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Film Buff Reviews Stuff: A Film Review Blog

Description

This creative project centers on creating evaluative writing about film, in the form of a film review blog. Preliminary writing was done, in which the distinction was made between critical film writing and movie reviewing, as well as an analysis

This creative project centers on creating evaluative writing about film, in the form of a film review blog. Preliminary writing was done, in which the distinction was made between critical film writing and movie reviewing, as well as an analysis of how film critics have honed in their criticism and what makes their content effective for their audience. The rest of the writing for this project consists of a total of 15 reviews for 15 different movies released in 2017 and 2018. In these reviews, there is a brief introduction of the plot and context in which the film is made, followed by an evaluative analysis of what made the film effective or ineffective in achieving its artistic goals. The reviews involve an amalgamation of the content and topics taught in the Film and Media Studies program at Arizona State University, from screenwriting to cinematography. This process of writing reviews and being edited by the Director and Second Reader allows for the opportunity to find a unique writing voice and create content that is accessible for the wide audience that would be reading the work. All of the writing completed for this project (except for the "My Favorite Film Critics" piece) is compiled together in a WordPress blog, in an easily readable and accessible format. The blog itself serves as a way to reach the desired audience, as well as entice them to engage with the writing and the films being written about. This includes providing images and trailers for each respective film, to add a visual component to the writing. The final product is a unique way to engage with the content taught in the Film and Media Studies program, while simultaneously building a portfolio of writing that will be expanded upon and continued in the future.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

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Back and Forth: A Collection of Short Stories

Description

Back and Forth is a collection of four short stories that explore cultural elements of the Philippines through folktales, magic, and loss. Each story features main characters that are discovering how to navigate through life after something jarring happens to

Back and Forth is a collection of four short stories that explore cultural elements of the Philippines through folktales, magic, and loss. Each story features main characters that are discovering how to navigate through life after something jarring happens to them. In learning how to move on, they learn more about themselves, their culture, and their identity. In “Back and Forth,” the main character, Lita, learns about the magic of the world and how she herself possesses it, something that is passed down from her grandmother. However, she is forced to hide it away if she wants to live a normal life. When her aunt starts acting weird, it’s up to Lita to race against time and relearn the magic within. “The Viewing,” takes place in the United States, and the main character, Diwata, is a biracial woman that has to maneuver her way through a viewing for one of her favorite relatives while also being confronted by the brashness of white relatives that don’t appreciate her being a part of their family. Tala, the main character of “The Mound Dwellers,” must turn to an old legend that she had learned as a child to find her own daughter that has gone missing. Only after finally giving in and listening to her mother about what she suspects happened, does Tala begin to make progress. “Snowed In” is about a woman who is getting over the loss of her husband. She works through the grief by cooking his favorite recipe, a traditional Filipino dish, over and over again. Each time she finishes, it’s not quite right. By the end of the story, she finally perfects the recipe, and there’s nothing left for her to do but deal with her grief head-on. Each story, though not related to each other directly, features characters that have to unravel the mystery of their new identities after a major life change.

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Created

Date Created
2019-05

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Cyborg Feminism: Ambiguity and Hybridity of the Female Cyborg

Description

A posthuman figure like the female cyborg challenges traditional humanist feminism in ways that make room for theorizing new subjectivities and feminist epistemologies. Rather than support a traditional feminism that assumes common experiences within patriarchal society and erases differences among

A posthuman figure like the female cyborg challenges traditional humanist feminism in ways that make room for theorizing new subjectivities and feminist epistemologies. Rather than support a traditional feminism that assumes common experiences within patriarchal society and erases differences among women, cyborg feminism moves beyond naturalism and essentialism to acknowledge complex, individual, and ever-changing identity. Three films, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina (2015), all offer such a vision of the female cyborg. In these films, the cyborg subject is a composite of machine and human—sometimes physical, dependent on the corporal mixing of flesh and machine, but just as often mental. Human sentiment, human memories, and human emotion merge with mechanical frames and electronic codes/coding to produce cyborgs. Importantly, every main cyborg in these films is coded as female. For each cyborg, a female body hosts preprogrammed sexuality and the emotions each creator thinks a woman should have, whether those are empathy, compassion, or submissiveness.

The cyborgs in these films, however, refuse to let categorizations like female, or even their status as human, alive, or real, restrict them so easily. As human-robot hybrids, cyborgs bridge identities that are assumed to be separate and often oppositional or mutually exclusive. Cyborgs reveal the structures and expectations reified in gender to suggest that something constructed can as easily be deconstructed. In doing so, they create loose ends that leave space for new understandings of both gender and technology. By viewing these films alongside critical theory, we can understand their cyborgs as subversive, hybrid characters. Accordingly, the cyborg as a figure subverts and fragments the coherency of narratives that present gender, technology, and identity in monolithic terms, not only helping us envision new possibilities but giving us the faculties to imagine them at all.

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Date Created
2019-05

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A Typical American Manner

Description

Three years ago, after skateboarding back from a calculus study session, Delaney Kranz was smushed by a car on the corner of Myrtle and University. This made her panic about the brevity of life, and, when she could walk again,

Three years ago, after skateboarding back from a calculus study session, Delaney Kranz was smushed by a car on the corner of Myrtle and University. This made her panic about the brevity of life, and, when she could walk again, she studied abroad three times, hitting eleven countries across Europe. A Typical American Manner is a record of Kranz’s sardonic and often-brutal view of the world. This collection of short stories shows the accounts of a young woman struggling to figure out her identity, to figure out the worth of introspective storytelling, and to figure what it means to be a traveler, or really, what it means to be a human being at all.

This collection was written throughout a four-year period and features stories from Arizona, England, Greece, Italy, Germany and smack-dab in the middle of Silicon Valley, California. The narrative style changes gradually over time as Kranz herself changes, notably becoming less of an edgy, angry shitlord and (a little) more of a polished writer. Kranz detests pretentiousness and is often self-admonishing to the max. She does, however, break the wall of dark humor and sarcasm to allow for a handful of tender moments of self-reflection and peace—always in bizarre settings, of course, like the middle of a Korean supermarket or in the El Paisano’s liquor and burrito store on Lemon Street. The moments are there nonetheless.

A Typical American Manner is Delaney’s story, or at least, one of them. If you read it, she hopes you like it. Or that you hate it. She hopes it makes you feel something—either way is good.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Victor and Vanquished: An Examination of Divergent Post-WWII Film Movements in Germany, Italy, and the United States

Description

History and art have always had an intersecting relationship, and each helps us to acquire a better understanding of the other, since artistic works help us to visualize the zeitgeist of a particular point in history. The connection between art

History and art have always had an intersecting relationship, and each helps us to acquire a better understanding of the other, since artistic works help us to visualize the zeitgeist of a particular point in history. The connection between art and history is most apparent when the radical changes that befall society through historically important events, especially conflict, are followed by sweeping changes in society, which trickle their way down into the minds of artists and creators, whose works subsequently reflect these changes. We cannot understand these works and their relationship to their respective period of time simply by isolating them into individual components like art style, artist, and location. They are socially and historically charged, part of a larger network of intersecting relationships that factor in concepts like ideology, material, and culture. We can examine the analytical power of this framework, better known as actor network theory, in a post-WWII European landscape, a period heightened by rapid social changes as the citizens of the formerly war-torn continent worked to rebuild and recover. When examining the artistic output of vanquished nations, mainly Italian neorealist films and German Trümmerfilmen, in a framework built around the principles established in actor network theory, we can see how the historical, political, social, and cultural developments established in the wake of European fascism’s unceremonious collapse is reflected on film when compared to the victorious United States, whose infrastructure and film industry remained mostly unscathed.

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Date Created
2020-05

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Commodifying Asian Aesthetics and Eliminating Asian Bodies: Misrepresentations of Asianness in Science Fiction Film and Television

Description

This work examines three common practices—yellowface in Cloud Atlas (2012), whitewashing in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and absence in Firefly (2002)—employed in popular science fiction that represent Asianness and disregard the Asian body. Though the creators purport to have

This work examines three common practices—yellowface in Cloud Atlas (2012), whitewashing in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and absence in Firefly (2002)—employed in popular science fiction that represent Asianness and disregard the Asian body. Though the creators purport to have progressive ideals at the center of their production choices, their works call on Techno-Orientalist and Orientalist tropes and divorce them from the Asian body, implicitly continuing the Orientalist argument of Western supremacy even in representing Asianness.

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Date Created
2017-05

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Paraprosdokian: A Short Story Collection

Description

Paraprosdokian is a collection of stories about all different types of lives in Phoenix, AZ. There are several stories that work together, involving lonely teenagers at punk house shows, while the rest standalone: the eclectic interactions of a waiter at

Paraprosdokian is a collection of stories about all different types of lives in Phoenix, AZ. There are several stories that work together, involving lonely teenagers at punk house shows, while the rest standalone: the eclectic interactions of a waiter at a 24-hour diner, a blind fair ride operator with a propensity for accidental murder, a hapless son of a clumsy dental assistant, a literary scholar stuck in an addiction to both Kafka and pornography, a kid who learns that writing is not a formula, and a high school death that nobody cares about. Some pieces unfold parts of 21st century culture that have been knotted in ambivalence, like how men raised on pornography reconcile with intimacy, while others are as simple as trying to encapsulate the experience of growing up in what is often perceived as an artless suburbia. The project aims at mixing prose with photography to create, as Ben Lerner describes it, “a constellation of language and image”—a complete artistic product. Using the work of a local Arizona photographer, the collection complicates a reader’s elementary notion of a “picture book” by forcing the reader to view photographs beyond exposition or symbolism. The title of the collection comes from a term used in comedic rhetoric that refers to a figure of speech in which the latter part of a statement or phrase reorients one’s understanding of the whole. Under this definition, the collection seeks to amend its author and reader’s orientation to Phoenix in a quest for empathy, giving pathetic characters a chance to speak without ever sacrificing a touch of humorous joy.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Playing the Changes: Four Stories of Music, Death, and the Unknown

Description

There are no words for the trauma of death when it strikes unexpectedly. What to say when a mother dies in childbirth? When a father figure contracts an unknown disease for no apparent cause? When a beloved pet, long mourned,

There are no words for the trauma of death when it strikes unexpectedly. What to say when a mother dies in childbirth? When a father figure contracts an unknown disease for no apparent cause? When a beloved pet, long mourned, may still be alive and hidden by estranged family? Generations may pass, and children may grow up, but the pain leaves marks that echo across time and the other borders we construct between our past and present. We may find strength on solitude, or prayer, or the words of a song written by someone else. In these four stories, spanning almost half a century, the marks of death and attempts to soothe or hide them are everywhere. Children on the cusp of adulthood grapple with the lives and the lies of their parents. Musicians examine the relationship of their music to the world. Legends and myths lurk in the shadows, tempting with false hope and rationalizing the unexplainable.
In “Playing the Changes,” we meet two men stranded in a small desert town in 1972, a time when their attraction to each other is still dangerous. Nile Walker is a jazz musician, running from a spurned lover and the law. Benji Garza is a once-devout Catholic, fixing cars and caring for his orphaned nephew, Hector. Walker and Garza’s affair will spin both lives and their heredity into sweeping tragedies that characters battle with lust and melody. Walker has a son he never meets, a drifter who finds connection with another lost soul at an airport in “La Petite Mort.” Hector is forced into early adulthood in “The Words,” when his ailing uncle’s health fails due to a mysterious disease not yet called AIDS. Later Tre—a young man struggling with the weight of his own lineage—meets him in “PHX.” These stories examine questions of death’s causes and its myriad effects, and offer this solution: Knowing that we cannot know everything, and living, loving, and singing anyway.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016-05

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Long Exhalations

Description

This creative project consists of three short stories with a common theme of release, letting go, and exhalation. Nymphal Instar is a story about Tommy, a young boy, and his encounter with his uncle, a troubled man who has just

This creative project consists of three short stories with a common theme of release, letting go, and exhalation. Nymphal Instar is a story about Tommy, a young boy, and his encounter with his uncle, a troubled man who has just returned from war. The story explores the idea of growth and maturation, and the ability to move past and let go of trauma. A Cat Goes Away is about a young man, Richard, who is required to simultaneously deal with the loss of his cat and the suicide attempts of his sister. He also runs into his sister's ex-husband and is forced to deal with him. The story explores the difficulty in recognizing one's own emotions and the importance of knowing the difference between what one can change and what one cannot. Since Diagnosis is a story about Kate, a woman who has just been diagnosed with cancer and who is unable to tell her loved ones. The story explores acceptance and the idea that letting go can allow one to live more fully. Though the three stories are disparate in their characters and events, they share a commonality in their endings and in the final realizations of the characters. There is a focus on the importance of breath and breathing, and the essentiality of acceptance and release.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016-05