“Labyrinth” Article For btchflcks.com!

Do you love the movie Labyrinth? Are you interested in reading about how it boasts a pretty radical feminist message?

Then you should check out my article on Bitch Flicks!

I wrote “You Have No Power Over Me”: Female Agency and Empowerment in ‘Labyrinth’ for their “Ladies of the 1980s” theme week, and I’m so thrilled at the chance to contribute to such a fantastic site. If you aren’t already familiar with Bitch Flicks, please check out the rest of their pieces.

Here, have a gif of David Bowie’s mullet for your time.

The Conjuring 2 Is A Super-Sized, Super-Frightful Sequel That Retains The Best Parts Of The First

It starts small. An unexplained noise. A bodiless whisper. An object moves on its own. A shadowy figure out of the corner of your eye, behind you, under the bed. There’s something wrong in your home; something evil is here, something inescapable, powerful, and it wants to kill you.

Director James Wan knows how to make movies scary. Not just the overused jumpscares-and-extreme-gore model populating most modern attempts at the genre, but a genuine chill up your spine, sleep with the lights on, burns itself onto your psyche, frightening. He’s built his career on this keen knack for establishing tension, never with more skill than in 2013’s surprise hit The Conjuring, one of the smartest horror films of the last decade. Its sequel, The Conjuring 2, follows many of the same style and story beats — maybe too many. But if the formula worked the first time and works here, and is a hundred cuts above all other big budget horror movies, why complain?

Continue reading “The Conjuring 2 Is A Super-Sized, Super-Frightful Sequel That Retains The Best Parts Of The First”

In A Crowded Golden Age Of Superhero Movies, “X-Men: Apocalypse” Still Has A Place

Eight years before Iron Man, when Marvel’s interconnected movie universe was just a studio’s daydream, there was X-Men. In many ways we have Bryan Singer to thank for establishing the success of today’s superhero blockbusters. Singer grounded his mutant world in realism and heart, proving that movies based on crime-fighting, cape-wearing people with funky abilities can have social, political, and emotional relevance; something fans have known for decades, but the general public remained mostly unaware of. (Ew, comics? Comics are for nerds!)

Singer also proved these movies have staying power. Sixteen years and nine films later, the X-Men franchise is still chugging along, except they’re no longer the biggest superheroes on the block.

So, after all that time and competing against countless other caped crusaders, does X-Men: Apocalypse have anything worthwhile left to say? Kinda.

Part of it depends on your point of view. Given the staggering 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics sure don’t think so. (For reference, previous films Days of Future Past, First Class, and X2: X-Men United scored a respective 91%, 87%, and 86% with critics. Yeouch.)

Audience scores are better — a respectable, if not stellar, 74%, certainly enough of a difference to highlight the viewing priorities between both camps. Having said that, it’s still less than Future Past (92%), First Class(87%), and X2 (85%).

Me? It’s no miracle of cinema on its own standing, it doesn’t match the heights of creative ingenuity and thematic pathos we’ve come to associate with Singer’s entries in the franchise, but it’s fine. Good, in fact! Nothing revolutionary, but a solid, enjoyable, smart middle ground that presents its ideas and characters clearly.

If Civil War is the masterpiece and Batman v Superman the godawful mess, then Apocalypse is the perfectly okay one.

So why did critics and some fans hate it so? Where’d this apathy, even vitriol, come from?

Continue reading “In A Crowded Golden Age Of Superhero Movies, “X-Men: Apocalypse” Still Has A Place”