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Articles in the Cultural Comment Department

Cinema and Television, Cultural Comment, Julytember 2010, Subheadline »

[25 Jul 2010 | 2 Comments | 4,211 Views]
Urban Life and Individuality: Boyz n the Hood

Any representation of urban life in Black cinema during the early 90′s would inevitably find itself contending with John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood. The amount of praise Singleton received was enough to make him the first of only two African-Americans to receive an Academy Award nomination for best director.  The rising tide of Black experience in cinema came at a time when African-Americans in poor Los Angeles neighbourhoods were suffering from the internal violence of gang warfare fueled by the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, as well as …

Cultural Comment, Julytember 2010, Literature, Subheadline »

[25 Jul 2010 | No Comment | 1,839 Views]
Video Games and Compulsory Learning

What happens when video games enter the classroom? For the past thirty years, video games have been mired in negative stereotypes. Considered revolutionary in the 70s, brainless diversion in the 80s, youth-corrupting entertainment in the 90s—attitudes towards video games have run the gamut. In the past ten years, there has been a palpable change. Games have gone from social pariahs to hotly-contested media seeking artistic validation. But it isn’t the conversation about the video game’s place in the artistic world that is radically changing the way games are used and thought of in our society. Thanks to the work of literacy and education researchers, video games are gaining prestige as powerful learning tools.

Cinema and Television, Cultural Comment, May/June 2010 »

[25 May 2010 | 11 Comments | 390,818 Views]
Adam W’s Titanic: Now an Internet Disaster

As Playtime guest contributor Adam W. workshopped his article “A Clash of History and Fiction in Titanic” in the Playtime contributor forums, his early draft touched off a heady exchange concerning the role of historical accuracy in James Cameron’s Titanic in particular and in fiction in general.
The Titanic and Historical Accuracy
Daniel Swensen: It seems a trifle odd to me to pick on Cameron for “capitalizing on a disaster still easy to recall for its survivors” when movies like The Longest Day were reliving the battles …

Cultural Comment, Literature, May/June 2010 »

Welcome to the Machine
[4 May 2010 | No Comment | 1,154 Views]
Welcome to the Machine

March of 2010 saw the release of Hardware: The Man in the Machine, a trade paperback collecting the first eight issues of the comic book Hardware; but it was in April of 1993 when Hardware #1 first hit the shelves. Written by Dwayne McDuffie with art by Denys Cowan, Hardware was the first title in a new line, or imprint, of DC Comics titles, called Milestone Media. The milestone referred to was easy enough to figure out. Though the Milestone imprint, on a basic level, published comics about the usual …

April 2010, Cultural Comment, Literature »

[4 Apr 2010 | No Comment | 1,950 Views]
Why e-readers suck

I’m a semi-novice at many things. Within the past few years, I’ve become more and more of a semi-novice Luddite. I’ll often see some new piece of technology, with buttons and a screen of some sort, and be absolutely smitten.

Cinema and Television, Cultural Comment, March 2010 »

[11 Mar 2010 | 3 Comments | 961 Views]
Os-what? Playtime Does the Oscars

The Playtime Staff discuss Oscar-winning pictures, past and present. And we slapfight a little over Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction, because that’s the kind of shop we run here.

Cinema and Television, Cultural Comment, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[23 Feb 2010 | 5 Comments | 2,787 Views]
Stock Hollywood characters in dire need of retirement

Here’s a situation you will all be instantly familiar with.
You’re watching a movie. Could be at the local multiplex, could be the latest rental. Could be stumbled upon during late-night cable surfing. Doesn’t matter.
This actor shows up. You might recognize him, or not. You might even be able to put a name to him (a trick I never mastered). Again, doesn’t matter. What matters is, you’ll recognize the character. You’ve seen him a million times before.  Often he’s a side-character; sometimes (and more unforgivably) he’s a main character. He will …

Art, Cultural Comment, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[19 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 1,637 Views]
Majora’s Mask (A Long Time From Now, In a Country Far Far Away)

The Land of Termina
Ocarina of Time, the landmark prequel to Majora’s Mask, holds the seeds from the which its future sibling springs. Some of these seeds are quite obvious: the masks, for instance. But, in my imagination, the most important seeds can be found in two seemingly unimportant moments. The first involves Zora’s Domain. As many dejected fellow gamers might recall, the enchanted winter that shrouds the Domain cannot be dispelled, even after destroying the appropriate evil spirit. The ice will supposedly melt at a future date beyond the game’s …

Cinema and Television, Cultural Comment, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[3 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 1,366 Views]
2000s Cinema: My Favorites

In terms of world news and events, the 2000s have been an intensely involved period, and a depressing one. From attacks on America, two large-scale wars, genocide still, horrific natural disasters and a global recession the “Aughts” haven’t been too kind on us as a whole. Cinema has really moved up its game during this time, however, producing a better quality of comedies, dramas and musicals compared to the previous couple decades. Animation, in fact, has never been better, and documentaries seem to …

Cultural Comment, October 2009 »

[23 Oct 2009 | 9 Comments | 7,026 Views]
<i>Portal</i> and The Meta-Narrative Maker

Portal was a surprise when it was released in 2007. An inconspicuous and concise addition to the venerable Half-Life franchise, Portal was anticipated mainly for its unique gameplay mechanic: a gun that, instead of killing enemies, allowed a player to essentially draw doorways everywhere. Shoot blue energy at a wall and a blue circle appears. Shoot orange energy at another wall, or somewhere else on the same wall, and an orange circle appears. There is now a wormhole stretching from the blue circle to the orange circle. We can walk …