Saturday, September 29, 2012

Looper Movie Review

Written & Directed by Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt
MPAA: R - For Strong Violence, Language, Some Sexuality/Nudity, and Drug Content] 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Makes Spec-Ops: The Line So Revolutionary

[Warning: The following analysis contains some mild spoilers. While you can still safely read this analysis without having played the game and still be surprised by its main twists and turns when you do decide to play it, there are still some things that I give away, most notably its message. So while it's not required that you play Spec-Ops: The Line before delving into this analysis, it's still recommended that you play through it first. Not just so you could read this post, but because it's an incredible, underrated game that should be experienced by anyone that thinks of the medium as an art form.]

2012 was a very interesting year for video games. Between fanboys complaining about Mass Effect 3's ending, games like The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 redefining the MMORPG, and tons of the usual independent works continuing to dominate Steam and XBLA/PSN and introduce stunning new visions, there's been a lot of incredibly fascinating stuff throughout this year to compensate for the boredom of waiting for the big games to come out, and the disappointment of many delays. 

There was so much interesting things, in fact, that I found there to be three games that I felt really did incredibly revolutionary things to the medium. Two of them, you most definitely heard of. One is a mainstream blockbuster and the end of a beloved trilogy, the other an astoundingly experimental indie game that was formed from a mod. Both have received tons of acclaim. However, there is a third game that I feel hasn't gotten enough attention from the gaming populace, which is especially undeserving because it is most likely to go down as one of the defining games of the medium 20 years from now.

I've decided to spotlight these three games and describe how each one offers something revolutionary and ground-breaking within this budding medium, starting with one of the most profoundly underrated games of this generation so far: Spec-Ops: The Line.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Upstairs and Downstairs of The Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD, meaning I finally have enough of a reason to splurge about it all over again without fear of spoiling people now that they all have a chance to see it. If you recall, I mentioned in my review that it was one of my favorite films of 2012, and it still is. However, due to the amount of secrets and surprises found in the film, I couldn't really explain "why" exactly it was so good without giving anything away. Well, now I can! Cue the maniacal laughter! This is my in-depth, insanely spoiler-filled analysis of Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

CinEffect Podcast Episode 2 - The Master, VHS, and Spec-Ops: The Line

Episode 2: The Master, V/H/S, and Spec-Ops: The Line
Long hiatus aside, we finally come back to look at Paul Thomas Anderson's much hyped The Master and analyze it's many dense themes and concepts. Along the way, we also channel surf through the horror anthology V/H/S, debate the moral ambiguity of Spec-Ops: The Line, and take a brief look at the charming downloadable Steam title Tiny & Big, which features magical underwear. Also: Chris's weird story about a double feature gone horribly wrong.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Master Movie Review

[The Master
Written & Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hofman, and Amy Adams
MPAA: R - For Sexual Content, Graphic Nudity and Language] 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective Part 5: There Will Be Blood

The Paul Thoms Anderson Retrospective concludes! Last time, I splurged about the stream-of-consciousness filmmaking techniques employed in Punch-Drunk Love. Now, we'll see Anderson, once again, going on a wildly different direction with his period-piece about oil tycoon Daniel Plainview: There Will Be Blood.

There will be spoilers in this There Will Be Blood analysis (heh), and I will go into some detail on the film's wild finale, so it's better suited if you've already seen the film (Which you should). If you haven't read the previous three installments of the retrospectives, you can do so by clicking these links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Also, a variety of clips will be employed, so be sure to have a good connection to see them all. And fair warning to the squeamish: There is some violence in one of the clips. It's off-screen, yet somehow remains brutal due to the sound-effects and the terrifying look on Daniel Day-Lewis's face.

With all that being said, let's drink some milkshakes as we dive right into There Will Be Blood.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective Part 4: Punch-Drunk Love

The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective continues! Last time, we looked at the interlinking narratives that connected in Magnolia, Paul Thomas Anderson's biggest, most ambitious film. Today, though, we'll see him scale back to make the quirky, surrealist "rom-com" (If you can call it that) Punch-Drunk Love.

As usual, there will be spoilers in this analysis. Nothing major, like in the Magnolia and Boogie Nights pieces, but it's still recommended that you see the film first. So if you haven't seen it yet, you can easily do so because it's the only Paul Thoms Anderson movie that's on Netflix Instant Watch, as of this writing. If you haven't read the previous three installments of the retrospectives, you can do so by clicking these links for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Also, much like the last installment, I'm going to be employing several clips as examples for the filmmaking techniques that Anderson uses throughout the film, so make sure your connection is good enough to be buffering plenty of videos. Plus, some of the clips contain some strong language, so if that's not your thing, you've been warned.

With all that being said, let's buy some pudding and take a closer look at Punch-Drunk Love.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective Part 3: Magnolia

The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective continues! Last time, we took a look at the film that put Paul Thomas Anderson on the map: the ambitious, epicly scoped Boogie Nights. Today, however, we see Anderson pushing the limits of ambition AND scope in his follow-up piece, 1999's Magnolia.

If you hadn't read the previous two installments of the Retrospective, I suggest clicking these links for Part 1 and Part 2. Plus, it must be made absolutely clear that it's impossible to discuss Magnolia without getting into serious detail on the character arcs and the insane finale. So be warned: There are major, MAJOR spoilers.

Also, unlike most of my retrospectives, instead of just showing a bunch of pictures from the movie, I'm going to be employing clips from the film. So make sure your internet connection is good enough to buffer some YouTube videos, if you want the full experience. Not required, but definitely a plus!

With that being said, it's time to analyze the web of coincidences that is Magnolia.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective Part 2: Boogie Nights

The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective continues! Last time, we took a look at Anderson's debut feature, Hard Eight (or Sydney, in some circles). Today, however, we're going to examine the film that put Paul Thomas Anderson on the map: the landmark Boogie Nights.

If you missed Part 1, you can read it here. Also keep in mind that while I managed to keep away from spoilers for my Hard Eight discussion, I will most definitely be spoiling a lot of the best scenes in Boogie Nights. You've been warned.

With that being said, it's time to get hard for Paul Thomas Anderson's look at the porn-industry of the '70s, Boogie Nights.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective Part 1: Hard Eight

In just a few weeks, the latest Paul Thomas Anderson film, The Master, is going to finally hit theaters after many years of waiting since There Will Be Blood in 2007, his last movie. While The Master may be under the radar for most audiences, it's one of the most highly anticipated movies amongst cinephiles, for good reason. Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best and most important directors of our time, and any new film of his is a sure-fire event.

So much of an event, that I've decided that my second Director Retrospective will focus on him. Starting today, we'll look back at Paul Thomas Anderson's career and see his interesting evolution and maturation as a director and a screenwriter, starting with his first feature Hard Eight, and ending with my official review of The Master starring Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Like my Christopher Nolan retrospective, I'll be looking at the themes and stylistic quirks that connect each film, and see how he grows and "learns" with each subsequent film.

Also worth noting: This review contains zero spoilers! Hooray!

With all that being said, let's begin with his debut: Hard Eight.