Like many people, I had always thought that Pong was the first video game. With its simplistic beeps and boops and green bars, it was known as THE gaming experience of the 70s. There is much debate over which game wins the title of “very first video game ever”, but according to the documentary World 1-1, it was Spacewar!
High quality animated films have been the norm for quite some time now; but every once in a while, a non-Disney film manages to amaze and captivate us. Fox’s The Book of Life (written and directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez and produced in part by Guillermo Del Toro) was out in theaters towards the end of last year, but it made its debut among a number of other hugely anticipated films. Smallest Thumbs and I never got out to see it during its run, but we were lucky enough to be sent a copy for review. The Book of Life’s gorgeous design and amazing sense of pacing delivers a compelling story in a world where people and gods walk almost in step with each other – and where lowly mortals can still inspire their immortal counterparts. If you have not seen this wonderful film yet, we highly recommend it.
If you missed the Twitter party for the digital release of The Book of Life (official page here), never fear! Thanks to Fox, you now have a chance to win a copy of the Blu-Ray, which is being released on January 27th! Fox had a trivia feature that they asked us to post, but we chatted with them and have agreed to shake it up a bit by seeing if you can guess the answers!
So, The Book of Life is out on Digital HD and Fox wants to have a little bit of fun with folks that have purchased it. Later today (January 9) at 20:00 ET/17:00 PT, there will be a Twitter viewing party hosted by the film’s director, Jorge Gutierrez. Folks that want to tune in can join @BookofLifeMovie and join a real-time conversation during the viewing with tons of fans and journalists! If you are participating, be sure to use the hastag (#BookofLifeFiesta) so you can make yourself heard and have fun!
For the record, this film is about a historical figure, and so anything written here will probably be a mild spoiler for those who are unaware of the history of Alan Turing. That being said, I feel that after what I have revealed here, readers will still enjoy the movie a lot. You have been warned.
If you are looking for a reason to go to the movie theater this holiday season, you should check out The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightly, the film tells the tale of the Allies’ quest to decipher the mystery behind the Enigma Machine, the device used by the Nazis to encrypt and decrypt all of their own communications before and during World War 2. The spotlight shines mainly on Turing’s efforts in this quest (working with the British military), but it also touches on his personal quirks and addresses his horrible treatment by the British government because of his homosexuality.
Sometimes we get invited to some interesting press screenings. Sharad’s review might be a bit on the short side – but it’s only because he struggled with not letting too many important details out of the bag. -ed.
A night crawler is a freelance videographer that goes out at night and trolls for accidents and/or crimes, captures them on film, and then sells them the next day to the highest bidder. Nightcrawler was released at the Toronto International Film Festival (with much acclaim) and was one of the hottest tickets and sold out almost immediately.
Throughout the history of horrors and thrillers, reflections have had their fair share of screen time. Sometimes, reflections reveal a monster or murderer sneaking up behind an unsuspecting character, causing the audience to shout out at the screen. At other times, the lack of a character’s reflection in a mirror hints at their supernatural origin. And who can forget those movies that feature horrible creatures that are summoned through the use of a mirror? Yes, reflections have the capacity to add an extra layer of fright to almost any already tense situation. Oculus (WWE Studios, Blumhouse Productions, and Intrepid Pictures), a 2014 horror film written by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard, takes a mirror, and places it squarely in the center of a twisted plot. While slow-moving at times, I found that Oculus was a clever film, pushing forth a scary idea and then wrapping around the viewer’s imagination to great effect, making it a somewhat refreshing film from a genre that seems to be filled with boring and tired movies in more recent times.