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Author Archives: Justin

Always remember. Never forget. But what?

Always remember. Never forget. But what exactly are we trying to keep in mind? Seventeen years on from 9/11, everyone still feels inclined to post to their social media messages of remembrance. However, I rarely see what it is we’re supposed to remember. Is it the people who did this? Is it the people who died? Is it, as Alan ... Read More »

Justin picks his ten favorite video games of 2017

When you teach a course in video games and run an event like Playing for Pets, you get a lot of questions about, “Played anything good lately?” Why, yes, I have. It’s been a truly remarkable year for games. One might even compare it to a year like 1998, which gave us classics such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina ... Read More »

Justin picks his ten favorite video games of 2016

This year was many things in the history of video games. It was the year that current consoles came into their own with multiple classic titles. It was the year virtual reality proved it was more reality than virtual. In other words, it was a good year to play games. The following ten are my favorites from the past year. ... Read More »

The Importance of Being Mario: Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary

On September 13, 1985, Nintendo forever changed the media landscape. That was the day they introduced the world to Super Mario Bros. Video games and the broader media environment haven’t been the same since. Of course, Super Mario Bros. wasn’t the first game to feature Mario. He first appeared four years earlier in Donkey Kong on July 1, 1981. Although ... Read More »

Why for 30 days I’ll be thanking instead of thankful

A few years ago I started noticing the 30 Days of Thankful posts popping up in my Facebook feed. They usually started similarly with people expressing gratitude for their family and friends. People then progressed to their jobs, cars, homes, vacations, and, sometimes, even cellphones. You can probably note the diminishing trend that led to month’s end postings about how ... Read More »

Review: God’s Not Dead

God may not be dead, but He may wish to disassociate himself with this film all the same. God’s Not Dead is one of the leaders of this year’s surge of Christian films that have surprised at the box office. It tells the story of Josh Wheaton (no, none of the names here are subtle) who is a college freshman ... Read More »

The eight people you meet in Facebook Hell

You know these people. You may be one or several of these people. The saying goes that, “Hell is other people.” Well, nowhere has more people than Facebook. The Baby Shamers These people love to post pictures of their children with food smeared all over their faces. These people find this “cute.” These people are wrong. The inability to feed ... Read More »

Review: Life Itself

Looking back, I grew up in a special time in the history of cinema. The old movie houses were still operating downtown, and the first VCRs were arriving into homes. There was a tangible connection to the past, and an exciting view into the future. Of course, the advent of home video also gave rise to the modern indie film ... Read More »

Review: Obvious Child

There are moments in Obvious Child that are so pedestrianly sweet that they undermine the usual romantic comedy criticisms. One such moment comes when Max (Jake Lacy) warms a packet of butter for Donna (Jenny Slate). Slate’s acting instinct here to underplay the moment is what sells it, and it speaks to everything that is right about this film. Unfortunately, ... Read More »

Review: Alan Partridge

The British have the ability to self-correct during the middle of a comedy in a way that feels perfectly natural. The joke is headed one way, and the comedian realizes the utter silliness of it all and self-corrects to an even more absurd destination. That’s the genius of Steve Coogan in his most famous role of Alan Partridge. Here the ... Read More »