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Unorthodox Storytelling

Deborah Feldman's memoir, Unorthodox, is more than a depiction, or even indictment, of the Satmar. It's an indictment of any patriarchal social system that shrinks young women's dreams to the size of a kitchen, and then blames them for it.

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"Everything Is Everything": 25 Moments That Make 'Marriage Story' Fall Apart Masterfully

It's the little things that make and break marriages and movies. In the case of Baumbach's Marriage Story, it's 25 little things.

Film

Alex Gibney's 'Citizen K': The UK and US Through the Post-Soviet Looking Glass

In Citizen K, director Alex Gibney refrains from judging his imperfect protagonist, exiled Russian oligarch business man and political philanthropist, Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky.

Film

Ludicrous Irony in Scorsese's 'The Irishman'

With its big performances and stellar script, The Irishman is the glorious culmination of Scorsese's lifelong fascination with mobsters and their built-in self-destruction.

Television

The Pulpy Origins of Netflix's 'Typewriter'

Less polished than Netflix's usual fare, Sujoy Ghosh's new haunted house series, Typewriter, borrows from India's rich tradition of genre fiction.

Television

Not Where But When: Past and Future in Netflix's 'Dark'

The German-language sci-fi thriller Dark perfectly captures the unsettling experience of being trapped by history.

Television

'Designated Survivor' S3: How Do We Deal with Neo-Fascists, Anyway?

Designated Survivor Season Three effectively criticizes the Trump administration and poses complex questions in our time of the rise of the extreme right.

Television

Lisa Hanawalt's 'Tuca & Bertie' Explores Female Friendships with Raunchy Humor and Compassion

Tuca & Bertie is decidedly female-centric and bold, featuring -- among other things -- a plethora of boobs: boobs on pastries, on plants, and boobs shaking on buildings.

Film

Commodified Authenticity and Ethnic Resistance in Nahnatchka Khan's 'Always Be My Maybe'

'Authenticity' is an ideological construct that should be questioned and critiqued, as Nahnatchka Khan has done so well in her film, Always Be My Maybe.

Film

Scorsese and Dylan: A Match Made in Fantasy

In Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, a cinematic genius and a Nobel Prize-winning musical icon pair for a magical and purposefully deceptive look at rock 'n' roll life in the mid-'70s.

Television

'Black Mirror' Season 5 Should Be Its Last

It makes perfect sense that 2019 — the last year of the decade — should also be the last year for one of the 2010s' best shows. To continue would be a disservice to viewers.

Television

Netflix's 'Bonding' Is Worth Getting Tied Up With

With Bonding, Netflix offers up a sweet and salty treat that explores what we must otherwise suppress within ourselves.

Television

The Many Grace Notes in 'Grace and Frankie', Season 5

While Grace and Frankie is as fun as ever, season 5 suggests a sadder path for a show that has often pushed its sadness to the periphery.

Books

Overlooking the Overstatement: On Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and Bojack Horseman's "Thoughts and Prayers" Episode

If Shirley Jackson's simple parable, "The Lottery", couldn't inspire self-reflection in an arguably simpler time, one has to wonder what messages today -- such as that of Bojack Horseman's "The Lottery" episode -- are falling on deaf ears in these times of increasing gun violence in America.

Television

What Is It About 'You'?

Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble's You (Netflix) is a gripping, grueling plunge into the dangers of modern dating and the accommodation our culture makes for men of a certain privilege.

Film

Through the Looking-Glass of Black Mirror's 'Bandersnatch'

Netflix's interactive movie, Bandersnatch, doesn't really offer choices, but it does offer something else: a warning.

Film

'Roma' Is Painfully Beautiful

Alfonso Cuarón's edgily political black-and-white epic of a family in 1970s Mexico City is as masterfully choreographed as Children of Men but more personally intimate.

Books

The One About the One About 'Friends'

Kelsey Miller's I'll Be There for You, on the production and cultural legacy of Friends, is a must-read for fans and anyone interested in understanding TV culture over the past 20 years.

Film

The Coen Brothers Tackle Short Story in Film Again with 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs '

Not their first foray into bringing the short story form to cinema, the Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs affirms, sadly, that in this regard, cinema is the lesser storytelling form.

Film

'Apostle' Director Gareth Evans on Filmmaking, Narcissism, and Intent

Director Gareth Evans reflects on wanting to once again flex the muscle of making a horror film after his unintentional hiatus from making a film.

Film

A Stranger Thing: Shannon Purser on 'Sierra Burgess Is a Loser'

Shannon Purser discusses her debut role in film, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, catfishing, and the unrealistic expectations imposed on today's youth.

Hans Rollman
Film

To All the Boys I've Loved Before Updates the Romantic Comedy for the #MeToo Era

Self-reliance, personal agency, boundaries, and respect -- Jenny Hans' YA novel, and in turn, Susan Johnson's film adaptation, show young viewers how healthy their relationships can be.

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Not (Just) a Laughing Matter: Nuanced Representations of Depression in Three Netflix Sitcoms

One Day at a Time, Bojack Horseman, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt each offer insight and understanding into mental illness quite unlike television shows we've seen before.

Film

Your Life, Their Hands: Interview with Activist Documentarians Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering on 'The Bleeding Edge'

The makers of The Bleeding Edge on activist filmmaking, the dangers of medical deregulation, and Netflix as a platform for progressive filmmakers.

Television

Hannah Gadsby's 'Nanette' Makes Us Realize the Present Tense

Hannah Gadsby's acclaimed Netflix special is a cultural milestone not only because it demands a better future, but because it teaches us about the present moment and where we might go next.

Television

'Troy: Fall of a City' Was Overlooked for the Wrong Reasons

Troy: Fall of a City tries to attack our racial prejudice but reveals more about our Classical ignorance.

Music

How Wrestling Saved Kate Nash and Inspired Her New Album

From forming her own record label to starring on the hit Netflix series GLOW, Kate Nash seemingly has it all, but still can't get over a goat named Black Phillip.

Jose Solís
Music

The Sound of the Shimmer: Interview with Annihilation's Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow

Emmy-nominated composer Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, music producer and founding member of Portishead, speak with PopMatters about their original score for Alex Garland's science-fiction film, Annihilation.

Film

What 'Annihilation' Shows Us about the Future of Serious Nerd Movies

Contrary to Alex Garland's disappointment that Paramount sold his film to Netflix, it might be a good thing for film nerds.

Television

'Santa Clarita Diet' S2 Has Brains, Guts, and Heart to Spare

When people change it often isn't for the better or the worse, but just for the different. And sometimes it's just like zombies.

Jay Bamber
Film

True/False Film Fest: 'Shirkers'

Erstwhile teenage screenwriter Sandi Tan reclaims her art from male narcissism.

Television

​​Netflix's 'The Crown' Gives Us Insight Into Our 20th Century Sins

For reasons as much aesthetic as intellectual, The Crown can proudly take its place among the highlights of TV's current golden age.

Television

'Stranger Things 2' After the Binge: How Well Does It Hold Up?

In spite of its stale scenario, sluggish start, and insubstantial side-stories, overall, Stranger Things 2 is still a satisfying sequel.

Television

'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life' Is Stuck in Years' Prior

In the world of Gilmore Girls, there's no transcending one's upbringing. For a bright, witty, and colorful series, it's a dark and depressing message.

Television

Game Theory and Marx: 'Narcos' as a Capitalist Parable

Narcos depicts the narcotics industry as a form of capitalism run amok, an unending game motivating its central criminals.

Television

'Narcos' and the Trap of Tropicalism

How the Netflix original series Narcos “otherizes" Colombia and Latin American through its single-story focus.

Linnete Manrique
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