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Showing posts from February, 2015

Jupiter Ascending

It's been less than a year since Tasha Robinson coined the phrase "Trinity syndrome," and yet it's already become one of the most useful terms in pop culture criticism.  Named for the female lead in Lana and Andy Wachowski's The Matrix, Trinity syndrome refers to a movie in which a female character is depicted as cool, competent, and badass, but always and inexplicably in the service of a much blander male lead (for whom she is usually the love interest).  She often loses her motivation (if she ever had one) and her ability to affect the plot in the film's final act, just in time for the lead to take center stage, and often needs to be rescued by him.  As Hollywood blockbusters become more conservative in their structures and plots, the roles they give women become more constrained, and Trinity syndrome has become a useful way of examining how the appearance of agency can obscure its absence.  Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis' most recent film and their …

Five Comments on Birdman

It's been two days since I saw Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman and I'm still feeling exhilarated.  On the most basic level, this film is like nothing else I've seen in a movie theater in a long time, possibly forever, and I urge you to see it simply for the experience (and ideally in a movie theater, since this is a work worth being immersed in).  It's also a hard movie to write about, with multiple layers and themes, and a frenetic approach to plot that makes the format of a straightforward review feel inappropriate.  So I'm highlighting a few points that feel interesting in a film about which I could probably say a great deal more.
The first coherent thought I had about Birdman, even as I was still watching it, was that its overarching goal, the one thing it wanted to accomplish more than anything else, was to replicate the experience of watching a play through the experience of watching a movie.  That's not an unusual desire, of course, but usuall…