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Posts by Zoe Chevat

  1. Not Hooked on This Feeling, Just High on Believing: A Guardians of the Galaxy Review

    I am not Groot.

    I fought the hype and the hype won.

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  2. “Excuse Me, Princess“: The Princess Type, for Good or Ill, Part 2

    Venture again into the pretty pink minefield.

    Princesses, despite what we may think of their relevance, seem to be everywhere we look. In movies, in television, in products aimed at young girls, the trope of the princess is going as strong as ever, often as an old type wearing a new costume.

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  3. “Excuse Me, Princess“: The Princess Type, for Good or Ill, Part 1

    Venture into the pretty pink minefield with us!

    How do we create a complex woman character who can give girls a choice in who they identify with, but that Hollywood will still regularly produce? And how can we do it while encouraging the qualities of modern feminism, instead of diminishing them?

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  4. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is Anything But Toothless

    Maybe Daenerys should have watched this movie.

    The sequel game, especially when it comes to high-flying summer fare, is a dicey one. Prone to feeling superfluous, or like too much of a departure from the original, the sequel to such a beloved film as the soaring How to Train Your Dragon from 2010 could have easily fallen into disaster. Instead, returning writer-director Dean DeBlois has risen to the challenge.

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  5. Hollywood is a Jerk: Kitty Pryde, Sexism, and Days of Future Past

    Essay

    I don’t like time travel. Excusing the excuse that it’s a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, most Hollywood time travel consists of altering linear timelines to forestall mistakes, death, and apocalyptic disaster. At its best, it comes across as the screenwriting equivalent of a neat parlor trick, at its worst it’s sloppy, plot-hole-filled writing that has to use sci-fi mumbo-jumbo to cover its own tracks. But the latest time-jumping saga to hit the silver screen -- X-Men: Days of Future Past -- made pretty good on it promises with one major wrinkle; the film itself is an alternative timeline to what happened in the comics, for a not-so-mysterious reason. That reason is Ms. Shadowcat herself, Kitty Pryde, who, instead of being the time-traveling agent of change, acts as the supercharged battery that sends Wolverine back. Though we’ll get into the details below, a canon shift of this magnitude in book-to-film adaptation would normally inspire internet outrage, essays about the changes, and hot debate between fans. Instead, it seems that only a corner of the fan world—the one directly concerned with issues of female representation—has spoken up in opposition. Considering the canonical fanaticism that followed the introduction of a female character to The Hobbit films, you might think it strange to see such a dearth of dissent. Unless what we’re really looking at is the same thing in reverse, another classic case of – everyone say it with me now -- Hollywood sexism.

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  6. Director Of X-Men Documentary Talks About How Chris Claremont Made Socially Conscious Heroes

    The Mary Sue Exclusive

    Rogue. Shadowcat. Mystique. Emma Frost. If you're thinking of a an iconic female character from the X-Men (or just a certain ragin' Cajun), chances are, you're thinking of a Chris Claremont character. Claremont, whose legendary run on the X-books spanned over 16 years (from approximately 1975-1991) and many of our childhoods, is also responsible for many of the series' famous -- and now, movie adaptable -- story arcs, including "Days of Future Past,"and "The Dark Phoneix Saga." He's the man responsible for turning Wolverine into the fan favorite that he is, and for bringing the X-Men back to life after their initial near-commercial-death in the 1960s. Now, Claremont's the subject of a new documentary, Comics in Focus: Chris Claremont's X-Men, from the same team that brought us Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods, and Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts. No strangers to the subject of women in comics, they're also the ones currently in production on She Makes Comics, a new doc that will focus on exactly what it says on the tin, women who make comics, both in independent circles and in the larger industry. We took a few moments of director and editor Patrick Meaney's time to talk about the importance of female characters to Claremont, what makes his run on X-Men so memorable, and how that decade and a half shaped the way we still look at comics from the Big Two today.

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  7. Love Eternal for the Only Lovers Left Alive

    Review

    As regular readers are no doubt aware, I tend not to fangirl about things. Sure, I get excited about the odd property and its conversion into piles of cold hard Hollywood cash, but I'm generally not one for jumping up and down and squealing in delight. Nothing against it; it’s just not my style. But imagine my surprise and elation when I first heard about Only Lovers Left Alive, a new Jim Jarmusch art-house ditty about nothing other than a sophisticated set of vampires, starring a host of my favorite contemporary actors, top billed by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. Words could not express my anticipation. For months I nibbled on teaser posters and the occasional leaked GIF, judiciously avoiding the trailer until I just couldn’t take it anymore and caved. I was not disappointed.

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  8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier Delivers Big Ideas, Bigger Explosions

    Review

    Whether punching out Hitler or hanging up his shield, Captain America has always been a barometer for America’s political atmosphere, a reliable gauge for what’s on the minds of the nation. In his latest adventure, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he is again, standing as a voice of reason in a high-octane action drama that concerns itself with the all-too-pertinent debate of freedom versus security. Those who found the first Cap adventure distasteful in its hamminess will be pleased to know that CA:TWS contains nothing of the kind, being a grim-faced thrill ride with no time to talk and no room for cheese. The jokes in Winter Soldier are spare and barely land, a testament to the film’s hard edge. But, unlike some of its dark-and-gritty peers in the superhero genre, a touch of darkness serves this sequel well, working for its covert ops setting instead of against it. Is the price of knowing SPOILERS a price you’re willing to pay?

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  9. It’s A Rotten World, After All: On Divergent and YA Dystopias

    A young woman, small and troubled, faces off against a totalitarian dystopia bent on control of the remaining world after the disaster of total war. It may sound achingly familiar, but we haven’t quite been here before. Divergent, based on the popular book series by Veronica Roth, follows the story of Beatrice-turned-Tris (Shailene Woodley), a young woman existing in a world divided by Factions, castes based on different human temperaments rigidly upheld to preserve an everlasting peace. When an aptitude test fails to assign Tris a Faction, even the one her family comes from, Abnegation, she is told she is Divergent, a secret she must keep or lose her life. Choosing to enter the warrior class, Dauntless, instead of remaining with her family, Tris is subjected to a rigorous series of training tests both mental and physical to determine if she is allowed to stay in her chosen Faction or to be cast out as one of the homeless Factionless. But trouble is brewing between the governing Abnegation Faction and the coldly intelligent Erudites , and soon Tris, and those close to her, are drawn into a conflict bigger than themselves. I have not read Divergent or any of its accompanying sequels, and so entered the theater with fresh eyes, if a skeptical heart. What I found was a troubled film, one held up on weak foundations, and with a poor finishing job to match its underlying structure. No amount of beautiful CG landscaping can hide the flaws in Divergent’s grand design. Here we’ve got a knotty premise coupled with issues of casting, clarity, and what I assume is interpretation of original material. Though the film tries to make something out of what it has to work with, the results are, ultimately, unsatisfying, and speak to the larger picture of its particular genre.

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  10. This! Isn’t! Sparta!: On 300:Rise of an Empire

    Review

    Do we make movies a certain way because we think it’s what an audience wants to see? Is it right to choose your audience before your film is released, and damn whoever else dares to watch it? These questions were the ones causing the headache that followed my viewing of 300: Rise of an Empire. A sea of machismo and crimson gushing, 300:Rise of an Empire is a high-camp successor to the much lauded 300, the highly fictionalized tale of the three hundred Spartan warriors who stood their ground against an insurmountable force at the Hot Gates. (Still not as good as the Samurai Jack episode featuring the Spartan 300, the bar by which all representations of the Battle of Thermopylae should be judged, robot minotaurs and all.) More of a straightforward war story, 300:RoaE lacks the degree of self-importance its predecessor had. Yet for all its bombast and innovative gore, 300:RoaE is a picture that has no problem excluding part of its potential viewership. It may know exactly what it is, but it never tries to move one inch beyond the expected. Bloody, messy spoilers beyond the cut.

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