Movie Review: Ingrid Goes West

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Ingrid Goes West * 2017 * Rated R * 1 Hour 38 Minutes

At one point in Ingrid Goes West, Dan Pinto, played by O’Shea Jackson Jr., describes the life cycle of superhero crime fighting to Aubrey Plaza’s Ingrid Thorburn: Batman arrests people, takes them to Arkham Asylum, they possibly get out a few months later, and the cycle continues. It’s not that different from the cycle of internet fame and stalking, as the movie shows us.

We meet Ingrid as she’s sitting in a car outside of a wedding, watching the bride’s instagram feed in real time and crying. After a few minutes of this, Ingrid gets out of the car and storms toward the reception tent. She pulls out a can of mace and sprays it in the bride’s eyes, yelling that it’s payback for not inviting her to the wedding.

The groom tackles Ingrid as she tries to escape, and we see her next in a mental ward. We find out that she wasn’t even friends with the bride or groom, instead the bride had commented on her instagram feed once, and that was enough to trigger Ingrid to stalk her and consider them friends.

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Movie Review: Wind River

 

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Wind River * 2017 * Rated R * 1 Hour 47 Minutes

😸😸😸😸🌑 Rated 4/5 Happy lap cats, with some reservations

I have very mixed feelings about Wind River. On the one hand, it’s beautifully made, starring a talented group of some of my favorite actors, and tells a compelling story. On the other hand, the story is about the epidemic of sexual assault and violence against Native American women, yet the voices of these women are hardly heard. The story is told from an overwhelmingly male point of view, and the two main characters are white.

Wind River takes place on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Jeremy Renner plays Cory Lambert, a US Fish and Wildlife Service hunter and tracker who works on the reservation. His ex-wife, with whom he has a son, is a Native American from the reservation. They also had a teenage daughter who died mysteriously three years prior to the movie.

As he’s hunting a mountain lion that’s teaching her cubs to hunt livestock, Cory tracks bloody human footprints in the snow to the body of 18 year old Native American woman Natalie Hanson. Natalie was the best friend of Cory’s daughter Emily, so he recognizes the body, and reports her death to the tribal police, headed by Graham Greene as Ben.

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Why I Think “Ghost in the Shell” Is Racist As F*ck, But I’m Still Planning To See It

ScarJo in Ghost in the Shell

Since I heard about the extremely controversial casting of Scarlett Johansson in “Ghost in the Shell,” I’ve been about as enraged by it as anyone. At first, I resolved not to see the film in protest. As a woman, I understand how meaningful it can be to see yourself represented in mainstream media. It makes you feel seen and accepted by your society, your people. It makes you feel like an equal and someone who matters. And as a lover of women in general, I don’t want to see any kind of woman shut out of our culture’s media. Every kind of woman, no matter what she looks like or how old she is or where she comes from or who she’s attracted to or what she believes in, deserves recognition and acceptance.

The film is nauseatingly racist. In addition to the blatant racism of casting a white woman in an originally Asian female role, it reportedly attempted to yellow face some of its extras, and possibly even Johansson herself.

I had a friend once who was half Chinese and half Scottish. She was outgoing, excitable, charming, feminine, and beautiful. We took ballroom dance classes together, and that was where I first realized how marginalized Asian women are. The men looked at her like she was a sex toy – old, often married men and this 14 year old girl. They flirted with her and ogled her. She was their favorite dance partner, and it had nothing to do with her dancing ability. Her personality had quite a bit to do with it, but I’m also quite certain that her race made them feel much more confident in treating her like she existed purely for their pleasure.

I often get ads for Asian women from dating sites. I get those more than any other dating site ad. I’ve seen statistics that Asian women are the most fetishized women in America. What comes with that fetishization? Viewing them as non-human.

Which is why it was so deeply offensive for this film’s producers to take an iconic, inspiring female character like Major Motoko Kusanagi and make her the default woman that we always see on our screens, rather than an underrepresented minority who deserve to see themselves as these inspiring people.

But despite feeling so strongly about that, I also couldn’t ignore that it was a female lead, who is meant to carry the film. Now, I don’t mean to say that it is REMOTELY okay that they whitewashed this character. But I kept thinking, how often do we have a female lead in a big-budget, mainstream cyberpunk film? A woman starring in an action film is unusual enough, but what’s even more unusual is a story that focuses on the humanity, or lack thereof, of a female cyborg. The cyborg trope and the question of whether cyborgs and human-like robots should be treated as equal humans has been so deeply explored within the science fiction genre that I’m sick of contemplating those questions. (I’m a sci fi baby.) It’s a very unique way to explore the human condition, and relevant to our modern world.

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Moana Review: Female Bonding With An Unnecessary Male (Spoilers)

 

I saw Moana on its opening night! Very exciting, and for some reason there was practically no one in the theater. Night before Thanksgiving, I suppose?

Overall, I liked it. I found it emotionally moving, and the spiritual tone was enchanting to me. It is beautifully animated, and the music is absolutely beautiful (not surprising to me, as Lin Manuel-Miranda, writer and original star of Hamilton, cowrote the music). I found the messages and themes meaningful. There were a few times when I was almost brought to tears. That said, I do have some major complaints, most of which regard Maui, which I’m trying not to let color my entire interpretation of the movie.

Spoilers below! (And an unintentionally long review.)

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