Documentary Review: Eye of the Beholder – The Art of Dungeons & Dragons

Our third documentary review for this month is a look at a documentary on the history of the art of Dungeons & Dragons, with a focus on the TSR years of the game.

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The Connection (2014): Film Review

When it comes to watching movies based on historical events, occasionally you happen, by varying degrees of coincidence, into a narrative between multiple films all based on historical events that all tie together. Sometimes it’s deliberate, with different filmmakers being in dialog with each other, and sometimes it’s happenstance, and sometimes it’s even a combination of the two. The Connection from 2014 (released in France as La French) is something of a combination of the two, being in dialog with the 1971 film The French Connection, but also referencing the events covered in Ridley Scott’s film American Gangster, and in turn making Hoodlum something of a prologue.

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A Wrinkle In Time: Film Review

Back when I was in grade school, I read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time for the first time. I found myself drawn not only to the character of Meg – the main viewpoint character of the novel – but also, as an autistic kid, I latched onto the character of Charles Wallace as well. That and the visuals the book evoked in my imagination made me hungry for an adaptation. Indeed, one of the first stage plays I went to in a theater (and in downtown Portland no less – on a field trip) was an adaptation of the book. While I enjoyed the play, its minimalist presentation had a mixed response from me.

When I learned Ava DuVernay was doing an adaptation of the book, I very much wanted to see it in theaters – and then life happened, in ways that ultimately meant I missed its fairly short theatrical run. However, the trailers looked promising, and I did want to see it at home – and they also made me think that DuVernay would be great for the New Gods movie she was slated to direct – before that was canceled. Well, now after a significant delay, I have finally watched the movie on streaming, and have my thoughts.

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1917: Movie Review

1917 is a movie that is two things at once. It’s a movie that is a bleak and striking depiction of the horrors of ground warfare in the First World War, and presents those horrors in a way that respects what  the people who fought in that war went through, and without glamorizing those horrors. It’s also an intricately done magic trick, presenting the illusion of this story being told in one (mostly) unbroken take. This review will contain some spoilers.

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Memory: Origins of Alien: Film Review

I like documentaries about the making of movies a lot. Empire of Dreams was one of my favorite parts of the Star Wars DVD set, and its lack of inclusion on the Blu-Ray release was something of a bummer. Similarly, each of the making of documentaries on the Prequel movies were great, even if the movies themselves had issues, and I’ve always loved the documentaries on the various Alien series boxed sets. So, when I learned an independent documentary was being made on the origins of Alien, I had to pick it up.

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Film Review: Mandy (2018)

I don’t know if I’m watching Mandy at the best of all possible times or the worst. I’m watching it while surrounded by a toxic cloud of smoke that makes it unsafe to go outside, in the largest wildfire season Oregon has faced in my lifetime or my parents’ lifetime, while under a Level 1 evacuation warning. On the one hand, I’m watching the movie with an ambient atmosphere that exudes dread going in. On the other hand, maybe that’s what’s helping me get the most out of it.

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Miles Morales taking a leap of faith.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Film Review

When I saw The Lego Movie, I was impressed with how the film gave me a false impression of stop motion with 3D animation, and I enjoyed the comedy of the film. While I felt that Lord & Miller’s particular flavor off comedy wouldn’t work for Solo, but when I learned they were doing a Spider-Man movie, my interest was piqued, but I didn’t get around to watching Into The Spider-Verse until Covid-19.

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Film Review: Don’t Breathe

One of the issues with modern horror films, particularly those with a human antagonist, is the filmmakers feel the need to give a grounding to their villain’s methods that they feel believable, and they have the same need to make the protagonists just unlikeable enough that when bad things happen to them, things don’t feel overly cruel. The problem is that when this goes wrong it comes across to a degree like victim-blaming – and leads to a toxic message like the one put forward in your standard ’80s slasher film. Don’t Breathe manages to avoid that – barely. This review will contain a few spoilers. Continue reading “Film Review: Don’t Breathe”