In an interview with Rolling Stone, “August: Osage County” playwright, Tracy Letts, said the difference between watching a movie and a play is “…the way people take them in. You don’t work as hard to watch a movie. You work harder to watch a play, so what the audience puts into it is interesting.” Going to the movies is definitely a communal experience, but watching a play can be an intense experience because you are not simply escaping into a story as a passive viewer, you are in a theater with the actors, the presence making you a participant in the overall experience. Before the premiere of the film adaptation of August: Osage County at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, Letts expanded on this comparison saying, “There are a lot of people in a room [when watching a play] and everyone is a living person as opposed to an image that’s already been shot. Meryl Streep is not in the house tonight, just her picture’s up there, so it’s a different experience.” Movies allow for quick location changes and close ups of an actor’s face, but the feeling of being in the same room with an actor is lost when it’s solely their image on a screen – and that is where music comes in.



If you care about video games, then you’re probably not even reading this right now. Most likely, you’re deep inside of Grand Theft Auto V, living a life of excess and loving it. And now that GTA V’s online mode has finally overcome most of the bumps and is actually turning out to be pretty fun, all the more reason to stay inside its warm embrace. We’ll be talking about Rockstar’s triumphant return to the seedy underbelly of crime soon, but we wanted to highlight the amazing storytelling and whimsical design of Sony’s Puppeteer for the PlayStation 3. With the PlayStation 4 being introduced next month, this might represent one of the last great PS3 games. Despite the childlike art adorning the cover and the name, this is actually dark game: you play as Kutaro, a young boy who has been turned into a puppet and had his head torn off. While you can find other puppet heads to utilize, and gain special abilities from them, and you spend most of the game armed with a magical pair of scissors, this isn’t a cheerful story with your princess waiting in another castle. Puppeteer is dark, disturbing, and completely amazing, thanks in no small part to game director Gavin Moore. We spoke to Moore in Japan about all things Puppeteer, so read on for the full interview, and be sure to pick up a copy and give it a whirl for yourself.


Culture Warrior

Tomorrow, the Sacha Baron Cohen-starring, Larry Charles-directed The Dictator opens. Unlike the previous two docu-prank collaborations between Charles and Cohen, the humor of the fully staged Dictator doesn’t so much rely on the reactions of ‘real people’ to an idiosyncratic foreigner as it uses its fish-out-of-water arc to chronicle the pseudo-enlightened changes that its eponymous character experiences (this is all based on the film’s advertising – I have yet to see it). With its riches-to-rags narrative, The Dictator seems to be the newest iteration of a long tradition in Hollywood comedy: the story of the redeemable asshole. It’s rather appropriate that the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 will be premiering in front of The Dictator.  Will Ferrell has made the redeemable asshole into something of an art form in his collaborations with Adam McKay. Ferrell’s often narcissistic, privileged, ignorant, and empathy-challenged creations should, by any measure of any other genre (audiences are far less tolerant of asshole protags in, say, dramedys) be reviled by audiences. But we ultimately find something redeemable, even lovable, in Ferrell’s jerks, even if this surface-level redemption overshadows the fact that they never quite achieve the level of self-awareness that would actually redeem one from assholedom. These are characters we would likely avoid in nearly any real-life circumstance, but yet we go see movies about them learning life lessons which add up to little more than common knowledge for the rest of us. The redeemable asshole is often a white male who is conniving, manipulative, entitled, […]

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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