Category: Someone Has to Say It

Where Are All the Female Movie Critics?

Since clueless adults only seem to ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I got that answer down and down fast. Veterinarian, duh. It’s the obligatory career desire of every young girl, and I was going to be no exception. Quickly, though, that answer morphed into trauma surgeon, mostly fueled by my favorite childhood program, Trauma: Life in the ER, a show I insisted watching while eating dinner much to my parents’ disgust. Not to spoil the ending, but in keeping with my childhood passions, naturally I chose to be an English teacher. But somewhere in...

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Diablo Cody’s Troubled Girl-Children

Diablo Cody can’t help herself, in life and in the films that she has written, produced, and sometimes directed. A one time stripper and subsequent sex phone operator, the star Hollywood provocateur has made a name for herself in developing characters for the big screen who refuse to capitulate to conservative gender norms and expectations. Through characters like Juno MacGuff, in Jason Reitman’s sophomore outing Juno, Cody has distilled the rebellious nature so ingrained within herself as it is reflected in the world around her, with Ellen Page playing the quintessentially spunky, fiery libido of what viewers must assume comes...

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M. Night Shyamalan Has Been Great The Whole Time

When did the statement “M. Night Shyamalan is a great filmmaker” turn from a widespread public sentiment to a punchline? Was it after Unbreakable, which seemed underwhelming in the wake of critical and commercial darling (and nominee for Best Picture!) The Sixth Sense? Maybe the cracks started to show after Signs, which still gets ridiculed for what people see as a heavy-handed and ridiculous conclusion. I think it was after The Village that he became a laughingstock in film discourse. People saw a sloppy thriller with a stupid twist, and that was all they needed to create a narrative...

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Adapting David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour

In our coverage of Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck earlier this year, we examined the idea of fame as a distorting factor of certain folk heroes. Kurt Cobain, whose status as the unofficial king of the Grunge music scene in the 1990s, has (since his untimely death in 1994) been turned into a caricature of himself by legions of fans, pop-culture historians, and music aficionados who might wish to project their own ideologies onto the person who was the lead singer of Nirvana. In Morgen’s film, Cobain comes off not so much as a character of a...

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Marvel vs DC: The Death of the Conversation

What’s the best thing about movies? Be honest. You may want to say watching them or, if you have the skills, making them. Reading about them is cool, and writing about them is fun, too. But do you know what the the best thing is about them? The very bestest of the best things?Social media (specifically Twitter, in my case) has made it possible for viewers to share our ideas and views with millions of people from all over the world. My Twitter life is spent talking about movies 90% of the time (the other 10% being centered around...

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Cool It With Sharknado

Have you ever laughed at a toddler falling down? Whoa, easy! I mean after it was clear that they weren’t hurt? Have you ever noticed what happens when the toddler first makes the connection between their falling and your laughter? The kid stands up and falls again, right? This time on purpose. And you laugh a second time to placate the child’s first commitment to comedy. Then the third time, and the fourth, and the fifth, and on and on. Such a sight gag is only actually funny the first time, when the physical failing was real. The second...

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Is Man of Steel a Good Superman Movie?

As we prepare for the final months before Batman and Superman go head-to-head in a brawl that will surely make over a billion dollars at the box office, Zack Snyder’s first film venture into DC’s most famous comic property, Man of Steel, still elicits some of the most heated debate in film-obsessed corners of the internet. With all the attention again focused squarely on the impending showdown between The Dark Knight and Krypton’s hometown favorite Kal-El, we think it’s time we attempt to settle whether Man of Steel is a good or bad film representation of the the world’s...

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Let’s Stop Gender-Classifying Movie Genres

Sometimes I wonder if I was aware as a child of how pop culture products are artificially gendered by the mysterious powers that be– you know, the marketing agencies and television networks and movie studios and entertainment journalists that all seek to categorize and further dictate what media you should and shouldn’t consume. If I did know this, I didn’t seem to care: I consumed whatever I wanted to consume, with very little gender-coaxing from my parents. I remember making up soap operas with my Barbie dolls one moment, and action scenarios with my Legos the next, with equal enthusiasm and not an...

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Rise of the Minions

Despicable Me has for a long time now been a thorn in my side as a moviegoer, cinephile, and general film enthusiast. Released in 2010 (within a month of Disney and Pixar’s far superior animated feature Toy Story 3) the Universal Pictures release has since garnered a lot of acclaim and popular attention (some of it critical, but most of it commercial). Inexplicably, and despite debuting to initial reviews and viewer reception that at first appeared tepid at best, the film has since gone on to wide critical acclaim, winning the hearts and minds of the mainstream viewing populace...

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The Secret Greatness of the Ocean’s Trilogy

“Ocean’s Eleven is the best movie of the trilogy,” they’ll say. “The sequels are just okay,” or “Ocean’s Twelve isn’t as good.” And I’m not going to flat out tell anyone they’re wrong in making these statements. I will, however, ask why people would say such hurtful things? Or better yet, I’ll ask you to take a look at the Ocean’s Trilogy from a different perspective. Ocean’s Eleven is still a marvel in the pantheon of heist movies. The film hits a smooth rhythm between scenes, doing the traditional assembling of the team to establish the central players and lay out the central...

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Terminator as Sub-Genre Piecemeal

Time Travel, as a trope within the science-fiction genre, has become a tired set piece within the contemporary blockbuster sub-genre, used by filmmakers who hold little originality of their own (their scripts tired, boring exercises in past genre filmmaking successes), with a few exceptional independent and studio marvels being the exceedingly rare exceptions to the rule (see Safety Not Guaranteed and Edge of Tomorrow). For some contemporary filmmakers and blockbuster technicians, time travel is a convenient tool by which potentially convoluted or genre heavy feature films can be made more accessible via dramatic obfuscation. In certain films (see J.J....

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The Terminator & Time Travel

“This time travel crap; just fries your brain like an egg.” That line (taken from Rian Johnson’s Looper) perfectly encapsulates how to approach time travel in movies and TV shows. There are so many variations of how to travel through time, and so many corners being cut for the sake of storytelling, that it’s become almost a necessity to forsake the argument of “plot holes” (which is a boring argument, regardless). But most importantly, there’s no real way to determine what sort of time travel may be realistic unless there have been successful time travelers from the future reading this...

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Inside Out & the Bing Bong Problem

Pete Docter’s new film for Disney and Pixar, Inside Out, is a veritable wonder to behold. In its attempt to visually encapsulate the aesthetic mindscape of its fourteen-year-old protagonist, who struggles against an existential melt down and its attendant crisis of personal identity (brought on by a move from small-town Minnesota to the liberally, metropolitan San Francisco), Inside Out succeeds on a seemingly impossible scale. Where other less capable directors of family fare might drown in the apparent preposterous ennui of the film’s stated premise and pretentious, thematic intentions, Docter (alongside co-director Ronaldo Del Carmen) has carved out a...

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Insidious: Chapter 3 as Allegory

In a recent article published in the “Sunday Book Review” of The New York Times, Fantasy genre writer Neil Gaiman began his review of the seventh and most recent volume of prose by English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro with the following caveat: “Fantasy is a tool of the storyteller. It is a way of talking about things that are not, and cannot be, literally true. It is a way of making our metaphors concrete, and it shades into myth in one direction, allegory in another.” A few weeks ago, the James Wan and Leigh Whannell penned Inisidious feature film franchise saw the release...

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Why Proper Representation And Diversity Matter

I went to watch Aloha this weekend to see what all the fuss was about, having heard overwhelmingly negative word of mouth from people about its portrayal of the Hawaiian people. It’s terrible in a way that could make you angry, but I found it depressing and unintentionally upsetting. With bizarre attempts at committing to quirk by awkwardly spoken dialogue and a poor production feel (like, ABC Family-level), Aloha will most likely make a dozen “worst of the year” lists. That being said, the most controversial aspect of the movie is director Cameron Crowe claiming he wanted to honor the...

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