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‘Mad Max: Fury Road’: Violence Helps Our Heroines Have a Lovely Day

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Furiosa, stabbed and wounded yet still persistent, takes down the main villain Immortan Joe. “Remember me?” Furiosa growls just before ripping his breathing apparatus–and half of his face–clean off. That quip may seem like your average cool one-liner, but for me it is so much more than that. It’s Furiosa, our female protagonist, who takes out the bad guy. Not Max. Not Nux, or any other male character. Her.

Let’s Hear It for the Boy! Masculinity and the Monomyth

They’re softly lit, and ready for action.

As the monomyth evolves, the question is: will it evolve to include the “everywoman” hero archetype, or will the nature of myth itself change to embrace not just the messaging of individualization, but the representation of unique stories for unique people?

Off the Fury Road and Without a Map: Masculine Portrayal in the New ‘Mad Max’

Alone in the desert…but not for long

Wrapped in a hypermasculine Trojan Horse of violence and war custom is a heady lesson about the dangers of ceding to those expectations, and about the road away from them and toward something like redemption. Here is a film where women are shown to be men’s combatative equals. Even more so, it is a film where the only way the men can escape their own oppression is to join up with, and occasionally defer to, these women.

‘Mad Max’: Fury Road Is a Fun Movie. It’s a Solid Action Flick. But Is It Feminist™?

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

However, I’d argue that ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ contains more critique of patriarchy and entrenched inequality than critics or even some fans have given it credit for.

‘The Maze Runner’ Suffers from the Smurfette Principle and White Savior Trope

The Maze Runner

While watching ‘The Maze Runner,’ I couldn’t help thinking, wouldn’t this story have been so much more rich and interesting if it had been told from Minho’s or Teresa’s perspective? Why not feature a girl or a boy of color as the protagonist?

’22 Jump Street’ is That Awkward Moment When You Want to be Progressive and Don’t Know How

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’22 Jump Street’ alternately endorses and makes fun of the idea that we should be sensitive, tolerant people, but it isn’t mean-spirited or offensive – it’s just sort of harmlessly dumb.

Does ‘Gravity’ Live Up to the Hype?

"Gravity" Movie Poster

Gravity survives on the merit of its spectacle. It’s beautiful, terrifying, and gripping. The characters, while feeling real, are underdeveloped. The story itself is one big metaphor for Stone’s journey into isolation and despair after suffering personal tragedy. It is an epic allegory about the journey toward life, toward connection with the earth. I couldn’t tell you what kind of card player Stone is, though, or what made her want to become a doctor. Her life is a blank because she’s not an individual; she’s an archetype.

Wonder Woman Short Fan Film Reminds Us to Want this Blockbuster

Wonder Woman in cover for Identity Crisis #4 by Michael Turner

In two and a half minutes, this fan trailer makes the case for Wonder Woman being compelling to watch both in the modern world and in her mythical origins. Actress Rileah Vanderbilt conveys a lot of Diana’s personality without the benefit of dialogue, and convincingly throws down with a gang of criminals AND gigantic minotaurs [note for non-geeks: Wonder Woman is at least as strong as Superman. It is supposed to look relatively effortless when she smacks thuggish men out of her way. The fight choreography here manages to convey that even with Wonder Woman’s punches and jabs looking genuinely forceful]. The modern-day setting has the gritty urban feel that DC movies seem to have settled on as a brand, and this Wonder Woman doesn’t look out of place there.

Cool Robots, Bad-Ass Monsters and Disappointment in ‘Pacific Rim’

Pacific Rim movie poster. Written by Leigh KolbSpoilers ahead! The theme at the core of Pacific Rim is that collaboration and trust lead to success. And while the sweeping visuals of human-team-led robots (Jeagers) fighting with ocean monster-aliens (Kaiju) left me surprisingly entertained and satisfied, the dialogue and plot relied heavily on tired tropes.  Pacific Rim, directed […]

A Letter to Hollywood: Keep Films Like ‘The Heat’ Coming

The Heat movie poster. Dear Hollywood Movie Executives, As I have driven by my local movie theater this summer, I’ve been struck by how I haven’t wanted to see most of the movies. You haven’t been getting much money from me. But I’d like to talk to you about The Heat, which opened nationwide last weekend.  […]

Wedding Week: ‘Sex and the City’: The Movie We Hate to Love

The ladies of Sex and the City on their way to the wedding This is a guest post by Amanda Morris.  “Year after year, twenty-something women come to New York City in search of the two Ls: Labels and Love,” goes the opening voiceover for Sex and the City: The Movie. These words set the […]

Wedding Week: Why We All Need to See ‘Bridesmaids’

Movie poster for Bridesmaids This guest post by Molly McCaffrey previously appeared at her blog I Will Not Diet and is cross-posted with permission.  I keep hearing people say they aren’t going to watch Bridesmaids because it’s a rom-com or a chick flick, and since this is really an important movie for women, I want […]