The Witness: a short interview with the developer


Here’s a short interview with Jonathan Blow, the game designer behind the upcoming puzzle adventure game The Witness, which I’m looking forward to.  I don’t really understand the logic behind the puzzles shown in the video or if I’ll have any interest in solving such puzzles, but the game as a whole certainly looks interesting.  One can also find more info on the game on its development blog.

World War Z (2013)


Link: World War Z

Summary: When a zombie epidemic spreads so fast that apparently there’s no warning for any country at all, a man sets out to investigate the zombie-ism and save what’s left of the world.

Thoughts: The biggest problem with this movie was lack of characterization.  The film tries to get into the action right away, so we have no time to get to know the characters.  So when they’re in danger and running from zombies after just two short scenes, we really don’t care much about them.  If anything, they annoy us, especially the hero’s two daughters who do nothing but stand there and scream when their father isn’t there.

After a half hour or so of boring bland zombie survivalism (with enough shaky cam to make you queasy), the real story begins: it is up to our bland boring hero to investigate the origins of the zombie virus.  But even this is not the real story, because the investigation somehow morphs into finding out why the zombies don’t bite certain people, and using whatever it is to save everyone else.  And even this investigation is boring because nothing’s at stake for our hero until near the end, when his family is put in danger.  But they’re still such bland characters that it’s still hard to care.

Blancanieves (2012)


Link: Blancanieves

Summary: A retelling of the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves set in the late 1920’s in Spain, with Snow White being the daughter of a bullfighter.  After an attempted murder by her wicked step mother, she finds herself traveling with seven bullfighting dwarves. 

Thoughts: Like The Artist, this is a modern-day black and white silent film.  It is too bad The Artist overshadows this film for the novelty of being a modern-day black and white silent film, because where The Artist is gimmicky, cheesy, dull, and uninspired, Blancanieves is fantastic.

While the tale of Snow White is familiar enough that you will always know where the story is headed, the film does provide interesting twists that allow for a fresh perspective on the classic tale.  The photography is brilliant, managing to turn an otherwise normal black and white world into something that seems on the edge of fantasy.  The story and the pacing are tight; never is there a dull or pointless moment, yet never does it feel rushed.  Being a silent film, it is very refreshing to see the much more imaginative and economical ways in which filmmakers can tell a story without needing to resort to dialog.  Finally, the musical score Alfonso de Vilallonga is the icing on the cake; it is beautiful.  Overall, the film creates a wonderfully mesmerizing storybook feeling that I found to be very enchanting.  I’ve lately seen a number of films based on re-imagining classic fairy tales, but this is the best I’ve seen so far.  Great film.