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Generic ’MISS BALA’ An Anti-Feminist Female-Led Actioner

It’s hard to consider Miss Bala with anything but startling disappointment. A Hollywood actioner led by a young Latina starlet, retooling a Mexican critical darling for American audiences, in a coming out party for Gina Rodriguez. If all these were working in harmony, this could have worked out very, very well. In the hands of Catherine Hardwicke, it does not. Like, at all. The Twilight director shaves Miss Bala down to the most generic premise and skates around the very thing that could have made it a powerful feminist action film – empowering the woman at the center of the film, tinkering with the best-laid plans of mice and men that seek to dominate her. Instead, Rodriguez’s Gloria is passive eye candy, consistently strong-armed (physically and mentally) by the men around her, and only taking agency at the very last moment possible.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘ANNIHILATION’

Alex Garland, the visionary writer-director behind Ex Machina, obsesses over ideas of what it means to be human. With Ex Machina, he explored the inception of A.I. and how true artificial intelligence blurs the line between human and “other” to dizzying, disorienting and apocalyptic result. In his writing effort Never Let Me Go, Garland posed similar – if less refined – questions, posing an analogous emotional experiment with clones as the test subject, begging his audience to work out what separates “us” from “them”. “If they feel, are they not too human?” was the central thrust and this idea has continue to haunt Garland’s films. Never Let Me Go was a lesser effort but came from a place of ripe ideology and artistic thoughtfulness, traits which Garland has never lacked and has gone on to define to great effect. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘DEEPWATER HORIZON’

Oil. We use it every day. It fills our gas tanks. Warms our homes. Even makes up the roads we drive. In Deepwater Horizon, the coveted resource turns on man 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana, becoming a nightmarish force that ends the life of 11 crew members onboard the fated vessel and torments the slurry of survivors racing to escape its scarlet abyss. With all the fury of a possessed malevolent entity, the routine drill site turns to fire and brimstone one fated evening, Dante’s inferno is brought roaring to life, and a brave few must do all they can to save as many as they can. Read More