Here we go again, into the “Heart of Darkness”! Get it, because the video game “Spec Ops: The Line” is like “Heart of Darkness” but in Iraq and super-horrific! Here’s part two of three, courtesy of Eric Miller.
Heya again Liz,
So, where were we?
Ah, right. Read the rest of this entry
SPECIAL TREAT! Eric Miller (yes, of the Los Altos Millers, AKA my brother) recently played a video game! He found it a bit traumatic! So his solution: To tell me what happened in it. In enough detail to justify three whole installments! Not to mention a whole bunch of cat videos.
The question “Are Video Games Art” has become, thankfully, a dying question. One film buff, after asking himself that question at the start of a video in giant, bold letters, simply responded “Of course they are, that’s not even in question”. There will always be naysayers, of course, but the gamers of the world are starting to tune them out, because there’s a more interesting question in mind: “What kind of art are video games?”
The medium is everything in art. The finest movie adaptation of Lord of the Rings keeps the soul of the original, but changes most everything else in an effort to keep the three films under 20 hours. Stories you can tell over a 26 episode season are impossible to translate to a 2.5 hour movie, and the ability to frame a shot, cut it, take multiple takes and add in CGI can give film a splendor and weight that even the grandest opera could never hope to achieve. Every medium has its own upsides and downsides based on its mechanics, and the skilled creators have to find out how to enhance the strengths and minimize the weaknesses to create their work of art.
And that’s the reason why video games have gotten the short stick for so long. Too many try to tell a cinematic story, which means trying to take something that worked in a movie and cram it into a different medium with different rules. Somehow, this doesn’t seem to work as well, because it takes time, is TAKING time to figure out how this medium really works.
Which is why I’m telling you about Spec Ops: The Line here. Read the rest of this entry
There’s nothing like a good thrilling yarn, is there? So rarely, it seems, do I have time to curl up on the couch with a book that just grabs me by the neck and demands my attention — even if I know that I’m never going to read the book again, even if I don’t think the book is all that good, I still find that getting sucked into a story is one of modern life’s most potent pleasures.
Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the hot book everyone was talking about a few months ago, was like that for me. I’m not genuinely sure I LOVED it (except for a few bits, which we’ll get to) but it was compelling as fuck, using its first-person POV narrative to carefully dole out secrets and surprises to the audience. And as news continues regarding the upcoming film adaptation, I find myself getting more and more excited to see it on the big screen.
What is it about the mysteries of Gone Girl that makes it work so well? I’ll tell you, Frank, but with this caveat — it really is a great read, especially if you like taudry scandals and gender roles commentary. If you (or anyone reading this) ain’t in the mood, I totally don’t blame you. If only because that validates the entire existence of this blog!
So, Gone Girl starts… Read the rest of this entry
At this moment, I currently have at least a half-dozen articles saved to Instapaper about the Breaking Bad series finale. Maybe more. Breaking Bad is a fascinating show on a number of levels, but one of those levels I appreciate most is the way in which it holds up under INTENSE scrutiny; the AMC drama is arguably one of the most-discussed shows ever online, and an event like this Sunday’s series finale has created a relative storm of critical analysis and debate.
So honestly, Frank, I feel a little silly writing this, especially as this post will go live over 24 hours after its last episode aired — an eternity, in Internet time. What could I possibly say about Breaking Bad that hasn’t already been said by the unwashed blogging masses? I am genuinely not sure.
I guess I could tell you what actually happens in the damn show. I guess I could do that.
Breaking Bad, Frank, is the story of a man named Walter White, who we meet on his 50th birthday. Life sucks for Walt! Read the rest of this entry
And, after seven long seasons, it’s time for erstwhile “Voyager” chronicler Whitney Bishop to bring us home. Take it away, Whitney! –Liz
Geena Davis: “We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”
Here, at the dawning of this last season of Voyager, I’ve got a theory for why, by the end, pretty much damn near every guest actor on the show is male — unless, of course, the character has to be a sex object, seduce someone, and/or give birth to someone, in which case that role can be filled by a lady — and that theory is basically summed up by that quote up there. The ratio hasn’t been great throughout the rest of the show, but by the end it’s just ridiculous. I think that the more time Janeway, Seven, and B’Elanna get, the more the show feels its gender quota has been filled and just defaults to male secondary characters.
I honestly think the lack of adult female roles has a lot to do with male perceptions of how women take up space. By the seventh season, Janeway still has the helm, Seven is an object of interest for many of the plots now, and B’Elanna’s pregnancy has pushed her back to frequent consideration where she once was absent from episodes entirely. Three women doing things is like having a show entirely about women, and therefore there’s no need to ensure gender diversity elsewhere.
To be clear, I’m not accusing anyone of malice or deliberate misogyny. But seeing seventeen percent and thinking it’s the same as half is just another indication of the failure of imagination that never let Voyager boldly go quite the way it should have. The show started out touting its female-led crew, but wound up not only struggling under its inability to keep up its initial promises of being Feminist Trek, but actually backsliding. That’s sort of sad.
And now, for Season 7… Read the rest of this entry
I am writing this the Monday after the Emmys, which the Internet, in proud Internet tradition, declared to be the absolute worst. I mean, it wasn’t great and SERIOUSLY YOU GIVE BEST ACTOR TO JEFF DANIELS OVER CRANSTON WHAT THE FUCK YOU THINKING GUYS, but at this point complaining after an awards show has become a little rote.
However, some would argue that the greatest injustice of the Emmys this year did not occur Sunday night, but back in July, when a young lady named Tatiana Maslany was not nominated for Best Actress in a Drama.
People were very upset by this! Why, you ask? Well, Frank, good ol’ Tatiana stars in Orphan Black, a show about a girl who discovers that her family history is a little… complicated. Like, clone complicated.
And as a result, Tatiana ends up not just playing the main character of Sarah, but a variety of other young women who happen to look just like her — and she does it really well. Like, scary well. Like, Emmy-worthy well.
That was what I heard, anyway. I watched the pilot back when it first aired on BBC America a few months ago, but while it ended on a solid cliffhanger, I didn’t quite get into it, for whatever reason, and didn’t follow through until just recently. For the show has crazy-good buzz, so I figured it was one of those where you need to give it at least two or three episodes to rev up. And I was right!
So here’s the basic deal, Frank… Read the rest of this entry