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Amy Roberts

The upcoming 'Batwoman' series not only sounds like a fine addition to the Arrowverse, but it also sounds like it possesses a lot of potential to be a great show in and of itself.

Everything we know about The CW’s Batwoman show

By News

Back in July, Variety shared the news that The CW is developing a Batwoman series due to debut in 2019. You might be inclined to roll your eyes at the thought of another superhero drama, but you should have a little more faith in the Arrowverse that The CW has been building for the past six years.

Whether you’re a fan of the shows or not, there’s no denying the Arrowverse features some invigorating takes on the classic superhero canon along with some boundary-pushing characterization and storylines that promote diversity.

The upcoming Batwoman series not only sounds like a fine addition to the Arrowverse, but it also sounds like it possesses a lot of potential to be a great show in and of itself. Here’s everything we know about The CW’s Batwoman series so far that is making us hyped for it.

Batwoman will be the first openly gay female superhero on TV

If you hold this sentence close to your ear like a conch shell you can hear the shrieking of a thousand bros complaining about “SJWs” and “feminazis” – so we highly recommend against such a practice. As described by Variety, the show follows Kate Kane, a young woman “armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind” – which in fairness does sound like someone is deliberately trolling the sort of toxic fandoms who for some reason still believe superheroes should continue to be white, male, and straight forever.

Batwoman’s sexuality isn’t just an exercise in virtue signaling to keep the diversity back slaps coming – it’s also a crucial part of her identity and backstory. In the comics, Kate is shown to have a military background (which is why she’s so kickass) with a storyline that explores her being forced to quit when she’s accused of having a lesbian relationship with her roomie at the United States Military Academy, which she doesn’t deny because she’s an absolute boss. It’s a defining moment that undoubtedly shapes who she is as a woman and as a hero.

Batwoman has a complicated family history in the comics

It’s still uncertain how closely the show will stick to the comics, but considering the synopsis touches upon how “Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope”, it sounds like it may be sticking tight to the canon of the character.

Kate’s origin story is similar to Bruce Wayne’s, with the character witnessing the murder of her mother and sister and growing up to become a wealthy socialite after her father remarries a billionaire weapons heiress. There’s plenty of tortured angst to be found in the residue of that story, as Kate struggles with the ramifications of it. Worst still, Kate discovers her sister may not even be dead, bringing some serious doubt and complications to her already complicated life.

Batwoman is set to appear in the annual CW DC crossover episode

The CW’s president Mark Pedowitz announced at Upfront in May that Batwoman will be appearing in the network’s annual superhero series crossover event next season. Though it may only be a teaser, fans should regardless be excited for the first glimpse of the superhero (who is still yet to be casted) in the crossover event between The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.

A Smallville and The Vampire Diaries alum is serving as executive producer & writer

Having previously worked as a writer on the reboot of Melrose Place and Smallville and as an executive producer of teen-vamp fest The Vampire Diaries, Caroline Dries has the credentials necessary to lead a creative team in developing this comic book adaptation. Her experience on these shows should help to provide the perfect balance of delicious soapy drama, twist-heavy narrative, and genre goodness that the Arrowverse demands.

Greg Berlanti’s ever-expanding empire bodes well for the show

Though it’s still uncertain as to whether the show will even be picked up by The CW, we’re going to go all out and speculate that it seems damn likely it will be. Sarah Schechter and Berlanti are both executive producers on the show via Berlanti productions, which is presently dominating the network.

Currently, Berlanti has seven TV shows on The CW including all four of the DC shows, as well as Black Lightning, Riverdale, and upcoming high school drama All American. Beyond The CW, Berlanti is also a producer on a further seven TV shows including the upcoming Lifetime show You and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. So to add a Batwoman show to his CW roster? It’s a no brainer and we can’t wait to check it out as and when it gets picked up.

From 'Psycho' to 'The Birds', here’s our ranking of Alfred Hitchcock’s best movies in terms of female representation.

Ranking Alfred Hitchcock’s best films for female representation

By News

Between his famously sketchy on-set treatment of women to his depiction of them in his movies, Alfred Hitchcock remains a divisive filmmaker when it comes to women. Between the female stars he cast and the characters he cast them as, the director has repeatedly been criticized for a punishing perspective of women.

In his book Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life, Peter Ackroyd suggested that Hitchcock’s often perverse personal perspective of women seeped through into his cinematic one.  

“The sexual fantasies of his adult life were lavish and peculiar, and, from the evidence of his films, he enjoyed devising the rape and murder of women.”

Meanwhile, Roger Ebert once suggested that the “blond . . . icy and remote” women of Hitchcock’s movies were all treated in a similar manner: “Sooner or later, every Hitchcock woman was humiliated.”

However, while there are certainly some films we agree on regarding this, there are other Hitchcock movies that actually provide captivating and unusual depictions of women that were well ahead of their time.

Here’s our ranking of Hitchcock’s best movies in terms of female representation.

12. Strangers on a Train (1951)

Hitchcock’s suspenseful conspiratorial film noir (based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name) is an undoubted masterpiece of intrigue – even if the subtextual use of the “depraved homosexual” trope in the character of Bruno (Robert Walker) is irksome in retrospect.

Though Miriam (Laura Elliott) is a promiscuous monster murdered for her cold-hearted lascivious ways, the rest of the women in the movie remain on the periphery of the story as moral radars, pointing as to whom they think is innocent or guilty.

11. North by Northwest (1959)

Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) is a female character as defined by her duplicity in the story, as she is by her staggering beauty and sensuality.

As a result, the character is made love to on a train by Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) and dragged along Mount Rushmore like a woman forced on a hiking expedition for a first date. However, she’s far more integral to the story than Hitchcock’s wanton gaze of her suggests.

10. To Catch a Thief (1955)

It’s Grace Kelly and Cary Grant enjoying a romantic vacay together! The romantic caper is charming and dazzling, if a little overly simplistic.

Still, the chemistry between Grant and Kelly is lit as ever and Frances Stevens (Kelly) is a hot-headed gem of a character with an audacious love for danger that’s delightful to watch.

9. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Doris Day is an unexpected standout in this thriller where she plays a female character who capably subverts Hitchcock’s usual icy blondes. Not only is she sweet and tender as the mother of a boy snatched by a terrorist organization, but she’s also dynamic and tenacious in her bid to save him.

8. Dial M for Murder (1954)

Margot Wendice (Kelly) using a pair of scissors to stab her attempted murderer is one of the most powerful images of Hitchcock’s overall ouvre – particularly as it shows a woman repurposing a domestic instrument into being an object of violent survival.

Aside from that, however, Margot isn’t the greatest Hitchcock heroine ever devised and she’s also the only main female character surrounded by male detectives, killers, and lovers.

7. Vertigo (1958)

Much has been said about how Vertigo (no matter how important a movie) is “still considered the last word in misogynistic creepiness,” as Kim Novak takes on dual ones, one of which is shaped into the ultimate fetish doll of James Stewart’s Scottie.

However, as The Guardian once suggested, there’s an argument to be made that Vertigo “is not an example of misogyny, but an overblown, beautiful and tragic deconstruction of it.”

6. Rear Window (1954)

It could be argued that via the voyeurism of Jefferies (Stewart), Rear Window is a tribute to the perverse power of the male gaze and that women don’t particularly factor into that narrative as active participants.

However, Thelma Ritter is exceptional as Jefferies’s quippy nurse and Kelly is as bodacious and intelligent a heroine as you could ever hope to see – even if we only touch the surface of her intrepid character.

5. Rebecca (1940)

The gothic melodrama based on Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel features one of Hitchcock’s most intriguing and chilling lead female characters in the form of Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) – a lonely housekeeper obsessed with the dead wife of her master.

The psychological back and forth between the character and the long-suffering Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine) makes Rebecca a rare Hitchcock movie that revolves around two lead female characters in peculiar roles.

4. Notorious (1946)

One of Hitchcock’s rare attempts at romance actually draws an incredibly complex female character in the form of Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) – an undercover spy tasked with infiltrating a group of Nazis in South America.

Alicia’s mission becomes complicated by her falling in love with co-worker Devlin (Grant) while marrying family friend Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), but her role is never undermined by the romance. Alicia remains a powerful portrait struggling to consolidate her desires to do right by herself, her family, and her country.

3. The Birds (1963)

The behind the scenes cruelty and sexual harassment of model-turned-actress Tippi Hedren at the hands of Hitchcock during the making of the film has been well documented and is galling to revisit in full. However, Hedren’s character (Melanie Daniels) is one of Hitchcock’s finest.

Daniels is a firebrand of a woman – a free spirit and a prankster who does whatever the fuck she wants. However, when nature starts going apeshit, it’s fascinating to see the vulnerability splinter through the cool veneer even as she fights back.

2. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

One of the most underrated and influential characters in cinema history has to be Charlotte (Teresa Wright) – a dissatisfied angst-ridden teenager who starts to suspect the uncle she idolizes might actually be a serial killer.

The noir mystery hits some subtle incest beats that are challenging to get past, but ultimately Charlotte is compellingly complex. She’s a young woman fighting for survival and for peace of mind while also losing a pivotal part of her innocence in the process.

1. Psycho (1960)

All shower slaughter and voyeuristic glimpses of nudity aside, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is a subversive female character (particularly for the time) who simply seeks self-gratification and freedom at whatever cost.

Likewise, her sister Lila (Vera Miles) is arguably the first archetypal final girl of horror, refusing to back down in her investigation of her sister’s disappearance and showing true tenacity in her disturbing search for answers.

To mark the release of Hulu's documentary 'Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie' we're examining Barbie’s cultural legacy.

Bimbo or renegade? Examining Barbie’s cultural legacy

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At the beginning of Hulu’s documentary Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie, we hear a series of various people offering their take on the legacy of Mattel’s iconic, plastic, and often controversial doll.

She’s destined to be a polarizing figure because “femininity has always been a contested space,” one states. “She’s the symbol of America,” another proclaims. Someone else muses that Barbie represents something far beyond the doll we all played with as children, arguing “Barbie symbolically gets caught up” in issues surrounding “gender roles, and white supremacy, and body image, and beauty myths.” Ultimately, as a Mattel worker later suggests, Barbie comes with “a lot of baggage”.

Toy market and society aside, that’s perhaps most evident in how Barbie is depicted in popular culture. The name “Barbie” has become synonymous with depicting a certain type of woman and is exchanged on screen as a barbed insult.

It’s the name that Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) repeatedly uses to denigrate Elliot (Sarah Chalke) with during Scrubs; is the reference that Otis (Bill Moseley) reels out as a slur against a female victim during House of 1000 Corpses (“you Malibu middle class Barbie piece of shit!”); and it’s the persona that all the vacuous mean girls dress up as in Never Been Kissed (thus proving that they’re total trash).

All of which is understandable. In recent years, Barbie has suffered a decline in popularity and in sales. As Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie highlights, the classic doll hasn’t kept up with modern trends or social changes and her impossibly shaped figure, porcelain skin, and white blonde hair are hardly representative of modern America.

Barbie started out as a renegade career woman at a time when this simply wasn’t an option for the average housewives who may have watched their daughters play with the ambitious toy. But over the decades Barbie soon became a plastic relic; an icon of mass consumerism and disposable playthings with little else to offer young girls.

In the 1994 episode of The Simpsons titled “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”, we see little Lisa Simpson (Yeardley Smith) raging against this idea as she discovers her latest Malibu Stacy doll is fortified with a series of pull string sexist sentiments like “Thinking too much gives you wrinkles” and “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl”. Clearly based on Teen Talk Barbie – a version of the doll released in 1992 that spouted such dismal “teen talk” phrases as “Will we ever have enough clothes?” and “Math class is tough!” – bimbo Barbie was in full effect.

Distraught, Lisa seeks out the creator of Malibu Stacy, Stacy Lovell (played by an on form Kathleen Turner) and makes an aspirational toy called Lisa Lionheart with the woman who she hopes will inspire little girls to be smart, ambitious, daring, and confident.

However, when it comes to releasing the toy, it’s a massive failure overshadowed by the release of a new Malibu Stacy toy – an updated version of an older model who just happens to come with a new hat. But a closing shot shows one little girl looking clearly delighted with a Lisa Lionheart doll. “If we get through to just that one little girl then it’ll all be worth it,” Lisa states optimistically, measuring success in positive influence instead of dollar signs.

The episode powerfully highlights that representation is important. And that’s as apparent in TV and film (where many of Hollywood’s most popular and best paid female stars are as blonde, white, and impossibly skinny as the classic Barbie doll) as it is with toys.

The more that Barbie has been depicted as a superficial bimbo, the more it’s become the overwhelming legacy of a progressive doll that once assumed the role of an astronaut decades before the first human woman was able to and that took the role of a presidential candidate back when Hillary Clinton was just Bill’s other half.

In 2010, Toy Story 3 both played up to and masterfully subverted Barbie’s bimbo persona with the doll shown swooning for Ken (Michael Keaton) and shrieking over a closet stacked with outfits. All the while, Barbie (Jodi Benson) looked as bright-eyed and dim-witted as ever.

However, later on in the movie, Barbie develops some serious grit and strikes back against her beloved in a bid for information about what the evil Lotso (Ned Beatty) has done to Buzz (Tim Allen). Barbie gets mean, ties Ken up to a ping pong paddle, and proceeds to tear up all of his cute little 0utfits right in front of him in a show of torture.

The Toy Story version of Barbie shrewdly and wittily celebrates everything that has managed to maintain Barbie’s success over the years – the doll is unabashedly feminine (even when she’s torturing someone) but at her best, she’s always had a lot more going on than just being a plastic airhead. As Pixar’s interpretation proved, the doll is also only as stupid as we allow her to be (all pull string faux-pas aside).

Barbie can take on whatever narrative we create for her and by depicting the toy as a one-dimensional dummie, we’re also carelessly reflecting some of the worst tropes of our media – female characters can only be one archetype, blonde women are idiots, and femininity and beauty are to be considered a weakness.

As we tune in to watch Westworld’s life-size Barbie dolls Dolores & Maeve prove they’re more than just body parts and disposable punching bags on HBO and we watch the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race strut out definitions of femininity and glamor in a way that Barbie would surely approve of, the doll and everything it represents is more relevant than ever in modern society.

Whether Barbie is a vapid bimbo or a renegade of a toy is up to all of us to decide for ourselves. But if the doll truly is the symbol of America, we’d do well to think there are some brains rattling around inside that little plastic head of hers and that she isn’t just an embodiment of all the weakest stereotypes ever perpetrated against women in our culture today.

Ranking Kristen Bell’s snarkiest roles

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Like Father landing on Netflix in July, starring Kristen Bell as a woman unexpectedly reunited with her estranged father (Kelsey Grammer) after she’s ditched at the altar on her wedding day.

Naturally, a bender ensues (because what the hell else are you gonna do when you get dumped like that?) and Bell’s character wakes up aboard her honeymoon cruise with ole Pops in tow. Oh, and Seth Rogen also turns up on board to provide some “rebound assistance” to the lady – if you know what we mean.

The movie is filled with the kind of lighthearted yet heartwarming japes we need after a long mind-melting day. It’s also one that utilizes all of Bell’s best skills – her adorable sincerity, her luminous charisma, and (most importantly) her sharp acerbic sense of snark.

We’re huge fans of the multi-talented actor and have been for a long time. Which is why we’re kind of the experts on what her greatest roles have been in her career so far. Here’s our ranking of our favorite sassiest and snarkiest performances from Bell so far.

14. Flora Anderson: Deadwood (2004)

The teenage conartist didn’t fare well in the mean streets of Deadwood. Poor Flora didn’t win. Turns out those old boys were wise to the tricks her and her brother were trying to pull and they were both savagely murdered for it. Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

13. Sarah Marshall: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Depicting an actress who plays a sassy on-screen crime fighter (hmm, sounds familiar somehow), Bell’s talents are woefully underused in this Judd Apatow production in which she plays a bitchy ex of Jason Segel’s everyday schlub.

12. Nikki: Burlesque (2010)

People forget that Bell donned a darker look to star alongside Cher and Christina Aguilera in this musical flop that’s become a bad movie cult classic. But honestly? She’s kind of terrific in it!

11. Veronica Mars / Kristen Bell: Play It Again, Dick (2014)

Ryan Hansen’s web series spinoff of Veronica Mars helped to promote the release of the highly anticipated Veronica Mars movie. The show’s cast reunited for the quirky meta-series, playing versions of themselves clearly exhausted by Hansen’s determination to develop a Dick Casablancas spinoff.

Naturally, this meant Bell plays a caustic version of herself similar to her guest appearance in the show Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television.

10. Kristen Bell: iZombie (2016)

Though her cameo is brief in the one episode of the Rob Thomas horror-crime comedy, it’s also stupendous. Particularly to hear Liv (Rose McIver) declare she’s always felt a “connection” to Bell before listening to the actor narrating an erotic audiobook.

9. Ingrid De Forest: Parks and Recreation (2013-2014)

One of many of Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) bureaucratic foes, De Forest is mean, manipulative, and mercifully revealed to be inept – and Bell is pure comedy gold in the role.

8. Elle Bishop: Heroes (2007-2008)

A complex antihero with the power of electronic manipulation, Elle is deeply unstable but is also utterly captivating. A major part of that is thanks to Bell’s incredible charisma in the role – arguably the actor’s real-life superpower.

7. Uda Bengt: Party Down (2009-2010)

As the uptight leader of Valhalla Catering, Bell clearly delights in being able to fire off sharp, savage snipes against the poor hapless bastards of the catering team. Uda is a veritable nightmare, busting Ron’s (Ken Marino) balls at every opportunity and taking an unexpected shine to Henry (Adam Scott).

6. Anna: Frozen (2013)

If you don’t know every word to “Let it Go” thanks to your love for Bell, you’re either utterly lying or don’t have a ten year old niece you babysit all the time.

5. Kiki: Bad Moms (2016)

If there’s one thing we love, it’s seeing Bell getting down with her bad self and pushing her comedic skills to full capacity. Opposite Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn, the star parties like a mother and lets her sardonic side shine.

4. Chloe: Scream 4 (2011)

Scream 4 is easily one of the most fun horror films of the past decade, with a genius opening act that reveals a Stab film within a Stab film within a Scream film that catches the audience up on the previous decade of horror.

Bell plays a surprising Stab character who murders her bestie (Anna Paquin) for talking too much, telling her dying pal, “shut the fuck up and watch the movie.”

3. Gossip Girl: Gossip Girl (2007-2012)

As the voice of salacious blogger Gossip Girl (your one and only source in the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite), Bell is probably the greatest TV show narrator of all time. Every line drips with sass, snark, and sophistication.

We’re still disappointed a certain Lonely Boy (Penn Badgley) was revealed to have been the trashy blogger the whole time (and, frankly, confused), but we were at least happy to see Bell enjoy a cameo in the final episode opposite Rachel Bilson.

2. Eleanor Shellstrop: The Good Place (2016-)

Fork yeah! The NBC comedy has only been on the air for two years, but we’re already completely taken with Bell’s complex portrayal of bad-girl-making-good Eleanor. The character is mischievous and selfish, but with the help of Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Good Place engineer Michael (Ted Danson), she’s coming round to the idea of being her best self.

The character’s journey (and Bell’s depiction of her growth) is subsequently as funny as it is heartwarming.

1. Veronica Mars: Veronica Mars (2004-2007)

The sassiest, smartest, snarkiest teenage detective the world has ever seen, Veronica Mars is probably the role most fans fell in love with Bell for.

The self-proclaimed Marshmallow (as defined in the 2014 movie, at least) used her diminutive and adorable looks to her advantage to take down the crooks of Neptune and gain access to just about wherever the hell she wanted.

Let’s celebrate the recent release of 'That Summer' by looking back at all the times 'Grey Gardens' was everything.

All the reasons ‘Grey Gardens’ is everything

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Throw a scarf around your head and start putting together your best costume for the day ahead, because we’re heading back to Grey Gardens. Albert & David Maysles’ beloved 1975 tragicomic documentary focused on the eccentric lives of mother and daughter Little & Big Edie Beale. It was also partly inspired by a 1972 project initiated by artist Peter Beard and Lee Radziwill (sister of Jackie Kennedy and cousin of the Beales). And now fans can finally enjoy the precursor to Grey Gardens in the documentary That Summer, which released back in May.

Transformed into a feature documentary by Swedish filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson (who previously worked his magic on archive footage for The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 in 2011), the documentary offers rare insights into the Beale family dynamic with the mother and daughter reflecting on their history. The footage also features Beard and his collective of various artists and socialites including Andy Warhol (Blue Movie) who also worked on the footage.

While we’re here, let’s celebrate the recent release of That Summer by looking back at all the times Grey Gardens was everything.

The best costume for the day

One of the biggest delights of Grey Gardens is witnessing the “costume” choices Little Edie makes every day. Her unbridled, almost childish delight and enthusiasm in showing her creations off is almost as joyful as the looks themselves. In this particular scene, Little Edie goes into meticulous detail about how she’s fashioned her skirt and why you must always wear shorts or pantyhose with such a look. The other benefits of her ensemble? “You can always wear the skirt as a cape.” Ingenious.

Little Edie wants to sing but Big Edie doesn’t want to hear it

The scrappy bickering between mother and daughter in Grey Gardens is one of the most hilarious and horrifying centerpieces of the movie. By far the greatest bout between the two is when Little Edie insists on singing (as she does throughout the film) much to Big Edie’s disgust and chagrin. At one point Big Edie brings a radio into the room to try and drown out the noise of her daughter. Amid the cacophony of the fight, there’s a disastrous attempt at breakfast and one instance of Big Edie exposing herself when her bathing suit falls off. It’s pure chaos.

Little Edie refuses to quit

In another spat between Big & Little Edie concerning the daughter’s singing, Big Edie snipes, “You’re singing incorrectly! Very ugly.” Deflated, Little Edie sits down on the bed and for a moment she looks to be defeated. Just seconds later she’s crooning again.

Using a magnifying glass to inspect the zodiac

While reading a book about astrology with a magnifying glass, Little Edie announces one of her biggest tragedies is not being able to marry the man she loves due to astrological incompatibility. “I’m Scorpio, he’s Sagittarius,” she muses before diving into a caustic rant about how “no-one takes into account how sensitive a person can be” and how ludicrous the accusations that she’s schizophrenic are. “No Beale was ever schizophrenic!”

Little Edie is definitely not having a nervous breakdown

Emerging from the house wearing one of her many outstanding creations, Little Edie starts singing Rudy Vallee’s “You Oughta be in Pictures” with a girlish sparkle in her eyes. Like many of the best moments from Grey Gardens, the scene starts off sweet and full of mirth before taking a sharp detour as Little Edie starts talking about a conversation she had with her brother’s friend who “scares” her. “She said I was having a nervous breakdown, I should go to Atlantic city. I’m not that broken down yet!” Edie smiles. Then she continues singing. It’s more than a little uncomfortable to watch but also oddly victorious.

The best worst dance performance

Is Little Edie’s flag dance the most underwhelming attempt at American patriotism put on film? Absolutely. Is it also the most phenomenal? Damn right it is.

Dealing with a staunch woman

Entering the gardens looking like she’s “dressed for battle” as the filmmaker suggests, Little Edie delivers one of the greatest speeches in the history of familial disputes. “In dealing with me, the relatives didn’t know that they were dealing with a staunch character and I tell you if there’s anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman . . . S-T-A-U-N-C-H. There’s nothing worse, I’m telling you. They don’t weaken, no matter what.”

Big Edie takes no prisoners

Lying in bed, Big Edie delivers a double-hitter of disparagement when she casually comments to Little Edie, “Your face is so ugly! You have such an ugly face.” When her daughter leaves the room, Big Edie barely misses a beat before she’s chastising someone else in the room for sneezing. “Do you want a handkerchief?! It’s too late now! All the germs are round the room.” She’s so monstrous but so enthralling.

All the times Princess Leia was a total boss in ‘Star Wars’

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It’s been a couple of months now since Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters, so no doubt Disney is already making big plans to continue milking that cash cow by bringing out yet another rushed edition from the intergalactic mega-franchise.

Let it be known that we’re not adverse to a bit of bonus space opera fun – but we miss the old days when the writers were not under strict time constraints and when the creative team members were given time to develop detailed stories, characters, and universes.

Looking back to better times, we wanted to celebrate the most badass warrior princess of any known galaxy – Leia Organa Solo (Carrie Fisher). As a princess, she’s the fiercest of them all; a true renegade who could handle her shit, fight her own battles, and refuse any and every rule book anyone tried to force upon her.

In celebration of this character’s ferocious badassery (and that of Fisher’s), here’s a ranking of the eight boldest times Leia was a total boss.

8. Leia devastates with a single word: Rogue One (2016)

She may be on screen for just a few seconds, but with one word she sums up the overall theme of the movie perfectly – “Hope”. With that we all burst into tears and will continue to do so, thanks.

7. Leia finally gives in to her feelings and kisses Han: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

We’re so here for game playing and feigning disinterest in an arrogant nerf-herder like Han just to keep him on his toes. But we’re also all about that moment when she finally lets herself live a little and allows for Han (Harrison Ford) to woo her and smooch her. That chemistry is as lit as a lightsaber in a bag of dynamite, honey!

6. Leia tunes in to Luke’s crisis call: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

With her fella potentially frozen for all time (and hell, possibly dead – what are the health and safety space laws concerning carbonite imprisonment?), you’d expect Leia to be on one taking out bad guys left, right, and center with her bare hands and Jedi trickery. But instead she’s cool and collected, her focus likely helping to guide her to a moment of pure heroics as she tunes in to Luke’s (Mark Hamill) desperate cries for help and swoops in with Lando to save the goddamn day.

5. General Leia doesn’t offer Han a grandiose reunion: The Force Awakens (2015)

Secretly, most of us were hankering for that satisfying moment when Han and Leia were finally drawn back into each other’s orbit during The Force Awakens. Except the passionate, tearful reunion we all craved wasn’t there. Instead, Leia was cool and aloof – a woman who had explored all the dimensions of a relationship and could now only offer gentle ribbing instead of kisses. Her knowing smile says it all – their love defies convention.

4. Leia takes charge: A New Hope (1977)

This lady has no time for Han’s swaggering ego or Chewie’s clunking form (“Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?!”) and though she starts out the movie as a damsel in distress, it’s clear she’s anything but. This princess is a fierce warrior who doesn’t need a wookie and a scavenger to protect her or lead the way. She’s the boss who blasts their route to freedom, proving she has no time for these space dilettantes and their amateur heroics.

3. Leia rescues Han: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Think of it like Sleeping Beauty; except here, Han is the princess who needs waking after some time in a state of sleep and Leia is the prince who must disguise herself as a bounty hunter to take on Boba Fett & Jabba to awaken her true love from his slumber (0r however that fairytale goes). The point is, Leia shows up and shows off in the most fearless and badass of ways in order to rescue her honey from Jabba’s icy, slimy grip.

2. Leia uses her chains to slaughter Jabba: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Don’t let that gold bikini distract you from what is possibly Leia’s most poignant, feminist, and legendary move in the history of the series. By using the chains that had kept her captive in Jabba’s lair to kill the monstrous sleazeball, she uses his abhorrent behavior against him. Using literally oppressive shackles as a means for liberation? Total boss move.

1. Leia still has the last word: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Han is about to be thrown into carbonite for Lord knows how long and Leia is obviously trippin’ over that fact (as anyone would be). Somehow she manages to maintain her cool throughout the whole ordeal, including the offer of a savvy one-liner in place of a romantic platitude. “I love you,” Han tells her in a way that suggests he’s probably never sincerely shared this level of intimacy with a woman before. “I know,” Leia responds, smirking before throwing on a pair of shades and sparking up a cigar (that was probably a deleted scene).

Mother of New Wave: Agnès Varda’s most influential films

By News

Back in May, legendary French filmmaker Agnès Varda enjoyed her 90th birthday. And as she declared recently in an interview with The New Yorker, she’s still just as full as life as she ever was.

“I’m just a little deteriorating lady. But I’m not sad! I have trouble seeing. I don’t hear well. I’m not good with stairs. But people always tell me that I’m full of energy. I am! Energy has nothing to do with the body. It’s the mind, it’s the brain, it’s the joie de vivre.”

That energy is something that has been a vivid part of her work for the entirety of her career. Whether it’s a documentary, work of fiction, or a neo-realistic blend of the two, Varda’s wit, intelligence, and empathy bursts through each and every one of her films.

Often called the mother of the French New Wave, Varda is one of the most important and influential filmmakers in cinema history. To celebrate her life’s work, here’s our ranking of Varda’s eleven most seminal movies worth rewatching or enjoying for the first time.

11. Les Plages d’Agnès (2008)

Brimming with emotion Varda’s autobiographical documentary balances mirth with mourning as it delves into various aspects of the legendary filmmakers eventful life.  Evoking a swirl of emotional memories Varda revisits locales that have been important to her and presents them alongside archive footage and interviews offering an intimate and illuminating sojourn through the filmmaking process.

10. Sans Toit Ni Loi (1985)

Starring a young Sandrine Bonnaire in a César-winning performance, Sans Toit Ni Loi is one of Varda’s bleakest movies but remains one of her most celebrated having won the Golden Lion for the film at the 1985 Venice Film Festival. Examining the life and motivations of a homeless woman following her death, the movie explores a potentially futile search for absolute freedom.

9. Faces Places (2017)

One of Varda’s breeziest, upbeat, and captivating films centers around Varda as she forms an unlikely friendship with artist JR (Women Are Heroes) during a journey through rural France. The movie won the Oeil d’or at Cannes in 2017 and is a vivacious burst of emotion and laughter.

8. Le Bonheur (1965)

Arguably one of the most influential movies of its kind (and one that likely helped inspire American films like Fatal Attraction), this account of a happily married suburban man who suffers tragic consequences for falling in love with another woman could be seen as a “lyrical evocation of the joys of free love” or a “dark parable of patriarchal cruelty”.

7. Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000)

Profound and witty, Varda’s portrait documentary about the people who scavenge offers a warm and complex portrait of humanity. The “gleaners” featured include artists cobbling together found art pieces, people scavenging to survive, and those hoping to recreate a community spirit of the past. What really brings the movie to life, however, is Varda’s singular personality with her shining and often amusing narration adding unseen depths.

6. Le Petit Amour (1988)

There are many modern movies that have tried to evoke a similar sense of discomfort and suburban malaise as Le Petit Amour does but none have done so as elegantly as Varda’s film. Following a highly taboo relationship between a woman in her 40’s (Jane Birkin) who falls in love with a 15 year old (Mathieu Demy) friend of her daughter (Charlotte Gainsbourg), Varda examines the complex and often beguiling mechanics of love.

5. Jacquot de Nantes (1991)

Varda’s poignant tribute to her late husband, the revered filmmaker Jacques Demy (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), Jacquot de Nantes provides a fictional reconstruction of his childhood in 1940’s Naples. The film traverses the young life of Jacquot during three seminal periods as his discovers and pursues his passion for cinema. Varda punctuates fictional scenes with contemporary footage of her terminally ill husband who died a few days after the film wrapped making it a searingly beautiful epitaph to the man, his passions, and Varda’s deep affection for him.

4. Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962)

A landmark work of the Nouvelle Vague, Cléo de 5 à 7 follows a self-absorbed pop star (Corinne Marchand) after she receives an ominous tarot card reading while awaiting the results of a potential cancer biopsy. Set across two hours in almost real time, Cléo wanders around Paris before finding comfort and peace in her meeting with a soldier who puts her life and troubles into serious perspective.

3. La Pointe Courte (1955)

Varda’s striking debut film is packed full lush visual aesthetics and is a stylistic precursor to the French New Wave. Offering a penetrating study of an unhappy couple working through their fledgling relationship in a small fishing town, the film is graceful and intriguing. Particularly as it blends the performances of actors Philippe Noiret and Silvia Monfort with the lives of La Pointe Courte residents as they grapple with hardship and tragedies.

2. Daguerréotypes (1976)

The groundbreaking portrait of shopkeepers in Varda’s home neighborhood introduced the idea of tender and anthropology into filmmaking. The film sprawls across the many mysteries and nuances of human nature and provides an intimate look at everyday people.

1. L’une chante, l’autre pas (1977)

Featuring heartfelt performances from Valérie Mairesse and Thérèse Liotard as two close friends who lose tough only to renew their relationship over a decade later, L’une chante, l’autre pas is a touching portrait of a female friendship during a pivotal political time. Told across a fifteen year period punctuated by the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s the movie remains a feminist touchstone work as lyrical as it is important.

Watching Stanley Kubrick’s films through a feminist lens

By News

Did you know it was acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick’s birthday last month? The prolific filmmaker (who passed away in 1999) would have turned 90. To honor the occasion, the official Twitter page posted a tribute video made up exclusively of white male filmmakers fawning over the filmmaker’s genius (and their own).

Martin Scorsese stares straight into the camera as though he’s delivering a cult induction video and suggests Kubrick is something “you live by”. Christopher Nolan (a director known for “fridging” the female characters in many of his films) stated simply that Kubrick’s movies have a “very special place” in his heart.

Meanwhile, Simon Pegg simply reeled off even more white great male directors in his honoring of the late director, stating, “The likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola – those guys are the movie brats that shaped the contemporary movie industry but I think all of those guys would absolutely defer to Kubrick as being a huge influence.”

We’re obviously huge fans of the director’s work and there’s no doubt he helped to influence an insurmountable volume of independent and Hollywood movies – but he isn’t beyond reproach. Furthermore, tributes like this that only focus on the white male perspective of his oeuvre and influence do little to counter criticisms that Kubrick’s treatment of women during production and as characters in his films was (to put it politely) a little iffy.

It’s a criticism that was brought to mainstream attention when Stephen King (who has long and openly challenged Kubrick’s treatment of his novel The Shining) called Kubrick’s depiction of Wendy Torrance (Shelley DuVall) “one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film” in an interview with the BBC. The horror writer reasoned that the character is “basically just there to scream and be stupid and that’s not the woman that I wrote about.”

It’s a difficult criticism to argue against. For as multi-layered and truly ingenious as The Shining may be as a film, Wendy is a shrill prop of a woman – a thing to swing an axe at. The character is further worsened by Kubrick’s merciless treatment of DuVall while directing her on set.

In the behind the scenes documentary of The Shining filmed by Kubrick’s daughter Vivian, we witness the abuses DuVall endured at the hands of the director – all in the name of enhancing Wendy’s insecurities. Such intense pressure was heaped onto DuVall that she notoriously suffered hair loss from the stress of it all and was found crying between takes.

The culmination of which is most evident in the iconic scene in which Wendy swings a baseball bat at a deranged Jack. Her hysteria is palpable and it’s also very real – it broke the World Record of the most takes ever shot for a scene with spoken dialogue at 127 takes. In the documentary, Kubrick can even be heard urging other crew members “don’t sympathise with Shelley” even though she’s stood right next to him. It’s just locker room talk, right fellas? Such jokes. Much funny.

Following the film’s release, DuVall opened up to film critic Roger Ebert that she essentially “had to cry 12 hours a day, all day long . . . nine months straight, five or six days a week.” She also sadly lamented that for all her hard work and suffering, she wasn’t recognized for her efforts, with critics failing “even to mention it, it seemed like. The reviews were all about Kubrick like I wasn’t there.”

It’s a telling quote and it perfectly summarizes some of the criticisms of Kubrick’s work when viewed through a feminist lens. In Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut, and A Clockwork Orange, women tend to take two forms – they’re either young sexual objects or they’re elder shrews.

The lusty nymphets who strut, seduce, and are sexually and rapaciously consumed provide a framing of a woman’s power being solely beholden to her youth and beauty. The older women of these movies tend to be subsequently rendered weak and powerless and pushed into the outer frame of shots.

As Danielle R. Pearce wrote in her essay “Kubrick, Misogyny & The Human Condition”, in Lolita, “severe contrasts can be seen between mother and daughter. Kubrick clearly places Lolita in the center of frame when she is featured. This is different to her mother, whom is consistently framed off center – in the periphery. Humbert is fixated on Lolita, however Charlotte is simply an annoyance to him.”

There’s obviously an argument to be made (especially considering the satirical nature of Lolita) that Kubrick is simply reflecting societal attitudes towards women. Particularly in regards to how young and beautiful women are given prominence across all corners of society while women beyond a particular age (even a goddess like Nicole Kidman) are pushed to the outer fringes.

The problem with that reading (no matter how true it may be in regards to his intentions) is that he never made a film that truly challenged the idea of women being anything more than victims, objects, or shrews. In Killer’s Kiss, the heroine is relegated to the subordinate role of a frightened dancer striving to escape her dangerous boss, while in Barry Lyndon the movie explores ideas surrounding toxic masculinity, but still depicts a cheery scoundrel of a protagonist who marries a woman for her money and has his merry way with their merry maids.

In Kubrick’s further masterpieces Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Paths of Glory, and Full Metal Jacket, women are mostly absent from the narrative. Which, in all honesty, is fine – we’re happy to enjoy a film mostly free of a female presence than one where a woman has been awkwardly shoved in for the token representation. The point is that Kubrick’s vision was such an obstinately male one that it left absolutely no space for a single complex female character or perspective.

And you know what? That’s fine. Grab a spoon and eat your fill of it if that’s what you think is the marker of masterful filmmaking. However, it leaves a distasteful residue upon the history of Hollywood that Kubrick is still renowned as being one of the most influential directors of all time. Especially when a modern perspective on his legacy still only offers a male white championing on the impact he continues to have on modern filmmaking.

To ensure that you can become a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling while bingewatching the second season, here’s our guide on how to dress like a 'GLOW' superstar.

‘GLOW’ style: How to dress like a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling

By News

As we wait for news of whether Netflix will or won’t pick up GLOW for a third season, what better way to show the streaming site your appreciation of the show by dressing up as your very own Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling and pulling some shapes that would even make Zoya the Destroyer blush.

To do so, you’ll likely be tempted to drop a fair chunk of money on a set of spandex ensembles. But the truth is, it takes a lot more than some shiny leotards to dress like a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling – the look revolves around a specific attitude, not just a whole set of shimmering looks.

To ensure that you can become a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling while bingewatching the second season, here’s our guide on how to dress like a GLOW superstar.

Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have

Early on in S1 we see Ruth (Alison Brie) drawing inspiration from iconic wrestler Hulk Hogan to practice some moves and some serious looks in her bedroom. Why? Because she wants this job, dammit! Rip open an old shirt, tie a towel around your head, and give yourself a fierce pep talk in the mirror to be the person you know you can be.

Don’t be afraid of a DIY look

Sometimes you just have to go with your instinct, cut some fingers out of a pair of dish washing gloves, and Frankenstein an outfit out of old threads to look your best.

Try new things

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling aren’t afraid of invention and neither should you be! Every day is an opportunity to be someone new. If that means throwing on a space helmet or a cape to your boss’s party, so be it!

You’d better work!

Who says a workout wardrobe has to be drab? Look as fierce as your regime is by rockin’ a heroic leotard, some rainbow leg warmers, and a cut off tee. Or make like Tammé Dawson (Kia Stevens) and tone down that badass body with some delicate floral spandex.

Don’t be afraid of bringing some major hair game to the gym, though. Braids and bouffants make you stronger, honey!

Speaking of which, your hair – go big or go home!

The bigger, the better, ladies and gentlemen. There are powers to be pulled from a high stack of well spitzed hair. Pair with your best gnarly fighting face.

And take your opponents down.

Your day & night looks both need to involve pure power outfits

Whether you’re kicking ass hustling for money like the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling do when they’re trying to fund the show or kicking ass in this big wrestling ring called life, you need to bring some power to your look. For daytime, this means dazzling the world for money like Melanie (Jackie Tohn):

Before unleashing your bad girl after dark with enormous hair and bodycon realness.

Experimenting with some bold shoulders, sleek hair, and sweet colors like Jenny (Ellen Wong).

Before letting your hair down and letting your wild side out.

Looking like Nancy Reagan one moment.

And looking like Nancy Reagan’s worst nightmare the next.

Always try and work a solid pair of suspenders into your look

Justine (Britt Baron) is a big fan of them and so are we. Incorporate them into every look possible. It’s dynamite!

Most importantly, always be true to yourself

We hate that characters Arthie (Sunita Mani), Reggie (Marianna Palka), Tammé, and Jenny are forced to dress as the obnoxiously offensive stereotypes of their respective heritages. Particularly as their characters are nothing like the wrestling personas they’re forced to adopt. To dress like a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling means knowing yourself and celebrating your strengths, just like Sheila who never loses sight of herself even at the damn roller disco.

Jump off the ropes and go dazzle the world, folks!

Dark Betty (as the character is known in the show) wears a black bobbed wig and has a penchant for black lacy lingerie. She’s super dark, folks, and her dress sense reflects it.

Why ‘Riverdale’ needs to drop the Dark Betty trope

By Uncategorized

You could say it all started with Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) in Grease. Perming her hair into a seductive cloud, pouring herself into a pair of smothering skin tights, and lighting a cigarette she has no idea how to smoke. And all in the service of suggesting that Sandy has a secret darkness inside of her.

With a new dark wardrobe and sultry spirit, she exudes confidence and deviance. She can rock with Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and the rest of the T-Birds. And she can kick it with the Pink Ladies – even if in actuality she’s pure, humdrum, and totally wholesome.

In Riverdale, this trope keeps popping back up by exploring the bad girl flip side of goody-two-shoes Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart). Dark Betty (as the character is known in the show) wears a black bobbed wig and has a penchant for black lacy lingerie. She’s super dark, folks, and her dress sense reflects it.

Even the most hardcore of Riverdale fans (like ourselves) can admit there’s something irritating and poorly executed about Dark Betty. It isn’t so much the adoption of the terrible wig or her proclivity to strip down to her undies that we take umbrage with.

It’s more the suggestion that Betty’s “dark side” is something that can’t possibly be consolidated with her public identity – despite the fact she dates the town’s broodiest biker babe and nobody would likely give a shit if she suddenly went legitimately edgy.

Instead, this dark persona steps up to take on various tasks and is unleashed sparingly and seemingly at random.

Dark Betty steps in to torture a dude who’s been sexually harassing her classmates. Dark Betty becomes a cam girl. Dark Betty has kinky sex with Jughead (Cole Sprouse). Dark Betty does a cringe-inducing striptease to the most depressing song imaginable (the Gary Jules cover of “Mad World”).

Dark Betty doesn’t make an appearance at Jughead’s birthday, but this dark persona still gets the blame for Betty having the gall to organize a surprise party for her boyfriend against his wishes. (Oh and sure, not telling him about the whole “I tortured Chuck” thing.)

“Something is very, very wrong with me,” she tells him, “Like, there’s this darkness in me that’s overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t know where it comes from, but I think that’s what makes me do things.”

The character’s declaration to her boyfriend brings to mind Dexter Morgan’s (Michael C. Hall) excuse that his “dark passenger” is the one who requires him to kill with a thirsty regularity in Dexter. It provides a personification of his need to take life and also absolves him of responsibility for the murders.

He doesn’t want to be doing this but he has to. Ultimately, Dexter is in charge of the journey, but he’s still allowing for his “dark passenger” to dictate the destination – however, the serial killer decides to only kill people who have committed hideous crimes against others.

Likewise, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) goes off the deep end with her magic dependency after her girlfriend is killed. Subsequently, her red hair turns black, as do her clothes, and she transforms into Dark Willow.

Like Dark Betty and Dexter’s Dark Passenger, Dark Willow has a thirst for punishment and winds up flaying the skin from the body of the man who killed her lover. But as it turns out, that isn’t quite enough to satiate the flip side of the formerly good witch.

Dark Willow winds up on a rampage of magical rage that threatens to destroy the entire planet. However, unlike Dark Betty and Dexter, at least Dark Willow commits wholeheartedly to her new savage persona – Dark Betty and Dark Passenger are like lounge outfits to be slipped into after a long, hard day of presenting as “normal”.

Which is perhaps our biggest problem with the trope. The whole “I have a secret, uncontrollable inner darkness” kind of loses its edge when it’s clear the character can in fact control these dark urges that define this side of them on some minor or major level.

It’s a trope commonly seen in teen TV shows for exploring the “dark sides” of young women struggling with the complications of growing up. However, for most young adult shows, this isn’t all too often explored by simply paying fanservice by throwing the female character into some sexy underwear and a dark wig.

In The O.C., it’s Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) drinking herself into a young ruin, throwing pool furniture around when her mom asks her what’s on her mind, and shooting her boyfriend’s brother because, well, why not.

In Glee, it’s Quinn piercing her nose, dying her hair pink, and turning “punk” overnight because she’s sad and that’s just who she is now (deal with it, Glee Club!).

In My So-Called Life, it’s Angela dressing up like Rayanne after she finds out her former bestie slept with her ex-boyfriend and figures bad girls don’t get hurt.

And in Gossip Girl, it’s little Jenny Humphrey’s transformation into a Chuck Bass screwing, teenager from hell with a wardrobe full of solid black kinderwhore creations.

Where all of these dark transformations differ from Dark Betty is that these characters are all given space to experiment with these dark sides without it being highlighted as an unhealthy or dangerous mode of expression.

In Riverdale, there’s an insinuation that Dark Betty is inexplicably both. As a result, this side of the character is confined to the sidelines. She digs her nails into her palms and sits out her turn.

Overall, it’s a supremely lame way to explore a young woman potentially struggling with mental health issues or who simply might have a healthy interest in pursuing a consensual sadomasochistic relationship.

But instead, Dark Betty is treated like a part of the character’s identity that needs to be chained down and locked up – left unexplored and misunderstood unless Betty can bring her out for the occasional striptease, cam sesh, or sex time with Jugs.

This suggests that Riverdale is more interested in fetishizing Betty’s inner anguish than it is in effectively exploring it. That’s incredibly disappointing for a show which otherwise delivers strong and complex female characters with compelling feminist arcs.

The bottom line is that good girls can be bad – and they shouldn’t have to concoct some bullshit “I have an inner darkness” excuse to do so. Every person has a dark side and it serves TV shows well to explore those aspects of a person’s identity in depth and with care.

So to throw a wig and some hot lingerie on that dark side? Come on, Riverdale – you can do better. In S3 of the show, we hope to see Betty refusing to apologize for her dark side and simply referring to it as “Betty” – no further adjective required.