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From Cineplex to Console: 26 Movies That Should Become Video Games

From Cineplex to Console: 26 Movies That Should Become Video Games (photo)

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Cinema and video games provide excitement to audiences in two very different ways. The thrills that come from watching, say, “The Dark Knight,” come from the unexpected twists and turns of its story. Games, on the other hand, let you embody a story’s main character. You’re a mostly passive observer with a movie like “Avatar” whereas playing BioWare’s “Mass Effect” games not only puts you in the middle of the action, it also lets you shape the main character’s personality and the saga that’s unfolding around you.

Still, video games overall could use some of the nuance, story sophistication and tonal variation that movies enjoy as a matter of course. And, lately, it’s been impossible to walk out of a certain flicks and not think, “There should be a way to play in that world.” Take “Inception,” for example. Nowadays, it’s a given that tentpole Hollywood films come out with game development deals as part of their package. However, many cinematic classics or cult favorites could also make the jump from projector to polygon and become fun games. We’ve assembled a list of films that need to be pulled out of unplayable limbo and given new life as button-based experiences.

[#1-5]   [#6-10]   [#11-15]   [#16-20]   [#21-26]


1. “eXistenZ” (1999)
Directed by David Cronenberg

The Movie: This psychological thriller offers that a throbbing, tumor-like growth will become the future’s next hot game console, a portal to a new massively-multiplayer online game called “eXistenZ.” Playing it requires players to physically plug into bio-organic consoles, gets tested. When a killer threatens the life of the game designer (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), she and a bodyguard (Jude Law) go on a voyage that blurs the boundaries of reality and gameplay.

Why an “eXistenZ” Game Needs To Exist: It’s got the requisite chasing, running, hiding and shooting going on, but “eXistenZ” also film draws on cyberpunk trappings that would make great game elements: jumping between a virtual world and real life, a shared reality as a giant level/maze meant to be solved and the fusion of man and machine. Plus, it’d be a game about a game within a game so there’s room for plenty of

Who Should Make It: Grasshopper Manufacture. The dev studio run by Suda51 (a.k.a. Goichi Suda) made a grade-A mindf**k with “Killer 7,” a gory, bizarre mystery that debuted on Nintendo’s family-friendly GameCube. Suda’s since gone on to make “No More Heroes,” an action title with a bunch of meta-commentary about being a video game. The designer’s shown a love for gore, otaku culture and messing with people’s heads, all things that would make him perfect to build an “eXistenZ” game.

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play:Alan Wake.” Remedy’s critically acclaimed game sports a lead character fighting off possessed townsfolk drawn from the collective subconscious of his own tainted creativity. The dark shoot-em-up seductively turns in on itself, with elements that riff on “The Twilight Zone” and Remedy’s own “Max Payne” games. For most of the game, Wake can’t tell if he’s the architect of his own hell, a trait that he shares with Leigh’s game designer in “eXistenZ.”


2. “Ip Man” (2010)
Directed by Wilson Yip

The Movie: This Hong Kong martial arts movie tells the story of than man who taught Bruce Lee how to kick ass. Donnie Yen plays the titular role, an aloof grandmaster who rouses to action when the Japanese invade the Chinese mainland in the 1930s.

Why an “Ip Man” Game Needs To Exist: A kung-fu brawler with the guy who originated the Wing Chun style just begs to made. But it wouldn’t have to just be mindless punching and kicking either. With the setting of the Sino-Japanese War, an Ip Man game could be a playable history lesson, affording the player a chance to learn about the pivotal intra-Asian conflict right before WWII.

Who Should Make It: Capcom. The “Street Fighter” publisher’s got a long history in the fighting game genre and, with “Dead Rising 2”, they’ve shown the technical chops required to throw hordes of combatants on-screen. Of course, it’d also mean that the Japanese game giant would be making a title in which their forebears would be the bad guys…

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: “Sengoku Basara.” Based on a manga comic that fictionalizes the wars that led to unification of Japan, historical figures like Tokugawa Ieyasu and Takeda Shingen get transformed in super-powerful punchers and hyper-skilled swordsmen that can change the tide of a skirmish by their lonesomes. It may not be the way the Shogunate actually coalesced, but it’s a lot more fun.


3. “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004)
Directed by Wes Anderson

The Movie: Wes Anderson’s oeuvre is filled with awkward silences and loopy dysfunction that don’t exactly themselves to translation into an action-centric medium like video games. “The Life Aquatic” might be the only exception, as it focuses on an emotionally charged revenge saga focusing man vs. jaguar shark.

Why a “The Life Aquatic” Game Needs To Exist: It’s got helicopters, pirates [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IV6CGOS_yo], kidnapping and a rivalry with another “part-gay” oceanographer. Not to mention those snazzy Team Zissou wetsuits. A great game adaptation could employ a good software engine to generate beautiful, roiling virtual seascapes and would be a great place to populate with the fanciful, imaginary aquatic life shown in the movie. And getting Seu Jorge to do more Bowie covers would give it the best game soundtrack ever.

Who Should Make It: Telltale Games. Best known for classic adventure titles like the “Monkey Island” games and the “Sam & Max” games, the dev studio specializes in humor and in adapting properties from other media. “Sam & Max” started as a comic but cartoonist Steve Purcell helped make it a game and Telltale’s also making the upcoming “Back to the Future” game, too.

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play: “Endless Ocean.” The two games in the series turned the Nintendo Wii into a vast diving simulator. The first game’s gentle, ambient vibe was super-mellow but gave way to a more traditional game design in the second game “Endless Ocean: Blue World.” Making friends with dolphins and scaring up buried treasure falls right in line with Team Zissou’s everyday activities.


4. “Labyrinth” (1986)
Directed by Jim Henson

The Movie: You can tell “Dungeons & Dragons” was big in the ’80s because of movies like “Labyrinth.” David Bowie stars as big bad Jareth, a Goblin King who abducts the baby brother of Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) when she bitches about having to babysit. To get him back, she must make her way through the movie’s titular maze and defeat the puzzles and beasties she finds within.

Why a “Labyrinth” Game Needs To Exist: What developer wouldn’t want to bring the late, great Jim Henson’s puppetry to life? And, conveniently, the game’s structure already exists in the intellectual property, what with its giant maze filled with puzzles and random encounters. In addition to the Thin White Duke as a poncy bad guy, a “Labyrinth” game could have in Sarah a heroine who doesn’t have to be sexualized and who relies on her wits to save the day.

Who Should Make It: Square Enix. The company that makes the mega-popular “Final Fantasy” games shares some of that “D&D” DNA with “Labyrinth.” The designers at Square Enix are the undisputed grandmasters of Tolkien-esque roleplaying experiences and would turn Henson’s two-hour movie into a 30-hour extravaganza, probably building out the fiction in quirkily Japanese ways.

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play:Beyond Good & Evil.” Ubisoft’s under-appreciated classic also has a competent, emotionally compelling heroine at its center in the form of Jade. She takes care of war orphans, needs to use her wits to photograph her planet’s varied wildlife and uncovers a secret conspiracy happening underneath everybody’s noses. It’s not a fantasy game but could well be a sci-fi cousin to “Labyrinth.”


5. “Kill Bill” Vols. 1 & 2 (2003-2004)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

The Movie: Quentin Tarantino’s two-part opus casts Uma Thurman as the Bride, a former assassin out to kill her former boss/lover after he shoots her in the head and puts her in a coma. While Tarantino throws in tons of pulpy references to the sexploitation and kung-fu crazes of the ’60s and ’70s, “Kill Bill” is at its core a movie about philosophical differences and maternal instinct played out through violence.

Why a “Kill Bill” Game Needs To Exist: The dual-part movie basically apes the structure of a video game, with each one of the Bride’s former compatriots as a level boss. But, instead of duplicating the movie plot, a game should mine the Bride’s backstory as sword-for-hire, which surely holds lots of crazy assignments. All the swordplay and gun-shooting could be interspersed with a plot that sheds more light on

Who Should Make It: Team Ninja. The gory tales of vengeance in the “Ninja Gaiden” games don’t have the emotional grounding that “Kill Bill” does, but the Team Ninja dev studio could more than make up for that void with razor-sharp action and stylized dismemberment. They’d do a bang-up job making Thurman’s slinky form a virtual lethal killing machine.

If It Doesn’t Happen, You Can Always Play:Shank.” Klei Games’ downloadable hit clearly imprinted off of the heavily stylized work of grindhouse-cum-Tarantino and the indie studio’s hit game could even be a distant, cartoonier cousin to the O-Ren anime sequence by Mitsuhisa Ishakawa in Kill Bill, vol. 1. The game’s title character — also a former gun-for-hire out to kill his mentor–may not have a kid to fight for but his reasons for wanting revenge are just as personal as the Bride’s.


[#1-5]   [#6-10]   [#11-15]   [#16-20]   [#21-26]

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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