One of the biggest issues in the news this week has been the ongoing rampant misogyny and outright terrorism in gamer culture, specifically the attacks on Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn and feminist media commentator Anita Sarkeesian -- both of whom have suffered exceedingly personal attacks and threats on their lives (including the horrible one in the graphic above, which was sent to Sarkeesian via Twitter). The former for merely talking sexual agency as an independent, adult woman, and the latter for criticizing the industry's treatment of women in its games. What do these issues have to do with the rest of geek culture? Well .... everything. Misogyny in gamer culture is a symptom of a larger, systemic issue. And something needs to be done about it. Now.
It was recently announced that Jenna-Louise Coleman is leaving 'Doctor Who' later this year, following the annual Christmas Special. At that point, she'll have played the role of Clara Oswald (in some iteration) for 25 episodes, making her one of the longest-running companions of the eponymous Doctor. This position has traditionally been filled by a younger white woman, though the Doctor has occasionally taken on a male companion, but while the modern version of the series has seen some diversity, Clara's exit provides an opportunity for showrunner Steven Moffatt to once again pair the Doctor with a companion who subverts expectations.
With a female-led 'Ghostbusters' reboot in the works and the recent announcement that Marvel has turned Thor into a woman, it seems that taking male characters and gender-swapping them could become the latest trend. While it's great to show audiences that it shouldn't matter if their heroes are male or female, it would also be great to see more women taking the lead in their own franchises or original properties. But maybe gender-swapping is the gateway drug; maybe this is the way to train audiences to accept women in leading cinematic roles.
When you head to the theater to see 'Guardians of the Galaxy' this weekend, you'll undoubtedly walk out with a favorite character: the surprisingly lovable Groot, the foul-mouthed Rocket Raccoon, the charismatic Star-Lord, the tough but hilarious Drax -- or maybe you'll fall in love with Zoe Saldana's green-skinned, badass Gamora. With all that screen time shared between so many heroes (and villains, and peripheral characters), it'll leave you wanting to see more of Gamora and her talents. Not that that's a bad thing.
In the last year, Scarlett Johansson has voiced a sentient operating system in Spike Jonze's 'Her' and played an alien striving to understand humanity in Jonathan Glazer's jarring 'Under the Skin.' This week, she tackles a different kind of sci-fi with 'Lucy,' a film that carries some of the same thematic DNA as her previous roles, though it isn't quite as intellectual -- nor is it as brainy as its titular character. But thanks to Johansson, the film prevails, giving us a wild and delightfully weird entry in the Scarlett Johansson Sci-Fi Collection.
This week, Marvel made a pretty major announcement on 'The View': Thor will no longer be a man. Thor will be a woman. Of course, the change is likely only temporary, but along with announcing that the Falcon will be replacing Steve Rogers as Captain America, the company is making some pretty diverse and exciting changes that set some interesting precedents -- precedents that could influence the way we perceive and accept these characters on screen, as well.
Roman Polanski created a manic adaptation of 'Venus in Fur' in translating David Ives' acclaimed stage play to French and casting wife Emmanuelle Seigner alongside Mathieu Amalric. It's a verbose production that does more than merely meditate on gender dynamics; it explicitly and gleefully deconstructs them, if you can keep up with tantalizingly swift banter between its two stars.
Audiences will flock to theaters this weekend to see 'Edge of Tomorrow,' the latest sci-fi action flick featuring Tom Cruise in his natural environment: running from things, shouting, touting some guns, and fighting off a serious alien threat. But what viewers will be wonderfully surprised to discover is that Cruise isn't the real action star of his own film. Instead, it's Emily Blunt, best known for previous supporting roles in 'The Devil Wears Prada' and 'Looper,' and someone you'd least suspect.
Mike Judge’s new HBO series ‘Silicon Valley’ is a clever, insightful, and at times satirical look at the tech industry in the heart of Silicon Valley, following a group of young upstarts as they endeavor to launch a new platform that will (hopefully) revolutionize data consumption. And while the show has one smart and assertive recurring female character, its dominantly male perspective became alarmingly clear following last week’s episode...