Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Trailer”

Gone Home – A Compelling Interactive Story

Gone HomeToday, I started and finished one of the shortest – and best – video games I’ve ever played: Gone Home. This game, developed by The Fullbright Company, is unlike most video games in that you won’t be leveling up, wielding a gun or jumping from platform to platform. Instead, you’ll find yourself wandering through a dimly lit house unraveling an emotionally stirring story about a young girl’s family. Set in 1995, the house is filled with VHS tapes, fanzines and records, as well as other vestiges of this time period.

In addition to the items strewn throughout the house, the story is told through answering machine messages, handwritten notes, photos, postcards, and countless other items you’d expect to find in a dwelling such as this. The bulk of the unpredictable story comes to life through the superb voice work of Sarah Grayson, who plays the role of Samantha Greenbriar. The smartly written script, along with Grayson’s excellent performance, make for a compelling narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s next.

Also worth noting is the wonderful score composed by Chris Remo. While a good portion of Gone Home includes records and cassettes featuring licensed music, Remo’s haunting score perfectly sets the tone for the game and enhances the dialogue at exactly the right moments. It’s the best video game soundtrack I’ve heard since Petri Alanko’s score for Alan Wake. I wholeheartedly suggest you pick up a copy of Remo’s original score here.

Gone HomeWhile it can be completed in two hours, Gone Home is an unconventional game that immerses the player in an unpredictable and thoroughly entertaining story that’s worth playing again. Even better, the game now features a commentary mode where, while playing the game, you can learn more about the creative process and all the hard work that went into constructing this masterpiece.

Gone Home is one of the best games of the year for two reasons: it tells a great story and it does so in a way that goes against the grain. If you’re a fan of video games, or great stories, I highly recommend you buy this game. It’s an unforgettable experience that shows how video games, when done right, can be unparalleled works of art.

James Spader Returns in The Blacklist

The Blacklist - Season PilotLast week, I watched the series premiere of NBC’s The Blacklist – twice. I did so because it was an enthralling, fast-paced thriller that packed so much into one hour I felt as if I needed to view it again to make sure I caught everything. That, and it stars one of my all-time favorite actors, James Spader, who is exceptional as the show’s antihero, Raymond Reddington. Prior to this show, Spader’s most well-known role, and one for which he received three Emmy awards, was as Alan Shore on Boston Legal.

If the first episode of The Blacklist is any indication of the quality of what’s to come, then I think we’re in for a hell of a season. If you haven’t seen the first episode yet, make sure you do – you can check it out here. It has the makings of one of the most entertaining shows in quite some time, and it’s nice to see Spader back in top form.

Below is the show’s trailer, The Blacklist panel at San Diego’s Comic Con and the opening scene from the first episode:

Movie Review – Behind the Candelabra

Behind the Candelabra

Behind the Candelabra is the best film I’ve seen this year. Going into it I knew practically nothing about Liberace other than that he was a campy, closeted pianist from years gone by. The moment I saw one of my favorite actors – Scott Bakula – in the beginning of the movie, I knew I was in for something special. Behind the Candelabra is filled with shocking moments that I don’t want to spoil. But at its focal point is a love story between Liberace and Scott Thorson.

The music in the film was outstanding. While he may be remembered for his over-the-top outfits and larger-than-life personality, Liberace was a tremendous pianist. Michael Douglas, who should win an award for his role in this movie, did a fantastic job of portraying Liberace’s musicals talents and passion for the business. The songs that appear in the movie run the gamut, everything from “Begin the Beguine” to “The Impossible Dream.” It’s a musical feast for the ears.

Behind the Candelabra SoundtrackDouglas was also phenomenal when it came to conveying how insecure and self-centered Liberace was. Matt Damon, who played Liberace’s love interest, Scott Thorson, was equally compelling. His emotional – and physical – transformation from the start of the film to the end was both shocking and heartbreaking.

The stellar supporting cast included Rob Lowe as a frightening doctor, Dan Aykroyd as Liberace’s manager and an unidentifiable Debbie Reynolds as Liberace’s mother, Frances. The chemistry between all of these actors and actresses helped bring this fascinating story to life in a way that kept me glued to the screen the entire time.

Behind the Candelabra - Entertainment WeeklyVisually, Behind the Candelabra was a gorgeous movie. Steven Soderbergh’s skillful direction resulted in a film filled with vibrancy. Not only did it do a wonderful job of highlighting the different years of the story through visuals and music, but having the chance to see Liberace’s opulent lifestyle was breathtaking.

I can’t say enough good things about this movie. It opened my eyes to Liberace’s musical talent, as well as his infatuation with young men and himself. But despite all his flaws, I wound up caring about his fate at the end of the film. The most moving interaction involved Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in the final 15 minutes of movie; it was so good that I watched the scene a second time before finishing the film. And what made it so good was the fact that the feelings these two individuals had for each other was palpable. In a cinematic world filled with superficial dialogue and paper-thin characters, this was no small feat.

Behind the Candelabra was an excellent movie about an extremely talented man. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and watch this film right away; it’s a riveting tale that you won’t soon forget.

Below is the trailer for Behind the Candelabra and a look at how the film was made.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Teaser Trailer

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Exclusive Teaser TrailerThe teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has just been released. I think it looks awesome, but let me know what you think. Check out the trailer below and cast your vote in the poll.

Jack Reacher: Theatrical Trailer

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Today, the full theatrical trailer was released for Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise. I think it’s superior to the initial trailer because it provides additional plot details and gives the viewer a greater understanding of who Jack Reacher is and what motivates him. While Cruise may not physically resemble the Jack Reacher I envision when reading Lee Child’s captivating thrillers, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After watching the trailer below, feel free to share your thoughts on whether or not you plan on seeing Jack Reacher.

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