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Articles in the May/June 2010 Department

Cinema and Television, May/June 2010, Subheadline »

[30 Jun 2010 | No Comment | 3,535 Views]
Smith in Dragon’s Shadow: <i>The Karate Kid</i>

The Karate Kid is a story of two lost souls, sans fish bowl, and a classic archetype of the surrogate father-son dynamic. Jaden Smith puts his cute kid mojo to work as Dre, who’s uprooted from his childhood home when his widowed mother is transferred to China as part of her job. The local handyman, Mr. Han, takes compassion on him when he’s continually beaten by bullies who are almost as skilled in kung fu as the handyman. Naturally, Mr. Han’s kung fu is better, both because the hero’s journey requires it to be, and because Mr. Han is played by Jackie Chan. As conventional as the story is (and familiar, given that it’s a remake of a beloved 80s classic), it works because it is a completely artless approach to a well-worn story.

Cinema and Television, May/June 2010 »

[3 Jun 2010 | No Comment | 2,065 Views]
The Man of Your Dreams: Sam Bayer’s New <i>Nightmare</i>

Professionally executed from beginning to end, the exact purpose of Samuel Bayer’s New Nightmare (a.k.a. Nightmare Redux) isn’t really clear. Apart from the vibe that it’s trying to be a crowd-pleaser, the precise aim of how it expects to do that is muddy. Barely a remake, it’s more of a retread, gathering up some of the original film’s more indelible scenes, reshuffling them, and dealing them from the bottom of the deck — apparently at random — in an attempt to catch established fans off guard while simultaneously re-entrenching those scenes in the minds of a new generation that might (rather unbelievably) not be at all familiar with the source material.

Cinema and Television, May/June 2010 »

[27 May 2010 | 6 Comments | 52,214 Views]
Playtime’s Favorite War (and Anti-War) Films

The United States celebrates its Memorial Day in honor of fallen servicemen and women on Monday.  In remembrance for all fallen soldiers in countries around the world, we at Playtime have devised their favorites from war and anti-war cinema, all capturing the spirit of human struggle.

Matthew Kessen

Apocalypse Now (d. Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) – Apocalypse Now is, to many, a definitive war movie. The book on which it is based, however – Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness – actually has nothing to do with war. The novella’s Kurtz instead goes …

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

[25 May 2010 | 11 Comments | 390,839 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 …

Cinema and Television, May/June 2010 »

[25 May 2010 | One Comment | 4,217 Views]
A Clash of History and Fiction in Titanic

There was never a ship like the Titanic a bold and glorious ocean liner which shuttled the rich across the Atlantic Ocean as if they were angels riding in an unsinkable clam. Then we have the film, Titanic, directed by James Cameron. It, too, was bold and glorious with a firm yet supple grip, capable of satisfying the director’s Quixotic ego. Unfortunately, these are both myths: a socialist iceberg struck the Titanic in the mid-Atlantic on April 15, 1912 and 1,517 people died in the vast emptiness of the ocean. …

Cinema and Television, May/June 2010 »

[10 May 2010 | One Comment | 2,109 Views]
Sharunas Bartas’ <em>Three Days</em>

They appear to us as if emerged from the void. They have no context, no back-story, and no prior life. We discover them at the same time as they discover themselves: they are newborn men and women, plucked from an infernal factory where human beings are built and placed in a makeshift territory of uninhabitable houses. Lacking a past, lacking anything to remember, they shuffle about their dystopic wasteland with no goal in mind, having never had a past in which to choose a goal. They have no anecdotes to …

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 …