In the Cut’s Challenge to the Patriarchal Norms of Cinema

It seems that whenever a woman watches a film focusing on sexuality, it’s under the male gaze. The women are objectified and simply there for pleasure. Men are traditionally presented as the ones with desires of voyeurism.  Compared to these typical films, In the Cut is a breath of fresh air—at least, when you aren’t holding your breath from all the tension.

I believe this film is designed as a feminist piece. When we do get glimpses of the male perspective, it’s presented as dark and dangerous. The constant overshadowing of Kevin Bacon’s character is a great example of the ever present threat of the male gaze. He is literally always watching. We are meant to identify with Frannie and feel fear as she does. As a female viewer, I noticed how odd it felt to be completely in the shoes of a woman while watching a film.

In film, women generally function as a pleasurable or visually pleasing object for the male protagonist. However, in In the Cut, whatever Frannie sees is what the audience identifies with. So, when she views Malloy as a sexual object, we see him that way as well. Focusing on the female pleasure rather than the male pleasure isn’t just jarring, it’s attempting to undermine the male pleasure.

When Frannie is observing the blowjob in the bar, so is the audience. The male in the scene is objectified as a woman would be. His penis is shown, meant to be displayed for the visual enjoyment of women. Frannie, who is our eyes, is satisfied, therefore we should be as well.

There aren’t many films I have seen that utilize the female gaze. Film after film objectifies the female characters, focusing in on their curves and body parts. In the Cut does the exact same thing, but the subjects of objectification are men. Eventually, Malloy gives into her pleasure, willingly placing himself as an object of sexual satisfaction. When there are sex scenes, each naked body is shown in its entirety, placing equal value on the characters nudity. This is unusual seeing as most films are presented under the male gaze, showing more female nudity than male.

In the Cut is focused on deconstructing the patriarchal codes that are present in the film industry. Rather than having a man gazing at a woman on screen for pleasure, a woman’s sexual desires are illustrated. This film is a direct critique of the patriarchal norms of cinema and proves that films can be made under the female gaze as well as male. It’s a challenge to the film industry, and sadly, since 2003, not much has changed.

-B

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

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Batman v Superman is not meant for critics, it’s meant for the audience.

The new Batman v Superman film has all kinds of mixed reviews. Superhero nerds love it while film aficionados aren’t impressed. There are hidden winks at comic fans and cameo appearances by many different DC characters. But is it enough to make it a great movie?

The film starts out with the well-known tragedy that gives Batman his mommy-issues: the death of his parents. In an absolutely breathtaking sequence, the film goes through the traumatizing events in slow motion, flashing between the incident itself and the funeral after. In typical Zack Snyder fashion, the shots are beautiful and whimsical, teetering between reality and a dream world. The film continues in the same style as Man of Steel, full of color but dark in tone. And, of course, massive destruction.

The film is so big it almost misunderstands itself. There is so much information jam packed into 151 minutes that it’s inevitable to have loose ends and missing elements. The motivation for the villain is never quite revealed, but his hate for Superman is apparent.  Batman v Superman stops short of being a jumbled mess, bringing together the complicated worlds of three heroes in order to unite against a greater threat. However, the viewer is left with many questions, which will hopefully be answered in the upcoming films.

Ben Affleck plays a new, dark, brutal Bruce Wayne. Bulked up with muscle and encased in armor, this Batman is more angry and cynical than ever before. Henry Cavil reprises his role as Superman, but more vulnerable than before. Jesse Eisenberg plays a quirky and borderline schizophrenic Lex Luthor. Gal Gadot blows audiences away as Wonder Woman, proving that the superhero game is for girls too as she fights just as well, if not better than both Batman and Superman. Amy Adams is also on the front lines as Lois Lane, aiding the plot, not just standing by as a passive love interest.

Batman v Superman fulfills its job requirement: it sets up the next movie. In addition to that, it provides the audience an entertaining yet exhausting story about our favorite superheroes coming together to fight a supervillain, with very few chuckles along the way. This is not a lighthearted Marvel film that audiences are used to. It’s a dark, gloomy, special effects packed DC film about the darkness of humanity and all that entails. It’s fighting for its identity amongst the never ending storm of hero films we get each year. This film is not meant to blow critics away (something they aren’t understanding). It’s not meant to be funny. It’s meant to set up the beloved characters of the gloomy and heroic DC universe. It’s for the nerds.

Batman v Superman isn’t The Avengers, and it isn’t supposed to be.

-B

First Glimpse of New Spiderman

 

If you’ve watched the new Captain America: Civil War trailer, you may have caught a glimpse one of our favorite Marvel heroes. Unexpectedly appearing in the last 20 seconds, fans everywhere are freaking out.

This is the third Spider Man that audiences have witnessed in the last decade. Does the costume meet your expectations? Do you think it was a good idea to switch actors, again?

Review: Spotlight (2015)

5 stars

The message Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight sends is one that is relative to anyone trying to take on a powerful authority. You have to fight.  A riveting and tension ridden tale of the Boston Globe investigators that revealed the corrupt power of the Catholic Church in the early 2000s, this Oscar winning film shows that you don’t have to wear a uniform or have superpowers to be a hero.

During the film, the viewers get to spend most of their time with the journalists, creating a feeling of inclusion. As the characters uncover more about the church, we feel as if we are a part of that, cheering them on from the sidelines. When they feel disgusted, so do we. Viewers don’t learn anything before the reporters do. Unlike many other movies, audiences get the facts along with the characters, accompanying them to interviews. As the film goes on watchers grow angry, wanting them to break the story and reveal the horrendous acts being committed. When Mike Rezendes, played by Mark Ruffalo, explodes in anger, we understand that anger.

Speaking of Ruffalo, while his performance is perfectly loud and believable, it overshadows the brilliant performance of the ensemble cast as a whole. There is no single outstanding acting performance in Spotlight. Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Live Schreiber, John Slatterly…the list goes on. Each character is portrayed in an equally credible manner. Even the minor performers, depicting the victims, are incredibly significant. The actors are all pieces in a magnificent puzzle and without one the film would not feel complete.

The most memorable aspect of the film is its uncanny timing. Creating a film that is over two hours long and keeps the viewers’ attention for the entire duration can be tough, but Spotlight pulls it off perfectly.  Our eyes are never diverted from the screen and there is not a moment that feels dull.

The ending is not meant to give viewers a feeling of relief or comfort. The heaviness of the plot is supposed to sit in our stomachs. Spotlight is meant to have an impact on our perception of the church, or any other major societal authority. It shows the true power of journalism and spreading awareness. Don’t just sit by, speak out. You can’t fight corruption with cowardice.

-B

Superheros Are Our Friends

Deadpool. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Captain America: Civil War. X-Men: Apocalypse. Suicide Squad. Gambit. Doctor Strange. These are all the new Marvel and DC films that will be released just this year.

Why do people love superhero films so much?

They’re being produced so fast it’s hard to keep up. I know that I’ll be leaving room for movie tickets in my budget this year. But why? Why are we all, including myself, so fascinated with these franchises?

The answer: nostalgia.

Superheros have been around for decades. Most of us grew up reading about or watching these characters. I grew up watching the 1960’s Batman TV show reruns with my dad. Yeah, I know, that may not be everyone’s introduction, but the majority of people have been touched by a Marvel or DC hero in some kind of way as a kid. For me, it was Batman. So, naturally, when a new Batman film comes out, I’m anxious to go see it. It’s another chance for me to be with the hero I grew up with.

That’s the reason these films are so popular. We feel a connection with these heroes. They are familiar, our friends. We can go back to that sense of child-like wonder we felt when we first discovered their stories. It doesn’t matter to audiences if these movies have been redone a dozen times. People will continue to pay for a chance to be a kid again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to buy my advance ticket for Batman V Superman.

-B