Despite some mild incursions by feminism, much of society likes to keep female sexuality corralled between two policed boundaries. On the one hand lies prude, on the other slut. Or to state it again without the slang, women are encouraged to to be sexual but not too sexual, available but not too available. What are the consequences for straying? Scorn, derision, invisibility, or maybe far worse. … Read More
If “history is written by the victors,” as that noted Winston Churchill quote goes, than culture’s role in preserving history is making sure that the extraordinary true stories of our time highlight a bland series of interchangeable white men whose lives all follow the prestige biopic outlines, crucial details be dammed. It has gotten so bad that the same two boilerplate British genius biopics with awkwardly handsome British actors playing fascinating men were virtually interchangeable in this year’s recently concluded Oscar race. Can you name what film Eddie Redmayne got the Oscar for? Or was it Benedict Cumberbatch? Who knows, right? … Read More
You likely think of Sherlock Holmes as a perspicacious, obsessive and nimbly minded detective in his prime. Through the innumerable… Read More
It’s been a while since Tarsem Singh directed something with the breathtaking darkness of The Cell or The Fall, and his newest film… Read More
“Yes, it’s a fun caper movie. But please stop making films like this,” begged Sophie Gilbert in her review of Focus in The Atlantic. Why, you may wonder, would a critic plead for Hollywood — in a cinematic era so overstuffed with explosive artifice that hardly anything is truly fun — to put a moratorium on whatever fun is still out there? Because Focus, it turns out, is not just a depthlessly enjoyable rollick; as it attempts to mindfuck you to awestruck unconsciousness, it assumes your fucked mind will euphorically dismiss what turns out to be a pretty flagrant display regressive gender politics. The film flounders because, once you realize the characters are old-fashioned archetypes with pasts tacked on in a slapdash attempt at humanization, you stop wanting to follow Nicky (Will Smith) and Jess (Margot Robbie) down their sexy, glitzy, and yes, uncritically male-hegemonic rabbit hole — regardless of whatever heavy-handedly aphrodisiac location (New Orleans, Buenos Aires) the film decides to send them to.
That’s not to say that the imperceptible line between care and deceit among con artists duos (and they seem to always come in duos) doesn’t make for great cinema. Quite the contrary; if Focus’ own writing/directing duo (Glenn Ficarra and John Requa) get anything right, it’s in making a film that’s inherently reminiscent of better works in the genre, works that portray intriguingly fluctuating — or at least critically static — power dynamics. So perhaps we should co-opt the film’s dictatorial title and shift our focus to superiorly conceived dynamics among onscreen con duos. … Read More
“Rape is like a football game, Annie,” a UNC administrator allegedly told a student filing a rape report years ago. “If you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback and you’re in charge, is there anything that you would have done differently in that situation?” … Read More
Deadline reports that Warner Bros. is finalizing a deal for Lynsey Addario’s memoir What I Do: A Photographer’s Life… Read More
Everyone knows Jared Leto.
Or if you don’t know who he is, you definitely recognize him as that guy… Read More