Trainwreck

Note to “Trainwreck” Critics: All Hollywood Movies are Conservative

By all the usual metrics, Trainwreck has been a smash with critics (85% on Rotten Tomatoes), so why does everyone seem so disappointed? Numerous articles have sounded notes of disillusionment at the way the film turns Amy Schumer, the politically progressive, button-pushing television star, into something a little more conservative. “Are there any modern comedies…

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Confession: I Didn’t Care for “Inside Out”

Inside Out is probably the most clever film yet to come out of Pixar Animation, but in no way is that the same as being its best. The film has been universally praised by critics for its creative ingenuity, and rightly so. Its story is groundbreakingly original: Riley, an eleven-year old girl having trouble adjusting after…

Welcome to Me

Kristen Wiig: Sexual Warrior

I always bristle when I hear anyone refer to an actor as “brave.” Yes, there are professional risks when Jake Gyllenhall plays a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain or former model Charlize Theron goes ugly for Monster. But in the end, these are major movie stars who, whether or not their film succeeds, still live…

Adaline

Death in the Age of “Ultron” and “Adaline”

Pop culture, according to its very definition, reflects mainstream values. For a piece of art to be “popular,” or to place popularity as its stated goal, it must resonate with a mainstream audience. It must not challenge us in any structural or significant way, only reinforce the status quo and make sure its viewers feel…

paul-walker-furious-7

What You Missed in March/April ’15

March and April are not the most exciting months for movie-going, with a slew of eccentric indies not strong enough for awards season and the season of summer blockbusters is only just getting started. In the last couple months, I did a little introspection on the subject of racial movies, looked back (and forward) at one…

White God 2

The Conundrum of “White God” and Animals in Entertainment

This morning, I appeared on the Webby-nominated “Our Hen House” podcast. The ladies at OHH have the internet’s top animal rights-themed podcast, and they routinely invite me to join them to discuss the use of animals in film. I’ve also appeared on their television show, which you can view here. Today we talked a bit…

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Two New Films Ask an Age-Old Question

In our culture so obsessed with youth, it’s a rare for a film to seriously grapple with the aging process. Sure, there are those condescending old-people-behaving-badly flicks like Last Vegas, Quartet, and, to some degree, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel franchise, but they rely on tired jokes about artificial hips and pacemakers, and only skim the…