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  • Atari: Game Over

    Atari: Game Over

    Self-congratulating trash.

    If you're looking for something less saccharine, and more comprehensive, there are plenty of great books that look at the videogame crash (see Tristan Donovan's great 'Replay') and its surrounding fallout (not to mention great accounts on the internet of the unearthing at the film's climax) in more detail.

    This is a misguided and scattershot attempt at validating a constructed 'nerd' identity; brimming with uninteresting accounts of commonplace childhood fixations, and staggeringly one-sided accounts of select moments from the entertainment industry's history. I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Cool as Ice

    Cool as Ice

    ★★★★

    Review lifted, on the sly, from my personal blog.

    The theatrical poster for Vanilla Ice’s 1991 promotional vehicle Cool as Ice has one life lesson to impart: ‘When a girl has a heart of stone, there’s only one way to melt it. Just add ice!’ It’s the sort of dumb tagline that stands without further thought, the fact that temperatures potentially exceeding 1000 °C are required to melt stone, and that—by nature—ice’s temperature ranges at least 1000 degrees south of…

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  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★★★★★

    Like this? Read more like it on my personal blog.

    Films about musicians—real or fictional—often struggle to bring interest to the processes of creation. From the grandeur of Walk the Line and Ray to the relatively low-key Control or Inside Llewyn Davis, musical biopics seem to privilege tales of broken homes and families; of adversity and destitution. Most handily glaze over the question of how their subjects ever became so great at performing, and instead stage simple human drama—often to…

  • Free to Play

    Free to Play

    ★½

    A well-made but unfortunately empty promotional vehicle for Valve. If you're a self-professed 'gamer' looking for personal validation, perhaps you'll grow to love it, but the film's loose structure and unfiltered, often-twee attempts to treat its subject matter seriously are hard to overlook otherwise.

    Valve's vast cash reserves have allowed for some nice photography, but Free to Play is ultimately equivalent to an overlong episode of Match of the Day. Even for free, I'd give it a miss.