‘John Wick’: A More Palatable Revenge Flick

Keanu Reeves as 'John Wick'

The revenge genre is fraught territory for feminist film fans, because it virtually always begins with violence (often sexualized violence) against women. ‘John Wick’ sidesteps this problem by replacing the victimized woman with a dog: Keanu Reeves’s title character, a mild-mannered retired assassin, gets back into the criminal underworld and goes on a brutal rampage to avenge his killed dog. What follows is an extremely well-executed but completely non-innovative revenge flick, which is nevertheless probably my favorite since ‘Kill Bill Vol 1.,’ in no small part because the revenge isn’t inspired by the victimization of a woman.

Girl Gang Fights Rape Culture in ‘Foxfire’

The girls of Foxfire, 1996

Though very different, the two films based on Joyce Carol Oates’s novel, ‘Foxfire: Confessions of A Girl Gang,’ have a shared message: that rape culture is pervasive and the experiences of girls and women within it are sadly, universal. In both films, one set in the 90s, the other in the 50s, teenage girls inhabit dangerous territory, full of sexual assaults and near misses, all ignored by the authorities around them. Their experiences aren’t considered unusual or justified within their respective narratives, instead, they point out that women are given a lot of reasons to feel unsafe and afraid in our society. At the very least, we’ve all been told not to walk home at night or to be frightened by a man following too close on our heels.

Older Women Week: The Ruthless Power of Patty Hewes from ‘Damages’ & Victoria Grayson from ‘Revenge’

The shadow of Patty Hewes dwarfs her protege Ellen Parsons in Damages Emily Thorne stands beside her enemy Victoria Grayson in Revenge Written by Amanda Rodriguez Spoiler Alert Older women in film and TV are generally a stereotypical lot. They’re usually sexless matrons or grandmothers who perform roles of support for their screen-stealing husbands or […]

The Power of Narrative in ‘Django Unchained’

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner Written by Leigh Kolb Spoilers ahead In 2011, two presidential hopefuls signed a pledge that, in its original form, insinuated that African-American children had families that were more cohesive and better off during slavery. Texas and Tennessee both in the last two years have […]

Indie Spirit John Cassavetes Award Nominee Review: Bellflower

Bellflower (2011) This is a guest post from Deirdre Crimmins. On the surface Bellflower seems very much like a film made by men, for men. Staring director Evan Glodell, and shot on homemade cameras, the film begins by following Woodrow (Glodell) and his buddy Aiden as they build flame throwers from scratch to outfit their imaginary […]