Let’s face it, ‘Boyhood’ is a gimmick movie. Richard Linklater sporadically filmed it over a twelve-year period so we could see the child actors in it actually grow-up. If you loved Michael Apted’s ‘Up’ series but wanted more fiction and less wait, Boyhood is for you. But if you just love coming-of-age dramas, I’m not sure I can recommend this one.
All art is political. That’s what they teach you in art school, and it’s what they teach you in criticism school. It’s apparently not what they teach you in internet troll school.
On the subject of female comediennes, A.O. Scott, ‘New York Times’ movie critic, recently wrote, “The ‘can women be funny?’ pseudo-debate of a few years ago, ridiculous at the time, has been settled so decisively it’s as if it never happened…The real issue, in any case, was never the ability of women to get a laugh but rather their right to be as honest as men.” I love A.O. Scott and his writing is brilliant, and I agree with him—the “can women be funny?” argument is a weird pseudo-debate that managed to gain traction on the big world of the web.
When characters on TV shows or in feature films encounter “a scientist,” that person is usually a man. The rare times when actresses play scientists in mainstream films, they’re more likely to be a punchline than a real character, like Denise Richards in the James Bond film ‘The World Is Not Enough.’ Audiences have to look to documentaries like ‘Particle Fever’ (released earlier this year) about the discovery of the Higgs boson, to see women scientists in prominent roles on film. The new Netflix documentary ‘Mission Blue’ focuses on one woman scientist, Sylvia Earle, a former chief at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and pioneering oceanographer and marine biologist who is on a quest to save the world’s oceans from dying.
Check out what we’ve been reading this week–and let us know what you’ve been reading/writing in the comments!
In her debut feature, 2011’s ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ director Julia Leigh examines consent, voyeurism, and passivity through the character of Lucy, a beautiful college student who sleepwalks through life as if it doesn’t involve her. Lucy becomes a literal Sleeping Beauty when she takes a job that involves her being drugged to unconsciousness while men are allowed to do anything they please to her naked body, with the exception of penetration. She exists in an eroticized, dream-like landscape and the film often feels like a painting come to life.
Characters play a key role in our individual process of self-discovery. Stories have always been there to help us learn, to see from another’s point of view, or think deeper than before. What makes us human is that we turn these lessons into reflections of what we want. Through the pairing of images and concepts, I can wrap together the “idealized” me. But what happens when I cannot find myself in what I see on screen? What happened to those who lived in times when LGBTQI content was more taboo than it is now? We create.
The fact that I need “cover” for watching this movie is not because it is a “chick flick.” I’m a feminist, so I don’t think things have less value when they are geared towards women. It’s not that its a lowbrow romcom. It’s 2014, and I try to pretend I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. It’s that this lowbrow romcom chick flick appears to presuppose that a woman could have too many sex partners. And I could pretend I watched this so I could tear it apart on this website, but the truth is I wanted to watch a romantic comedy and this one has Anna Faris and Chris Evans in it. Even though I was 90 percent sure it was going to be sexist. That, my friends, is a guilty pleasure.
The control of sex and sexuality was a fascination of the 19th century. In a reaction to the thought to be morally bankrupt licentiousness of the regency period, Victorian sexual values were characterized by repression, control and purity. Fitting as a common theme of the era was man’s victory over nature. It was a time when the medical establishment was obsessed with classifying and categorizing and “disorders” such as homosexuality and hysteria were invented
Although director Matthew Warchus isn’t gay, the screenwriter Stephen Beresford is, which, after seeing the film, my gaydar told me even before I looked up his bio. The film starts and ends with the queer characters, not the working class (mostly) straight people, as the focus. Mark (Ben Schnetzer, who’s from the U.S. but went to drama school in London) keeps a huge, “Thatcher Out” banner hanging from the windows of his flat, rallies his friends and closeted newbie Joe (George MacKay) to collect money for striking coal miners as Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners–LGSM (because in those days most queer groups didn’t acknowledge the participation of bisexual and trans people). “Mining communities are being bullied just like we are,” Mark explains to the others, and the group ends up befriending one village’s striking Welsh miners and their families.
However, Vivian Maier–besides being an obvious genius–remains a mystery. ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ follows the narrative mystery as we pursue the reclusive and eccentric Vivian (or her personas of Ms. Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Meyers, Maier) across the US and through the streets of the 1950s and 1960s, attempting to discover more of a woman who is still unknowable.
For my birthday this year, my partner took me to see the Broadway musical of ‘Matilda,’ which I loved. The cast recording has been in regular rotation on my iPod ever since, and this week I decided to watch the 1996 film again for comparison.