This has been a big year for artist and author Simon Stålenhag. In April, a television series adaptation of his debut book, Tales from the Loop, was released. Shortly after, his past collaborators Fria Ligan (who are known for their tabletop roleplaying games and are responsible for the games based on Stålenhag’s work) launched a wildly successful Kickstarter for a strategy board game based on the book.

Empathy: In the increasingly polarized and hostile world we seem to live in, it’s easy to believe that it’s a lost art. We are so used to reducing others into tools and ideas, or even enemies, rather than seeing them as the human beings that they are. We write people off as misguided or troubled without thinking about where these troubles came from, or how they strayed away from their path. Or, perhaps even worse, we ignore issues and injustices simply because we are not personally affected by them.

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” Eliza Hittman, 2020

Art has the power to heal. Even if some may scoff…

“The difference between film and memory is that films are always false. They are composed of a series of scenes. But memories mix truth and lies. They appear and vanish before our eyes.”

“Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” Bi Gan, 2018

How is one supposed to convey the subjectivity of memory through a medium such as film? How is one meant to convey the indescribable feeling of being in a dream? An unspoken truth about film is that it’s not reality, and it never will be. …

Early summer days are some of the best days to read. Especially if you, like me, are a student, and have just acquired the free time and reasonably empty brain optimal for reading.

“Pop Squad”

About a year ago, I wrote a piece on Netflix’s animated series Love, Death & Robots, in which I criticized the execution of some aspects of the series, while applauding the ambition and potential of the series. So the question upon the second volume of the anthology is, of course: Has it lived up to its potential? And the answer is a resounding… yes, actually. At least, kind of. Whether if it’s by the omission of the episodes that would have been weaker (this volume is only 8 episodes compared to the 18 episodes of the first), or it’s a…

“I’m sorry I’m always so depressing. I’ll do my best while you’re gone.”

I was recently asked what book or film character I would become if I could become any character I wanted. It’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer — or maybe it’s just my tendency to overthink things. Is it worth becoming a character that isn’t rather similar to oneself? It’s difficult for me to imagine being anyone but myself, flaws and all. That’s not to say that I fully embrace my flaws or love myself for them. It’s just that, even in a hypothetical scenario where I…

It feels cliché at this point to suggest that we live in a distracted world. It’s of course true that new generations are growing up with more media surrounding them than ever before, and breadths of information are easily consumable in tiny bites, even if often devoid of nuance. When the media landscape is dominated by the consumption of short-form media — scrolling down a Twitter feed and taking in a dozen disconnected bits of media in thirty seconds, endlessly flipping through bite-sized Tik-Tok videos, and so on — it’s assuredly easy to fall into the trap of a neutered…

2020 has certainly been an unconventional year for the movie business, but that doesn’t mean there has been a shortage of excellent films. From the foreign films of yesteryear being distributed for the first time in the US to the indies that put themselves out there in any way they could during the pandemic, here are the films I liked the most as this year comes to a close.

20. A Sun (陽光普照)

An unforgiving crime drama with a captivating, sprawling plot, A Sun is an impressive feat. Despite some flaws, it’s easy to remain invested in this dense film throughout its 150 minute…

The end of the US election is approaching terrifyingly quickly. While it may be tempting to stay up the night of November 3rd and absorb every anxiety-inducing moment, what good would that do? The implications of tomorrow’s results will be dealt with when they’re dealt with, but no amount of election night doom-scrolling will help.

Classifying films as “horror” is a more difficult task than one might think. There are films that leave no doubt about whether or not they fit within the genre. Typical slasher films like “Halloween” or jumpscare-filled haunted house fare like “The Conjuring” are plainly horror, with much of their value being derived from their indulgence in the genre. But there’s such a large spectrum of films that fit the broad definition of what could possibly be considered “horror” that the inclusion of some films is bound to draw some ire from those who proclaim themselves horror fans.

“The Ring,” Gore Verbinski, 2002

Horror films have…

H.R. Starzec

Opinions about books, movies, television, and whatever else might come to my mind.

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