It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single gamer in possession of a large collection of classic novels must be in want of an RPG. Well, thanks to Judy L. Tryer, they may soon be able to unite some of the best blessings of existence in the form of the Jane Austen-inspired MMORPG Ever, Jane. The project reached its Kickstarter funding goal on Monday, which will finally allow literature nerds and video games fans alike to experience the world of Austen's novels and become the hero or heroine they've always wanted to be.
Ever, Jane will allow players to create their own characters and explore the Regency-era setting, spreading gossip to win friends and take down enemies and throwing balls and dinner parties in order to improve their social status. Players will be allowed to choose personality traits, such as Duty or Happiness, and band together in families in order to advance in society and win the affections of some eligible bachelor. The game will allow for players to choose the social class they wish to belong to through a subscription service - although you can play for free if you don’t fear the prospect of being a peasant in 18th century England - and each position comes with its own set of perks and challenges. Every action in the game also has consequences, including notifying players if they’ve been gossiped about too often or losing status points if a character of a higher class rejects an invitation.
Much of the gameplay will center on the major events of balls and dinner parties, although Tryer promises that the final version will include mini-games, with challenges like dancing and card games that are designed to help characters improve their skills and personality traits. Of course, since the game is set in the world of Austen, female characters will be limited to sewing and embroidery, while the mini-games for male characters will focus primarily on hunting and fishing.
Despite earning the necessary funding, it still seems like it will be quite some time before Ever, Jane is fully developed for the public, so you’ll have to wait a little longer for a shot at Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley. However, Tryer has made a playable prototype available for download on the Kickstarter page, so you can hone your gossiping skills in advance.
There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.