Forgotten Toons: Hanna-Barbera, Anticommunism, and "Make Mine Freedom" (1948)

Evan R. Ash reads the supposed educational Hanna-Barbera cartoon “Make Mine Freedom” (1948) as presenting a variety of rhetorical devices that deployed its anti-communist propaganda, offering a vague antagonistic collectivist vision that very carefully attacked communism without ever uttering its name.

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An Age of (Super)Heroes?: Hollywood and the “Global War on Terror”

Allan W. Austin argues that post-9/11 superhero films—particularly the Dark Knight Trilogy, Man of Steel, and the many Iron Man and Captain America appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—stand as cultural signposts directing us to deeper understandings of the ways in which Americans understood and responded to 9/11, revealing both conflicting and shared attitudes that continue to shape the ways in which Americans interact with the world.

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Digital Ghosts: Nathan for You s02e01, "Mechanic/Realtor" (2014)

In the final (for now) entry in his Digital Ghosts series, Ryan Sherwood argues that in the “Mechanic/Realtor” episode of Nathan for You, the chimera of infinite filmability meshes fruitfully with a bold performance style—a gelid numbness that suggests itself as the only suitable response to the apprehension of the otherworldly via digital technology.

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Tower-ing Fiction #9: Glass Tower, The Towering Inferno (1974)

The Glass Tower is the site of the titular inferno in The Towering Inferno (dir. John Guillerman, 1974) and serves as both the site of the film’s blockbuster narrative and as one of the foundational towers of cinema. Constructed as an elaborate nearly 100’ tall model, the Tower is integrated into the film itself, establishing disaster tropes and their visual representations.

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Female Readership and Corruption in The Dark Phoenix Saga (1980) and Dark Phoenix (2019)

Kelly Williams argues that elements of the original Dark Phoenix Saga in its comic-book form—namely the presence of Jason Wyngarde/Mastermind and the illusions he casts to control Jean Grey—continue to be missing from film adaptions, such as the upcoming Dark Phoenix (dir. Simon Kinberg, 2019), suggesting that women cannot handle cosmic abilities and that once they gain power, corruption is inevitable.

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Tower-ing Fiction #8: "Monster Building," Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Ghost in the Shell (2017), White Dragon/Strangers (2018)

The so-called “Monster Building,” a popular tourist attraction and recent filming location, is really five high-rise apartment buildings tightly packed together on the western side of Quarry Bay (鰂魚涌) in the Eastern District of Hong Kong, appearing in Western film and television as a metonymic singifier of the dense, chaotic East, while also providing a controlled visual space and shooting location.

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Digital Ghosts: Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) and La Jetée (1962)

In this first entry in his Digital Ghosts series, Ryan Sherwood examines the ways in which the slippery essence of the 21st-century still image—not technically “photographic” and only ever temporarily immune to some animating force—serves as the Twin Peaks: The Return’s foundational aesthetic principle.

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Astronoetic Cinema: The Posthuman Question in Alien: Covenant (2017)

In the final (for now) entry of his Astronoetic Cinema series, Michael Uhall argues that Alien: Covenant (dir. Ridley Scott, 2017) presents a radical rejection of the human, via its commitment to radically speculative alternatives to the human – or, in other words, to posing and, possibly, answering the posthuman question in substantive terms.

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Astronoetic Cinema: Astronoetic Pessimism in Prometheus (2012)

In this penultimate entry of his Astronoetic Cinema series, Michael Uhall argues that Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott, 2012) presents a fully-realized version of astronoetic pessimism, denying the human-centered search for meaning, ultimately contructing a world in which humans exist as an afterthought, a byproduct barely worth acknowledging.

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Tower-ing Fiction #7: LexCorp Tower and Wayne Financial, Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Interestingly, LexCorp Tower and Wayne Financial are used to the retcon the logic of Man of Steel (dir. Zack Snyder, 2013) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (dir. Zack Snyder, 2016), serving as the location for only a few scenes, but acting a bridge between the two films and providing a window into the narrative tension and the latter film’s ultimately the revisionist narrative.

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Tower-ing Fiction #6: The Pearl, Skyscraper (2018)

The Pearl, the fictional skyscraper and world’s tallest building, is not just the setting of much of the action—and light drama—of the film Skyscraper (dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber, 2018). Importantly, it is a construction that directly relies on the film’s genre forebearers, a symbolic edifice, making architectural and visual the pastiche that is the film itself.

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