Guillermo Goes Gothic in the Grrrl-Powered Crimson Peak


WARNING: SPOILERS Forget the phallic-tongued vampires populating The Strain and go for the sumptuously Gothic Crimson Peak. As with Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a woman-centered and driven narrative brimming with claustrophobic imagery and red-hued horror. While Pan’s Labyrinth incorporated fairytale structure and imagery to tell a political tale of post-civil war Spain, Crimson Peak draws on the gothic genre to meditate on the dangers of inherited class privilege. More […]

Freeheld Beautifully Captures the Notion that “Love Is Love”


Love is forged in small moments. Like ragged bits of bottles polished into sea glass, Freeheld‘s lead characters, Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page), are rugged and tough, tumbled unwittingly by societal pressures and personal illness into gems fighting for LGBTQ equality. In one early scene in the film—which is based on the true […]

Why You MUST See Mad Max This Weekend


A version of this article originally appeared on Skirt Collective Much has been made of the call by Aaron Clarey in his piece “Why You Should Not Go See ‘Mad Max: Feminist Road.’” As many articles have discussed Clarey’s ridiculous, hyper-macho douchery, (for example, here, here and here), I will instead offer a counter call: Instead of “mancotting” the film as Clarey […]

How Ex Machina Fails to be Radical


Reprinted with permission from Skirt Collective I am going to admit: Ex Machina profoundly disturbed me—so much so that at one point I had to leave the theatre and catch my breath. It is very rare for me to walk out of a film. Rarer still for me to walk out not because the film […]

Are Divergents Feminists in Disguise?


Last year the first film of the Divergent series made close to $200 million, putting it almost in league with The Hunger Games. While the latter dystopian trilogy, featuring the intrepid Katniss Everdeen, is richer and more politically nuanced, the Divergent series—now weighing in with a second film, Insurgent—also offers relevant political critique and a realistic […]

“The Lazarus Effect” Is No “Frankenstein”


The Lazarus Effect focuses on reviving the dead—hardly a new concept—and few texts have done as well as Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein. The Lazarus Effect is no Frankenstein, but, as in that novel, betrayal, questionable ethics and a fascination with the possibilities of science frame the narrative. The plot follows a team of medical scientists […]

“It Follows”: A Horror Film That Doesn’t Blame the Victim for Having Sex


It Follows has an uncanny eye for detail, using jump cuts, long takes and a heavy musical score to build a horror/arthouse film that suggests very ominous things about sexuality, sexual agency and sexual coercion/abuse. The second film from director David Robert Mitchell, It Follows draws upon ’70s and ’80s horrors flicks, filling the screen […]

“Seventh Son”: Witches Aren’t Merely Wicked


Seventh Son, the film adaption of portions of The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney has much going for it: compelling visuals, an episodic format with lots of beasties and action, a pleasing admixture of humor, horror and romance wrapped in a fantasy/supernatural package and, best of all, witches: good, bad and in-between. You might […]

5 Fabulous Feminist Films from Sundance


While feminist achievements in popular culture are not always easy to come by, the last few months have brought more than a few heartening examples. This year’s Golden Globes, for instance, had a plethora of feminist moments. Perhaps more surprisingly, even the Super Bowl featured anti-domestic-violence ads, an anti-racism ad starring Mindy Kaling and a spot […]

Unbroken: Jolie’s Testament to the Human Spirit


Starvation, deprivation and torture permeate Unbroken, making director Angelina Jolie’s film (based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book), one that invokes flinches, jerks, audible gasps and covering one’s eyes. The edge-of-the-seat opening sequence, set in a B-24 bomber that is being shot apart above the Pacific Ocean, captures the noise of war as well as the heart-pumping […]