Month: June 2015

Film Review: Inside Out

“Emotions can’t quit, genius” – Mindy Kaling as Disgust, Inside Out Ah, the film of the century. Or at least, so the numbers led me to believe. Pixar’s latest film, Inside Out, opened to a record-breaking weekend of $91.1 million in revenues, the highest grossing for a Pixar original and the biggest debut ever for a non-sequel movie. Judging a film by its numbers is (shocker) not always the best way to gauge the quality of the film. It turns out, however, that even being the highest-grossing film of all time means diddly-squat, now that nearly every new blockbuster ends up the most successful film of all time (for a few weeks, until the next one comes along). I recently attended a lecture on the economics of the Hollywood blockbuster, which presented Mark Harris’ theory on about the exploding blockbuster trend in Hollywood. In a nutshell, Harris posits that Hollywood’s obsession with the formulaic blockbuster and its ensuing, unending parade of sequels is precipitating the gradual, choking death of the art form. My primary objection to that fatalistic theory was Pixar – a studio that produces hit after hit with nary …

Avenging the Avengers

I recently wrote a piece (“Whedon’s Binary”) critiquing the way gender expression is treated in the Joss Whedon Avengers universe for the Joss Whedon Roundtable over at Hooded Utilitarian. This entry will be a first for me – a response to my HU piece (yes, I’ve progressed to actually arguing with myself). The HU piece was fun for me, but it was written entirely from the perspective of critical distance. I actually really enjoyed both Avengers films. So, as a lighthearted counterpoint to my original article (albeit from a slightly different angle than gender expression), I present to you: Five Feminist Moments from the Joss Whedon Avengers Universe: 1) When Black Widow pretends to be a helpless victim before kicking ass in the opening scene to the 2012 Avengers. She doesn’t require the villain to conveniently “mess up”, freeing herself only once she has the information she needs, proving her command of the entire situation. 2) When Black Widow successfully tricks Loki into revealing his secret plan by pretending to be an emotional “silly girl”. Loki mocks her emotions and gives away his angle …

Comics Review: Thor: The Goddess of Thunder

I’m the sort of book-lover who assumed she would never get a Kindle. I actually end up reading quite a few books on my Kindle app. I have an hour-long commute to work, and it’s just so easy – finish one book, download another, keep reading. There are lots of reasons why the Kindle-averse simply cannot give up their addiction to hard copies: the pleasant weight of a book in the hands, the satisfaction of turning the pages, the easy demarcation of favorite passages. These are oft-cited reasons, but they neglect the best part of physical books – the smell. I have always loved the smell of books. I could probably identify favorites from my childhood library by nose alone (I might even be able to do Harry Potter by volume). And the glossy pages of comic books smell like textbooks, which were always the best smelling type of literature. A superhero nerd like myself has access these days to immediate gratification given the easy availability of downloads on Marvel.com. Alas, as a book-sniffer, I’m normally a patiently-wait-for-the-collected-volume type of comic reader. …