‘Into the Badlands’, based on the classic Chinese tale ‘Journey to the West’, is set in a futuristic dystopian world where past wars have created a new feudal society. It’s gratifying to finally get an onscreen Blasian couple where they kiss, have sex, and get to have a real relationship.
Writer/Director/Actress and Moonfaze Film Festival Founder Premstar Santana has taken on the challenge of not waiting for Hollywood to feature feminist cinema. She is creating the platform that elevates feminist viewpoints from marginalized voices that rarely get the opportunity to shine.
In ‘Reel Knockouts: Violent Women in the Movies,’ Neal King and Martha McCaughey assert that “cultural standards still equate womanhood with kindness and nonviolence, manhood with strength and aggression.” Under the Victorian cult of true womanhood, womanly virtue was supposed to encompass piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity. Thank goodness writer/producer Michael Hirst ignored those virtues by creating two dynamic women warriors with his historical drama ‘Vikings.’
The film moves through arcs of pity, empathy, and then downright horror. Violence is abrupt and can come from anyone. I was blessed to watch the film with an audience that was one third deaf, and the experience of witnessing visceral scenes with the sounds of hands pounding, slapping, moving around me with frantic finger blurs of American Sign Language made the viewing electric.
There were never any shows that centered happy, single, child-free Black women that prioritized good sex as part of successful living. That is until two television shows came on the scene, ‘Living Single’ (1993-1998, created by Yvette Lee Bowser) and ‘Girlfriends’ (2000-2007, created by Mara Brock Akil).
Don’t judge me.
I am a fan of the ‘Sharknado’ franchise put out by the SyFy Channel.
Dispersed among the footage are archival glimpses into Nina’s journals, where we can read quick sketches of her own thoughts and feelings. And although the particular journal entries are chosen and shaped to fit the narrative Garbus is presenting, it only helps to give us a deeper understanding of the complexity of being a Black woman artist in racist America. Nothing has changed.
We need new filmmakers like Cecile Emeke to break new ground with digital media. Smash the stranglehold of white filmmakers being the only ones telling Black stories that often dredge up old stereotypes and tired narratives. We need the specificity of Emeke’s vision. And dammit, I need more Rachel and Olivia in my life.
‘Bessie’ is one of the rare mainstream films that shows an unapologetically Black, female and queer protagonist. That alone is groundbreaking in an otherwise straightforward biopic.
Not surprisingly, ‘Jack Ryan’ gloriously fails the Bechdel test. While there are several female characters, they are disconnected and they spend their screen time helping Ryan in various ways. There’s the fresh-faced girl-next-door office assistant in a Catholic-school jumper (Hannah Taylor Gordon) that Ryan’s sketchy coworker ogles around their male-dominated office. On the other end of the super secret CIA cell phone there’s the phone-sex voice that arranges for Ryan’s suite to be cleaned after the assassination attempt. There’s the icy Russian assistant (Elena Velikanova) that escorts Ryan to Cheverin’s office. There’s the token female asian tech (Gemma Chan) in the spy van and the token black female tech (Montego Glover) in the spy plane.