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Did we ever tell you we’re huge fans of Greta Gerwig’s. Oh we did? Well, let us tell you once more. Here are ten of Gerwig’s greatest gifts of on-screen glee.

10 reasons to fall in love with Greta Gerwig

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Did we ever tell you we’re huge fans of Greta Gerwig’s. Oh we did? Well, let us tell you once more.

The buzz surrounding this multi-talented figure reached peak this year with the release of her endlessly brilliant Oscar-nominated Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) as a teenager trying to navigate herself through kidulthood in the unglamorous setting of Sacramento, California.

It was an absolute cinematic feat from the evidently witty & charming director, which is why we’re delighted at the news Gerwig is planning a series of Sacramento-based spiritual sequels to the film, inspired by the mysterious works of author Elena Ferrante.

While this is all fabulous news, we’re here to celebrate the actor / writer / director’s brilliance before Lady Bird. After all, Gerwig’s talent has been dazzling us for years, from her roles as one of the preeminent actresses in “mumblecore” films to her writing collaborations with director Noah Baumbach. Here are ten of Gerwig’s greatest gifts of on-screen glee:

The Dish & the Spoon (2011)

In this exquisitely charming indie love flick, Gerwig stars as a woman reeling over her husband’s infidelity. As she embarks on a journey to find her spouse’s lover, she collides with an English boy (Olly Alexander), who travels with her out of infatuation. What’s great about Alison Bagnall’s flick is it avoids all the tropes of a cliche boy-meets-girl kind of movie, with Gerwig’s performance making the tender drama all the more convincing.

Wiener-Dog (2016)

As always, Gerwig brings quirky comfort in another quirky film alongside Danny DeVito (Batman Returns), Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down), and Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream). The story centers around a dachshund taken in by a veterinary technician named Dawn Wiener (Gerwig), who soon sets off on a road trip with a guy who’s on a game to find crystal meth. What’s not to love?

The House of the Devil (2009)

Stepping out of her mumblecore pants and into her horror ones, Gerwig takes a different kinda role in Ti West’s The House of the Devil. Despite her relentlessly nonchalant vibe, Gerwig pulls off the performance as the protagonist and eventual victim’s (Jocelin Donahue) best friend with convincibility, even when she’s getting her face blown off.

Lola Versus (2012)

Gerwig has such a knack for depicting the charmingly human weaknesses we all secretly possess – in the case of Daryl Wein’s Lola Versus, she portrays the devastating aftermath of getting monumentally dumped. “My world is shattered and I’m eating.” Coming to terms with being single and nearly 30, Gerwig’s character Lola decides to embark on a series of adventures she hopes will help soothe that aching heart of hers.

Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007)

In her peak mumblecore role for the peak mumblecore director Joe Swanberg’s 2007 dramedy, Gerwig plays the neurotic, sweet, and mildly sarcastic Hannah. The movies sitting in this category are less known for their story and more for the low-fi production, improvised dialogue & plots, and fleeting conversations about huge epiphanies. Hence why this bathtub scene is the perfect example of both the mumblecore scene and Gerwig’s position in it.

Baghead (2008)

In a film from mumblecore director brothers Mark & Jay Duplass, Gerwig stars as the kooky bombshell Michelle. Injecting new life into the horror genre, Baghead is a spin on the cabin-in-the-woods format, as four writers head into the woods to try and bang out a screenplay, only to discover their sinister plot starts to come true. The best moment has to be this cringe yet endearing scene in which a drunk Chad (Steve Zissis) hits on a drunk Michelle. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.

Damsels in Distress (2011)

This wonderfully surreal and stunningly unique offering from Whit Stillman (Metropolitan) follows a trio of girls – led by Gerwig’s character Violet – as they set out to change the male-dominated environment of their college campus while rescuing their fellow students from suicide and depression via the art of tap dancing. If your mind isn’t blown by the end of this movie, it certainly will be once you watch the final dance scene.

Greenberg (2010)

Gerwig performs alongside Ben Stiller (Zoolander) in Noah Baumbach’s dramedy that perfectly encapsulates the development of a romance between two flawed characters. Gerwig sets the dramatic tone while also bringing high levels of her usual LOL kookiness to the mix. We’re pretty sure Gerwig dancing to “Uncle Albert” around her room drinking champagne during a personal crisis is all of us at some point in our lives.

Mistress America (2015)

Baumbach & Gerwig teamed up to write the screenplay for this hectic comedy in which Gerwig’s character is a woman overflowing with charismatic energy so overpowering, it shadows her egocentric edge. It’s hard not to fall for her zest for life and the same can be said for her newly-adopted infatuated sidekick – student Tracy (Lola Kirke). This film is a stunning example of Baumbach & Gerwig’s uncanny ability to make audiences laugh out loud with glee and cry from the feels all at the same time.

Frances, Ha! (2012)

In number one spot has to be this monochrome triumph (also from the co-writing talents of Gerwig & Baumbach) about a 27-year-old New Yorker who is far from having her shit together. Despite her many flaws, Frances (Gerwig) somehow navigates through the tricky world of dancing and while she makes many mistakes along the way – including a savage BFF breakup and a pointlessly expensive trip to France – she works her way to the top, leading to a heartwarming ending that will make you sob with joy.

Did we ever tell you we’re huge fans of Greta Gerwig’s. Oh we did? Well, let us tell you once more. Here are ten of Gerwig’s greatest gifts of on-screen glee.

Did we ever tell you we’re huge fans of Greta Gerwig’s. Oh we did? Well, let us tell you once more. Here are ten of Gerwig’s greatest gifts of on-screen glee.

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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

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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

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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.

While we wait for the second season of 'Vida' to drop, here are a number of other TV shows taking on tricky subjects and addressing reality in a conscious way.

‘Vida’ fever: The TV shows addressing reality in a conscious way

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Last month, Starz announced the renewal of its hit dramedy Vida. Following a successful first season, the second round will see an expanded episode count, as well as an expanded cast, with Roberta Colindrez booking a series regular role in Tanya Saracho’s Latinx half-hour show.

Vida centers around two Mexican-American sisters from the Eastside of Los Angeles who returned to their hometown in S1 following the death of their mother. It has been lauded for its portrayal of Latinx culture, while also tackling important societal issues regarding gentrification and LGBTQI experiences throughout its debut season.

With another round on the horizon, we’re excited to see what hot topics Saracho and the creative team will take on. While we wait, here are a number of other TV shows taking on tricky subjects and addressing reality in a conscious way.  

Pose (2018-)

Ryan Murphy’s Pose made history by featuring the largest transgender cast in TV history, as well as taking on the first transgender woman of color to direct an episode of television thanks to the talents of best-selling writer Janet Mock.

As such, Pose is a landmark show in terms of LGBTQI representation, exploring the fetishization of trans women and the details of gender reassignment surgery in ways that have not yet been seen on TV before.

Taking place in the 80s, Pose is centered around the acrimonious relationship between two ball houses and delves into the lives of the trans characters who are finally shown to be more than just one-dimensional sex workers.

Via its numerous side stories, from Blanca’s journey as a “mother”, to Angel’s love affair, to Ricky and Damon’s blossoming relationship, Pose tackles a number of important issues including transphobia, homophobia, the HIV crisis, and racism, and it does so with tact, sensitivity, and finesse.

Transparent (2014-)

While Amazon Prime’s Transparent centers on one trans woman’s journey as she transitions in later life, the show also veered into political grounds as the Pfeffermans headed to Israel in season four.

Offering a ten-episode exploration on the issue of borders, Transparent explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Maura is invited to give an Israeli conference on gender and Judaism, bringing her kids with her to the holy land.

Their journey allowed for the creators to explore Israel, the West Bank, themes on God and religion, politics, the history of the area, and the conflict that has been going on for 70 years. As Transparent does so well, these heavy themes are lifted with moments of hilarity and humanity – but more essentially, they were a departure from the usual way Israel is depicted on US television.

Shay Roman, who advised the show on issues relating to the conflict, highlighted the way Ali talks about how the American media and the Israeli government are so conflated.

“She refers to them as ‘they,’ sort of like ‘the man.’ Personally, as a young American Jew, I’ve felt often frustrated by the one-sided Israel at all costs perspective. I think I was excited to bring in a world that we don’t get to see, and hear people’s opinions that we don’t get to hear.”

Black-ish (2014-)

The ABC family show has never shied away from exploring cultural issues within its storylines, having focused on issues such as gun control and racial prejudice in modern society.

However, there’s one episode in particular that serves as a significant example of why  Black-ish deserves credit for incorporating such serious subjects into its narrative and that is season two, episode 16 “Hope”, in which the Johnson family discusses race issues while watching news coverage of a grand jury considering the indictment of a white police officer accused of killing an African American teen.

Sparking emotional responses on social media, the episode put the show within the thick of the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is the age of #BlackLivesMatter and sometimes there is no better way to get a message out to the American public than secreting it in one of their favorite sitcoms,” noted The Guardian.

13 Reasons Why (2017-)

There are thirteen reasons why we support Netflix’s decision to renew the young adult drama 13 Reasons Why for a third season, one of those being the show’s dedicated to not only portraying mental health issues, bullying, depression, sexual assault, and suicide in an honest and frank manner, but also its efforts to help audiences seek help if suffering from such afflictions.

S1 depicts the suicide of teen protagonist Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who leaves behind a series of tapes revealing the events and the people who led her to commit the act. The show incorporates narratives of depression including those dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.

Although many of the adult viewers clutched their pearls in horror at a show discussing these topics and portraying them uncensored (you know, like in real life), a study showed teenagers reacted well to the content, with more than three-quarters of respondents stating they learned about depression and suicidal ideation.

Meanwhile, another major issue the show tackles is that of sexual assault and rape culture, which it does so convincingly by using the narrative to highlight its persistence in schools, its dark evolution through social media, and the debate surrounding consent.

The scene in which Hannah is raped shows her turning numb and unresponsive, portraying how rape doesn’t necessarily mean the victim has to fight back to show they do not consent and that there is no right or wrong response when faced with a traumatic experience.

It’s rare for a teen show to level with its audience in such an honest manner and it’s for this reason its audience deserves a third season. No matter how much it “offends” the Parents Television Council.

Big Little Lies (2017-)

Starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, HBO’s Big Little Lies was one of prestige TV’s big wins. A dark crime drama about the seemingly perfect lives of three mothers as they unravel to the point of murder, the show won over audiences and will continue to do so with a second round set to premiere in 2019.

Not only does the show offer a gripping storyline and three-dimensional characters whose arcs you can’t help but be enthralled by, but the show also tackles the tricky subject of domestic abuse in a complex and nuanced manner.

While Kidman’s Celeste appears to have the perfect marriage, we soon discover the opposite to be true. On the outside, her husband Perry is kind, caring, and affectionate. But behind closed doors he is controlling and dominating, flipping between love and rage like a light switch.

As is seen in so many domestic abuse cases, Perry manipulates Celeste into forgiving his behavior and even into feeling guilty herself. Speaking to Marie Claire, CEO of Refuge Sandra Horley praised the accuracy of Big Little Lies’s portrayal of a controlling and abusive relationship, adding that the show highlights how “women like Celeste should never be judged for how they respond to abuse.”

Atlanta (2016-)

Donald Glover’s surreal comedy tackles social issues via the lens of rap, successfully weaving together themes of oppression, racial prejudice, and poverty told with an absurdist and entertaining oddball ride about a rapper named Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and his manager / cousin (Glover).

“With Atlanta, Glover uses the platform of network television to express his opinions on race, black culture, hip hop, mental health, masculinity, and fatherhood,” noted The Mercury. In particular, Paper Boi’s journey provides an insight into what it’s like as a rapper in the landscape of Atlanta.

Season two of the show explores themes on exploitation and poverty, starting with a shootout at a drive-through and going on to show how Earn is now homeless and Paper Boi is under house arrest. It makes poignant statements without veering into overtly political commentary.

“The way I look at it, the years Obama was in office, and the year after Trump was inaugurated, if you were poor, you really didn’t see the difference. That stuff really didn’t touch you,” noted Glover. “We just look at what happens when someone is really poor, when someone really doesn’t have a stake in any of this.”

Dear White People (2017-)

Justin Simien’s Netflix dramedy made bold political statements in S1 by focusing on racial issues at an Ivy League college. However, it was in season two that the show really came into its own, addressing its flaws on slippery politics and building on its topical takes on racism, black identity, and police brutality.

For round two, we see the characters of Winchester University as they deal with white supremacy, online alt-right trolls, and the psychological fallout of racial discrimination.

But we’re also shown the bigger picture, including Reggie’s suffering mental state following his traumatic experience when held up at gunpoint by a police officer, as well as the emotional distress Sam felt when being targeted by a racially-charged social media attack.

Yet the reason Dear White People resonates, outlined The Verge, is because “it’s adept at finding those little moments that feel like in-jokes to black viewers, and the ways we use humor to cope with living in a less-than-welcoming country.”

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

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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!

In celebration of the leading ladies of 'Terminator 6', here are the fiercest female characters from the previous movies in the franchise.

The women warriors of the ‘Terminator’ films

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When the Terminator said he’d be back, we didn’t think he meant it quite so literally. The sixth Terminator film is currently in production and set for release on November 22 2019, 35 years after the first film hit theaters and changed the face of sci-fi forever. We can only hope Terminator 6 will ignore all of the sequels past Terminator 2: Judgment Day and will offer a fresh spin on this wrung out franchise.

Although the opposite often rings true, with Tim Miller (Deadpool) directing, James Cameron (Avatar) producing, and (best of all) a story that will see the triumphant return of our fave Terminator character Sarah Connor, it is looking hopeful. But better yet, Linda Hamilton (Dante’s Peak) is back on set, reprising her role as SC.

In line with the rise in the female-led action movies in recent years, the new Terminator instalment will introduce a bunch of new characters including Dani Ramos – a young Mexican woman played by Colombian actress Natalia Reyes who’s being hunted by a new Terminator (played by Gabriel Luna). Oh yeah, and Mackenzie Davis is set to star too!

In celebration of the leading ladies of Terminator 6, here are the fiercest female characters from the previous movies in the franchise.

Ginger Ventura – The Terminator (1984)

A contrast to the relentlessly badass Sarah Connor in the first Terminator movie, we had her roommate and BFF who, while not quite of the woman warrior status of her buddy, was still powerful in her own right.

Did she ever stop listening to that Walkman? No, no she did not – it might have led to her demise, but at least Ginger (Bess Motta) was jamming out right up to the end.

Sarah Connor – Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The OG Sarah Connor played by Hamilton is one of the most kickass film-based females in movie history. As she becomes a warrior on a mission, she must protect her son John from an even more powerful cyborg while also preventing Judgement Day from ever happening. Yikes! While we might be experiencing franchise fatigue, we can’t wait to see the actor return to her role in Terminator 6.

T-X – Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Jonathan Mostow’s threequel really did mark the rapid descent of the Terminator franchise. By this point Sarah is dead, signalling Hamilton’s departure and leaving Nick Stahl’s John Connor and Claire Danes as his confused wife to deal with the human elements of the Rise of the Machines.

On the plus side, it was the first time we got to see a female terminatrix, so that’s something. Named T-X and played by Kristanna Loken, she had all the deadly elements of Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s cyborg but with none of the questionable bulges. Oh no wait, scrap that . . .

Blair Williams – Terminator Salvation (2009)

Set in the year we’re currently in, the fourth in the franchise centered on John Connor, this time with none other than Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) as the central character.

But we’re all about Blair Williams played by Moon Bloodgood (Faster), pilot of the Resistance under John’s command and friend of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington). Sexy, smart, and a dab hand with weaponry, Blair is one of the fiercest females of the entire franchise.  

Detective Cheung – Terminator Genisys (2015)

We were kinda disappointed at the lack of female characters in the fifth Terminator film, But then again, we were kinda disappointed with the movie, period.

Aside from Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) as a totally weak version of Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, there’s only really one other woman to speak of and that is Detective Cheung (played by Sandrine Holt). That’s not to say we’re not totally for her character, who actually turned out to be the T-3000 in disguise. Who knew!?

To celebrate its recent Netflix release, here’s a ranking of the ten moments that made us fall in love with 'Amélie' – the character and the film.

Ten moments that made us fall in love with ‘Amélie’

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Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 cinematic masterpiece Amélie stars Audrey Tautou (The Da Vinci Code) as the innocent and naive girl in Paris who, on a quest to help those around her, discovers love along the way. To this day, it remains one of the greatest love films of our time, moving beyond the tropes of the genre as it paints a fantastical brightly-colored portrait of Paris, the protagonist, and the magical and surreal world in which she lives.

Jeunet covers both the light and the dark of the world in a sweet, whimsical manner, and builds characters in an eclectic and unusual way, with all the eccentricities of the film combining to make one of the most memorable love stories of the 21st century. To celebrate its recent Netflix release, here’s a ranking of the ten moments that made us fall in love with Amélie – the character and the film:

Beating heart

Rather than depending solely on dialogue, Jeunet uses visual effects to enhance the film and reflect the character’s feelings and emotions. This is perfectly exemplified the moment Amélie spots Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) at the train station and her heart starts to flutter.

Amélie’s question

Amélie is distinctive in that the viewer is given true insight into each character’s idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, for example the way our lead amuses herself with questions like, “How many couples are having an orgasm now?” The answer? Fifteen.

Coffee shop colleagues

Speaking of eccentricities, Amélie’s coffee shop colleagues & customers are full of them, from the hypochondriac coworker (Isabelle Nanty) who offers more than a few laughs to the demanding customer Joseph (played by the ever wonderful Dominique Pinon).

Amélie’s childhood

The foundation of Amélie’s story is set with the unorthodox childhood she endured, spending much of her upbringing isolated from everyone except her parents due to their displayed characteristics of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Jeunet uses these scenes to develop our understand of Amélie while adding charming insights into the young lead’s imagination and the peculiarities of her parents: vinyls made like crêpes, the mother’s broken nerves following Blubber the pet fish’s suicide attempt, and the used Instamatic that causes Amélie’s OCD tendencies to kick in.

Childhood treasure box

The night Amélie sees Princess Diana has died, the shock causes her to drop a bottle top, which rolls across the floor to hit a loose tile on her bathroom wall. It’s here she discovers a hidden childhood treasure box and experiences an epiphany – to find the owner of the box, return his treasure, and if he is touched, she promises to become “a regular do-gooder”. The scene in which she reunites the owner with the box is enough to warm the coldest of hearts.

Amélie’s revenge

Of course, Amélie’s journey to help those around her doesn’t just involve the good. On her quest, she gets creative when playing pranks to torment the mean-spirited grocer for mistreating his assistant.

Even artichokes have hearts

Speaking of the grocer, there’s no denying the brilliance of the moment Amélie calls him out for calling his assistant a “useless vegetable”. “You’ll never be a vegetable. Even artichokes have hearts.” Mic drop!

Crossroads

When the urge to help mankind suddenly engulfs her, Amélie helps a blind man cross the street, narrating the sights she sees in great detail to go along with the smells and sounds he’s experiencing. It’s truly one of the most heartwarming moments in the entire film, showing Amélie’s ability to spread joy and happiness wherever she goes.

Amélie likes

A whimsical insight into the film’s characters is provided during the scenes in which we’re shown the small pleasures experienced by each one (even the cat). While Amélie’s life is described as lonely and simple, we can see she takes joy in the little things, like dipping her hand into sacks of grain, cracking crème brulée with a teaspoon, and skipping stones at St. Martin’s Canal.

True love

At the end of her cat-and-mouse game with Nino around Paris, it takes her good friend Dufayel’s (Serge Merlin) insight to give her the courage to pursue a relationship with the man who truly loves her (and she loves in return). Turning on the television set, he tells her, “If you let this chance go by, your heart will eventually become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So, go get him for Pete’s sake!” After discovering Nino at her doorway, Amélie finally gives in and allows herself to find the happiness and love she deserves. And, well, you know what comes next . . .

Here are ten of the best biopics about female musicians ever made. Be sure to play ‘em loud.

Dreamgirls: The best female focused music biopics

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Roxanne Roxanne, Michael Larnell’s critically acclaimed biopic of female emcee Roxanne Shanté, premiered on Netflix back in March and we’re still reeling from it. By all accounts, it’s one of the finest music biopics in recent years.

Boasting a strong pedigree of actors including Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (House of Cards), Nia Long (The Best Man Holiday), and the Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz, as well as a score by RZA and producers including Pharrell Williams and Forest Whitaker, Roxanne Roxanne is definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already.

While we’re on the topic, here are ten of the best biopics about female musicians ever made. Be sure to play ‘em loud.

10. The Sound of Music (1965)

Loosely based on Maria von Trapp’s account of the Von Trapp Family Singers, The Sound of Music takes a lot of artistic license with the source material. But isn’t it all worth it to see Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins) howling at the Austrian hills with a gaggle of precocious stage children around her? That might depend on whether the movie sends you hurling off for the hills or singing along with rapt enthusiasm. (We’re definitely the former).

9. Sweet Dreams (1985)

Patsy Cline’s life story is peppered with tragedy all the way through until her shocking death in a 1963 plane crash at the height of her fame. Starring Jessica Lange (Tootsie) as the velvet-voiced country icon, Sweet Dreams brings energy to Cline’s most wounded moments and meditates on the cost of love & success.

8. Bessie (2015)

Dee Rees’s HBO Bessie Smith biopic is a loving tribute to the legendary blues performer and deserves to be celebrated. The director brings out phenomenal performances in a cast including Queen Latifah (Chicago), Mo’Nique (Domino), Oliver Platt (Bicentennial Man), and Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years a Slave) and showcases Rees’s skill with ensemble casts & music.

7. Selena (1997)

Jennifer Lopez’s performance as record-breaking Tejana singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez is vastly underrated. Selena follows the chanteuse as she spins big dreams into even bigger chart success right up until her tragic murder in 1995.

6. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Starring Sissy Spacek (The Help) as legendary country singer Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter explores the icon’s dynamic career from the provincial poverty of her beginnings to the international superstardom that followed. The movie is an underrated gem (though it made a huge splash at the time) that comes with the added bonus of a young Tommy Lee Jones with a dashing sweep of blonde hair sure to make you wonder, “Wait, do I have a crush on Kay from Men in Black now?” ‘Fraid so, friend.

5. The Runaways (2010)

Floria Sigismondi’s frenetic coming-of-age biopic about a raucous teenage rock band The Runaways is full of youthful energy and painful insight. Exploring the ways the band may have been exploited by the industry alongside the relationship between Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), the movie is as pounding as The Runaways’ hottest tracks.

4. Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

Sidney J. Furie’s biopic of Billie Holiday features Diana Ross (The Wiz) neither looking nor sounding anything like the iconic singer, but if you can get past that, the movie is nothing short of incredible. With stellar performances from Ross and co-stars Billy Dee Williams (Batman) and Richard Pryor (See No Evil, Hear No Evil), the five-time Oscar-nominated movie offers an unflinching look at Holiday’s troubled life and career.

3. Dreamgirls (2006)

Though not a direct biopic, Dreamgirls is loosely based on the story of The Supremes and Motown Records, and that’s good enough for us! Featuring Beyoncé Knowles and Jennifer Hudson acting circles around Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) and Eddie Murphy (Coming to America), the movie is pure power and deserves to enjoyed with the volume turned up to max.

2. La Vie en Rose (2007)

Marion Cotillard (Ismael’s Ghosts) is staggeringly good as French chanteuse Édith Piaf and rightfully took home the Best Actress statue at the 2008 Oscars for her performance. Piaf’s devastating and often heartbreaking life is laid out alongside some of her most beloved tracks to shattering effect.

1. What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)

Following the career ascension of soul goddess Tina Turner (a formidable Angela Bassett) as she fights to break free of abusive husband Ike (Laurence Fishburne), What’s Love Got to Do with It is one of the greatest musical biopics ever made. The soundtrack is pure fire and the barbed energy between Bassett & Fishburne will have you screaming at the screen for Tina to rise up and succeed.