Christopher Orr’s 2014 Movie Round-Up

Posted on December 31, 2014 at 10:11 am

If I were going to make a top ten list of movie top ten lists, Christopher Orr‘s would be number one. I love reading his end-of-year pieces in The Atlantic. The best of the year list is just the beginning. Then he goes into a brilliant examination of the year through a series of hilarious categories. This year’s best include:

Best Use of a 10cc Song: “I’m Not in Love,” Guardians of the Galaxy
Runner-up: “Dreadlock Holiday,” Life of Crime

Best Batman: Will Arnett, The Lego Movie
Best Alfred: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, The Trip to Italy

Trends of the Year: Ironically self-conscious sequels (22 Jump Street, Muppets Most Wanted), drum solos (Birdman, Whiplash), Tilda Swinton in terrifying makeup (Snowpiercer, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Jason Reitman making awful movies (Labor Day; Men, Women & Children), final-act defenestrations (Birdman, Ida), tragic marital outcomes for Sienna Miller (Foxcatcher, American Sniper)

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Critics Understanding Media and Pop Culture
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Literary Video Games

Posted on February 25, 2011 at 8:00 am

Non-gamers tend to think of computer and video games as involving either shooting various targets, chasing some sort of prize, or some kind of dungeons and dragons role-playing. And Roger Ebert, perhaps with this idea in mind, has said that video games can never be art. But at least one game developer has taken a step closer to making games that resemble a more familiar art form, a book. And not just any book, a certified classic.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz age tragic love story is now The Great Gatsby: The Game.
Uri Friedman of The Atlantic reports that you can guide the book’s narrator, Nick Carroway, though the lovelorn gangster’s mansion, contending “with butlers, flappers, and gangsters at one of Gatsby’s bacchanalian parties (if you die, you’re told, “Game Over, Old Sport”).” While the game’s site cheekily claims it comes from a vintage 2D Nintendo game cartridge purchased at a yard sale, Friedman did some sleuthing and discovered it is the creation of Gatsby fan and programmer Charles Hoey and Pete Smith of Nerve.com. I was relieved that the game does not pursue some of the book’s seedier episodes, but it does make me wonder about other possibilities for turning novels into games, especially with the potential for alternate endings (a la Choose Your Own Adventure). Not So Gone With the Wind After All? Pride But No Prejudice? Anna Karenina’s Escape From the Train?

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Internet, Gaming, Podcasts, and Apps
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