Interview with First-Time Web Series Creators Ilana Rubin and Lana Schwartz on Comedy Thriller ‘Secrets & Liars’
[Web series are] “the best opportunity we have to express our voices, because we can use any type of format we want. I think it’d be great to see more shows that represent different viewpoints and experiences than are typically seen in comedy…” “The internet has been great for creators to get their voices heard! … I think having a diverse writer’s room isn’t just essential but should be mandatory.”
Most people (rightly) expect more from art than they do from porn; we expect art to offer a perspective or point of view, to have a message, to be more than a spectacle to press the pleasure centers of our brains. … And, while I don’t think it’s wrong to say that ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ fares pretty poorly as art, I do think it’s wrong to single it out, as if our cinemas aren’t full of spectacle already.
The first feature film from Nicholas Verso, ‘Boys in the Trees’ is a coming-of-age story focused on questions of masculinity and wrapped in a delightful – and visually stunning – cloak of Halloween. …They explore what it means that their friendship fell apart – what childhood loses to adolescence, what adolescence loses to adulthood, what we gain in either case, and what we give away when we stop hoping that something amazing could happen to us.
…I’m left with the feeling that Tom Ford’s second feature film is a love letter to sexist movies instead. … Like a lot of sexist stories, ‘Nocturnal Animals’ is vague about its attitude toward women, because it doesn’t truly regard women as anything but objects – things that derive meaning only through their relationship to the real subjects, men.
The characters are thrown into an adrenaline-fueled, confusing, science-fiction quest from scene one. They don’t have time to make anything more than impulsive decisions, there’s a plot twist every time they think they know what’s going on, and every double-cross turns out to be a double-double-double cross instead. The story doesn’t always make sense, but it’s a wild ride that holds your interest from beginning to end.
Both Nacho Vigalondo’s monster movie, ‘Colossal,’ and William Oldroyd’s period piece, ‘Lady Macbeth,’ are solid, carefully-made films built around a stunning performance from their lead actors – Anne Hathaway and Florence Pugh, respectively – and both tell the story of a woman surrounded by men who try to control her. Rightly or wrongly, both films also seem to presume that the best way for women to be strong and empowered is through physical violence.
They’re moved to realize that, after everyone talked shit about them for weeks or months on end, someone actually appreciated what they did. It’s a moment of art imitating life that mirrored my experience with ‘Ghostbusters’… I also vastly underestimated how powerful it would be, and how great it would feel, to watch an action-comedy with only women in the leading roles.
The documentary, from director Nanfu Wang, follows Chinese activist Ye Haiyan (aka Hooligan Sparrow) as she protests the lack of prosecution in a child sexual abuse case and suffers retaliatory harassment, surveillance, and imprisonment. … ‘Hooligan Sparrow’ is, both intentionally and unintentionally, about the legends that activists build for themselves.
The Ovarian Psycos is a cycling club for women of color in East Lost Angeles that’s a lot like Take Back the Night. Its purpose is to build a sense of community between local women, but also to draw attention to the fact that women aren’t safe unless they travel in packs. … [Directed by Kate Trumbull-LaValle and Johanna Sokolowski] the film captures something true and beautiful about the power of grassroots organizing, and the idea that regular people can band together and try to create change.
‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ Highlights the Need for Social Acceptance of LGBTQ People in China and Globally
Often, when we talk about LGBTQ rights, we focus on legal battles – criminalization, marriage equality, adoption, and civil rights – but Sophia Luvara’s new documentary reminds us that social acceptance and cultural attitudes are just as important. ‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ follows Andy and Cherry, a gay man and a lesbian woman who struggle to reconcile their desire to live truthfully with their families’ expectations of them.
In ‘Starless Dreams,’ we learn about the lives of teenage girls inside Iran’s juvenile detention centers, but we also learn how director Mehrdad Oskouei attempts to change hearts and minds in his own country. It’s an attempt that’s packaged for his fellow citizens rather than foreigners and, watching the film as an outsider is a complicated, multilayered experience.
It’s hard to ignore that this is a white woman from a foreign nation who feels it’s her birthright to teach a bunch of brown people how they should behave. … On the flip side, watching a woman lose power on ‘Game of Thrones’ always seems to involve watching her be sexually victimized somehow, which I can’t really get on board with, no matter how awful she is.