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The Dark Side of Beauty Standards in Helter Skelter

I have been wanting to write an article about the Japanese movie Helter Skelter by referring to the manga that is based upon it. I decided to submit a topic beforehand to see what the Artifice community thinks about it. This movie is unforgettable because it makes the audience realize how ugly it is to go desperately after physical beauty. It is a great lesson about youth, beauty, self-esteem, and ethics. The article is expected to be about the analysis of the main character Ririko, the way the plot evolves, and how other minor but important characters contribute to delivering the message that obsessively seeking outer beauty is a toxic behavior. Since the movie is about models, focusing on the fashion industry as the concerned context would be appropriate. However, this phenomenon of having certain beauty criteria on social media is becoming a lot more common nowadays and it is causing a lot of mental health issues particularly among teenagers and young adults. Connecting the ideas generated in this film to a real contemporary problem would also be interesting to provide interpretation and discussion of the analysis.

  • Exactly. I would like to write this topic and I didn't know it is for other users only. So what do I do now? – Malak Cherif 3 weeks ago
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Scarlett Johansson vs. Disney: a battle of fair wage

Following the dual release of the long-anticipated Marvel Studios film Black Widow both in theaters and on Disney premiere access, star Scarlett Johansson has announced that she plans to take legal action against the company for their dishonesty in the film’s release. With talks of Emma Stone and Emily Blunt to potentially follow suit, the legal battle raises questions about how the largest entertainment in the world could shirk their star’s wages, as well as if she even has a case. It is worth noting that Johansson is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. If she was not as well known in Hollywood, how might this battle play out? If she were a man, how would the potential reactions from the company and the media coverage of this event change?

  • The Lawsuit is now settled so it is a good time to discuss this topic if reformed. – Sean Gadus 2 months ago
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  • Also interesting to explore is the statistics of new income that these streaming platforms (especially Disney+) get now due to Covid and the restrictions. Is this merely a case of a decrease in income or is it a fair wage issue? – scampbell 3 weeks ago
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Healthy Relationships in Romantic Comedies

Romcoms are an incredibly popular genre, and some of the relationships – from the perfect meet-cute to the inevitable dramatic finale – are truly dream-worthy. But a lot of romantic comedies also feature clearly unhealthy relationships. Consider The Wedding Planner, where the male lead is engaged for the majority of the film, or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, where both sides of the couple are trying to trick one another. There are countless other examples.

It would be interesting to explore why this is. Does a relationship need to be unhealthy (or, commonly, founded upon lies) to be "funny"? Why can we set aside critical judgement of blatantly unhealthy behaviours when we’re watching these movies?

  • Add screwball comedies to that and it would improve it greatly. – leitercary 3 months ago
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  • The questions you pose here are very interesting. How would we define “unhealthy” in this inquiry? You seem to imply dishonesty or deception as informing that qualifier, which I think is right, but also, what of other problematics like sexist gender roles set as expectations via swoon-worthy rom com get-togethers? Perhaps this is where some of the unhealthy humor of this genre comes into play, where we laugh at the blunders the characters commit as they themselves attempt to fit the expectations of idealized heteronormative relationships— ‘boys will be boys, girls will be girls.’ – duronen 3 months ago
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Taken by Maddie872 (PM) 2 weeks ago.
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The Hulk's Character Development (or lack thereof)

The Incredible Hulk is the movie most likely to be forgotten when thinking about the MCU. Arguably, its poor reception is the reason Mark Ruffalo has yet to get his own Hulk movie. Because Hulk/Bruce Banner doesn’t get solo movies like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, all of his character development has to happen in the Avengers movies and Thor: Ragnarok. Analyze what arc or Hero’s Journey he has, if any. Perhaps compare his arc to that of other Avengers.

  • I'm not certain why Mark Ruffalo never got a solo Movie as the Hulk. But, the reason Edward Norton was let go of was, due to problematic interactions with the rest of the cast. I think this topic is interesting as many fans complained about Ruffalo's and Johanson having no romantic chemistry in the films. I would say his arc is more about gaining control over his darker nature (something we see at the happen in Avenger End Game.) https://www.cbr.com/why-mark-ruffalo-replaced-edward-norton-mcu-hulk/ – Blackcat130 3 months ago
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  • I think this is a good topic. Mark Ruffalo was a major star even before his casting as the Hulk, so for him to not have his own solo film is definitely a question mark on the studio's part. I think it's also interesting to look at his relationships with the other characters and Avengers as a whole. Why is he now paired with Thor? Why did his relationship with Black Widow not grab audiences attention? Also of note is that Ruffalo has worked with multiple directors in his turn as the Hulk, including Joss Whedon, the Russo Brothers, and Taika Waititi. It might be interesting to analyze which of these directors, if any, have captured the strongest essence of who the Hulk should be. – Sarah 2 months ago
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Pros and Cons of Fan Theories

Theorizing about things going on in TV/movies/books that may or may not ever be confirmed in canon is a favorite pastime of many fans. But some fan theories take the fun out of things rather than inspiring fun conversations. Analyze what features or circumstances, if any, make a fan theory "worth considering" or not.
Examples to consider include Jon Negroni’s Unified Theory of the Pixar Theory, the 007 Codename Theory, and any of the "They were dead the whole time" theories.

  • This is an interesting discussion, and fan theorizing has certainly boomed alongside social media. It might also be helpful to consider how fan theories might have an affect on ongoing creative work. Fans often theorize what might be happening in a show or series before the finale is written. Do writers ignore these theories? Do the intentionally thwart them? Or do they read fan theories for inspiration? – JaniceElaine 3 months ago
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  • One pro I find is that several fans (presumably from all over the world) are able to geek about their respective fandom, and get together and engage in whatever they are discussing. It is a great way to discuss new ideas, and further immerse oneself into the show/game/whatever a group is talking about. One con, however, is someone can go too far with proposing a theory and not letting anyone discuss their disagreements with said theory. People are allowed to have their own ideas, but only if they are allowed to open up criticism to the theories they present. – DrSpaghet 3 months ago
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Why have apocalypse-style films and TV shows become so mainstream in recent years?

The idea of an apocalypse has existed in history for hundreds of years, but why in recent times has the idea of an apocalypse become to mainstream? Whether it’s zombies, nukes, or anything in between, these stories have taken a deep root in our modern culture. Is it because we feel detached from our primal survivalist selves? Take for example the show The Walking Dead. The show is a massive success, second only to Game Of Thrones during its run time. Apart from the amazing writing and impeccable acting performances, there is a certain allure to the idea of a group of at-first strangers growing into a family through trials and tribulations and lots of zombie guts. It is also interesting to see how these stories are received in different cultures around the world. For example I know that in many parts of Asia, there is a massive love for all things zombie. Why do you think this is?

  • Good topic! I think apocalypse-style media is cathartic. People consume it as a way to reassure themselves that what they see can't really happen for one reason or another, or that if it did, they would survive. Sometimes people consume this media and plan what they would do in certain situations. There's also an element of dark humor, as in, if we laugh at the poor decisions we think characters are making, the apocalypse won't seem so threatening and potentially realistic. – Stephanie M. 7 months ago
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  • Something really cool that was taught at the UNiversity I attended was an analysis of 'Ecocriticism and Popular Culture'. It took a deep dive into enviro-apocalypse stories (like Snowpiercer) - why we tell them and why we love reading/watching them. The concept of 'man vs wild' is a binary that has long existed conceptually as a means by which humans understand themselves. However, contemporary ecocritics have been challenging this binary. Especially now in an age where climate change and environmental catastrophe (referred to by scholars as the Anthropocene) continue to escalate. Things to research when exploring Environmental Apocalypse stores in pop culture: - Anthropocene - Biopolitics - Examples of this in film/literature: Snowpiercer, Elysium, Interstellar, MaddAddam Trilogy (by Margaret Atwood) – Amaani 2 months ago
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  • Something to consider: for many people and species on this planet apocalypse is already here and we are living in a post-apocalypse scenario. So maybe these representations of "another apocalypse" are how we confront our reality that we don't want to see. – ProfRichards 3 weeks ago
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Taken by Harry P (PM) 2 weeks ago.
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Negotiating the Politics of Otherness in Disney's Luca

Analyse Disney’s new animated movie Luca from a cultural andracial angle.By showing everyone to have a place in society, it deconstruct the self-Other binary paving the way for a greater acceptance of all races and cultures.

  • Well, the movie reminded me of the academy award-winning film The Shape of Water, which addresses the self-other binary. Sea-monster can be considered to be a metaphor for the racial or the cultural Other (the immigrants) who are denied a place in the white supremacist society. This is just a suggestion. There are innumerable other ways in which the racial/cultural angle can be applied to an academic analysis of this movie. – Madhukari 4 months ago
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  • This is a very interesting topic. – Sean Gadus 4 months ago
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Babyteeth and the Subversion of Terminally Ill Tropes

Almost everyone is familiar with the coming of age genre in which a teen is diagnosed with a terminal illness. From the popular adaptation of John Green’s A Fault In Our Stars, to more recent additions such as 5 Feet Apart, this type of film is normally associated with its ability to provoke tears rather than to impart the cinematic experience. Unlike its predecessors however, Babyteeth is simultaneously both moving and cinematic. It is not a movie about death, but rather the pursuit of life.

By avoiding the cliches of its genre, Babyteeth is ultimately able to impact a greater audience. Rather than portray its protagonist as a victim, Milla (Eliza Scanlen) becomes the film’s hero and is able to retain the dignity that her illness threatens. With the film in mind, examine the way that illness is conceived and thought of in today’s society. What shift in thinking has contributed to this change? In your opinion, what is the best way to present terminal illnesses in film?

  • A thing that grinds my gears would be the representation of mental illness, specifically, as something that either provides a limitation or a superpower... because plot. Often depictions are oversimplification of a person's experience or comically inaccurate. A bipolar charming-but-secret-murderer or autistic savant hacker with trouble speaking are some stereotypes. Another issue is when it feels like a checkbox has been crossed out. One egregious example would be in "The Predator" a while back where the main character's son is depicted as a school child that feels compelled to put back a chess set that has been knocked over into its original mid-game position, but then in the next scene is bullied after some kids pull a fire alarm that begins making loud noises. Main character's-kid-with-autism balls their hands and rocks back and forth to deal with the stimulation... of course later in the movie the kid is able to understand the Predator technology and language and is literally called a pinnacle of human evolution to be harvested for his DNA. This is lazy and uninspired writing at the expense of those with the mental condition being misrepresented, courtesy the media industry. – DancingKomodos 5 months ago
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  • Yeah a lot of times those kinds of illnesses feel like a cheap way to the audience's heart. I remember feeling this in Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl. I wanted to like the film, but I felt like the "Dying Girl" was a convenient plot device to the protagonist's character. He even straight up lies about the true ending of the film, and later tells us the truth: this was to keep the emotional beats of the film in check. How to do it properly? I'm not sure, that is a good question – JuanGomez 4 months ago
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