Screenshot: The cutscene effect

Man of Steel

Let’s be honest: Video game cutscenes—those moments when control is taken from the user so that story information can be conveyed through a cinema-style sequence—almost always disappoint. Dialogue is often stilted and the voice acting is subpar; character expressions are muted at best and immobile at worst, sticking them firmly in the “uncanny valley” of […]

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Screenshot: Late to the block party


I have a friend who is somewhat obsessed with a particular writer, but hasn’t read what is widely considered this author’s masterpiece, as he’s intentionally saving it for a particular moment. After I accidentally spoiled part of the novel for him this week, I teased him for being the only person I knew who was […]

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Screenshot: Thrill of the Hunt

Tomb Raider

Crystal Dynamics’ new game Tomb Raider (2013) adopts the strategy of the film Star Trek (2009) in using a prequel-cum-reboot to revitalize a franchise that had run out of steam: You play the game as a version of Lara Croft far younger and less experienced than in her previous 10 iterations, whose experiences in the game are meant to be her “formative” experiences… […]

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Screenshot: Revelations from the Abyss

To my mind, the best director in contemporary Hollywood—for our purposes, let’s say post-Star Wars (1977)—is the Dutch import Paul Verhoeven. While Verhoeven was working in the United States he gave us trashy, excessive Hollywood films we could sink our teeth into. More than that, if you look closely at these ostensibly paradigmatic examples of Hollywood’s deleterious product (e.g. Showgirls (1995)), Verhoeven was also the most subversive of genre auteurs, directing the spectacle back in at itself, parodying the absurdity of U.S. culture. […]

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