Insert Coin Documentary

Even though the South by Southwest film festival was canceled back in the spring when the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to tear through the United States, some of the movies intended to premiere at the festival still screened for critics. One of those movies was Insert Coin, a video game documentary looking at Midway Games and the making of historical video games like Smash TV, NARC, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and more. Now you can finally see the movie for yourself when it arrives on Alamo Drafthouse VOD and other virtual cinema platforms starting this week. Read More »

Insert Coin Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

Today, most video games are played from the comfort of our own homes. But there was a time when adults, teens, and kids flocked to arcades to play the latest video games. The late 1970s and early 1980s is considered the golden age of arcade games, but it all came crashing down suddenly and hard in the late 1980s. However, there was a renaissance of coin-operated gaming in the 1990s, even in the face of Nintendo and SEGA bringing more and more advanced video games into the home. At the heart of this resurgence was Midway Games, a group of tech-savvy geeks who would create some of the most influential and popular video games of all time.

The new documentary Insert Coin, which was meant to play the SXSW film festival, tells their story, and it’s an excellent look back at this exciting period in gaming history. Read More »

Fewer trailers

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?

This week we look back at an arcade legend, eat the rich, get weird with Udo Kier, realize how wonderfully transgressive Nightmare on Elm Street 2 really was, and come-of-age in West Baltimore.

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