“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 […]

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 […]

Why Couldn’t “Divergent” Give Peace a Chance?

Divergent isn’t perfect. And I am not referring to the film’s dystopian world, wherein society has been split into six “factions”—the smart (erudite), the peaceful (amity), the truthful (candor), the selfless (abnegation), the brave (dauntless) and the outcasts (the factionless). I am referring to the fact that it does not, as with most mainstream dystopian […]

Feminist Face-Off: Beautiful Creatures vs. Twilight

It’s hard not to make the comparison: two supernatural teen romances, both adapted from Young Adult novels, both involving a Romeo and Juliet-like attraction between a human and a superhuman. For feminist spectators, the popularity of such genre films warrants an investigation of their depiction of gender roles. So how do the two films stack […]

Warm Bodies: Romance Is So Dead

So, zombies are the new vampire. Now they, too, are sympathetic, romantic and stilted in their speech. They, too, have glowing eyes and lips of an unnatural hue. At least they don’t sparkle. Not yet. Alas, the male zombie heartthrob/lead from WarmBodies, named simply “R” in the novel by Isaac Marion and played by Nicholas Hoult […]

Fifty Shades of Mommy Porn

I’d never heard of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James until my 65-year-old sister-in-law clued me in. Her book group in New Jersey is tackling the best-selling trilogy that went viral as an e-book and is now being made into a movie. It’s the story of an affair–with a BDSM slant–between a virginal Seattle […]

Breaking Dawn: Part 1—An Anti-Abortion Message in a Bruised-Apple Package

[SPOILER ALERT: This review reveals major events in Breaking Dawn.] As I sat watching the vampiric ode to white weddings that dominated the opening scenes of Breaking Dawn: Part 1, I waited anxiously for the honeymoon and morning-after scenes, wondering how the latest Twilight film would present vampire Edward’s “headboard-busting” sex and his new wife […]

Wed, Bed and Bruised–But Certainly Not Equal

As today is the 40th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day, it’s an appropriate moment to consider the continuing inequalities women face. As a scholar of popular culture who tracks the way it grapples with changing conceptions of gender and sexuality, I am struck by the profound difference between Bella Abzug, staunch supporter of women’s rights, […]