The “Both/And” Celebration of “Into the Woods”


The film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical Into the Woods should please feminist lovers of musicals, fairy tales and narratives that don’t take themselves too seriously. The film, like the play, pokes fun at our all-too-human wishes and failed quests and, oh joy of joys, suggests heteromonogamy is the true tall […]

The Final Hobbit Film: One Kick-Ass Chick Among the Sausagefest


You like battle scenes? You’ll probably like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the last of director Peter Jackson’s six films based on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Battle scenes make up the majority of the 144-minute film—and that doesn’t even count preparing for battles and talking about battles. Though there are some […]

Sometimes the Master’s Tools Can Light a Fire


Dystopian and utopian texts are incredibly important for envisioning our world otherwise, a point emphasized by Ursula K. Le Guin at the 2014 National Book Awards. In her speech, Le Guin noted that we need writers who “can see through our fear-stricken society … to other ways of being,” and she named the profit motive […]

“Twilight” Screenplay Contest to Boost Women Writers and Directors


Just when you thought Twilight had receded into the zeitgeists-of-popular-culture-past, a new short film contest called “The Storytellers— New Voices of The Twilight Saga” promises to bring the series, and its vibrant fan base, back to life. Before you grit your teeth and shake your feminist fist, bemoaning that one of the most regressive, non-feminist-friendly blockbuster sagas is […]

What’s Missing From the Gone Girl Debate? Privilege!


  WARNING: THIS PIECE CONTAINS SPOILERS Gone Girl has been called misogynist, an amalgamation of negative stereotypes of women, a text that perpetuates rape culture, and a narrative that fuels men’s rights activists’ ugly depiction of the gender equality feminists are trying to achieve. Putting the talent of the author aside—because I do think Gillian Flynn […]

“This Is Where I Leave You” — Chutzpah v. Repression


Jane Fonda and Tina Fey, two comic masterminds in one film? Yes, please! 9 to 5, which Ms. magazine featured on its January cover in 1981, remains one of my favorite comedies. Fonda as the naïve, buttoned-up secretary Judy, learns how to ovary-up from her feisty coworkers Violet (Lily Tomlin) and Doralee (Dolly Parton). In real […]

Lost in a Maze of Males


The Maze Runner, the new post-apocalyptic film based on James Dashner’s 2009 book, has a strong lead female and a diverse cast in terms of race (what a nice change from the too-white Hunger Games!). But, when I mention “a strong lead female,” I literally mean “a”—yes, as in one—one female among a gaggle of adolescent […]

“The Giver” Delivers Powerful Pro-Choice Message in Slick, IKEA Package


Translating dystopian texts to the screen is tricky business, as such texts rely so much on the reader’s perception of what a truly dystopian society would look and feel like. To some, the visuals of The Giver might seem ideal: cookie-cutter houses filled with sparse, functional, IKEA-like furnishings and a society that also has a straight-lined, minimalist, […]

Does Comic-Con Condone Rape Culture?


Sexual harassment and assault are prevalent everywhere in our culture, including at public events. In some cases, though, the atmosphere of particular events actually seems to promote, or at least tacitly condone, harassment. San Diego’s Comic-Con, the biggest convention of its kind, is one such event. In my piece, “Comic-Conned: Gender Norms in a Carnivalesque […]

Lucy Is No Louise: Skip This Action-Packed Fail and Re-watch Thelma and Louise Instead


Sure, Scarlett Johansson is a great actor. Alas, her lead role in Lucy does not do her justice. The premise of the film—that we only use 10 percent of our brains—is a faulty one and caused quite an angry buzzing across the Internet (as here and here) even before the film’s official release. The direction […]