Tag Archives: women in film

[film]wonder woman

Full disclosure: I was never an avid reader of the Wonder Woman comics. My comic heroines tend to be gals like Tank Girl and Devi from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and I Feel Sick. Having said that, I exist in the world and in the world of pop culture specifically so I have a love of the character and a love of seeing more female super heros in general.

Wonder Woman is the redeeming ray of light the DCEU has so badly been in need of.  I feel no need to rehash the same thoughts we’ve all heard a million times before here, but I am not a fan of the gritty equals realism lens that we’ve been given before. It works for Batman, not for anyone else necessarily.

Here’s the thing with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman: Even in the midst of an actual war there is more light (literal and figurative) than any other movie has given us. Diana Prince believes in love and light and isn’t afraid to admit it. There’s a quote from Jenkins in circulation about how she didn’t want to shy away from what could be perceived as too earnest and cheesy. That mentality is what best serves this movie. Because that is Wonder Woman. She is earnest and believes in doing the right thing. Sure, her initial experiences with humanity throw some curve balls at her, but that’s to be expected. The world is not the idyllic island she was raised on and it takes some getting used to.

There’s a love story, but it neither bogs down the storyline and action or feels like it was forced in because it’s a “girl movie”. The supporting cast around Diana is delightful, especially Lucy Davis as Steve Trevor’s secretary, Etta. I would honestly watch the adventures of her teaching Diana to exist in the real world over and over.

All that being said, Wonder Woman is not without its problems.

The universe continues to be racially tone deaf as fuck, if not to the same extent as Suicide Squad was. Amazonians of color are limited background imagery for the most part. The few that speak any lines only get one or two at most. The mammy stereotype is even employeed. Once Diana is out in the world the stereotypes of sneaky Native American and dishonest talkative Middle Easterner. Warner Bros needs to step up their game and realize there’s more to diversity than tired tropes and stereotypes again and again.

The other memo they failed to get is that often heroes are only as interesting as their villains. The villains are lackluster at best. Dr. Poison is potentially the most interesting, but she’s never really developed beyond the “chick who makes the poisons and wears a half mask”. Which is also symptomatic of the other thing that is underserved in Wonder Woman: A diversity of types of strong women. We are constantly being reminded of how beautiful everyone finds Diana, but Etta, while wonderful, is mostly shown to be somewhat bumbling instead of as the capable woman she clearly really is. Hopefully these are things that we see in future sequels, but this is a thing Hollywood frequently struggles with so I’m honestly not hopeful.

All and all though, the bright points outshine the problematic areas and hopefully will lead to more movies about female superheroes of all colors being greenlit. In the dearth of female fronted and directed super hero films, the perspective is much needed and, while the fight scenes are adrenaline inducing, this one is all about the heart. Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince is a hero that can be looked up to by small girls and grown women alike.

My Supergirl on our way in to see Wonder Woman


Anthology horror movies are a mixed bag in more ways than one. Often times they have flashes of brilliance in one short and everything else falls flat. XX (2017) is a collection of four short films written and directed by women. It is an excellent example of an anthology done exactly right. It captures a consistent tone with distinct style differences between all the shorts.

First off there’s an amazing stop animation frame story directed by Sofia Carrillo. It’s creepy and is about dolls. That’s absolutely all I need in something ever. It is a full enough tale unto itself that it almost counts as fifth short. It sets the tone from the get go that you’re in for a quirky and slightly unsettling ride, but ends on a sweet note.

Which leads us to the shorts themselves:

The Box
(Jovanka Vuckovic)

Based on a short story by Jack Ketchum, a boy asks “what’s in the box?” to a stranger on the train. The stranger shows him and proceeds to lose his appetite and stops eating altogether.

Let me just take a second to say that the answer to “what’s in the box?” is never ever something good. It just isn’t. So don’t ever ask it in real life. Did se7en teach us nothing? Now that we’ve established that, the Box feels like a psychological mind fuck about how mothers can feel alone and isolated even amongst the people who love them most.

The Birthday Party
(Annie Clark/Roxanne Benjamin)

Annie Clark is better known to the world as St Vincent and she makes some of the most amazing music ever. Here she delivers a psychedelic and delicious black comedy about the lengths we’ll go to for our kids. It is my favorite in the four films. It walks a perfect tightrope between dark, weird, funny and still making sense.

Don’t Fall
(Roxanne Benjamin)

Don’t Fall is a pretty quick and straightforward possession tale about four campers who camp on cursed land. There’s excellent monster makeup and a well done transformation scene. Super enjoyable, but it’s not exactly reinventing the wheel.

Her Only Living Son
(Karyn Kusama)

Eighteen years after living on the run, a woman must confront who (or what) her son really is or if he is even really her son. Another one that is pretty straightforward, but speaks so much to the strength of women even with things they have very little actual control over.

What XX offers us is a unique take on women in the horror genre. It is the rare film that doesn’t depend on over sexualisation or damsel in distress cliches. This is one of best shot and well crafted collections to come along in awhile. Every single one of these women has a unique and much needed voice. These stories are just good stories. XX is completely worth a watch.