You're Watching It All Wrong: The Narrative Merits of Reality TV

On the most recent season finale of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” new cast member Eileen Davidson, longtime soap actress, said, “You can’t write this stuff.” But that’s not really true. It’s more that in the traditional development process, you’re not really allowed to.
» 4/23/15 3:40pm Thursday 3:40pm

Broads with Brawn: 7 of the Toughest Women on Film

There are all kinds of ways to be tough, and sometimes the most important fighting is the kind we do with words and our minds rather than with our fists. My own book, The Fair Fight, isn't really about boxing. Oh, sure, there's boxing in it. But every character in the book is fighting in their own way, for… » 4/15/15 10:39am 4/15/15 10:39am

'Daredevil' Is Coming: 6 Ways to Prep for the Netflix Release

Since his first appearance in 1964, Daredevil has been a staple of the Marvel Universe. Beginning as a swashbuckling, pulp action hero, Daredevil slowly evolved into one of mainstream comics' most tortured heroes. At his core, Matt Murdock - the blind lawyer behind Daredevil's mask - is a conflicted, tragic hero… » 3/31/15 10:13am 3/31/15 10:13am

There and Back: Ranking 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit'

There and back again. The credits having rolled on "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," and that is precisely the journey we have taken - there and back again. From the discovery of the One Ring to the Battle of the Five Armies to the eventual return of the King, Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's… » 1/26/15 11:00am 1/26/15 11:00am

'Ghost in the Shell' and the Case for Scarlett Johansson

This month, it was announced that Scarlett Johansson would play the lead role in "Ghost in the Shell," the first American adaptation of the popular anime book series about a female cyborg cop. Given the paucity of roles written for East Asian actresses, cries of whitewashing were understandable. But some felt that, if… » 1/26/15 9:46am 1/26/15 9:46am

'Broad City' Versus 'Girls'? Thanks But No Thanks

My friend Hopie has an acronym that I love: "TMTM." It stands for "The More, The Merrier," and back in our twenties we used it when assembling invitation lists for club outings and dinner parties. These days, I've found a different application for the term: to nip female competition in the bud. Which woman is… » 1/20/15 1:06pm 1/20/15 1:06pm

'Selma' and the Roaring Echoes of History

I have seen "Selma," Ava DuVernay's remarkable portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. and the three Alabama marches that inspired the 1965 Voting Rights Act, at two press screenings. The first took place in November, and I wept so copiously that I felt it my duty to see the film again in order to write about it… » 1/08/15 4:05pm 1/08/15 4:05pm

Beyond Oryx and Crake: 5 Margaret Atwood Tales Ripe for Film

Margaret Atwood remains one of the defining authorial voices of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, but filmmakers have given her works a wide berth, perhaps intimidated by her unfathomably deep characters and absorbing prose. All that may change when Darren Aronofsky digs into her Maddaddam trilogy,… » 11/18/14 12:33pm 11/18/14 12:33pm

Why We Still Care About Wonder Woman

Mark Twain once said, "History doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme." Certainly that's true when it comes to feminism. Women began the twentieth century fighting for the right to vote as well as for legal, affordable contraception. Sound familiar? Although they achieved their goals, 100 years later voting is once… » 11/17/14 3:59pm 11/17/14 3:59pm

Wrestling the American Dream: A Q&A with Foxcatcher’s Writers

The strange incident at Foxcatcher Farm in January 1996 — a multimillionaire philanthropist and supporter of amateur sports suddenly shoots and kills an Olympic wrestler — left a lot of people scratching their heads without much insight. Who knew you could wring such monumental meaning out of such a pointless tragedy?… » 11/13/14 3:12pm 11/13/14 3:12pm

To Boldly Go: 6 Sci-fi Films That Push the Limits of Space and Mind

"You can do pretty much anything with the outer space movie. Its reaches are, shall we say, limitless, and every genre has its classics — horror ("Alien"), comedy ("Galaxy Quest"), epic ("The Empire Strikes Back"), action ("Aliens"), historical drama ("Apollo 13"), survival thriller ("Gravity"), and any number of… » 11/07/14 10:20am 11/07/14 10:20am

Film Can Save You: 8 Movies to Help You Survive an Apocalypse

As a disaster novelist, I am always on the lookout for movies or television series that depict practical survival skills. But most Hollywood productions portray people acting foolishly in the face of peril and they fail to teach any useful lessons. I can't count the number of times that I've felt like shouting at a… » 10/21/14 1:00pm 10/21/14 1:00pm

Down with Dystopia: 5 Highly Adaptable Utopian Novels

One of the most recent bizarre trends in contemporary cinema is the rise of the dystopian sci-fi flick. Sure, the "Hunger Games" films may be the most female-empowering YA franchise of all time. But anyone who reads the news already knows the world is in trouble. Do we really need a new movie every week to remind us… » 10/06/14 3:52pm 10/06/14 3:52pm

What If Lena Dunham Remade Nora Ephron's 'Heartburn'?

In the last few years, rarely has a week gone by without Lena Dunham in the headlines. But unlike many of her peers, Dunham doesn't score buzz for celebrity feuds, leaked sex tapes, or alleged stints in rehab. Instead, the Oberlin-educated actress, producer, director, and writer is largely known for her clever… » 10/01/14 9:47am 10/01/14 9:47am

Banned to the Big Screen: 10 Great Banned Books Adaptations

Ah, Banned Books Week. It's that week in Autumn that is welcomed into the open arms of readers everywhere, readers who cherish this celebration of freedom of speech — and freedom of the written word. We've talked about banned books-turned-movies before, but it's been a while. So herewith, ten more great movie… » 9/24/14 4:26pm 9/24/14 4:26pm

The Essential Doctor Who Midseason Check-in

Back in 2010, before an interview with then-star Matt Smith, Craig Ferguson summarized Doctor Who as "the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism." Four years later and a third of the way through the eighth rebooted series of "Doctor Who," where do we stand with Peter Capaldi's incarnation? » 9/16/14 2:31pm 9/16/14 2:31pm

On Tracks and Mia Wasikowska with Robyn Davidson, 'Camel Lady'

In the 1970s, Aussie Robyn Davidson, then in her twenties, moved to Alice Springs. She had set out a plan for herself that would take her clear across the Outback, accompanied by a few camels she had yet to train. Here is where we meet Robyn in her memoir, Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of… » 9/16/14 9:44am 9/16/14 9:44am

Unmasked Crusaders: 5 Reasons Stars Do Superhero Movies

Here's a surprise: "Guardians of the Galaxy," the latest movie dispatch from the Marvel Universe, is great fun. Unlike such steroidal fare as "The Avengers" films, it doesn't take itself too seriously, perhaps because it is directed by James Gunn, who is best known for micro-budget indies that send up genre flicks… » 8/01/14 10:41am 8/01/14 10:41am

The Age Gap Is Getting Old: Fading Magic in the Moonlight

Though not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, "Magic in the Moonlight" is one of Woody Allen's slightest efforts in quite a while. Its central star is the French countryside where it is based, with a distant second played by Colin Firth as an ill-tempered illusionist and Emma Stone as a comely medium who… » 7/25/14 12:15pm 7/25/14 12:15pm

The 7 Big 'Game of Thrones' Season 4 Deviations

From the very first episode, HBO's "Game of Thrones" has had to walk the difficult tightrope between being as faithful as possible to its source material, George R. R. Martin's acclaimed fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, and creating a worthwhile series for TV audiences that could stand on its own. That, like… » 6/16/14 11:49am 6/16/14 11:49am