A Completely Unnecessary Rebuttal of Roger Ebert’s Review of Swing Kids (1993)

Every now and then when Roger Ebert would review a film, you could just tell it had rubbed him the wrong way. North, the 1994 movie directed by Rob Reiner, springs to mind. Ebert gave it one star, declaring it "one of the most unpleasant, contrived, artificial, cloying experiences I've had at the movies." The … Continue reading A Completely Unnecessary Rebuttal of Roger Ebert’s Review of Swing Kids (1993)

“My Mouth Says Yes-Yes”: The Importance of Eyes in Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Freddy vs. Jason (2003) isn't a movie that invites academic consideration. In fact, I might venture to say that critical analysis of the movie is near zero. This 98-minute-long gorefest took 16 years to create and is mostly remembered for being a big-budget WrestleMania. Well, that and an unfortunate improvised line by Kelly Rowland. I'd argue, … Continue reading “My Mouth Says Yes-Yes”: The Importance of Eyes in Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

The Abstract and the Literal in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower Series

With Stephen King's The Dark Tower series there's a distinct dividing line made by the fourth book, Wizard and Glass, in the series. The first three deal mostly in metaphor, with Roland's travels through Mid-World seeming to represent his own consciousness, or a kind of collective consciousness: Jake being his childhood, Eddie as his friends (Cuthbert, … Continue reading The Abstract and the Literal in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower Series

The Village (2004), The Witch (2016) and the Dread of Desolation

The Village (2004) and The Witch (2016) complement each other well. They are both thick with the dread of an insulated universe. Both movies perfectly capture the sense that there is no world beyond the immediate surroundings. The Village, the often-maligned 2004 M. Night Shyamalan movie, is truly eerie. It communicates not just the physical but psychological … Continue reading The Village (2004), The Witch (2016) and the Dread of Desolation

A Ballerina Dancing on Glass: Angel, “A Hole in the World” and Joss Whedon’s Female Characters

Last year on Twitter, someone — who I unfortunately can't remember — summed up Joss Whedon's platonic female character as "A ballerina dancing on glass." This is an apt description of the writer/director's concerns these last 27 years, starting with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie in 1992 and continuing all the way up to … Continue reading A Ballerina Dancing on Glass: Angel, “A Hole in the World” and Joss Whedon’s Female Characters

How Jaws (1975) Conveys Trauma By Showing and Telling

There are three men in Jaws (1975) who have important backstories dealing with ocean-related trauma. Two of them involve sharks. And these backstories are relayed to the audience through the characters' own words, as they describe their personal experiences in their own unique ways. And while these self-descriptions inform their actions throughout the rest of … Continue reading How Jaws (1975) Conveys Trauma By Showing and Telling

Did Geoge Lucas Intend the Empire to be a Theocracy?

It’s a simple question: Does Emperor Palpatine rule the Galactic Empire as a theocracy? Does he present himself as a representative of a greater divine power who has bestowed upon him a divine right of kings? And if he's not public about his position as one of two practitioners of the Sith religion, does he … Continue reading Did Geoge Lucas Intend the Empire to be a Theocracy?