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Category Archives: FEATURES

How Daredevil Succeeds Where Batman vs Superman Failed

BvS has the surreal quality of systemic, top-down incompetence; virtually every scene, every plot beat, every line of dialogue–there’s something logically “off” about all of it. But in addition to what amounts to an ocean of individual isolated idiocies, there is a much bigger problem with the movie. The big problem was in its structural plot dynamics; somehow, the filmmakers*  here […]

Nicole Dollanganger’s Music Explores the Relationship Between Violence and Love

Last month, Grimes announced on her tumblr the launch of an artist co-operative called Eerie Organization. She also revealed its first artist: Canadian singer-songwriter Nicole Dollanganger. Clearly excited about this girl’s music, Grimes had this to say: I cannot adequately describe it succinctly, but something like Hurt NIN sound design/ pain w Dolly Parton-esque witty […]

Are We Entering a Creepy New Age of Meta-television?

The new David Foster Wallace biopic The End of the Tour gives us a peek into the writer’s real-life relationship with television. Jason Segal’s performance depicts a man agonized by guilt over his own enjoyment. The film’s focus on shame sits well enough with Wallace’s legendary, notoriously difficult novel Infinite Jest, that large book that […]

Underwriting the Contemporary with Vanderpump Rules and Bret Easton Ellis

“My staff look amazing. I mean they really are gorgeous. Sometimes I wish they   were a little more beautiful on the inside, but they look great.” -Lisa Vanderpump   To say that reality television showcases “shitty people” for us to gawk at is, generally speaking, a misguided cliché. It presumes that normal people are […]

50 Shades of Grey, Duke of Burgundy, and the Intersubjective Dimension of S&M

The success of 50 Shades of Grey has opened up a certain conversation, however confused and hastily politicized, about the nature and role of domination and submission in human sexuality. This topic has been explored by writers and artists for centuries, stretching back in its current form to the Marquis de Sade and Leopold von […]

What The Bachelor Says About Hysteria and Feminine Subjectivity

Over the last few weeks, Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum has held a series of lectures on the historical context of hysteria and the often bizarre treatment of hysterical patients. In her first talk, Asti Hustvedt, author of Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris, described in fascinating detail the transformation that hysteria underwent as a result […]

The Top 20 Films of 2014

Some preliminary notes: First, this is a semi-loose ranking. I’m not really trying to nitpick about whether one particular movie was actually better than the one ranked just below it. This is more of a mid-macro level thing. Exact positions are as always debatable but broadly this is the deal. Second, of course, I didn’t […]

On Black Mirror, Stephen Hawking and the Future Freaking Us Out

The sci-fi lite anthology series Black Mirror has come to be characterized primarily by its paranoiac treatment of the ever-impending near future, particularly focusing on the accelerating technologicalization of our everyday existence. Whether it be the insular hamster wheel of the office cubicle and the severely diminishing returns of “reality” based entertainment, or our tenacious […]

FIELD TRIP: Charli XCX at Webster Hall 10.7.2014

On October 7th, Charli XCX played to a sold-out crowd at Webster Hall. With her sophomore effort Sucker due to drop in just a few months, I went into this show considering the fact that as a mainstream pop singer she’s entering a certain kind of make-or-break moment in her career. There’s something about Sucker that feels pivotal, and this […]

The Feminism of Demonic Possession Horror

At the Devil’s Door is the new movie from IFC Midnight, by writer/director Nicolas McCarthy. On its face, Devil’s Door delivers a skillfully atmospheric story of demonic possession, at once familiar and fresh in its narrative. The film benefits from McCarthy’s labored minimalism, trading graphic visuals for a sense of smooth, unyielding uneasiness. Tweet