Beef Rap: how beef between rap artists undermines their activism

By KRISTEN WALSH Tupac vs. Biggie. Meek Mill vs. Drake. Jay-Z vs. Nas. “Beef” has been a prevalent trend in rap history. The notion of “beef” has been a big commercial pull in hip hop; consumers feed on drama. The media loves to cover petty feuds in the industry, but their tendency to highlight fights between rappers obscures discussion of greater issues. In other words, … Continue reading Beef Rap: how beef between rap artists undermines their activism

Not so Black and White: chess and gender politics

By JACK JONES Chess first came to me in the same way that Legos and Playmobil sets did: a group of characters, familiar and reassuring in their clear, hierarchical order. When I played with my parents’ chessboard, I made up stories about the pieces just like I did with those other toys, gave them names and personalities, moved them around the board to act out … Continue reading Not so Black and White: chess and gender politics

More than An Age Gap: Statutory Rape in Popular Media

By ANNA GODEK The fall of Woody Allen may finally be upon us. As the #MeToo movement progresses and the reckoning for abusive men in Hollywood (and hopefully abusive people everywhere) continues, there has been a re-evaluation of Allen’s famous 1979 film, Manhattan. It’s about time: the movie features a “romance” between a middle-aged man (Allen) and a 17-year-old girl (Mariel Hemingway). Hopefully, Hollywood’s newfound critical lens … Continue reading More than An Age Gap: Statutory Rape in Popular Media

Extra Ex Machina: asian bodies as disposable, alien(ated) labor in American sci-fi

By Jeremiah Kim INT[ERIOR] HOUSE/CALEB’S BEDROOM – MORNING CALEB is woken by light flooding onto his face. The door to his room has been opened. Outside is the bright glass corridor CALEB sits up to see a GIRL entering his room. She looks Japanese. She’s stunningly pretty. And she doesn’t say anything. Just walks in, carrying a tray with a cafetiere, which she puts on … Continue reading Extra Ex Machina: asian bodies as disposable, alien(ated) labor in American sci-fi

Laughing at the Movies: Mulholland Drive and the consequences of making a masterpiece

By Nathan Chazan I went to a screening of Mulholland Drive the other day. It’s a good movie by most people’s reckoning although it’s had the misfortune of being deemed canonically great. When a film becomes great, people start to watch it less, even if they go to see it. When we go to a canonical film, our experience of the work is predetermined to … Continue reading Laughing at the Movies: Mulholland Drive and the consequences of making a masterpiece

Embracing the Best of the Bad: The Room and why we love bad movies

By Anna Godek It was close to midnight on a late August night as I made my way to my seat in the movie theater, box of plastic spoons in hand. I was there to see a movie, and I was hoping it would be bad. Really bad. I wasn’t disappointed—it was terrible. I was there to see The Room, a movie so hilariously awful … Continue reading Embracing the Best of the Bad: The Room and why we love bad movies

When Politics Engulfs Criticism: do we over-account for political messaging in cinema?

By Lorenzo Benitez Among my favorite arts critics is Armond White, currently a writer for the National Review and Out, whose compelling, albeit controversial, voice is uniquely situated amidst contemporary film criticism. Most infamous for writing the first negative review of Toy Story 3 to appear on Rotten Tomatoes, White has, over the years, accumulated his own fair share of critics. For instance, White was … Continue reading When Politics Engulfs Criticism: do we over-account for political messaging in cinema?

A World of Violence: the Yakuza films of Kinji Fukasaku

By Clarence Boyce Director Kinji Fukasaku, well-known for Battle Royale, did for the Yakuza genre what Francis Ford Coppola did for the gangster genre. From 1972 to 1976, Fukasaku directed several Yakuza films that showed a postwar Japan in a state of non-stop violence and brutality. Long gone were the days of honor, these new times called for unrepentant killing and unabashed displays of cruelty. … Continue reading A World of Violence: the Yakuza films of Kinji Fukasaku

The Art of the Rom-Com: love in the time of banality

By Gabriela Dickson La Rotta When did the world fall in love with the romantic comedy? Was it the moment in City Lights (1931) when the Flower Girl saw the Tramp for the first time? Perhaps when in Some Like It Hot (1959) Jack Lemmon finally tears off his wig and reveals that he is not Daphne to the indifference of his alarmingly persistent suitor? … Continue reading The Art of the Rom-Com: love in the time of banality