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by L.B. Jeffries

19 May 2009

From Grim Fandango, by Lucasarts

From Grim Fandango, Lucasarts

For as much as video games revolve around making choices, it’s funny to consider how much games must also rely on choices that are illusions. Although a game may give you an alternative, like telling the villain you don’t care or being able to backtrack, many times the game doesn’t really validate this option. Nothing happens, you’re blocked off, or you’re just told to try again. What is the nature of an illusionary choice? The question is surprisingly philosophical because the nature of choice is invested in the player, not really the consequences of the decision. Put another way, freedom of choice is a state of mind, not a mechanical problem with multiple outcomes. Your perspective of the decision and what you know decides whether or not it is a free choice as opposed to something forced or arbitrary. That’s the very reason so many games have fake choices in the first place, you can validate the experience of choosing without actually giving them a choice. How do these quirks of game design work?

by Kirstie Shanley

19 May 2009

It’s nearly impossible to understand why the Dears aren’t bigger than they are. Not only do they exude the same intense passion as their fellow Canadians, Arcade Fire, the group’s large membership allows them to create something powerful that is similarly rich with instrumentation. It’s a tour de force sound that could easily fill an arena.

While lineup changes over the past few years—including the unfortunate loss of guitarist Patrick Krief—may have hindered the group’s progress, they are back touring with members of indie band Pony Up and have gained a cohesiveness to support the strong songwriting and musicianship. The result is a live sound that translates the sense of desperation in their songs into something that is transcendent and powerful.

Over the course of the past decade, through four studio albums and two EPs, the one constant has been couple Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak. There’s always been an on stage chemistry between the two, but this time around it was even stronger, with Yanchak leaving her keyboards to sing central next to Lightburn at one point during the set.

Lead singer Murray Lightburn clearly drives the songs and began by entering from the back of the stage in darkness, a sort of disembodied voice floating above the audience. As the set wore on, however, he made a more physical connection with the audience, at times even embracing various audience members.

Lightburn’s lyrics have always been wrought with conflict and though the Dears are touring to support their most recent 2008 release, Missiles, they made sure to acknowledge some of their older favorites such as “Lost in the Plot” and “We Can Have It” off of their treasured 2003 release, No Cities Left. Murray also acknowledged the matched fanaticism of the crowd by playing an encore to his 90-minute set. Though the band deserves to be playing much larger venues to more people, it’s clear their fans are an extremely dedicated bunch who understand how important it is to support them wherever they tour.

by Chris Barsanti

19 May 2009

According to an article written for IndieWire last week by Eugene Hernandez, National Public Radio in effect censored Nathan Lee’s review of Outrage, Kirby Dick’s documentary about purportedly closeted gay conservative politicians. Hernandez writes:

Citing a policy of protecting the privacy of public figures, an NPR superior cut the names of current Florida governor Charlie Crist and former Senator Larry Craig from the review after writer Nathan Lee and his assigning editor at NPR had agreed on the text of the piece. However, a photo of Larry Craig accompanies the review and says that the former Senator is a subject of the documentary. It also hints strongly at the inclusion of Crist in the doc.

For all those who haven’t seen it, Outrage opens ominously with text on the screen that claims a “brilliantly orchestrated conspiracy” exists in America that keeps the identity of gay politicians a secret from the public at large, no matter how many people inside the Beltway are fully aware of it. At first blush, it’s a rather overblown statement, that Dick might strive mightily to prove throughout the film, but never quite achieves.

by Drew Fortune

18 May 2009

As the hilariously narcissistic Jenna Maroney on NBC’s 30 Rock, Jane Krakowski has established herself as a formidable comic talent, gladly stealing scenes from comedic heavyweights Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. In a musically star-studded May 14 season finale, this season has allowed Jane to showcase her Tony award winning singing talent, most notably as a Janis Joplin knockoff in one of the show’s funniest plotlines to date.  Whether she’s juggling her Broadway career (winning raves for her role as Lola in last year’s Damn Yankees) or perfecting the art of lovable egomania on 30 Rock, Krakowski is constantly on. Jane’s latest creative outlet is the world of webisodes for Breyers new Smooth and Dreamy ice cream. In these mini movies, Jane finds herself playing opposite Clark Gable in a wacked out retelling of Gone with the Wind, and will soon star opposite King Kong, bringing her own unique comic timing and sensibility to the role made famous by Fay Wray. I spoke with Jane in a recent video interview about balancing all her projects, and how 30 Rock is really the perfect way to showcase all her talents.

 

by Bill Gibron

18 May 2009

He’s known to many for his numerous mainstream film roles, including turns in efforts by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever), Roland Emmerich (Independence Day), and Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, LOOK). But true movie lovers know him as the genius behind such trailer park treasures as Touch Me in the Morning, Dribble, Period Piece, and Schoof. As part of a week long celebration of all things Giuseppe Andrews, SE&L will be looking at five - yes FIVE new films by the cine-maverick, titles originally slated to be part of Troma’s The Bathrobe Homeschool Box Set. They include long sought after efforts like In Our Garden, Date Movie, and Air Conditioning. For those still curious about what we’re discussing, the links below will lead to our numerous takes on the filmmaker’s fascinating oeuvre. So sit back and enjoy as we ready another pack of raves for someone who truly is the Godard of the Garbage Heap. Once you’ve witness the brilliance that is his creative canon, you’ll never look at cinema the same way again.

Giuseppe Andrews: Godard a Go-Go

Okie Dokie

Giuseppe Andrews: The Americano Trilogy

Giuseppe Andrews: Two More from the Trailer Park

Giuseppe Andrews: A Sampler of Cinematic Splendor

Giuseppe Andrews’ Orzo

Giuseppe Andrews’ Schoof

Giuseppe Andrews’ It’s All Not So Tragic

Giuseppe Andrews’ Airplane Pillows

Giuseppe Andrews’ The Check Out

//Mixed media
//Blogs

In Motion: On the Emptiness of Progress

// Moving Pixels

"Nils Pihl calls it, "Newtonian engagement", that is, when "an engaged player will remain engaged until acted upon by an outside force". That's "progress".

READ the article