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Nick Schager

Peter Weir Takes the Long “Way Back” (photo)

Peter Weir Takes the Long “Way Back”

From “Picnic at Hanging Rock” to “The Truman Show” and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” Peter Weir’s filmography is rife with tales of men engaging with imposing environments, a fixation that continues with his newest film “The Way Back,” the real-life saga of three men who, in 1940, escaped a Russian […]

Gaspar Noé’s Trip Into the “Void” (photo)

Gaspar Noé’s Trip Into the “Void”

Gaspar Noé is no stranger to controversy, as 2002’s “Irreversible” — and, specifically, its nine-minute single-take depiction of violent rape — firmly established his reputation as a boundary-pushing provocateur. Almost a decade later, he returns to feature filmmaking with this week’s extravagant “Enter the Void,” a similarly audacious work about a teenage drug dealer’s (Nathaniel […]

Todd Solondz’s Latest War (photo)

Todd Solondz’s Latest War

“Exploitative,” “mean-spirited” and “misanthropic” are just three of the many severe adjectives that tend to pepper discussions about the acidic work of Todd Solondz. The New Jersey-born indie filmmaker arrived on the scene in 1995 with the bitterly funny “Welcome to the Dollhouse,” courted critical accolades and controversy with 1998’s sharp-fanged “Happiness,” and further established, […]

Jean-Pierre Jeunet Builds a Better Mousetrap (photo)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet Builds a Better Mousetrap

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s idiosyncratic style was apparently from his apocalyptic comedy debut “Delicatessen” (co-directed with Marc Caro), and solidified with his dark fairy tale “The City of Lost Children,” his breakout mainstream hit “Amélie,” and now again with his latest, “Micmacs.” The comedy follows a lonely video store clerk who, after almost being killed by a […]

Adaptation Logic (photo)

Adaptation Logic

Both “Alien vs. Predator” films were by and large disposable mash-up exercises, undone by plots that couldn’t convincingly meld the two series’ worlds and directors who paled in comparison to the ones behind the creatures’ original solo outings. But in theory, this marriage of H.R. Giger’s acid-blooded beasts and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s camouflage-happy intergalactic nemesis is […]

Morality Shock (photo)

Morality Shock

The underwater city of Rapture, the setting of 2007’s Xbox and PC hit “BioShock” and its just-released sequel “BioShock 2,” is aptly named. Few video game worlds are as thrillingly conceived as the alt history utopia gone awry of 2K Games’ fantastic franchise. But if the locale is what immediately immerses players in the series’ […]

The Dialogue Wheel Effect  (photo)

The Dialogue Wheel Effect

Role-playing games are built around talking. And talking in video games is, in most cases, seriously boring. The most appealing part of game interactivity is action — being able to control how your avatar moves, fights, behaves. Sitting through long-winded expository discussions between characters can be a monumental drag, either because you have next to […]

Two Mediums, One Earth (photo)

Two Mediums, One Earth

As a kid, I loved “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, which (for anyone too young to remember the series and ignorant of its recent, ho-hum revival) offered fantastical tales that branched out in different directions depending on decisions you made during the story. If you wanted to enter the haunted mansion, you turned to page […]

Highlights from the DIY Gaming Frontier (photo)

Highlights from the DIY Gaming Frontier

Thanks to better access to digital tools and improved distribution methods, indie gaming is on the cusp of a potential surge. But that rise won’t come just from established producers out to do their own thing. It’ll also happen because of upstart amateurs whose enthusiasm for gaming and technological talents lead to passion projects created […]

Breeding Frenzy (photo)

Breeding Frenzy

For all the talk about narrative arcs, aesthetic razzle-dazzle and tricks and tropes borrowed from film, games are really about gameplay. And because of that, there’s often nothing as satisfying as a title that simply delivers rock-solid mechanics that let you enjoy fundamental gaming tasks: running, jumping, toggling, searching, exploring, shooting. It’s an obvious yet […]