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Tag: crits

Game of Thrones: Season 1: Episodes 1 & 2

Finally saw the first two episodes of the first season of Game of Thrones last night. I was kinda disappointed. I was really looking forward to Peter Dinklage as Tyrion, and he did not let me down. I was riveted whenever he was on the screen. When he wasn't… not so much. (Note: if you like Dinklage and have not seen The Station Agent, go see it now.) It's hard to see exactly where it goes wrong. It looks great at first glance — beautiful and richly textured. But there's a cheapness to the design, a lack of attention to…

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Stairway to Heaven: a literary analysis

I first listened closely to this staple of classic rock radio when, as a teenager, I was informed that it had BACKWARD MASKING EVIL MESSAGES TALKING ABOUT SATAN. (Listen here!) I was pretty sure it wasn’t about Satan, but I thought it might be about Lord of the Rings (“all that glitters is gold”, “There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west”) and maybe English folklore and mythology (references to the piper and the May queen). But yesterday, when Paul and I listened to it in the car, because we are cheesy old farts who like classic…

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Chekhov vs Shakespeare

I had a major aha! moment when I read this quote in the Stranger: “you can split the world of theater between people who prefer Chekhov and people who prefer Shakespeare.” I realized that this aesthetic scale, with the Chekhovian (restrained, thoughtful, subtle, naturalistic) at one end and the Shakespearean (larger-than-life pulpy exuberance) at the other, applies to books and movies and television as well. And I realized that several things that have always puzzled me about the academic anti-genre bias become much clearer if I regard the equation not as lit vs genre, but as Chekhov vs Shakespeare. For…

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The novel is dead, long live the novel

The American novel is dead, did you know? And it has something to do with how English lit is taught in universities and why nobody wants to be an English major anymore: What Killed American Lit By Joseph Epstein The study of popular culture—courses in movies, science fiction, detective fiction, works at first thought less worthy of study in themselves than for what they said about the life of their times—made the next incursion against the exclusivity of high culture. Multiculturalism, which assigned an equivalence of value to the works of all cultures, irrespective of the quality of those works,…

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Some people hate fantasy for some reason

I know, this Ginia Bellafonte Game of Thrones review was back in April, but I’m slow to get to these things and I worked on this when none of my short story ideas were going anywhere. The gist: it’s less a review of the actual program, and more of a complaint about how fantasy is stupid and also boy fiction. She starts out by describing it as a "fantasy epic set in a quasi-medieval somewhereland" and seems to be complaining that it’s a waste of money because with its budget "a show like Mad Men might have the financing to…

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Toward a critical body of work interrogating the prospect of video games considered as art

Because I wrote this: Games are not a narrative art form people keep referring me to this: Roger Ebert: Video games can never be art To reiterate my argument from two years ago: although video games have some storytelling aspects (worldbuilding, etc.) they are not really a narrative art form because their core purpose and measure of success is not the act of telling a story. The first time it was suggested to me that video games were a narrative art form similar to movies, I was simply baffled that anybody thought that. Of course they don’t tell a story.…

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Evelyn Evelyn and stuff I liked

Showbox at the Market tonight: http://www.showboxonline.com/market/eventdetail.php?id=26985 I am going and hope to run into Seattle people there. Actually, I’m hoping to run into Seattle goth community people who I haven’t seen since the Sisters of Mercy concert, but I dunno how likely that is. And if I’m alllll alllloooone that’s okay too, because it’s like cabaret, and drinking alone moodily is entirely appropriate. I’ve been meaning to post about a few things I liked recently. The World Fantasy Convention Giant Box o’ Books has supplied at least two winners so far, Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey and Audrey’s Door by…

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The Lovely Bones

Saw this in spite of the middling reviews, because, you know, Peter Jackson and all. Also it looked kind of intriguing. And it is. Kind of. Intriguing. Still, I do not recommend it. To dispense with its charms: The cast is pretty good. Stanley Tucci is the creepy standout as the messed up pedophile serial killer. It has lovely cinematography, including lovely fantasy sequences set in a kind of honey-soaked purgatory, and a lovely 70s retro design that captures the slightly orange look of everything in that decade. A handful of scenes work very well, most of them the ones…

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Daybreakers

or, Ethan Hawke, Vampire Slayer An entertaining vampocalypse movie that still misses the chance to be really good. It begins beautifully. We watch an apparent 12-year-old writing a note to her parents and then going to sit outside in the predawn glow. We cut back and forth between things like her yellow eyes, and selected parts of the note, and we gradually realize that she is a vampire and that she is committing suicide. The sun rises, she immolates, and the credit sequence starts. After the elegant and touching opening scene, I had very high hopes for this movie. They…

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New (*koff*) Moon

Yes, I did eventually decide to see New Moon on its final day at the Cinerama. My thinking was like this: if I had never heard of it before, a movie with solidly middling reviews that promised me hot, shirtless werewolf boys battling hot, shirtless vampire boys would have seemed like a winner. So I kept having this little dialogue with myself, where my inner fourteen-year-old-boy would say "Werewolves! Vampires! Shirtless fighting!" because, while my inner fourteen-year-old boy likes blood and guts and violence just as you might expect, he is also kinda gay. And then the 22-year-old-hipster of indeterminate…

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