A campaign called "Frame Her Right" have put out a short video compilation of violence against women in Bollywood films. What they want is for the Indian Censor Board to include a warning in films that contain violence against women and to reflect such violence in the film's age rating. The argument links to the broader debate about the extent to which Bollywood movies reinforce misogyny in India. (The BBC quotes Aamir Khan criticising how Bollywood movies sometimes glorify stalking and harassment, which shows how times have changed). However, the 80s and 90s seem to be something of a low point for sexualised violence in Bollywood, and there are better portrayals of women in more recent films.
The Trouble with "Carrie": Strong Female Characters and Onscreen Violence.
Whether she's volunteering to take her sister's place in the arena or grooming her son to lead the resistance; gunning down the gangsters who sell drugs to the kids in her neighborhood or swinging swords to avenge her daughter, the "strong female character" is often stirred by a maternal concern, a quintessential desire to preserve her community, to protect the weak and vulnerable. Her bad-assery must be in the service of a greater good. Even when she's more ethically complex (like the Bride, who begrudgingly admits that all the people she killed to get to her daughter, "felt good"), she never takes a place at the table of Walter White's grand epiphany: "I did it for me."
Carrie does what Beatrix Kiddo and Ellen Ripley and Katniss Everdeen don't: She does it for herself. Her vengeance, her violence, is in service to no one, no noble good. She doesn't kill because her family and friends have been threatened. There are no friends, no fellow outcasts, to protect from the bullies. No little sister to shield from Mama's wrath. Only her. And she is enough. Carrie kills because she was wronged.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - a look at Russ Meyer's finest film. (possibly NSFW)
In Do the Right Thing, the subject is not simply a race riot, but the tragic dynamic of racism, racial tension, and miscommunication, seen in microcosm. The film is a virtuoso act of creation, a movie at once realistic and symbolic, lighthearted and tragic, funny and savage... I have written here more about Lee’s ideas than about his style. To an unusual degree, you could not have one without the other: style is the magician’s left hand, distracting and entertaining us while the right hand produces the rabbit from the hat. It’s not what Lee does that makes his film so devastating, but how he does it. Do the Right Thing is one of the best-directed, best-made films of our time, a film in which the technical credits, the acting, and Lee’s brazenly fresh visual style all work together to make a statement about race in America that is all the more powerful because it blindsides us. - Roger Ebert (SPOILER) [more inside]
The A-Team film is filled with sex and violence. Mr T pities the fools.
Man shot and killed after viewing of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" yesterday at Loews theatre in Pittsburgh. "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" is the title of the new movie by rapper 50 cent, who appeared on ABC's "The View" this morning- 50 Cent says he is sorry for the loss of life, but neither he or his movie is responsible. This isn't the first time that this theatre has had trouble; last Christmas a mob of unruly teenagers overran the theatre. Loews has since pulled the movie from its theatres nationwide, and will do so until the investigation is complete, which may be awhile- in the extremely crowded theatre nobody saw the attackers leaving.
"It has always been as if I carry chaos with me the way others carry typhoid. My purpose in writing is to transcend my existence by illuminating it." Crime novelist Edward Bunker, who died last Tuesday at age 71 (LATimes obit), became at 17 the youngest inmate at San Quentin after he stabbed a prison guard at a youth detention facility. It was during his 18 years of incarceration for robbery, check forgery and other crimes that Bunker learned to write. In 1973, while still in prison, he made his literary debut with "No Beast So Fierce", a novel about a paroled thief James Ellroy called "quite simply one of the great crime novels of the past 30 years" and that was made into the movie "Straight Time" starring Dustin Hoffman. Also a screenwriter ("Runaway Train"), Bunker appeared as an actor in nearly two dozen roles, most notably as Mr. Blue in "Reservoir Dogs." (more inside)
Bowling for Columbine is opening tomorrow. I know muckraking Michael Moore is a touchy subject around here, but I found his first feature since Roger & Me insightful in its stubborn search for an answer to the question: "Why is America so violent?" Other reviewers agree. Subtle he isn't, but when the news is as stark as it is today, maybe subtlety is beside the point. I hope that even some of you who aren't predisposed to agree with Moore will give this film a chance. Did I mention it's also entertaining as hell?