I Am Love; the dramatically intense but more or less by-the-book backwoods noir of Winter’s Bone; the charged, yet somehow illogical and meandering Animal Kingdom. But of them all, I find myself most divided on the matter of Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, Filme Socialisme, a movie that has already become notorious not just for its narrative (such as there is), its politics (such as they always are in a Godard film) or its visual power (such as it always is when Godard is at his best), but even for its subtitles (such as they are).

So divided am I by it, in fact, that I’m unable to articulate my feelings on it simply through a traditional written review, but have instead decided to supply my own commentary on it via my main creative passion– game design. Being that I’ve been concerned with making games that are all about interactive conversations for the past few years, I figure I might as well use one to start a conversation about a film that more or less demands an active participation to get anywhere with it, rather than a traditional, passive and linear cinematic experience. As such, I’m going to leave this article alone then, and let everything play out in the game and the comments-section– itself a kind of interactive conversation game.

Godard famously said that the best possible way to review a movie was to make one yourself. Well, I’d like to think that I’ve at least met him halfway with this. I more or less expect this will be somewhat outside the gaming-literacy of some of our members here, but it’s worth a shot. You can access it either by clicking the screenshot above or by simply going to my blog here. Oh, and remember to click on the SWF when it opens, and use the Control-Key for… well… pretty much everything in the game.

Read Full Post »

(John Carpenter, 1978)

(essay by Kevin)

Much like my dilemma with what to write about in regards to Alien here I am again faced with an even more canonized film; a film that has been written about ad nauseam to the point where anything I say in this essay is going to sound cliché. Halloween is considered one of the great horror films of all time, and it is considered the quintessential slasher film. It seems odd that for a countdown whose sole purpose was to bring awareness to little-seen horror films that my list would be topped by such an obvious choice. It’s true that we wanted this countdown to be unorthodox, but I don’t think for an instant that any of us – Robert, Jamie, and Troy – felt that we could omit the obvious choices from our list all in the name of esotericism. So what makes Halloween the greatest horror film of all time? Perhaps you have preconceived notions of what the slasher film can offer, but for me it epitomizes everything – good and bad (and boy was some of it atrociously bad) – about the horror genre post-1970’s.  Every cliché and every trope found in modern horror can be traced back to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Yes, Carpenter cribbed most of his film from sources ranging from the obvious (the most cribbed man when it comes to terror: Hitchcock) to the unheralded (Bob Clark, director of Black Christmas), but never once does his film feel like a mere copycat, an aping of better material. No, Halloween, even today some 30 years later, still feels fresh and still gives me the chills. (more…)

Read Full Post »

(Originally an entry in the “Sunday Matinee” series)

by Joel Bocko

Before the Revolution, Italy, 1964, dir. Bernardo Bertolucci

Starring Adriana Asti, Francesco Barilli

Story: In Parma, a young Communist feels torn between his romantic hunger for life, the security of his bourgeois background, and his ideological duty to the cause. Meanwhile, he carries on an affair with his emotionally unstable aunt.

The opening scene of Before the Revolution, or Prima della rivoluzione as it’s more poetically known in Italy, stands among the most elating passages in cinema. You can’t quite pinpoint how this works; trying to relate the alchemy of these moments in typed prose, my fingers tie themselves in knots. Bertolucci, only twenty-two when he shot the movie, would go on to direct more lush, illustrious sequences especially once he began to use color. But somehow here we feel we are getting closest to the pulsating consciousness powering his vision – a sensitivity and sensibility swooning with the pregnant possibilities and numinous actualities of the moment. What exactly do we see? Close-ups of Fabrizio (Frencesco Barilli), our hero, which loom like wall-sized portraits, even on a small screen; soaring overhead shots of Parma as if Bertolucci began to run through his hometown and in his enthusiasm sprouted wings and began to fly. What do we hear? Fabirizo’s neurotic narration, a mixture of lush language and furious, uneasy denunciation, underpinned by Ennio Morricone’s lush, heart-bursting score – fully invested in its sense of operatic intensity, and as unashamed of it as Fabrizio is wary. This film then is a sensuous experience, maybe even first and foremost, but it is also a film of ideas, and a dialectic exists between Fabrizio’s notions and his feelings (as well as amongst the various feelings themselves).


Read Full Post »