The Little Mermaid
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New study outlines gender inequality in movie dialogue

When film critics discuss the limited types of roles available to women, it can be tempting to try to debunk their arguments by listing counter-examples. “What about Ellen Ripley?” one might say. “What about Furiosa?” Unfortunately, a few well-written roles cannot make up for an overwhelming systemic disparity. The difficulty with this type of counter-argument is that it assumes an all-or-nothing mindset, as if feminists are claiming there are no positive roles for women at all. Rather, feminist critiques often focus on disproportionate lack of opportunity, something that becomes clear in Polygraph’s latest study of how dialogue is distributed among…

idra8
Feature

The loneliness of the professional gamer

If you haven’t heard of Jonathan Sutak, producer and director of The Foreigner, a new documentary about professional StarCraft II (2010), you can take solace in knowing that you’ve probably seen some of his work. Not, mind you, the two independent dramas—Up The River (2015), a romance, and Don’t Worry Baby (2015), a comedy—he’s produced; you haven’t seen those. What you have seen are the many trailers and TV spots he’s edited, for films as far afield as Everest (2015) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015). If not exactly a Hollywood insider, Sutak nevertheless approaches filmmaking from the perspective of…

supermancry
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Twilight of the Superheroes

In his review of X-Men (2000), Roger Ebert begins with an evocation of the mythological gods of Ancient Greece, and ends with a plea to die hard comic book fans, whom he wishes would “linger in the lobby after each screening to answer questions.” Sixteen years later, viewed from a cinematic present overrun by the cape and cowl, Ebert’s words read as both prescient and portentous. The rise of the superhero blockbuster, beginning in earnest with the release of Spider-Man, in 2002, is comparably bifold, driven by two dissimilar but potent cultural forces: a civilization’s ancient, collective need for a…

citiesskylineslead
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Documentary outlines how Cities: Skylines is being used to plan real cities

Having enjoyed a brief sneak-peek at Austin, Texas’ SXSW art and technology festival last weekend, My Urban Playground is an upcoming documentary from game publisher Paradox Interactive that tells the story of popular city-building game, Cities: Skylines (2015), and the fans who are using it to plan real-world architecture projects. Set over the two years leading up to and following the game’s release, the documentary is planned to cover how architects, politicians, and fans of the game have come together to create new real-world building initiatives. Additionally, the film will also feature interviews with United Nations development group UN-Habitat, which helps struggling…

cloverfield 6
Feature

What the hell is Cloverfield, anyway?

It all stands out to me as clear as yesterday. A scrawny, bright-eyed teenager circa ‘07, sat across the aisle with his friends, popcorn gripped between thighs, the SMS touchpads of flip-phones being thumbed impatiently. It’s the opening weekend of Michael Bay’s Transformers and we are ready to see some gigantic robots. Our excited chatter is quickly hushed with the operant cue of the dimming house-lights and the sound of a worn projector sputtering to life. Images of an upscale house party fill the screen—a scene so far removed from our expectations that the question as to whether we were…

lobster 3
Feature

The Lobster, a warped fairy tale about our dating obsession

To state a fact in ordinary language is to permit a doubt concerning the statement. – R.F. “Tody” Hamilton (press agent, Barnum & Bailey) There is a sequence towards the end of The Lobster in which two characters, initially drawn together by the same physical defect, are trying to find new shared ground. One of them has recently lost the condition that has made them seem compatible, and her partner attempts, through trial and error, to figure out what else they might have in common: Can she play the piano? Speak German? Does she like berries? As their incompatibilities accumulate,…

Loving Vincent
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Animated Van Gogh film is made entirely with paintings

Vincent van Gogh occupies a special place in the Western psyche. His legacy mythologized the idea of the tragic artist who nevertheless makes beautiful art. The Starry Night (1889) is so iconic the painting was used to symbolize Cory and Topanga’s fraught relationship at the height of Boy Meets World’s popularity. It’s not surprising, then, that Van Gogh’s life is the subject of a new animated biopic called Loving Vincent. When Variety reviewed 1956’s Lust for Life, based on a novel by Irving Stone and starring Kurt Douglass as van Gogh, it called the film “a slow-moving picture whose only action is…

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Japanese horror game has an air of Studio Ghibli about it

“At night every town…changes” the new trailer for Yomawari tells us. The idea in this upcoming PlayStation Vita-exclusive, from Japanese studio Nippon Ichi, is to take on the role of a young girl whose sister and dog have gone missing. Despite her fears, the girl is determined to find her loved ones, even if it means traversing her town while it’s warped into a different place by the cover of darkness. With the company of only a flashlight, the girl must overcome multiple obstacles; monsters and darkness are scattered throughout her journey. The horror and stealth of the game are made immediate…

Adi Holzer Werksverzeichnis 899 Satchmo (Louis Armstrong)
Feature

Digital Soloists: Jazz and the videogame score

Rain gently pours outside the window. The detective crosses the room, bottle and glass in hand, and sits on the couch. He stares at the portrait of a beautiful woman. She’s the victim of the crime he’s investigating. A sense of mysterious infatuation permeates the room, emphasized by David Raksin’s score for Laura (1944). The famous apartment scene, a classic of 1940’s film noir, could only achieve its status with the help of music. Laura’s main theme is appreciated not just for its functional aspect in the film, but for its quality as a well-written tune on its own terms.…