Interested in themes of common experiences as human beings, especially the triumph of the human spirit. Love to challenge stereotypes and promote critical thinking.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    Setting: Iconic places in movies

    Make a top ten list of the amazing settings that have added richness to their movies. From the iconic scene of King Kong on the Empire State Building, to Central Park, to Chicago and LA. How have various scenes been influenced by their settings? Go as far back as Hitchcock. Discuss Central Park as a location that has added a certain flavour to movies.

    • All of these are US locations. Perhaps it would be good to compare with movies set in eg London or Paris? Are there differences in the way locations are used across the cutlrual settings? – CharlotteG 5 years ago
    • I think making a list with so many options would be hard maybe if it was broken by individual city like New York City, you could list all the notable places within it. New York City and San Francisco I would say have some the most popular locations so I feel like it wouldn't be doing other cities justice to put them on the same list when you might much more information on these two cities – tingittens 5 years ago
    • I agree all of these locations are USA locations. What is intresting is that there are certain locations that are used to give off a certain mood Like all snow locations are filmed in Quebec All majestic and fanatsy places are filmed in Norway and Ireland – Amelia Arrows 4 years ago
    • This is really an excellent projection of historical truths and their undeniable roles to shaping the present world and its people. – kiru100 4 years ago

    The Cameo: Purpose, Impact and Popularity

    Analyze the reason why directors use cameos. What impact does it have on the audience? Why is it gaining popularity?

    From Kareem Abdul Jabbar to Stan Lee to Stephen King, highlight examples that will look at why the crossover from reality to media is so popular. Big Bang Theory regularly played with this trope with great effectiveness. Why do we love it?

    • Neat topic! In the case of Stan Lee, I like to think of it as a nice little "wink" to the audience. With other cameos, I usually find them to feature celebrities - were they just in the right place at the right time? Did they love the show that much that they just couldn't help but be on it? Did the producers just love that actor so much? It would be interesting to see what answers one could find. – EJSmall 5 years ago
    • I believe some actors are fans of a show and ask to be on. Stan Lee’s cameos were pretty funny. There is one where he plays Hugh Hefner that he did because people sometimes mistake them for each other. I would love to see a list of all time great cameos. SPOILER - There is a awesome one in Hobbes and Shaw. – Munjeera 5 years ago
    • Though there is no direct possible way to verify, I wonder what is the percentage of viewers who do not like cameos or find it distracting. My friend once mentioned that he felt "left out" whenever there was a cameo he did not know about. – kpfong83 5 years ago
    • Good point. Are cameos a distraction? – Munjeera 5 years ago
    • Maybe the need is to distinguish when it is done well and done poorly. Bill Gates on "Big Bang Theory" (well) versus Martina Navratilova on "Hart to Hart" (poorly) provide examples as a starting point. – Joseph Cernik 5 years ago
    • Navratilova on H2H? – Munjeera 5 years ago

    Law and Order, CSI and Criminal Minds: The power of a TV show franchise

    Compare and contrast the varying successes of a TV franchise using Law and Order, CSI and Criminal Minds. Why have some succeeded, such as CSI Miami and others failed, such as Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Take a look at how the actors have succeeded in other shows such as Shemar Moore in SWAT. Not only has the franchise done well but the actors have moved on to other shows with enduring popularity over decades.

    • CSI used to be one of my guilty pleasures - I don't know why I feel guilty, I can't be watching subtitled black and white films about the awfulness of it all every day! If you have never seen the series - a difficult feat as the CBS franchise (CSI: Las Vegas, CSI: Miami, CSI:NY) is repeated frequently - it concerns a group of criminal investigators who use forensic science as the main tool of detection in solving graphically depicted murders. Allegedly the most watched show in the world, the franchise is now crumbling with CSI: Miami and CSI:NY being dropped from the schedules. The success of the programme, with its focus on science based methods of crime detection, has led to what is known as the ‘CSI Effect’, namely the unrealistically high public expectations of forensic crime detection as well as a multitude of people (now probably unemployed) enrolling in forensic science courses. Silke Panse in, ‘The Bullets Confirm the Story Told by the Potato,’ (yes, I had to read that twice and it is indeed a direct quote from the Grissom character) discusses the faux-scientific approach of CSI and its ability to visualise that which is normally concealed and (apparently) raise the dead. Indeed, CSI makes direct communication with the dead seem almost commonplace. For a period of time I was totally hooked on CSI and OD'd on endless editions of the show. Of course having watched so many episodes and become thoroughly immersed in the ‘CSI Effect’ I knew I hadn’t really overdosed as my breathing, heart rate and pulse were normal, my pupils had not reduced to pinpoint and my lips and nails hadn’t turned blue. However, after viewing twenty episodes or so, I was finding it difficult to keep my eyes open and stop my jaw going slack. I may even have dribbled a bit. Using my newly acquired bogus skills of forensic detection, I came to a typically swift diagnosis - which I leave to the reader to identify. The series has been the subject of considerable research with lecturers, researchers, television critics, media executives and scientists all aiming to consider the reasons for the huge success of, ‘such a strictly formulaic, endlessly repeated, modular drama,’ and seek to understand and analyse its popular appeal using theoretical frameworks including, ‘notions of Derridean trace, Lacanian lack and Mulveyian to-be-looked-at-ness.’ In his book, ‘So Many Different Ways to Tell It,’ Michael Allen sets CSI within its historical and contemporary context both as a police investigation show and a long running, lucrative franchise. Allen argues that CSI was successful due to a combination of factors, the most notable being timing, star actors and location.The show came along when a post 9/11 America was at its most anxious and vulnerable offering an image of scientific certainty and committed professionalism. CSI differed from other TV programmes within the genre by shrewdly casting actors, ‘with notable, if occasionally checkered, Hollywood careers’. These include William Petersen, David Caruso and Gary Sinese. As Allen points out, star names alone are no guarantee of success and that oddly enough, the, ‘ lack of character development, formulaic repetition, etc...little narrative or character continuity,’ actually attracted viewers who could watch episodes out of sequence as well as allowing schedulers/buyers to fill in gaps in weekly schedules. The major city locations, Miami, New York and Las Vegas also lent themselves to a kind of dramatic schadenfreude, whereby the audience could enjoy the sight of the veneer of the glittering American dream being torn away to graphically expose its often repulsive and rotting underbelly. Although emerging from the same franchise stable, the three shows strongly emphasise their distinctive locations in terms of composition, actors, costumes, sets, props, sound and lighting - and of course there is also the famous, ‘CSI Shot’, the method of showing animated CGI reconstructions of, for example, the trajectory of a bullet through a body or the effect of a toxin on brain cells. Sadly, since my mega-binge on CSI, I have now fully purged my curiosity and have not watched another episode for about five years. However my lust for faux-science is still strong and has now been sated by, 'The Big Bang Theory.' – BlueStocking 3 years ago

    Canadian Literature

    Analyze popular themes in Canadian Literature from LM Montgomery to Alice Munro to Margaret Atwood. Some have noted themes of survival, self-deprecation and social gospel. Also take a look at Northrop Frye’s literary criticism to form a lens to analyze Canadian literature.

    • I know that “Anne of Green Gables” is one of the classics and one of the more famous Canadian works of literature. Any discussion on this should include some discussion of this. – J.D. Jankowski 4 years ago
    • The author of Anne of Green Gables is LM Montgomery. – Munjeera 4 years ago

    Loving Vincent

    The new movie "Loving Vincent" is a celebration of Van Gogh’s life. Write about the film that made history as the first fully painted feature film as an international effort.

    • By sheer coincidence I happened to acquire a copy of this film recently and watched it this evening. 'Loving Vincent' is a thing of beauty and an astounding project to undertake. I can only imagine the technical difficulties those involved had to overcome, but the end result is well worth the time and effort. Perhaps the only suggestion I could add to your topic suggestion is to also look at the artists involved in the film making and how they approached the subject matter, what research they did and what insight they (hopefully) gained into the art of Vincent Van Gogh. – Amyus 6 years ago

    Forever Femme Fatale: Reigning Female Villains

    A top 5 list of the best female villains of all time in either literature, TV or film with a description of what makes them so memorable, their motivations and their evil strategies. From Eve to Lady Macbeth to Catwoman to the Borg Queen.

    • Forever Femme Fatale: Reigning Female Villains A top 5 list of the best female villains of all time in either literature, TV or film with a description of what make them so memorable, their motivations and their evil strategies. From Eve to Lady Macbeth to Catwoman to the Borg Queen. – Munjeera 8 years ago
    • I think this article should stick to one category (like only TV or only literature female villains) since there would be so many to choose from. – LaRose 8 years ago

    The Rise and Fall of the Prime Directive

    Explain what the Prime Directive is and its history in ST. Examine how ST: TNG emphasized the guiding principle with Picard’s pontification on the subject using specific examples where the PD was central to the plot. Conclude with a discussion on how and why the PD has fallen to the wayside first under Rick Berman and now with J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin.


      Justin Lin: Up and Coming Director

      Explore Lin’s rise to direct ST: Beyond. Look at how he began as a director and examine what he will bring to the ST franchise. Address the topic of Justin Lin and Star Trek Beyond applied to the rest of the series and how that will effect them. Mention how Lin’s background in the Fast and Furious franchise will either be beneficial or harmful to what J.J. Abrams has done

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        Latest Comments


        This was a good analysis of problematic representation. On one hand, yes representation is important and welcome. But on the other hand, representation can reproduce racial stereotypes. There should be diverse people writing scripts for diverse people which is why the groups of writers should be diverse. It should be socially unacceptable for TV writers to write parts such as Apu. Hopefully with the recent backlash there will be more acceptable forms of character writing. I enjoyed reading this article.

        Racist Undertones in "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding"

        Great article! Kudos.

        Perfect Blue: A Genre Study
        Diversity Matters in Movies

        There seems to be a trend in having diverse ensemble casts.

        Bollywood 101: A FUN Guide to Indian Cinema
        Books to Discover French Literature

        Great topic and well written. I learned a lot.

        Examining Elizabeth's Harrowing Journey In Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea

        A perfect article, from start to finish! Kudos.

        Dragons: East versus West


        I think the Academy has just recently changed the criteria to be considered for best picture, must be a diverse cast. Hopefully that means more women and racially diverse. They are going to be the one’s left out though because Youtuber, podcasts and streaming services are doing a better job of catering to historically marginalized groups. Netflix has been on the cutting edge in terms of diversity. It is getting a lot more competitive in the movie making business and I am gratified that Hollywood is losing its monopoly. They have been slow to back diversity.

        Diversity Matters in Movies