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Where Are the Women? Sicario

5 October 2015 8:21 AM, PDT

The female protagonist is smart and competent, wields authority like a total badass, and is an intriguingly conflicted, wonderfully awful mess.

Click here for the ongoing ranking of 2015’s films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of Sicario! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Sicario.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)

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- MaryAnn Johanson

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Sicario movie review: lies, injustice, and the American way

5 October 2015 7:56 AM, PDT

The “War on Drugs” has never felt more like an actual war in this brutal, scathing condemnation of the lawlessness of the battle… on the “good guys” side. I’m “biast” (pro): love Emily Blunt

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

The “War on Drugs” may be a bullshit term invented by our overlords to justify overly aggressive policing on local and national levels, and indiscriminate and excessive imprisonment for minor infractions. It may be a self-perpetuating excuse for a never-ending rain of cash for institutions such as for-profit prisons and federal agencies and individuals like cops on the beat and on the take. But the “War on Drugs” has never felt more like an actual war than in Sicario. Yet this is no bit of propaganda designed to sell us that war; it is a scathing condemnation of the »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Doctor Who blogging: “Under the Lake”

5 October 2015 1:13 AM, PDT

[previous: “The Magician’s Apprentice”/“The Witch’s Familiar”]

warning: spoilers!

This certainly looks, at first glance, like classic Doctor Who: corridor running! But it’s almost a caricature of the format: the Doctor arrives to help a bunch of people trapped in a starbase/ship/hotel/whatever figure out and escape from the monster trapped in the bottle with them. It’s Steven Moffat’s take on James Cameron — there are so many shades of Aliens, Titanic, and The Abyss here — and he can’t seem to leave it alone: we just got this in the Christmas episode, and it’s not any more interesting now. And much of the potential tension is diffused because everyone on this underwater base already knows who the Doctor is and knows what Unit is, so they welcome his help instead of being suspicious of him and demanding to know just who the hell he thinks he is to waltz in and take command. »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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