Tag Archives: talent

In The Force Awakens White Women get Representation, but Black Women get CGI

I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I loved it so much that the first thing I thought about doing when I walked out of the theatre was hash out everything that this Star Wars reboot had done right.

Like including legitimately humorous dialogue rather than slapstick CGI sidekicks.

Unfortunately, everyone on the blogosphere had already come to the same conclusion long before I was back from my Christmas break. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about the film, or reading articles about it. So I’ve decided to write about one of the few things that bothered me about the film, rather than many aspects of the film that I loved.

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you probably already know that we at CWR were excited to hear about the diversity of casting in The Force Awakens.

I was especially excited when I heard that Lupita Nyong’o had been cast. Ever since she won best supporting actress for 12 Years a Slave and was declared the most beautiful person of 2014 by People magazine, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for Nyong’o. After witnessing her sudden rise to fame, I was curious to see if she would continue to find roles in major films, or if she would slowly be pushed out of Hollywood because of her dark skin. As Gregg Kilday explains in his article about Nyong’o, few black actresses have ever managed to secure a spot as a permanent Hollywood heavyweight:

While the stage would appear to be set for [Nyong’o] to ascend to the A-list — just as Jennifer Lawrence did after her best actress win for Silver Linings Playbook last year — it’s not that simple. For while there have been a handful of African-American actors, from Sidney Poitier to Eddie MurphyDenzel Washington and Will Smith, who have reached that status, there’s never been a black actress who has become the equivalent of a Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie. Whoopi Goldberg came closest, following her best actress Oscar nomination for 1985’s The Color Purple and supporting actress win for 1990’s Ghost, but despite an occasional hit like 1992’s Sister Act, she didn’t maintain that momentum. Hollywood also flirted with Angela Bassett, Thandie Newton, Halle Berry and, most recently, Mandela‘s Naomie Harris, without ushering any of them into its very top tier.

It seems like a habit for major blockbuster films to tick off their diversity checklist by casting a white woman and/or a black man. Meanwhile, actors from other minority groups, especially women of colour, get overlooked because all the non-white, male roles have already been taken. As Evan pointed out in his post about the Martian and racebending, this seems to be the impulse, even when it means casting a white women to play a Korean- American character and a black man to play an Asian- Indian character. Continue reading

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2 Broke Girls, S5E1 “And the Wrecking Ball”: A TV Review

wreckingball

Back like a bad rash, and this time on Thursday nights! That’s right, CBS has finally started airing the fifth season of 2 Broke Girls and not even the AV Club, who stopped reviewing the show midway through the second season, could ignore its momentous return to the television landscape.

When we last left our heroines at the culmination of Season 4 they were headed off to France for a much-needed vacation. More importantly, however, they realized they had been neglecting their dream of running their own cupcake business [mostly through apparel-related moneymaking schemes]. While they waited for their plane to begin taxiing down the runway Max turned to Caroline and confided:

“Well, partner, after all we’ve been through this year, whatever comes next I kinda feel ready for it.”

In this episode, scripted and directed by showrunner Michael Patrick King, we find that “whatever comes next” includes a rude tour guide who shares a name with yogourt [Dannon] and the threat of their little corner of Williamsburg being levelled to make way for an IMAX theatre. At least one of these two is a substantial hurdle to the success of their business, as the absence of a storefront would make selling cupcakes pretty difficult. Also the loss of the diner, ostensibly their primary source of income. Continue reading

We Need More Women in STEM, But I’m Not One Of Them

Hello everyone, my name is Emily and I am bad at math. Sometimes this makes me feel like a failure as a feminist.

See, I’m a nerd at heart (surprise!), and a lot of my favourite websites and blogs accrete STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) news alongside covert footage of the new Millenium Falcon. I certainly don’t mind after all, I follow NASA on Facebook. I really am truly interested in most of the science news that comes across my dash, but it’s like being a child with a crush on one of her parent’s friends: I think it’s so incredibly cool and it thinks I’m kind of silly. Left-brainers range from befuddled to downright arrogant when dealing with us right-brainers.  

At any rate I see a lot of news about how important it is to get more girls into STEM fields, and it leaves me feeling a little guilty.  I would consider myself both a nerd and a feminist, and yet my brain seems to be built like a sieve with number-shaped holes.  Seriously, when my husband was doing his engineering degree he would sometimes vent about the concepts he was learning and even when I was trying very hard to focus and follow what he was saying, my brain would go fuzzy and I’d entirely lose track of his words.  Numbers just make my brain congeal a little.

This, but with math.

I’m not exaggerating.  I can do the same problem four times and get four different answers.  The numbers swim and change places, and working through problems feels like pushing something heavy through something thick, only to find out you were moving the wrong heavy object once the job is done.  STEM types laud math for being so reliable and utterly logical, but it’s always felt rather arcane to me. Continue reading

Aaron Sorkin and Flash Boys: The Difficulty with Bringing Asian Heroes to the Big Screen

Asian Superheroes. The perfect intersection of two of my passions: racial diversity, in particular the representation of those who look like me, and the stars of my favourite medium, ie. comic books. It was just earlier today that I picked up the second issue of Silk, which [as briefly mentioned in another post] features Marvel’s newest hero, a Korean-American who received her powers from the same spider that bit Peter Parker.

okay

Similar to Spider-Man she has enhanced speed, strength, reflexes, and a danger detection system [aka. her self-coined “Silk-Sense”] as well as her very own ability to shangchicreate biological webs from her fingertips. Other favourites from the same publisher include Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu, an Avenger at the time of this writing. He primarily relies on his master of martial arts, an ability which didn’t keep him from participating in an intergalatic war to save the universe. Another is Amadeus Cho, a teenager who attained the title of “7th Smartest Man in the World” and frequently took down superhuman assailants with only his intelligence and whatever else was available. Yes, at one point one of those superhuman assailants was the Hulk. The Hulk.

amadeus

Each of these heroes is wildly different from the next, but share a few key similarities [besides their belonging to Marvel and being of East Asian descent]. The first is the quality that makes them heroes, the self-sacrificial desire to protect the innocent and defeat those who would do them harm. The second is that I would love to see any and all of them make it to the big screen one day, to fight alongside the White, square-jawed Chrises of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The third is that every one of them is a work of fiction.

Bradley Katsuyama is a real-life currently existing person. He is an Asian-Canadian and has been a doer of objectively heroic actions surrounding the investigation and consequent combating of algorithms that preyed on unwitting investors. While not the intellectual property of a company creating and producing recent years’ largest blockbusters he is the focus of the novel Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, a film adaptation of which Aaron Sorkin is set to write the screenplay for. Yet at this point Katsuyama is no closer to having his story told than Shang-Chi or any of the rest of them.

Continue reading

More Ninja Turtles News [And Why Not To Be Mad]

Way back in April of last year I wrote a post called “Mashin’ It Up” [titled after something Harley Morenstein says on Epic Meal Time] that mentioned the new upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. You don’t have to read it if you don’t you want to, and I can sum it up with the following sentence: the turtles will now be aliens.

Oh, and Michael Bay will be directing, but you knew that from the title.

Over at the aptly named michaelbay.com the following was announced just yesterday:

TMNT: we are bringing Megan Fox back into the family!

Michael Bay

To be more specific, Megan Fox will be playing April O’Neil, the Turtles’ ladyfriend. Prompting rage from all corners of the internet [not that they weren’t already upset about the “alien” thing].

As you all probably know, Megan Fox played a pretty pivotal role in his first two Transformers movies, until the two had a falling out and she was replaced in the third film by a blonde goldfish [looks are subjective, but that’s just how I feel about Rosie Huntington-Whiteley]. Now it appears that the two have patched things up and the actress will have moved on from hanging out with alien shapeshifting robots to hanging out with ninja turtle aliens.

She managed to beat out starlets Jane Levy, Anna Kendrick, and Elizabeth Olsen, who were all also in the running. I can say for a fact that the latter two, at least, are very talented actresses and that I am very glad they didn’t make it. Allow me to explain myself.

No one out there expects this to be a good movie. I mean, sure, co-creator of the original TMNT comic Kevin Eastman thinks it’s going to be “a fantastic film,” but I’m not buying it. We’ve all seen Transformers, we know what to expect: a testosterone-fueled explosion-fest that will include at least one decent fight scene that you’ll have to find on YouTube after you’ve seen the movie because there was too much detail in too short an amount of time. It won’t be good.

And because it won’t be good I don’t want Anna Kendrick in it. If it’s going to be a train wreck of a movie I don’t want decent actors and actresses to be involved in it. Megan Fox can be April O’Neil because if I watch this film I want to enjoy it like I do a triple bacon cheeseburger, knowing it does nothing good for me whatsoever. Casting a truly gifted actress would be like putting spinach on that burger; it’s not where it should be, and in spite of being healthy would actually hinder my enjoyment of it as a whole.

So I’m not mad, personally. It’s just a Michael Bay movie, something we’ve all had to get used to at some point this past decade. You can be upset about it if you want to, but that’d be like being mad that an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo doesn’t have better cinematography.