Category: Features

David; or, The Modern Frankenstein: A Romantic Analysis of Alien: Covenant

Originally published on April 25, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday. And now this spell was snapt: once more I viewed the ocean green, And looked far forth, yet little saw Of what had else been seen— Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turned round walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows, a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread. (442-451) Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Dread is the fear that lingers, the fear that condenses into...

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Free Will and the Destiny in our DNA: Blade Runner 2049 and Gattaca

Originally published on Ocdtober 24, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday.This article contains spoilers for Blade Runner 2049. Sci-Fi and Social Mobility Dystopian societies in fiction are generally rife with metaphors for obstacles to social mobility, a lack of individuality, and the suppression of free will. Our hero generally starts as a faceless, nameless player within a strict social structure who adheres to the rules, until they rebel, realize their potential, and break from the mold, possibly to bring down a restrictive regime. But the underlying themes and metaphors present in these types of stories vary...

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We Were So Wrong: Prometheus is a Modern Sci-Fi Classic

Originally published on May 17, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday. Even in space, everyone can hear the screams of discord brought about by Prometheus. Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe in 2012 wasn’t met with the critical accolades many were hoping for, nor did it meet many of the expectations that fans of the franchise had been waiting for since the property had gone off the rails in 1997. But Ridley Scott has never been a stranger to divisive films, with a number of his greatest, or at least most interesting, works failing...

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Blade Runner 2049 and The Fight To Love Your Own Identity

Originally published on November 1, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday. Identity, the underlying thematic and narrative focus of Blade Runner 2049, is the most fundamental aspect of what makes us human. Despite the fact that the theme of “what it means to be human” is a storytelling cliche on a par with a cartoon mouse eating cheese, Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 explores a modernized form of identity unique in its profundity. As a transgender woman who struggled to reconcile my gender identity for an excruciatingly long two decades, Blade Runner 2049, with its storyline about replicant...

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Blade Runners: More Human Than Human

Originally published on October 12, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday.*This article is filled with spoilers for Blade Runner 2049. Please proceed with caution.* Could Rick Deckard and Officer K be any more different? In characterization, the two represent wholly different approaches to characterization. Deckard is a fundamentally flawed being who has little interest in life. K is almost immediately revealed to be a replicant whose only job is to exterminate other replicant models. Deckard’s journey is one of revelation in his embracing of humanity, while K longs for a mere ounce of it. Even...

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The Best Years of Our Lives and the Invention of a Necessary War Narrative

War films are imbued with a sense of fatalism, with protagonists caught in the vast maelstrom of events of which they are only a very small part. Their actions when multiplied carry the weight of the entire endeavor while each individual carries the burden of their specific relationship to it. For decades, American cinema predominately concerned itself with the former, while explorations of the latter have been comparatively rare. Hollywood films, forever representative of escapism, often remain as insulated from the direct ramifications of war as the American public. William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives bridged that...

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The Entire MCU Assembles in Avengers: Infinity War Trailer

Here’s our first look at Avengers: Infinity War! Now that’s a hell of a trailer, well worth the hype and anticipation! The trailer really captures the epic angle the film is going for, making it feel like a sci-fi/fantasy event rather than a mere superhero movie. The callback to Nick Fury’s speech in The Avengers delivers serious chills and sets the tone for this being the beginning of the endgame for this stage of the MCU. Infinity War seemingly captures the dynamic look of comic books, forgoeing the washed out gray backdrops of Civil War, and instead presenting a...

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Gives Fate the Middle Finger

In John Michael McDonagh’s film Calvary, a doctor approaches a priest in a bar. Suffering from knowledge of his own impending murder, the priest is in no mood for what follows: the doctor’s story of a young boy who suddenly became deaf, dumb, blind and paralyzed from a routine operation. The doctor implores the priest: Think of it! Think when that little boy first regained consciousness. In the dark. You’d be frightened, wouldn’t you? You’d be frightened in the kind of a way that you know the fear is going to end. Has to. Must. Your parents couldn’t be...

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets & Storytelling Through Framing

  As storytellers, we tend to tell different stories from those perceived by others, even for the same event. We pick and choose facts. We have a specific perspective, and maybe even an agenda. As we tell our stories and frame them in our own ways, we become unreliable narrators. This is the theme of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a film about the tales told through shifting perspectives and imperfect narrators. It is about the lies and mistruths, manipulations and identity shifts that connect the opening of the Chamber of Secrets in the past and its...

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Tiny Human Movie Review: Frozen

Recently, my daughter (4) has become interested in (read: obsessed with) Frozen. Every day, she wants to watch Frozen. If she’s not watching it, she wants the music on. If the music isn’t on, she wants to act out the movie. She expresses herself in lines from the script (“please don’t shut me out” after I snap at her for dawdling, for example). In an effort to channel her enthusiasm for this one movie into films in general, I interviewed her to find out why she liked it, and since then have been using the same series of questions...

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Emily Blunt and John Krasinski Find A Quiet Place in New Trailer

Here’s the first trailer for the John Krasinski directed horrror film, A Quiet Place. There’s a real challenge to the art of horror movies that can effetively use sound to generate the majority of their scares and tension. If this trailer is any indication, A Quiet Place is up to the challenge, and is going to provide quite the sensory ride. The decision to hide the supernatural element is a good marketing move, and certainly adds an desired element of mystery. I have a feeling that this could end up being the kind of movie so many of us...

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The Strangers Take Us Outside in Prey at Night Teaser

Here’s the first teaser for the sequel a decade in the making, The Strangers: Prey at Night! Johannes Roberts’ takes over from the prior entry’s director, Bryan Bertino, and looks to expand the Strangers reign of terror to open spaces. Bertino, who co-write the script, has been discussing sequel plans since the original’s release nearly 10 years ago, and while this sequel looks like a departure from some of the quiet eeriness and clausterphobia of the first one, it certainly has the potential to be equally effective, especially given Roberts’ talent for creating clever jump scares. We’re definitely keeping...

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Truth in Justice: Kingdom Come and Zack Snyder’s DC

“In your children you shall make up for being the children of your fathers: thus shall you redeem all that is past.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra In the beginning there was Superman. From him spawned an entirely new generation of heroes, and an entirely new generation of readers and consumers who took those superheroes and made them gods. Their stories made myths to monitor the pulse of an ever-changing world. The Justice League has remained at the forefront of our conversation on the changing ideals of heroism since their first appearance in 1960. From the team’s introduction...

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Fantasy Draft Casting: Justice League Dark

With the release of Justice League this week, we’re getting pretty excited for the next stage of the DCEU and the potential for this universe to further expand. Justice League Dark, formally Dark Universe, was announced as “in-development” at 2017’s WB San Diego Comic Con panel. The film has been on WB’s radar since 2012, with Guillermo del Toro at the helm before leaving the project in 2015. He was followed by Doug Liman who was briefly attached before departing earlier this year. Currently, Justice League Dark has several versions of a script but no director. We’d love to see...

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