The envelope is being pushed in the emerging technology of virtual reality, and a new series of VR videos offered by the New York Times brings us a number of top Hollywood actors paying homage to film noir of the 1930s and ’40s.

Featuring such stars as Kristen Stewart, Ruth Negga, Casey Affleck, Natalie Portman and Don Cheadle, the black-and-white videos evoke the films of Hollywood’s past, set in smoke-filled taverns filled with hard-boiled detectives and beautiful-but-deadly femme fatales.

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While best enjoyed after strapping on a virtual reality headset, the videos can be watched old-school, using just one’s eyeballs, with the viewer becoming part of the storyline. The videos, explains the Times, are part of a the venerable newspaper’s “annual celebration of the year’s best acting — with striking photographs, a conversation between Wesley Morris and A.O. Scott, and nine remarkable VR experiences.”

Among those experiences: being a cheating husband shot at point-blank range by a gun-toting (and ticked-off) Ruth Negga; holing up in a building surrounded by cops with your fellow fugitive Kristin Stewart; and tending bar for customer Don Cheadle, who has figured out that you’re the guy who dropped a dime on him. Watch: