Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Indie Game - Independent Game Designer Movie

OK, you've watched some movies in your time right? Ever notice for every formulaic, commercially successful film such as "Saving Private Ryan", "The Blind Side", etc there are tons of decent Independent films that sort of just get trampled on the sidelines? Occasionally some lucky movie-fan finds one of these indie-flicks and that special film with all its artistic heart and soul finally gets its notice of recognition.

Believe it or not, the video game industry is the same way. For every smash-hit Madden 2000-something football game or Max Payne bloodbath, there are indie-games out there made by a very small team of programmers who shun the popular gaming cliches and try to break out with their own ideas.

The film follows four game designers who work out of tiny offices or just their homes for years on one game.

Jonathan Blow created "Braid" .... a guy is trying to rescue a princes

Edmund McMillian Tommy Refenes created "Super Meat Boy" .... basically a bloody skinless cube trying to find his Band-Aid girlfriend

Phil Fish created "Fez" ...... where you collect bugs to rebuild the world the character lives in.

I know what you are thinking.... these games sound all so-done-before and boring. I admit I haven't been a gamer since the 80's and as I watched the film I couldn't help but think how much these resembled Coleco's "Donkey Kong" and perhaps the Atari 2600 "Adventure"

Watch the film more closely though and you'll become intrigued with the wonderful nuances of these games. Yes, on the surface they seem simple but they are truly works of art in their own right. Each designer puts his heart and soul into each game. I can't do descriptions of these nuances any justice here. "Fez" for example inserts a 2 dimensional character into a 3 dimensional setting, can't say that's been done before. "Braid" combines time control and character relationships which remind me of every time I've wanted to rewind time to make things better. "Super Meat Boy" at first glance looks all cutsey, but it is a dark and violent maze about two characters who, quite literally, are without purpose until they find each other.

The film at times is suspenseful and has a classic-underdog feel to the movie. Blow, McMillian, Refenes and Fish all bring distinctly different emotions that add to the intrigue of this film. If you are starving artist yourself or simply love indie films about very indie-people, check this out. You'll enjoy it.

The Giant Mechanical Man - Jenna Fischer Chris Messina

This is a heck of a little film. Jenna Fischer (The Office) and Chris Messina (Julia and Julia / Argo) play Janice and Tim. Both are in their thirties and, you know the saying, "Don't know what they want to do when they grow up."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Revanche - Austrian Gotz Spielmann Movie Review

Tamara (Irina Potapenko) walks the streets and Alex (Johannes Krisch) is an underemployed ex-convict working as an assistant in a seedy business. They are in love, live in a bad section of Vienna and looking to improve their lives.
Eventually the two encounter a country policeman (Andres Lust) and his wife (Ursula Strauss) which impacts the lives of all of the parties involved.

Revanche is passionate, dark, brooding, talky and disturbing at times. The thing I enjoyed the most about this film was its slow pace. The entire film seems to move in real time (albeit over the course of a few days) and this really lets you dig in to these complex characters in a way that a faster paced film might not be able to do.

At times I thought some of the parts were a bit too convenient or contrived but over all the subtly of the film not only saves it but makes it a terrific film. Not 'terrific' in that when you get done watching it you'll be like "Wow, what a great flick!" Actually, many of you when the film ends will be like "Whaa?" but film is terrific in that it sticks with you. As subtle as it is, I found it stuck with me a while in my thoughts.