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Stargate Ra

Of Gods and Despots: An Analysis of Stargate’s Goa’uld

Back in the 1990’s, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin were a very successful writing/directing team. Though their output then, beginning in 1992 with Universal Soldier, has been criticized for being schlocky, heavily reliant on special effects, and ridden with clichés, one project they did still continues to inspire such fervent admiration, Stargate (1994). A box office success in spite of the lukewarm reception by critics, and responsible for spawning several TV shows and a couple of TV movies, the franchise is pure sci-fi pulp: a mix of Star Trek idealism, Flash Gordon-esque villains, and a healthy smattering of pseudoarcheaology. Reduced to its most basic premise the story is about a round metallic structure, the eponymously named Stargate, discovered in Egypt in the early 19thcentury and, when turned on by dialing in a set of coordinates, allows beings to travel to distant planets and galaxies.

Father of My Children film still 2

Faded Family Portraits: Exploring Father of My Children (2009)

Depression, famously defined by Sigmund Freud, as “anger turned inwards”, is a tough subject to address for many filmmakers due to the difficulty in portraying such an internal conflict cinematically. Oftentimes, it is played for histrionics. At other occasions, the drama is reduced to pure mawkish tropes. Mia Hansen-Løve, a French filmmaker who has been garnering a lot of praise in cinematic circles for the last ten years, has devoted her entire career to telling low-key psychologically complex tales. For her sophomore feature, Father of My Children (2009), she turns her eye towards telling a family drama.

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Blood and Chaos in Hiroshima: Exploring the Yakuza Papers

Kinji Fukasaku’s acclaimed five part gangster series, known in the West as The Yakuza Papers and in Japan as Battles Without Honor and Humanity, is a brutal cinema-verite style gangster saga. Beginning in the rubble of postwar Japan and ending during a tumultuous time in the country’s history when student protesters acted more like modern day terrorists and capitalist desires made unscrupulous men disgustingly wealthy. The Yakuza Papers frames this chaotic era as a conflict between various groups of thugs, cowards, and rapists fighting at first for scraps of territory, and by the end congealing into a corporate body of garishly dressed businessmen whose veneer of respectability belies their gluttonous hunger for power and wealth.