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The Justice League should be a sum of its parts but the question remains: Who is the protagonist? From left: Cyborg, Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman. (Handout)

A team divided: Who is the hero of Justice League?

The reviews are coming in pretty harsh for Justice League. If Superman is awesome and Batman is awesome and Wonder Woman is awesome, shouldn’t the three of them together be thrice as awesome?
Jodie Foster in Contact. Google Images

‘Contact’ and Carl Sagan’s faith

It is the 20th aniversary of Carl Sagan's sci-fi film, Contact - and a great time to celebrate its legacy and revisit its main premise of Science vs. Religion.
A worker cleans a statue of Vladimir Lenin in St. Petersburg. But how much Russian history gets whitewashed today? Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo

How does an authoritarian regime celebrate a revolution?

Because the Kremlin hopes to project strength and unity, history isn't used as much to inform as it is to inspire, with events cherry-picked to fit within a fuzzy framework of 'Russian greatness.'
Robert Eggers’ “The Witch” is a scary representation of Puritan life in the 17th century. (The Witch, A24 Films, 2016)

Why ‘The Witch’ is the scariest historical film ever

Robert Eggers’ indie film The Witch brilliantly chronicles Puritan life in the 1630s. Horror soon ensues as children disappear into the woods and one girl, Thomasina, is accused of witchcraft.
Harvey Weinstein: the allegations against him cast a spotlight on the stories we prize in literature and film. Paul Buck/EPA

Rape is a plot device in western literature, sold back to us by Hollywood

Woody Allen said it was “sad”. Quentin Tarantino said he needed to nurse his own “pain” and “emotions” about the revelations. Oliver Stone took it further – it was not just that he gave the nod to Woody…
While the original Blade Runner provides some insight into artificial life, and the book explores power and human relationships, Blade Runner 2049 has none of that. (Handout)

Blade Runner 2049: No hope in this dystopia

Blade Runner 2049 represents a failure of the imagination. The film is a series of events strung together and steeped in narcissism, excessive self-absorption, isolation and regressive politics.
Gil Birmingham (Cory) and Jeremy Renner (Martin) in Wind River: grieving fathers who come together in the realm of the dead. Production Co: Acacia Filmed Entertainment, Film 44, Ingenious Media

Friday essay: journeys to the underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety

American cinema mines Greek myth most strongly at times of profound social anxiety. In the age of Trump, we are already seeing key political battlegrounds framed as underworld quests in film.

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