Author: Olivia Rutigliano

“The Birds, and the Stars, and the Chimney Sweeps”: Revisiting the Anti-Capitalist Moral World of “Mary Poppins” in Light of its New Sequel

In December 2018 I strolled into an evening showing of a movie I had formerly committed to avoid as seriously as I do tailgates or seafood restaurants: Mary Poppins Returns, a film which, even before I say anything else, I think everyone can agree never actually needed to be made. I did, I think it’s worth saying, ultimately choose to go see it of my own free will, and by myself. But I did not go because I wanted to experience magic or wonder or “remember what it was like to be a kid again” (which is often the...

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Witches Who Work: Female Patriarchal Caretakers in “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”

Since its release on Netflix in October, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has frequently been discussed in terms of its politics. The series, a macabre reimagining of the saga about the chipper teenage witch (based on Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s updated comic of the same name), is an extended allegory about female power and patriarchal oppression. In its handling of these concepts, it’s about as subtle as Halloween. But while the show is preoccupied with exposing sexism in power structures, it also slowly reveals and condemns the group of women who allow, enable, and defend such institutions of tyrannical misogyny. The half-witch...

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Film Review: If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins’s If Beale Street Could Talk is a gorgeous, devastating watercolor of a film, so simultaneously ethereal and tangible that it will ache inside you long after you leave the theater. It is the swelling of your heart, but also the lump in your throat. It is about memory and dreams, as they encounter a reality that sometimes feels so hopeful but is revealed to be uncompromisingly unfair and skewed. It is about being black and young in America; feeling so full of potential and ambitions, but caught inside an antiquated and violent system of racist restriction. The...

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Film Review: Vice

Vice is a loud, long, exhausting movie about the political career and aggressive corruption of Dick Cheney, a Lord of Misrule in American government so unbelievably, boundlessly, cartoonishly evil in real life that history might always be in danger of fielding accusations that it has embellished or fictionalized him in retrospect. The canyons of Cheney’s wickedness are well-suited for satirical condemnation, and Adam McKay, the filmmaker behind The Big Short, the recent frenetic and didactic portrait of the 2008 financial crisis, seems enthusiastic about taking Cheney to task. McKay certainly pulls no punches in his indictment, but there are...

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Film Review: Roma

Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which is available to stream on Netflix, is a striking, painstaking panorama of life during one year or so in a wealthy Mexico City household, from 1970 to 1971. I say “panorama” to describe a film whose narrative structure emphasizes length, because the film itself is about space rather than time. It is about community, confinement, freedom, proximity, distance, class, districts, family, strangers, staircases, oceans, sky, travel, home, movement, stillness, change, stasis, walls, plains, city and country. It is about where we are from and why we have left. It is about how far we go...

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