Where Are All the Children in The Matrix?

Think about The Matrix (1999) for a second — really, all four movies at this point. Do you remember any children in the Matrix — the computer simulation — itself? Sure you do. When Neo (Keanu Reeves) in the first movie goes to meet the Oracle (Gloria Foster) he sees several children, including the iconic … Continue reading Where Are All the Children in The Matrix?

“Live It Up in Style” — Appearance and Identity in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)

Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is a man who knows how to weaponize his appearance. The audience's introduction to the character in the first Beverly Hills Cop (1984) is a fakeout. Wearing a black, sleeveless T-shirt and olive drab military-style pants, we think Foley is a criminal selling a truck of stolen cigarettes to two mafioso … Continue reading “Live It Up in Style” — Appearance and Identity in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)

Watching Black Widow (2021) as a Girldad

Director Cate Shortland subtly explores how women and girls are harshly treated in this world with Black Widow (2021). This exploration is exactly why the first 15 minutes hit me so damn hard, and how that opening built up enough good will to carry me through the rest of the movie. Because there's no denying … Continue reading Watching Black Widow (2021) as a Girldad

What’s in a Name? Albert Pyun’s Nemesis (1992) as Trans Narrative

Does the concept of the cyborg lend itself to transgender readings? With a little help from RoboCop (1987), I'm going to attempt to argue that Albert Pyun's Nemesis (1992) has secretly been a trans narrative all these years! Pyun isn't exactly known for being a prestige filmmaker. The schlockmeister came on the scene with the … Continue reading What’s in a Name? Albert Pyun’s Nemesis (1992) as Trans Narrative

Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights: Death Metal — Rejecting Trump, Embracing Truth, Part 3

Read Part 2 here. The culmination of Scott Snyder's decade-long macro-narrative is centered on the power of absolute truth in a post-truth society. He explores this grand message not through Batman but with none other than the avatar of truth — Wonder Woman. The aftermath of Dark Nights: Metal saw Snyder transition into the monthly … Continue reading Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights: Death Metal — Rejecting Trump, Embracing Truth, Part 3

Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights: Death Metal — Rejecting Trump, Embracing Truth, Part 2

Read Part 1 here. Geoff Johns. Has any other name in geekdom fallen so far? Well, yeah, Joss Whedon for one. And ironically it's Whedon's fault that Johns's reputation has taken a hit. The DC Comics wunderkind has gradually transitioned into film in the last decade, starting with 2011’s Green Lantern. He was an executive … Continue reading Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights: Death Metal — Rejecting Trump, Embracing Truth, Part 2

Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights: Death Metal — Rejecting Trump, Embracing Truth, Part 1

In the days leading up to the 2016 United States Presidential Election, author Joyce Carol Oates had this to say: https://twitter.com/JoyceCarolOates/status/793816434073739264?s=20 People tend to trot this sentiment out during times of cultural and historical strife as a kind of salve. Look on the bright side, they say — punk music sprung out of Thatcher's England! … Continue reading Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights: Death Metal — Rejecting Trump, Embracing Truth, Part 1

Warlock (1989), David Twohy and the “Gay Ear”

Julian Sands's titular character kills many people over the course of 1989's Warlock, but the first person he kills in the movie is a gay man. This may seem like a minor detail, but a closer reading reveals screenwriter David Twohy and director Steve Miner are playing into 1980s clichés about queerness, gender roles and … Continue reading Warlock (1989), David Twohy and the “Gay Ear”

Teeth (2008) — Consent and Bodily Autonomy

A version of this blog post was originally published on March 22, 2017 for Birth.Movies.Death. This revised version has been reprinted here with permission. At this very moment Matt Gaetz, a Florida Congressman, is being investigated for having sex with a 17-year-old girl and possible sex trafficking. He bragged to his colleagues about women he'd … Continue reading Teeth (2008) — Consent and Bodily Autonomy

Sex and Androgyny in ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Dark Shadows’

A version of this blog post was originally published in Birth.Movies.Death's print magazine in September 2016. This revised version has been reprinted here with permission. Of the 19 theatrical movies Tim Burton has directed, to date, there is little in the way of onscreen sex. There’s gentle kisses, mournful yearning, androgyny and asexuality. His movies … Continue reading Sex and Androgyny in ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Dark Shadows’