Reel Change on “Everybody”

I liked Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some!!” so much I wrote about it twice. First, there was my review in Washington City Paper. My editor challenged me to draw some connections between the film and “Born to be Blue,” a biopic of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker that was released the same day. I did my…

At Least “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” Gets its Feminism Right

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Tina Fey’s new war-journalism rom-com, is getting hit from all sides. In addition to its paltry box-office performance, accusations of whitewashing have rightly dogged the filmmakers, who cast American actor Christopher Abbott and British actor Alfred Molina as Afghan characters. Fey herself is taking the brunt of the blame, epitomized by Buzzfeed’s…

2015: Year in Review

Dear Reader, Hey! Good to see ya. How are you? How was your year? Don’t actually answer, of course. I’m just waiting for you to ask me about my year so I can write the rest of this post. Sorry, but I thought it was rude to just jump in and start monologuing about myself.…

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…

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…

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…