Science Fiction & Fantasy

‘Metropolis’ and ‘Ex Machina’: Portrayals of Gender, Technology, and Society

Metropolis and Ex Machina

‘Metropolis’ and ‘Ex Machina’ are merely the oldest and one of the most recent examples, respectively, in a long line of films (and texts) that associate women with technology in this manner, presenting them as potent and potential threats to societal order and to the men who create and aim to control them.

The Chameleon Woman in ‘Dollhouse’ and ‘iZombie’: Personality Swapping and Agency

Dollhouse and iZombie

The problem presented by both ‘Dollhouse’ and ‘iZombie’ is that of the “Chameleon Woman.” Both Echo and Liv carry the metaphor of the expectation that women adapt based on the needs and desires of others. However, both TV series point to this societal issue with two very different takes.

Why ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Visuals Should Carry the TV Series to Emmy Victory

The Handmaid's Tale

‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ which stars Elisabeth Moss as June/Offred, is a hard watch in terms of emotional drama. But the TV series, which is the first prestige drama to focus intimately on a woman’s perspective of a dystopian world, rivals ‘Game of Thrones’ in terms of visual splendor.

Alienated Women: The Terror in Mica Levi’s Scores for ‘Under the Skin’ and ‘Jackie’

Under the Skin and Jackie

Jackie’s deeply emotional outbursts may stand in stark contrast to the alien’s lack of empathy, but both women share a troubling alienation from the people around them. Mica Levi’s scores make this alienation audible, the grim discomfort of her music allowing the audience to feel, even for 90 minutes, the terror of such a solitude.

‘Logan’: On Death and Dying. And Mutants.

Logan

‘Logan’ is a real film. In fact, it’s more real than any comic book superhero movie has business being. … It is a beautifully crafted film. If you still think that comic books and their offspring are incapable of being high art, I urge you to give it a chance.

How ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Crystallizes the Problems with Marvel Movies

captain-america-civil-war

I realized that while I had ultimately enjoyed ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ it exemplified the worst tendency of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — namely, the avoidance of dramatic risk and legitimate emotional stakes in order to create and maintain a sense of delight and entertaining status quo.

In ‘Arrival,’ Amy Adams is the Superhero We Need Right Now

Arrival

‘Arrival’ is yet another in a long line of alien invasion movies, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s the story of a single extraordinary woman who steps up to save the human race, armed with nothing more than her ability to communicate. It’s a story of hope  —  and it’s one that audiences need to hear right now.

‘The Faculty’: Gender, Dialogue, and Naked Alien Space Monsters

The Faculty

How did these male filmmakers make a movie marketed to men full of female characters who actually get the majority of the dialogue? I’m about to crack the code and share the secret — are you ready to become enlightened? Here’s how they did it: They included female characters and gave them lines. WHAT. Yes, it’s that simple.

‘Firefly’: Mixed Messages on Inara’s Sexuality

Firefly

In ‘Firefly,’ women can be strong, they can be independent, they can be respected, but they are still fetishized for their sexual choices. Inara’s queerness is less a way to incorporate diverse sexuality into the show and more to stoke a fantasy of women for the consumption of heterosexual men.

‘Orphan Black’ and the Breakdown of Tokenization

Orphan Black

This scene, a scene in which an assumed-to-be heterosexual protagonist casually courts another woman, is significant because Sarah is one of three queer women – two of whom are bi – on a single television show, each of whom experiences their queerness differently. … Sarah, Cosima, and Delphine are three very different women with different narratives, inhabiting their queerness in three disparate ways.

Who Controls the ‘ARQ’ in the Time Travel Sci-Fi Thriller?

ARQ

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.

‘Colossal’ and ‘Lady Macbeth’ Tell Similar Stories of Violence and Empowerment at TIFF

lady-macbeth

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.