The Oberlin Review

Paying Columnists Will Increase Accessibility

Nathan Carpenter, Columnist

February 23, 2018

In recent weeks, my fellow Review columnist Kameron Dunbar has published two pieces that succinctly and cogently identified instances in which Oberlin campus publications — namely, the Review and The Grape — have failed to assemble editorial staffs that reflect our community’s diversity and, as a result, have published pieces that fall short of the standards of rigorous inquiry and commitment to social justice that our community holds itself to. As a former Review opinions editor who is studying abroad this semester, I certainly understand the intensity of working for a campus publication. It can be a relatively thankless, if personally fulfilling job — the hours are long and come in addition to normal acade...

The Apollo Theatre marquee advertises several Oscar-nominated animated features, including Anomalisa. The film is a masterful piece of storytelling and design, writes Christian Bolles.

‘Anomalisa’ Comments on Gender Politics in Romance

February 5, 2016

Very few filmmakers are capable of confronting the contradictory selfishness of love with the heartbreaking honesty of Charlie Kaufman. After toying with the idea of a procedure that can render one’s previous relationships forgotten in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kaufman explores the other side of the coin in Anomalisa, telling the story of a man who seems unaware of his own doomed cycle of infatuation and disinterest. Simultaneously a fable about what it means to grow older and a pitch...

A character from Hand of Fate deals to the player. The video game, a trading card simulator with third- person combat elements, suffers from graphical issues and an overemphasis on luck.

Clever Gameplay ‘Hand of Fate’s’ Focal Point

December 11, 2015

There are two cards in front of my small golden game piece, each one representing an upcoming encounter. I don’t have enough food to sustain my character, and my health points are down to 20. This all means I’ll be dead soon unless I get some supplies, even if these encounters don’t end up being especially dangerous. I take a breath and press the ‘A’ button; the card flips over, and I die in 30 seconds. Moments like these, which seem arbitrary and completely luck-based, happen each and...

The Apollo Theatre advertises Pixar’s newest film, The Good Dinosaur. Despite excellent visuals and an appealing central concept, the film fails to live up to the high expectations Pixar has set
for itself.

Jurassic Junk: Newest Pixar Film Falls Flat

December 4, 2015

In an era where remarkable animation can be summoned with the flick of a well-funded wrist, animated films can’t get by on pure spectacle. Before cutting-edge visuals were even possible, Pixar was making movies that cut to the heart of basic human truths; as technology caught up to their ambition, they used beauty to enhance these stories, not to replace them. Perhaps if masterpieces such as the Toy Story trilogy, Up and Ratatouille didn’t exist, The Good Dinosaur would be a very good movie. Bu...

Retro RPG Undertale Humorous, Sincere

Avi Vogel, Columnist

November 20, 2015

I’d seen notably glowing reviews for Undertale on a number of websites, but I entered the game worried I’d be the next victim of over-hype. Instead, I left having found what might be my new favorite video game. Undertale, a game created almost single-handedly by Toby Fox and released this fall, offers an outstanding and unique experience. It’s a role-playing game styled after games like Final Fantasy for SNES and the cult classic Earthbound. You play a child who’s fallen into the mysterious Underground, a world full of both friendly and dangerous monsters. The opening text crawl explains some history of the universe, but it’s your character’s progress that tells you the entire story. I wish I could...

Latest Bond Film Plagued by Inconsistent Script

Christian Bolles, Columnist

November 13, 2015

Looking into the eyes of the man who has plotted to ruin him at every stage of his recent life, James Bond dismisses his enemy with a cold stare and says, “I have better things to do.” The new entry in the beloved franchise, Spectre, looks at the obligations of a modern action film and seems to ask the same. When it was announced that Christoph Waltz would play Spectre’s main villain, fans rightly expected a movie dominated by his signature manic smile. The previous 007 installment, Skyfall, also directed by now-prominent filmmaker Sam Mendes, focused heavily on Javier Bardem’s unforgettable performance as a broken man with twisted dreams. Skyfall was everything a modern Bond film could be: It had nail-bit...

Visuals, Soundtrack Enhance Hotline Miami

Avi Vogel, Columnist

November 6, 2015

Hotline Miami is a game about killing everyone in sight. Sure, there is more to this game: It boasts a unique art style, an incredible soundtrack and tight controls. All of these elements are solid on their own, but developer Dennaton Games brings them together in Hotline Miami for a single purpose: to make the act of killing enjoyable. Whether or not that sounds agreeable to you will dictate whether you will believe Hotline Miami deserves veneration or outright hatred. However, most gamers will find it worthy of praise on the level of pure enjoyability. Released way back in 2012 — but recently put on sale in celebration of the release of its sequel — Hotline Miami is a top-down, fast-paced, bombastic shooter that ...

Narrative Complexity, Lush Visuals Set Crimson Peak Apart

Christian Bolles, Columnist

October 30, 2015

Between the reds and blues of love and tragedy, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro finds his stride. He fathoms horrifying beauty in the macabre landscapes of the human mind, weaving tales as rich in narrative complexity as they are in visual sumptuousness. His obsession with the dark nature of life led him to probe immortality in Cronos, where an old man is confronted with terrible power. In The Devil’s Backbone, he questioned the toll of power on the young, telling a tale about the ghosts left behind by war. Pan’s Labyrinth, his crowning masterpiece, addressed our need to escape from the evil of humanity, positing that even in the face of death, the fantastical transcends the human condition. Now, Crimson Peak takes de...

The Martian Gives Space a Human Face

Christian Bolles, Columnist

October 9, 2015

Humankind’s fascination with space has always existed on the boundary between two intellectual spheres. One conjures the image of a flag-toting pioneer standing on the edge of a vast cosmic horizon, ready to leap off the planetary surface into infinity. The other hits closer to home, focusing on the tangible landscapes of human accomplishment and innovation. Before we were able to leave Earth, literature and cinema painted space — sometimes literally, as with George Melies’ feverish lunar landscapes — as an untamed frontier ripe for exploration. We looked to the future with hope but, more importantly, with ambition, a mindset that ultimately landed Armstrong’s foot on the moon. The Martian, Ridley Scott’...

Starbreeze Crafts Moving Narrative in Brothers

Avi Vogel, Columnist

October 2, 2015

It was 2 a.m. when my computer screen finally faded to black, credits rolling. Controller still clutched tightly as the names scrolled down the screen, I realized the adventure was over. A mixture of emotions ran over me — happiness, loss, feelings from all ends of the spectrum — but what I felt above all else was elation at having been a part of a fantastic journey. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, released by Starbreeze Studios in 2013, is a puzzle-oriented game that offers much more than just brainteasers. The game follows two brothers on their journey to find a cure for their ailing father. The cure is kept in a tree that’s only hinted at on a scroll given to the player in the opening moments of the game. Th...

Slow-Burning Crime Thriller Captures Nuances of Cruelty

Christian Bolles, Columnist

September 25, 2015

Even though I was seated comfortably in a mostly empty theater for a late-night showing of Black Mass, there was little the silver screen could do to keep James Bulger’s steely blue eyes from piercing me straight to my core. The Boston crime drama, directed by Scott Cooper, puts its eggs in two baskets, using James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp), the infamous kingpin of the Winter Hill gang, and John Connolly ( Joel Edgerton), the FBI agent with whom Bulger formed an alliance, as points of ingress to a true story of desperation, manipulation and corruption. In the film’s slow unraveling of the poignant, yet subtle, threads that led to the rise and fall of one of Boston’s greatest criminals, Cooper finds pl...

Lineage Twist Keeps Dungeon Hunting Fresh

Avi Vogel, Columnist

September 18, 2015

Rogue Legacy is a 2D action-platformer with aspects of the bullet hell and rogue-lite genres that randomly generates dungeons for the player to move through. Although the game seems to be just an amalgamation of popular genres and successful series, developer Cellar Door Games has done more than just borrow elements of these genres — it has taken the time to polish the game and add a unique flavor. The game follows a knight — or whichever class you choose — who ventures through a castle. Inside, the character comes across monsters that drop money and require varying degrees of strategy to take down, culminating in a huge boss that sprays pellets across the entire screen. If you happen to beat all four bo...

Established 1874.