“My boy’s wicked smart”: Gramsci and Good Will Hunting

Ian Anderson | 23 January 2017.

This Christmas, the mystical cerebral alchemy induced by 10-yr-old Macallan, cheese, and endless well-loved films on TV (invariably already 20 minutes in; nonetheless, you just know you’re going to watch them anyway) threw up a connection between Good Will Hunting (1997) and the ‘wicked smart’ stuff I read up at the university; namely Antonio Gramsci, whose theories have some light to shed on an ostensibly ‘working-class drama’. Allow me to explain.

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From ‘A New Hope’ to ‘Rogue One’: A Successful Star Wars Adaptation to Current Political Climates

Erden Göktepe | 9th January 2017.

(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)

The original Star Wars is a romantic and epic space opera with stunning visual effects, but at the end of the day, it is still an essentially political saga. It is a heroic mainstream statement of the fight against corruption, totalitarianism and injustice. When I first watched A New Hope in the 1980s, though, it was not the political aspect which swept me away from the Aegean small-city life I used to live. Star Wars invited me to travel to different worlds full of creatures in all shapes and sizes. To me, it was a truly romantic story with marvellous music that spoke to my emotions, while politics operated in the background.

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Between Two Coasts with Alexander Payne

Niki Holzapfel | 9th January 2017.

“Hey, partner,” says a police officer after pulling over and approaching a man walking by the side of the road. He asks where the man is headed. The man points in front of him. He asks where the man was coming from. The man points behind him.

So begins the 2013 film Nebraska, nominee of six Academy Awards and winner of none. Alexander Payne’s fourth film about his (and my) home state, Nebraska earned recognition for a variety of reasons: the representation of small Plains towns, the performances by Bruce Dern and June Squibb and a cast of unknowns, the simple storyline of a father and son’s strained relationship.

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Morbid Curiosity – Sorrentino’s Ironic Pope

12th December 2016 | Eszter Simor.

Why are we so obsessed with scandalous news pieces? Paolo Sorrentino’s new television series, “The Young Pope” (2016), stars Jude Law playing a fictional Pope Pius XIII. It contemplates power and faith but at the same time, satisfies a morbid curiosity about death, sex and corruption. Just like Pope Francis, Sorrentino’s fictional pope also uses the media in a very conscious manner, but he chooses entirely different tactics…

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Under the Shadow: Never-Ending Nightmares of Bogeymen

14 November 2016 | Erden Göktepe.

Watching a powerful horror film like Under the Shadow is weirdly timely considering the alarming result of the 2016 US Elections. I do not know about you, but I am confronted every single day with nauseating media images of an unrelenting system filled with inconsistent and fallacious political promises. Maybe it’s due to my Middle Eastern background, but the potentially devastating repercussions of the US elections are haunting me like my childhood nightmares. I dream of faceless ghosts coming down from the cracks in the walls just like the ones used by Babak Anvari, the British director of Iranian descent responsible for Under the Shadow. This film is the first to depict the Iran-Iraq War in a horror genre, and it’s Anvari’s first feature-length movie.

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Where No Mainstream Sci-Fi Has Gone Before: Are We Getting Any Bolder?

18 October 2016 | Carolina Palacios.

This year marks an important date on any sci-fi geek’s calendar: the 50th anniversary of cult American TV series Star Trek, which aired for the first time on September 8, 1966. Despite the prompt cancellation of the original series after only three seasons, the Star Trek legacy has been kept alive, and 2016 saw the premiere of its 13th movie: Star Trek Beyond. In this era of big sequential blockbusters, amid all the comic book movies, dystopian adventures, and space epics, there is something that sets Star Trek apart: its philosophy. When giving a talk about the success of Star Trek, Roddenberry commented that “The whole show was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but to take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms.” But while that philosophy influenced Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s every decision in his original series, the Star Trek ethos has unfortunately gotten lost amongst the shiny surfaces and explosions of director J.J. Abrams’ 2009 revival.

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Absolutely Uncomfortable

17 October 2016 | Gina Maya.

Like so many other British sitcoms, including The Office, Ab Fab brought out a film this summer, leaving fans of the TV show to wonder: what British fashions or pretensions of the last two decades would the film satirize? What has Britain been of late? Reality TV and X Factor shows? Cookery programmes? Bankers. Economic crashes. Former children’s entertainers exposed for their acts of horror. What would this film seize upon and ridicule?

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Questions of (Mis)Translation: From Arrival to Brexit

17 October 2016 | Jonathan Drake

Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming sci-fi movie Arrival has already created a significant buzz amongst critics after first-look screenings on this year’s film festival circuit. There is still almost a month to go before its official release and it has already managed to attain an impressive score of 80/100 on the review aggregator Metacritic. The general consensus seems to be that this is a thoughtful science fiction offering that doesn’t rely too heavily on action; like the best of the genre, it isn’t afraid to tackle some big ideas. These ideas include the cultural, social and political significance of translation and Translation Studies: provoking thoughts on matters ranging from plot-holes in Roland Emmerich’s film Independence Day to cultural imperialism to translation’s role in the political discourse surrounding Brexit.

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An Inspiration for Murder? The Blakean Images in Popular Culture

September 6, 2016 | Amadeus Chen

What particular propensities in Blake’s poetry and art inspire fictional murders of the most gruesome kind? Or inspire the author to deem Blake a suitable spokesman for serial killers’ psyche? We can first take a look at Blake’s The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun, the painting Dolarhyde is so obsessed with that he has a full-scale tattoo of its image on his body.

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