Showing posts from 2015

A Queer Reading of "Star Wars"

In the lead up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there has been one burning question: where is Luke Skywalker? The speculation has led to a pretty popular theory that Luke has turned to the dark side and is actually the primary antagonist of the new film. Should this turn out to be true, it once again proves that JJ Abrams' "Mystery Box" thing is pretty meaningless because of the Internet. Spoilers don't actually spoil movies, bad storytelling spoils movies. Perpetuating fan theories creates expectations; expectations lead to disappointment; disappointment leads to...suffering?
Anyway, while this theory isn't really based on anything more than a couple of trailers, it has caused me to reexamine the original trilogy and develop my own reading of Luke Skywalker's journey. Though this reading may very well be debunked in the coming film, the interpretation adds a lot of depth and intrigue to the original story. Of course, I'm referring to the idea that Luke Sk…

On Criticism and Industry Peer Review

Not too long ago, director Joss Whedon tweeted about a clip from Jurassic World film, particularly responding to a post from the feminist website The Mary Sue, describing the clip as "70's era sexist" and summarizing the clip as "She's a stiff, he's a life force - really? Still?" Whedon since walked back his comments describing the comment as "bad form."

Now this post isn't about feminism, Whedon, Whedon's role as a feminist icon, gender roles in pop culture, or even the stupidity of Twitter conversations. This post is about criticism and film thought. When I first saw Whedon's tweet, I thought it was kind of badass. I didn't read it as a commentary on The Mary Sue but a mere reading of the clip. Sure, it was in somewhat bad form. And you can't (or shouldn't) judge an entire film based solely on one clip. You should also never judge a film merely by what its characters say. His comment, however, was an accurate reading …

Chicago is NOT a Steppingstone City for Filmmakers

I've lived in Chicago for about a year and a half now. I decided to move here after graduating with a B.A. and M.A. in Media Arts and Technology from Michigan State University, two degrees which I consider mostly decorative in my chosen field.* When I made the decision to move here, there was no specific reason to do so, but several small ones: It was an easy move, I didn't need a car, I was close to family, etc. Furthermore, I always loved this city. I have fond memories from my childhood visiting my grandparents in Elmhurst or going on a class field trip to a Cubs game at Wrigley with my father (the school made up some rationalization about batting averages teaching statistics or what not...needless to say I didn't learn much about statistics and still don't know much about batting averages, but I did learn about the wonders of Chicago food, another motivation to move here). 

Perhaps the biggest reason for the move, and what I've told many people, is that I simply…

New Parallels That Emerge After That Controversial Game of Thrones Scene

A lot has already been said about depictions of rape on screen and all the problematic things that ensue as a result of using rape as quick fix to make the viewer sympathize with/despise a character. It's usually just lazy writing. In the case of Game of Thrones, exploitation and mediocre writing aren't exactly uncommon. This is a highly addictive and frustrating show to watch. On one hand: Action! Dragons! Zombies! Peter Dinklage! On the other hand: Boring walks through gardens? Rape? Endless numbers of characters/places? All the other actors that aren't Peter Dinklage?

Though I do still enjoy watching the show, I won't defend it on artistic merit either as a whole or concerning it's questionable (at the very least) depictions of women and violence. I will, however, look at the latest controversial scene that has many people up in arms. I am not "defending" this scene, but want to look at the potential that such a simple scene does and could add to the n…

The Oscars and Why I'm Still Thinking About Boyhood

Forward I realize that this post should have gone up about a month ago. I've been busy. Forgive me. The fact that I am just now posting this may also signify the depth of my frustration with this year's ceremony. I shall keep it brief.
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I loved Birdman. I think that any other year it wouId have been a great choice for winning Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. It is an innovative, brilliantly crafted film with a commanding lead performance. Unfortunately, this year, it was the second most brilliant, innovative, and transformative movie of the year.

I certainly saw it coming but was still disappointed, particularly in that Birdman took both directing and picture. A split, either way, would have irked me far less. Linklater is one of my favorite contemporary directors who takes risks in his storytelling and continues to push the medium forward. He deserved some form of recognition at this ceremony. I was very annoyed that Keaton lost...his performance being …

The Oscar Race Problem

I've seen a lot of people post or comment about this and wanna make some clarifications. When people say the Academy "has an issue with race" they are not saying "the Oscars are racist." Saying that the Oscars are racist makes you sound stupid. Conversely, saying that there isn't an issue, particularly because 12 Years a Slave won best picture last year (cough, cough, Fox News, cough), makes you sound like even more of an idiot. What people are saying (or should be saying) is that the Hollywood system has a huge problem financing and selling films led by black, minority, and female filmmakers/actors.

I won't speak to the quality of Selma (I haven't seen it) or say that it deserves directing and acting nominations over the other nominees, though I will say that its lack of recognition and the lack of recognition of ANY minority actors in the four main categories is something to be concerned about. As a movie that deals with racial issues without the u…