Short film “Portal: No Escape” teleports you into the awesomeness of Aperture Science

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Portal” gets a lot of love on the internets, and with good reason. The ingenuity of its brain-bending, physics-based puzzles, the snarky antagonism of passive-aggressive AI villain GLaDOS and the singularly well-executed gimmick of on-demand teleportation all combined to make it one of the best games ever made. By the time, you reach its affecting, musical aftermath you’re ready to do it all over again.

So, it’s natural that “Portal” video tributes tend to come in a steady stream. Hell, one guy even had a custom “Portal 2” level made to propose to his girlfriend with. But, “Portal: No Escape” from director Dan Trachtenberg sets a high bar for anyone looking to capture the energy of Valve’s hit games.

Actress Danielle Rayne (“All My Children”) does a lot with her physicality to effective channel the mute tenacity of test subject Chell and what it might actually be like to be trapped in Aperture Science’s dank halls. “No Escape” is a slow build but the moody music and incremental tension lets Trachtenberg nod at signature tropes from the games, like the grafitti that serves as environmental storytelling. All that pacing that Rayne does echoes the player experience in a “Portal” game. You walk the square footage of a space, getting to know it, looking for the secret mechanism that will let you escape. Then comes the “holy sh*t! moment of realization that you can manipulate your relationship to that space. Coming to grips with what that gun can do is a defining aspect of “Portal.”

The fling-where you jump off a great height and use momentum to vault over huge horizontal distances-is one of the signature mechanics of the “Portal” games and it’s used to great, gasp-inducing effect in “No Escape.” The jackbooted security thugs chasing Rayne/Chell around are a poor substitute for the sad sack robot turrets in the games, but that’s clearly where Trachtenberg ran up against budgetary constraints. Still, he manages to pull off a great cliffhanger that’ll surprise even hardcore fans.

The only thing that mars “No Escape” is the absence of Ellen McLain’s voicework as GlaDOS, but the film still succeeds despite that. Here’s hoping we see more of Trachtenberg’s “Portal” vision soon.

Is “No escape” the best “Portal” video ever made? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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