PopMatters Picks: 50 DVDs Every Film Fan Should Own

Momento DVD

“PopMatters has put this question to our vast staff of cultural critics and have come up with a list of 50 DVDs that every motion picture aficionado should have as part of their own aesthetic assemblage. By no means all inclusive, but definitely the result of much handwringing (and film watching), our plan is to provide a guide to what’s good, and what’s grand, about these silver slices of Heaven. […]

Here it is, divided into fives sections covering as many significant shifts in the motion picture perspective. Beginning with Part 1: Pure Classicism and moving through Part 2: The Changing Face of Filmmaking, Part 3: The Stellar ‘70s, Part 4: Challenging Convention and finally, Part 5: The Return of the Auteur, our crew hopes to enlighten you on titles and artists you may never have heard of, as well as hit on those mandatory efforts that failed to peak your interest the first time around. But it’s more than just the movie being discussed—it’s how DVD changed the way we look at it. This feature also concentrates on how supplements and commentaries, remixed soundtracks and pristine transfers revived lost or forgotten gems, while perfectly preserving those works that warrant safeguarding.”

Check it out: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/features/series/284/

New transmedia explorer: Chris Dahlen

Chris Dahlen, a contributing writer to publications such as Pitchfork Media, Paste Magazine, The Onion AV Club and The Wire N.H., has started a blog. His blog, Save the Robot, discusses among other things ‘transmedia’. Chris says that ‘Jenkins and others have defined this concept really well’ and wonders what is left for him as a columnist. I disagree that Jenkins and others (including me) have defined the concept really well. Sure, many people do get the fundamental concept — storyworlds continuing across media platforms — but that statement is not a one-stop shop. There is a such a complexity to the area, different ways that a story continues and doesn’t (I think most cross-media works have a mix of repurposing, adaptation and extension, and for very good reasons). The point I want to make is that there is soooooo muuucccchhh that hasn’t been explored and so much that has but hasn’t been finished or published yet (my PhD for instance!). What is good is that Chris has gravitated towards an area that he will be exploring with vigor:

[T]he direction I seem to be taking, without even planning it, is to look at what drives people to invest time in these sink holes – why there are some people who are fine with watching an hour of Law and Order and forgetting it the minute they go to bed, and then there are other people who watch every episode of Battlestar Galactica at least twice, listen to the podcasts, watch the forums, engage with the characters, write fan fic, and secretly hope there will be an MMORPG so they can walk up and “hang out with Starbuck” anytime they’d like. What drives their obsession? In other words, why do they love this stuff so much? [from this post]

In particular, Chris will be looking at the appeal of characters:

In fact, the characters in these worlds are the thing that interest me the most: we’re flooded with characters nowadays, and the ones that stick start to engage us on many platforms. Where do they come from? Why are we drawn to them? […] But here’s the catch: the characters and worlds we’re talking about aren’t just getting richer and more interactive; we’re also scaling ourselves down to live in them. [from this post]

Indeed, Chris reviews a lot of digital games and so his take on the relationship between characters and fans should be interesting. It is good to see a gamer talk about the craft and experience of transmedia forms and not the marketing. He’s also looking at politicians and the nature of seriality. Great stuff Chris! I look forward to reading more.

Check out: http://savetherobot.wordpress.com/

Halo ARGs & Parodies

Most of you would be aware that the Halo 3 ARG has begun. It has received quite negative reviews from many gammer-community-ARG-crossovers. It seems that the ARG is breaking design techniques such as: progressive disclosure, choreography of the rollout, audience tiering and player-production facilitation. Conversely, alot of the posts seem to be by people who are not conversant with ARGs or are not utilizing the player-created resources. This tiering issue is one that I address in a paper that may be out early next year. But, as I’ve haven’t delved too far into the most recent ARG yet, this isn’t the point of this post. (If you’re interested in playing or lurking though, check out The Bruce’s guide for the ARG.) Instead, I just wanted to flag how that it appears the Halo ARGs — I Love Bees and now this one — have provoked the most ARG parodies I’ve seen. I’m not aware of other parodies of ARGs (tell me if you know of them) and so the fact that there are 2 (that I know of) is more than any others! Here are the 2:

I Love Beer


Penny Arcade comic about the lastest Halo 3 ArG

Penny Arcade ARG parody

And then there is also the site that is a very clever grafting of another storyworld into the I Love Bees ARG:



Is it because of the convential gaming communities involvement in the ARG scene or is it something in the Bungie-commissioned ARGs or is it their high-profile status that lends it these parodies and supplements? Seems to me a mix of all of these factors.

Thanks Leslie for pointing out the pennyarcade comic. 🙂