“Planet of the Apes” and the Phenomenology of the Theatrical Film Experience

As a film scholar whose work examines the importance of technology to the way in which spectators experience the cinema and the world around them, it's always something of a pleasure to see something actually in a theater. Part of it is the sociality of the space, seeing a film (whether a classic or a … Continue reading “Planet of the Apes” and the Phenomenology of the Theatrical Film Experience

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Review: “Interstellar”

This is not the 2001:  A Space Odyssey You're Looking For Warning:  Full spoilers follow. I went into Christopher Nolan's new opus expecting our generation's 2001:  A Space Odyssey, one of the most visually and philosophically profound films I have ever seen.  Indeed, there are only two films that have really come close to capturing (for me, … Continue reading Review: “Interstellar”

Discovering the Wonder and Pleasures of Historical Television

At the recent Film and History Conference, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing the renowned Tom Gunning deliver a compelling talk about the nature of wonder and cinema.  There was something charming and delightful about his obvious love of early cinema, a period that isn’t as sexy as, say, contemporary blockbuster film but which, … Continue reading Discovering the Wonder and Pleasures of Historical Television

Are We There Yet? “How To Get Away With Murder” And “Post-Gay” Television

In case you missed it, Shonda Rhimes, the noteworthy executive producer of one of this season's most popular new dramas How to Get Away With Murder, put the smack down on someone who suggested that the gay scenes in both Scandal and HTGAWM were extraneous to the plot, tweeting that "there are no GAY scenes.  There are scenes with people in … Continue reading Are We There Yet? “How To Get Away With Murder” And “Post-Gay” Television

Gay Assimilation and the Burden of Being Queerly Different

Recently, during a meeting of a queer studies reading group, I engaged in a spirited debate with a colleague about the advantages and disadvantages of assimilation.  He was not convinced that assimilation poses the dangers that many queer scholars such as Jack Halberstam and David Halperin have argued that it does.  Another colleague, one whom … Continue reading Gay Assimilation and the Burden of Being Queerly Different

“Outlander” and the Gendered Branding of Starz

There has been quite a lot of buzz surrounding Starz new series Outlander, based on the bestselling series of historical/fantasy/science fiction/romance novels written by Diana Gabaldon (the question of genre is a vexed one where this series is concerned). Anne Helen Petersen of BuzzFeed and Willa Paskin of Slate have both pointed out that the series, unlike other … Continue reading “Outlander” and the Gendered Branding of Starz

“Broke Straight Boys”: The Intersection of Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Amateur Gay Porn

It's no surprise that many gay men (and much gay male pornography) is obsessed with straight men.  There are many reasons, both historic and cultural, for this long-standing erotic attraction for, as David Halperin has eloquently argued in his book How to Be Gay, part of what constitutes contemporary gay male identity and sexual desire is precisely … Continue reading “Broke Straight Boys”: The Intersection of Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Amateur Gay Porn

What Can “Game of Thrones” Tell Us About History?

By now, it's well-known that George R.R. Martin's popular series A Song of Ice and Fire, as well as the HBO series Game of Thrones, draw liberally from our own world and its history.  Most obviously, Westeros resembles England, with the rival houses of Lannister and Stark paralleling the feud between Lancaster and York that tore England apart … Continue reading What Can “Game of Thrones” Tell Us About History?