Posts by Giselle Defares

Tim Burton

Countdown: 18 Tim Burton Films Ranked

In honor of his 60th birthday August 25, celebrate Tim Burton’s illustrious filmmaking career. From black-and-white stop-motion animation and gothic surreal imagery to bright multicolor fantasy worlds, director, producer and screenwriter Tim Burton does it all. His directorial career spans 20 feature films and counting, and his exuberant visual style has entertained audiences for more than three decades. Born August 25, 1958, Burton grew up in Burbank, California. As a child he was fascinated by        …read more

Dark: Season 1

‘Dark’ Season 1: ‘There’s Something Uniquely Creepy about Germans’

Everything is connected in ‘Dark’ season 1, the hypnotic German sci-fi show filled with lost children, time travel and a complex multigenerational family history. In recent years, European shows gained international fans with their quality productions, which often led to an American remake. See the Danish show Forbrydelsen (The Killing) or the French show Les Revenants (The Returned). The German sci-fi show Dark is the latest Netflix Original series that the streaming service has developed        …read more

Lana Del Rey

The Rebirth of Lana Del Rey

Singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey ditched the cloak of American nostalgia and is navigating her own space. “It’s already difficult to remember Lana Del Rey, but let’s try.” This is the opening sentence from a scathing 2012 New York Times review. Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, also known as Lana Del Rey, became an instant internet success after posting her 2011 single “Video Games” from her debut album Born to Die. The singer-songwriter established a meticulously crafted aesthetic        …read more

boy band

BTS: The K-pop Boy Band on the Rise

The Korean boy band BTS is riding the wave of their popularity, but it remains to be seen if they can make a lasting mark. “Oppan Gangnam Style. Gangnam Style.” In 2012 the rapper Park Jae-sang, also known as PSY, set the world ablaze with his dance hit “Gangnam Style.” PSY became a quick-fire success, but his star soon fizzled in the U.S. Five years later, the seven-piece boy band BTS made their U.S. TV        …read more

Studio Ghibli, Studio Ghibli movies

Studio Ghibli to Deliver New Heartfelt Animations

Plus: 7 films by the Studio Ghibli team to put on your must-watch list. The legendary animator and Studio Ghibli cofounder Hayao Miyazaki, who retired in 2013, announced in February that he’s coming out of retirement. Wanting to create for his grandson, he went to work on his first CGI film, Boro the Caterpillar (March 2018). It now seems Miyazaki is making a dedicated return to Studio Ghibli. In October 2017 the animator revealed in a        …read more

sexy ads

Sex Doesn’t Sell Anymore: Sexy Ads Give Way to Corporate Activism

The number of sexy ads is decreasing as brands embrace social responsibility in advertisements. Fashion brand Eckhaus Latta unveiled an X-rated campaign in March for their spring/summer 2017 collection. The campaign was shot by the Korean-German photographer Heji Shin and featured couples of different races and sexual orientations in the midst of erotic acts such as oral sex. The images are pixelated to hide the most intimate details, but there’s nothing left to the imagination.        …read more

Asian horror films

The Female Ghost in Asian Horror Films

The ghost girl thrives in Asian horror films. The horror genre currently dominates the box office, with the remake of the ’90s classic It and Annabelle: Creation, the fourth installment in The Conjuring series. Yet sometimes you need more than a scary clown or a demonized doll to give you a visceral thrill. Asian horror films gave us the most successful antagonist in modern horror: the dead, longhaired wet girl looking for revenge. What’s the        …read more

the Walking Dead comic

The Walking Dead Comic vs. the Show: Similarities & Differences

AMC uses the framework of The Walking Dead comic but creates their own zombie world. The toe-curling tension of the postapocalyptic zombie world in AMC’s The Walking Dead has locked in fans and casual viewers ever since the show aired its first episode in 2010. The gory show is based on The Walking Dead comic books created by Robert Kirkman with illustrations from Charlie Adlard. The ongoing comic book series is now in its 14th        …read more

Shonda Rhimes

With New Netflix Deal, What’s Next from TV Titan Shonda Rhimes?

From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ to a new production deal with Netflix, Shonda Rhimes continues to navigate her own path. In August Shonda Rhimes surprised friend and foe when she announced her departure from ABC and signed a multiyear production deal with Netflix. Earlier this year Rhimes was added to the Television Academy’s executive committee, which will help set its policy. It’s one of the many signs that Rhimes has become one of the most powerful women in        …read more

hallyu wave

Hallyu: Why the Whole World Is Riding the Korean Wave

The ongoing popularity of Korean dramas and movies demonstrates the power of Hallyu. In 2016 two Korean movies garnered attention at a worldwide stage. Celebrated director Park Chan-wook surprised the audience at the Cannes Film Festival with his erotic psychological thriller The Handmaiden and director Yeon Sang-ho had a summer hit in his hands with his first live-action movie, the zombie thriller Train to Busan. Since the late ’90s, the flux of Korean entertainment ensured        …read more

female body, female nudes

Nude Is Normal: The Revolution of Female Nudity

The naked female body has been restricted by social constructs throughout history. Societal rules have always determined the perception of the naked female body. Earlier this year, Playboy published the slogan “Naked is normal” on the cover of their iconic erotic magazine. The omnipresence of nudity in our digital era was previously the reason editor Cory Jones stopped publishing nude photos in the magazine in October 2015. Creative director Cooper Hefner stated in February 2017 on Playboy’s        …read more

Horror Movies Are Killing It with Strong Female Characters

From Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley to Eihi Shiina’s Asami Yamazaki, the horror genre is loaded with strong female characters. The horror genre ignites various reactions: excitement, fear, indifference. Horror aims to portray the unthinkable and push boundaries. From the classic monster tale of Frankenstein to the ’90s slasher hit I Know What You Did Last Summer to Andrzej Żuławski’s cult psychological thriller Possession, horror movies come in a variety of styles. Despite horror’s gory image and violent reputation, most        …read more

positive effects of social media

Social Media’s Emerging Tools for Mental Health

Instagram and Facebook aim to create positive effects of social media on users’ mental health. Countless think pieces have been written about social media’s negative impact on mental health, but are there positive effects of social media on our psyches? It’s often still a cultural taboo to openly discuss one’s struggles with mental health, but many celebrities have used social media as a platform to be honest about their experiences. Justin Bieber mentioned on Instagram that        …read more

STEM program

‘Hidden Figures’ Spotlights Black Women in STEM

Hollywood’s imagining of tech culture may have minimized women — particularly women of color — but ‘Hidden Figures’ is changing all that. The screen adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s biographical book Hidden Figures shows a poignant conversation among three Black women who work at NASA during the civil rights movement. During their lunch break, the protagonists have a heated discussion on sexism and racism in tech jobs in the 1960s. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) quips to her        …read more

La La Land

Hey, Girl. Will ‘La La Land’ Join the Best Musicals in Film History?

The optimism and magic of ‘La La Land’ could propel it to a place among the top musical films of all time. La La Land, a sunny romantic musical film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, is a pastiche of the great Hollywood musicals of yesteryear. La La Land combines modernity with nostalgia that drips from the screen. The film received a fair amount of buzz during the festival circuit. From Venice to Toronto, critics        …read more

The Myth of Sugar Man Sixto Rodriguez

‘Searching for Sugar Man’ documentary shows magic behind myth of obscure singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez. It’s the ultimate fairy tale: a singer-songwriter in the late ’70s fades into obscurity. He retreats and becomes a construction worker. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, he becomes a musical icon in South Africa. And via the Academy Award–winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, he becomes known in the rest of the world. This isn’t fantasy; it’s the story of the Mexican-American        …read more

How ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Elevated the Art

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ brought dance to mainstream prominence. From So You Think You Can Dance to Dancing with the Stars to America’s Best Dance Crew, the entertainment value of dance competition shows is endless. The unspoken message: You could move your body in the same way if you put your mind to it. British producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller are behind the launch of the dance competition show So You Think        …read more


Contemporary Dadaism and Internet Memes

The internet is a gallery of contemporary Dadaism. Memes. The inexplicable internet phenomenon that gets better every time a fresh crop of Photoshopped pictures, gifs and Vines pop up on your screen. Thanks to the internet we can fully enjoy modern visual culture. Modern artists, such as Bill Domonkos, are using the internet to create their own digital art. The threshold to create art is lower than it has ever been and more people are        …read more

Cast of Human Synths

The Imminent Rise of the Synth — AMC’s ‘Humans’ and Our Fascination with Robots

Mankind remains fascinated by robots and the vast potential that artificial intelligence will bring. The idea that robots lurk and take over our hegemony in the world is anchored in our pop culture —  think Metropolis, Blade Runner, Cherry 2000, A.I, or I, Robot. In most stories the trust between humans and robots is reduced to zero —  technology as the ultimate form of self-destruction. Sci-fi allows us to visualize a world where robots are part        …read more