Dallas Filmmaker Jeremy Snead Captures the Video Game Industry on Film

Categories: Film and TV

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Video Games: The Movie
Who knew this would lead to Call of Duty?

Dallas-based Jeremy Snead has a hot commodity on his hands these days. He's the director, writer, and producer of Video Games: The Movie, a documentary on the history of video games. With his production company MediaJuice, he successfully raised over $100,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, got Zach Braff to be its executive producer, got Sean Astin to narrate it, and he interviewed many of the pioneers of the industry for it. Coupled with interviews by high profile people like Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton, the documentary has a panache beyond regular people talking about video games.

Snead had two screenings of the film this past week at the Texas Theatre, but it's already available as a digital download through iTunes and game systems. We caught up with Snead and talked about how the film came together over three years of work, how he got so many people for interviews, and what he hopes to do next with the project.


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Podcast: The Mystifying World of Planes with L.A. Weekly Film Critic Amy Nicholson

Categories: Film and TV

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On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we hear from L.A. Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson, who's intrigued by the bizarre universe of Pixar's Planes movies. We also hear about the film critic's background and how she became interested in the movies by way of subliminal advertising and photography.

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Podcast: Why You Should See Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Boyhood

Categories: Film and TV

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Listen or Cesar shoots.

On this week's Voice Film Club episode, film critics Alan Scherstuhl, Amy Nicholson and Stephanie Zacharek recommend seeing Matt Reeves' Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (12:00) and Richard Linklater's Boyhood (20:00), a movie filmed over twelve years with the same cast.


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Podcast: A Hard Day's Night Gets a Beautiful Re-Release on Its 50th Anniversary

Categories: Film and TV

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Janus Films

On this week's Voice Film Club episode, film critics Alan Scherstuhl, Amy Nicholson and Stephanie Zacharek race through the latest (and the most terrible) Transformers movie (2:01), Earth to Echo (13:14), and Tammy (16:30).

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Will You Survive The Purge: Breakout Alive? (Of Course You Will. It's Not Real, Stupid.)

Categories: Film and TV

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Horror movies are so not-horrifying because generally the idiots who get speared in the skull or chainsawed by a masked loon generally don't have the wits to survive a weekend getaway. If you sent these dolts to a lavish weekend at the Mirabeau Inn in Skaneateles, New York, they would find a way to strangle themselves with a seaweed wrap or impale themselves with a MiniPro massager.

To be fair, fighting for your life from the hands of a bloodthirsty monster is a stressful situation, and if you're an idiot, you don't have much of a chance. It takes a special kind of wit to understand that an unstoppable killing machine can't be killed by conventional methods as long as there is a chance for a sequel. Sometimes it's just best to escape and hope that the problem goes away due to a lack of favorable box office returns. A new promotional experience for the movie The Purge: Anarchy coming to town this week will show you how to do just that. Escape, we mean.

The Purge: Breakout is a weird mix between a haunted house, a graphic adventure video game and Glenn Beck's twisted vision of the future if another Democrat is elected president. Just like the Room Escape Adventures, a group of strangers are thrown in a dismal setting and have to find the tools and clues they need to escape before a psychopath uses them to quench his raging murder boner. The experience will be in Dallas from Thursday through Sunday in a parking lot at 2001 N. Griffin St. but unfortunately, it's already sold out on all four nights. I'm not disappointed because I already have an insane spa trip booked in Lake Tahoe that weekend. You, however, might want to turn to a scalper. Just take care you get the right kind.

Podcast: Is This the Rom-Com That Finally Kills the Rom-Com?

Categories: Film and TV

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JoJo Whilden
They Came Together

On this week's episode of the Voice Film Club podcast, Voice film critics Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek, along with L.A. Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson, discuss rom-com Begin Again (2:26), starring the always-interesting Mark Ruffalo. They also talk about the biting rom-com parody They Came Together (15:47), which might finally put a stake in the heart of the genre. Also, we hear about the post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie Snowpiercer (23:47).


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At Oak Cliff Film Festival, a Symphony's Creation Documented

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Nathan Felix, left, works on editing his first symphony.

Nathan Felix fell in love with orchestral music on the open road. The leader of Austin-based indie-pop band The Noise Revival Orchestra was just out of college and touring with a punk band when he found himself in a moment of musical exasperation. "One night I was just so furious," he explains, "I didn't want to hear anything from anybody, so I just switched on the local classical music station."

He was instantly hooked. It was the orchestration -- the arrangements of the sounds and how they were distributed among the instruments -- that grabbed his attention and held it. Soon, Felix decided he wanted to write his own symphony. Ignoring the fact that he is not a classically trained musician and had never composed for an orchestra before, he got to work, using textbooks to teach himself how to compose as he wrote the music. He composed during his free time late at night and on the weekends and didn't tell anyone what he was doing. It was "my little secret," he says.

The Curse and the Symphony, a new documentary screening at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Bishop Arts Theatre, as part of the Oak Cliff Film Festival, uses Felix's music as both subject matter and soundtrack. In just 20 short minutes, the film traces Felix's often bumpy eight-year journey to not only create his first symphony, but also have it performed and recorded by an orchestra. Scenes of Felix shuffling through piles of rejection letters at the beginning of the film give insight into just how challenging it has been for an indie/punk guy to navigate the unfamiliar territory of the classical music world.


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The Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie Will Spray a Stream of Game Related Obscenities All Over Dallas

Categories: Film and TV

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The Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
It's a nerd-venture.
The Internet is full of hatred and bile-spewing comments about video games. Hell, I'm guilty of it myself. If you shelled out money for the Duke Nukem Forever: Balls of Steel Edition, you're entitled to throw out a couple of curse words in front of someone's children at a Best Buy, too.

The most famous video game comment maker on the Internet is The Angry Video Game Nerd, a character creation of filmmaker James Rolfe who became famous for his obscenity laden diatribes about the worst classic games ever to be shoved into a game console's orifice. The fans he built up through his YouTube channel and his presence on local game production outfits like ScrewAttack have been clamoring for him and his friends to put the pen-pack wearing, Rolling Rock-chugging character in an epic adventure to review the undisputed worst video game of all time. He and his crew have finally done just that and it's on its way to Dallas.

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The Oak Cliff Film Fest is Back; Here's How to Do It Like a Pro

Categories: Film and TV

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The Better Angels
Aviation Cinemas staked its claim to Dallas' film circuit three years ago with the annual Oak Cliff Film Festival, and from the onset OCFF's programmers did things differently. A blend of old and new, the festival brings together the latest in experimental film from the indie world along with repertory picks, niche workshops, parties and panels, then sticks them all within a walkable/bikeable plot of preserved geography.

Hubbed at historic Texas Theatre and occupying Oak Cliff's many cherished spaces, the four-day film buffet returns this Thursday, June 19, through Sunday, June 22, and its menu is varied. You're welcome to order a la carte and buy single tickets or go all-in with a VIP badge. The latter lets you graze away, consuming all the neurotic vampire comedies, cult hero documentaries and shorts programs that your eyeballs can absorb. It also grants access to private parties like Friday's Cocktails and Croquet at Turner House and entry to the charmingly decorated VIP lounge (sponsored this year by Bulleit Bourbon -- so look out). The former lets you cherry-pick films as they fit into your existing weekend plans while still being a part of the action. There are freebies too, like panels, a Saturday night rooftop film and a Polaroid bike ride through the neighborhood. But no matter how you decide to fund your Oak Cliff Film Fest experience, trust that your journey through will be eccentrically well-curated.

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Podcast: Should Adults Really Be Embarrassed to Read YA Novels?

Categories: Film and TV

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James Bridges/Twentieth Century Fox
The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars made heaps of money at the box office, and film critics Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek wonder if a recent piece declaring that adults should feel ashamed to read young adult novels has any weight to it. They also talk about The Immigrant and film critic Amy Nicholson joins us by phone from Mississippi to talk about Friedkin's Sorcerer, now on Blu-ray.


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