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Videogames: the new spectator sport

Videogames: the new spectator sport

As the UK’s largest gaming festival, Insomnia, wrapped up its latest event on 25 August, I watched a short piece of BBC Breakfast news reporting from the festival. The reporter and some of the interviewees appeared baffled at the huge popularity of “videogame livestreaming”, otherwise

How the film industry is imploding

How the film industry is imploding

In June 2013, at a University of Southern California event with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg predicted an implosion of the film industry. The failure at the box office of “tentpoles”, mega-budget movies that are designed with potential sequels in mind and anchor a studio’s release

Guardians of the Galaxy: footloose and fancy-free

<i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>: footloose and fancy-free

Based on a relatively obscure crew of characters in the Marvel comic book universe and made for a reputed budget of US$170m, Guardians of the Galaxy qualifies as a brave bet in today’s world of blockbuster film-making. It’s an exuberant B-movie with A-scale production values; a goofy cosmic adventure that disarms cynicism through

A season of truly awful blockbusters

A season of truly awful blockbusters

I’m trying to figure out why I’m so disheartened with the movies this season. It’s true that the northern hemisphere summer began badly. Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a disappointment. The aerial sequences at the

Edge of Tomorrow: Cruise missile

Edge of Tomorrow: Cruise missile

Though it’s not directly based on a videogame, the new Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow nails the aesthetics and feel of one more accurately than any film to come before it. It’s a variant on the Normandy landing level so favoured by designers of first-person shooters, but handled with enough

New X-Men puts time in a bottle

New <i>X-Men</i> puts time in a bottle

Forget the powers of Marvel’s mutated superheroes in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The most astonishing feat in the film is the effortless way that director Bryan Singer juggles a massive ensemble cast, races across multiple cities and countries, and zigzags between two timelines

Godzilla’s roar is bigger than its bite

Godzilla’s roar is bigger than its bite

In the 2014 reboot of Godzilla, the venerable giant lizard battles mutos (or Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) while the script’s somber tone wages war with the ridiculousness of its underlying premise. In both clashes, the human characters seem to be there mostly as spectators who run, scream and open their eyes in widened terror

What to do with Vodacom’s free 1GB

What to do with Vodacom’s free 1GB

There are a number of ways how you can use 1GB of free data these days — that’s what Vodacom is giving each of its 33m customers in South Africa on Sunday (for one day only). The Internet is full of exciting things to watch, download or even just update. What you

Sinners stumble in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Sinners stumble in <em>Ain’t Them Bodies Saints</em>

With Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, director David Lowery set out to create a film that would make the audience “feel like they’ve just heard an old folk song that they’d never heard before”. The notes of his ballad of doomed love are as stirringly familiar as he had hoped — yet they’re arranged and performed in a way that makes them feel utterly

Winter Soldier: Snowden superheroics

Winter Soldier: Snowden superheroics

Following last year’s entertaining but somewhat rote Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3, Marvel has kicked off 2014’s annual blockbuster season with one of its best pictures to date. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a witty, snappily paced hybrid of spy thriller and comic book mayhem. The sequel to Captain America

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