Every Scene in The Neon Demon Should Have Looked Like This

Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon is an irreproachably beautiful movie, which is problematic when making a movie about beauty. Ostensibly the movie decries objectification of beautiful women, while the cinematography enhances it, to the point that any feminist critique is rendered inert at best and hypocritical at worst. Continue reading →

Braindead 1×02: “Playing Politics: Living Life in the Shadow of the Budget Showdown – A Critique”


We have SINGING PREVIOUSLIES!!! A male voice (which I hoped was Aaron Tveit’s but, tragically, is not) narrates everything that happened last week: the mysterious meteor, the space bugs, the brains, Laurel’s sad documentary, Luke’s job, Laurel’s job, Gareth’s job, Senator Weenus’s job, the government shutdown, Luke’s affair, Scarlett’s “space bug problem,” and the good doctor’s exploding brain. It’s pretty damn catchy too.

Laurel’s listening to pundits discuss the shutdown and trying to spray the ants that are parading in a column right towards her feet. They do not give one shit about the spray, so she stomps on a couple of them with her hipster-masquerading-as-professional-lady clunky boots, and then runs out the door. The camera gets way too close to the ants, who seem to be nudging each other and possibly reanimating. Yikes. OK so it’s been like a day, and already these things are ALL OVER D.C. and in Laurel’s actual apartment. Realistically, does Laurel have a chance of surviving the season with her brain intact? Things are moving way too quickly here.

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Links We Loved This Week — 6/26/16

For those in NYC, happy Pride! Check out these photos from NYC Pride through the years at AMNY. It’s definitely cool to see the early days of the march, but 2013 is my favorite.

Probably the best-titled book list we’ve seen in awhile: the Millions has “A Summer Reading List for Wretched Assholes Who Prefer to Wallow in Someone Else’s Misery.”

The Times’s fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham, passed away recently and the Times has a moving obit.

And finally, Robert Downey Jr. shared this amazing wedding cake on his Facebook page.

Braindead Recap: 1×01 “The Insanity Principle : How Extremism in Politics is Threatening Democracy in the 21st Century”

We open with title cards over a set of TVs playing political rants, like we’re in the world’s most stressful Best Buy or something. “In the year 2016 there was a growing sense that people were losing their minds… and no one knew why… until now.” I’m a fan of the eighties-pulp-movie red lettering they’re using.

We see some people being overpowered by a wave right after what looks like a meteor strike.

“Meanwhile,” the title cards announce: and we cut to a young woman on the phone fretting that she can’t get some unnamed large amount of money in a week, but will try when she gets back to LA. She hangs up, swears to herself, then stares at a set of monitors playing news about a fire, Hillary Clinton, and Trump. (They really lucked out here that Trump won the nomination. I mean, not as citizens of course, but as writers peddling a show about how politicians are having their brains eaten.)

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Why You Should Watch Braindead, The Summer’s Weirdest New Show


I didn’t really think there was any way for a show with a premise like that of Braindead, the newest show from Good Wife creators Michelle and Robert King, to hold together. A political satire, but with zombies? It sounded like a hot mess. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Aaron Tveit (who plays Laurel’s love interest and counterpart across the aisle) had suddenly broken into song: everyone loves a Zombie Musical!

But I was wrong. I admit my massive fangirlishness for The Good Wife may be biasing me here, but I think this show, like Buffy or Community, has the potential to be one of those curios that in its refusal to fit in a genre manages to carve out a big new place for itself in the TV landscape.

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Links We Loved This Week — 6/17/16

There was a Friday Night Lights reunion in Austin. Where do Minka and Taylor think their characters are now? (at Vanity Fair via Lainey Gossip, which has lots of squee-worthy pictures of same.)

The New Yorker has a compelling piece on unREAL.

…beneath the giddy parody “Unreal” offers a singular meditation on stardom, media mendacity, sexism, and competition among women

The Bronte society is having some, errrr, issues (from the Guardian, via the Rumpus).

You’re the Worst‘s Aya Cash gives a typically funny and insightful interview with Indiewire. Give this girl all the Emmys!

An interesting piece from AV Club on the success of Scream and the curious subsequent disappearance of meta-horror. (But would Cabin in the Woods, You’re Next, and Tucker and Dale versus Evil have existed without Scream? Probably not.)

Writing Beautifully About Nazis: The Strange Failures of All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr’s body of work is filled with characters who have extraordinary gifts. In his earlier novel About Grace, a man could dream the future. In his short story collection The Shell Collector, people were gifted with everything from metal-eating to speaking with the dead. In his most recent work, the Pulitzer-prize-winning World War II novel All the Light We Cannot See, a young German boy has a preternatural ability to work with radios. And if Doerr himself has a near-magical gift, it is that of spinning sentences that each have the lush beauty and soft sheen of a perfect pearl—a gift on full display in All the Light We Cannot See.

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