Supernatural Beauty and its Cost: Cinema Witchcraft Over the Decades

The family Halloween flick “Hocus Pocus” (1993) became a cult hit due to its iconic New England aesthetics and the flamboyant performance of Hollywood veteran Bette Midler, but didn’t charm a huge audience at the time of its release. Moviegoing youths of the 1990s were more primed for darker materials, snatching up tickets to see a teenage coven of goths rock the dark arts in “The Craft” (1996). Both films have stood the test of time, and make great autumnal rewatches; But how drastically do their spellbinding stars differ in terms of feminist appeal? And have our pop culture perceptions of witchcraft changed much since the turn of the century? Continue reading Supernatural Beauty and its Cost: Cinema Witchcraft Over the Decades

Witchcraft Month: “The Witch: A New England Folktale”

For the month of October, ITOL have decided to focus on the representation of witchcraft in film. From the early silent days of cinema, the theme of witchcraft has been a constant presence in film. In today’s culture, the term “witch hunt” has taken on a different meaning, mostly in a response to cancel culture and moral outrage. However, the term has existed for a lot longer than the digital age. From the period of 1450 to 1750, Europe and Colonial America witnessed between 35,000 to 100,000 executions of those who were declared “witches”. Continue reading Witchcraft Month: “The Witch: A New England Folktale”

ITOL Editorial: We Need To Do Better

When I first heard of the discrepancies between the amount of male film critics versus female film critics, I knew that I really wanted to do something to make a difference. I wasn’t sure what, but I knew I had to try and help amplify the voices of female, trans gendered and non-binary film critics. The beauty of film is that it’s truly unlike any other form of art, it’s something that can be easily accessible to so many of us unlike theatre for example. A good or even a bad film can connect with us and inspire discussion. Everybody, from all walks of life, watches and enjoys film in some form or another. So, why should only an elite few get to participate in the discussion? Continue reading ITOL Editorial: We Need To Do Better

Women in Action: 5 Fight Scene Tropes That Need To Die

Fight scenes are about visual spectacle, power dynamics, adding thrills and tension. They change the stakes quickly and move a film forward. When women are put in this environment they add something different…  often a touch of unnecessary sexuality and silly recurring tropes.

Thankfully these tropes seem to be fading with the introduction of more well-rounded female action heroes whose power and skill is more important than how their body looks. Continue reading Women in Action: 5 Fight Scene Tropes That Need To Die

Editorial: There Are More Female Directors Than Gerwig and Coppola (And We Need to Learn Their Names)

There was a recent post on Twitter asking for the film community to name a female filmmaker but not name famous directors Sofia Coppola or Greta Gerwig. Sure, people were able to name other directors. However, I was struck by the fact that there are truly so many women working behind the camera, but only a few are widely known by audiences. Continue reading Editorial: There Are More Female Directors Than Gerwig and Coppola (And We Need to Learn Their Names)

Review: Radioactive

There have been many successful films based on comic books or graphic novels, but “Radioactive” is something completely different. The story of Marie Curie is brilliantly brought to life with stunning visuals and a terrific performance by Rosamund Pike. Many people are familiar with The Curie’s from science class but don’t understand the struggles Marie went through as an immigrant, a woman in the early 19th century, and as a working mother. Continue reading Review: Radioactive

The Terror of TERFs Revealed in “Midsommar’s” Summertime Setting

The last scenes of Ari Aster’s premier horror masterpiece “Hereditary” (2018) take viewers through a winding middle-American manor, with dysfunctional family dynamics incarnated as demons in the eerie night-time environment. Aster abandons this classic horror imagery for a more subversive setting in “Midsommar” (2019), where his familiar formula of manifesting the characters’ resentments towards one another as violent retribution instead takes place in the long-lasting daylight of a secluded, Scandinavian commune. Continue reading The Terror of TERFs Revealed in “Midsommar’s” Summertime Setting

Review: “Saint Frances” #EdFilmFestAtHome

“Saint Frances” is a smart, funny, touching and stigma-busting comedy which shows that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Written by Kelly O’Sullivan (who also plays the lead), it’s unafraid to be bold but it’s also tender and has something important to say. Continue reading Review: “Saint Frances” #EdFilmFestAtHome

Sheffield Doc Fest Exclusive Review: “Sisters With Transistors”

“Sisters With Transistors” should win an award for having the best film title of this year. This is the first feature documentary from French American artist and filmmaker Lisa Rovner and it’s a brilliant piece of revolutionary filmmaking that sets your senses aflame. Not only is this film eye-opening, it’s ear-opening, in fact it goes beyond that…it’s truly soul-opening. “Sisters With Transistors” is a beautiful journey into a hidden world of female composers and electronic music that will capture your imagination and will lead you down a rabbit hole into a soundscape that is like nothing else you’ve ever heard before. Continue reading Sheffield Doc Fest Exclusive Review: “Sisters With Transistors”