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BY CHARLES BATTERSBY | Videogames are sometimes viewed as mindless time-wasters and murder simulators — but games have been a narrative art form for decades. Modern game designers use their work to address social responsibility, give voice to isolated cultures, and generate empathy. Founded in 2004, the Games For Change Festival focuses on this sort […]

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BY SCOTT STIFFLER | TALES OF STAGE 4 CANCER: Equally adept at satire and survival — and no strangers to battling hostile forces from within and without — Chicago-based performers Judy Fabjance and Kelly Beeman make their NYC debut with “Tales of a Stage 4 Cancer.” Sketches, songs and monologues offer a defiantly unsentimental take on […]

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BY SEAN EGAN | Making a science fiction film — well, a really good science fiction film — is not easy, and doesn’t happen often. It requires the creation of a new world with new rules, the burden of spectacle, and bringing engaging characters and an exciting plot to life. The best sci-fi flicks make […]

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BY SEAN EGAN | An open secret, well-known amongst aficionados, the kayfabe nature of professional wrestling is integral to its appeal. As a pre-planned, written and rehearsed spectacle, it’s quite unlike anything else out there — mixing convoluted soapy plots, over-the-top characters and the raw (pun intended) appeal of the heightened levels of athletic prowess […]

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BY PUMA PERL | “King Jack,” the debut of writer and director Felix Thompson, takes place in the sort of depressed, rural town that nobody escapes. Everybody drinks, everybody smokes, few families are intact, and there is nothing to do. People barge into one another’s houses and lives. Violence is prevalent, even expected. The lives […]

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BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC | The need to find love, might one dare say, is universal. “A Courtship” delves deep into that need. Debut director Amy Kohn was researching arranged marriages for a reality show when she stumbled over Christian courtship — the idea that one’s father vets potential mates before you even meet and […]

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THE WOLFPACK Synopsis: Everything the Angulo brothers know about the outside world they learned from obsessively watching movies. Shut away from bustling New York City by their overprotective father, they cope with their isolation by diligently re-enacting their favorite films. When one of the brothers escapes, the world as they know it will be transformed. […]

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“GRANDMA” Take the well-traveled but reliable road trip formula, place Lily Tomlin behind the wheel of a vintage Dodge, put Paul Weitz in the director’s chair and charge him with helping his own screenplay. That’s reason enough for us to place this comedy-drama at the top of our sight unseen, must-see list. Tomlin — who excels […]

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BY SCOTT STIFFLER  |  A satisfying mix of documentary-style interviews, contemporary scenes, childhood flashbacks and music by local artists, this St. Louis-set film is as sharp and compelling as its two-color palette. Writer, producer, editor and director Michael J. Larnell juggles a multitude of obligations with far more success than his onscreen alter egos…or so […]

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BY SEAN EGAN  |  While not everyone can claim intimate familiarity with the early work of National Lampoon, the highly influential magazine’s distinctive brand of humor and ideology is certainly still felt today. The Lampoon and its alumnus successfully reached their tendrils into almost every medium of entertainment, making the publication ground zero for modern […]

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