• Sample Syllabi:
    Queens College — CUNY: Undergraduate Courses:
    Media Studies 200: Principles of Sound and Image

    Media Studies 201W: Media Criticism

    Media Studies 299: Media Studies Internship

    Media […]

  • Articles on Vice.com:

    Why Are Christmas Movies So Bad?” Vice.com. Published 12.23.2017. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wnda5b/why-are-christmas-movies-so-bad

    “Mars Attacks!was the Disaster Movie That Rav […]

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000, whether the original series on Comedy Central, the version that aired on SciFi or the reboot on Netflix, is a lot funnier if you know a lot about science fiction. If you are […]

    • I watched Barbarella and I’m not exactly sure what this film was satirizing. I just knew that it was absolutely ridiculous and the most sexed up film I’ve watched in a while. It came out in the late sixties so I assume it relates to the US space program and the sexual revolution.
      There might be some female sexual empowerment in the film, but I just thought it was exploitive and cheap. Barbarella was the protagonist, a female astronaut flying solo, yet she seemed clueless and proved to be useless and defenseless throughout the movie. It didn’t help that she went from one skimpy outfit to the next and that she was all too happy to bed every man who saved her.
      The movie is set in a futuristic world and I thought it was interesting that one of the technologies they introduced was a new and inventive sex pill and that the “old way of doing it” seemed so boring and unnecessary in comparison.

    • The first time I ever watched MST3K was a few years back and it was the episode where they made fun of Pumaman, which was so badly done. While the characters are mocking these stories, they are also in a sense paying homage to these films. As we all know by now, science fiction films have themes of philosophy and emotion. Though these films were poorly made, they still had these ideas that just got lost in the execution. MST3K pulls the plot and continuity together, helping the viewers make a better interpretation of the film.

    • I’ve watched Spaceballs a couple of times and I think that they were making fun of the most popular science fiction movies of that time. I guess that they were trying to show that science fiction doesn’t always have to be so serious and be so tragic.

    • I watched Barbarella, and it was definitely a product of another time, with it’s flamboyant mise-en-scene and presence of nudity, among other strange features. There’s no other science fiction movie that I’ve seen that includes a bright pink spaceship with a shag carpet clad interior. The presence of aliens as sets of adolescent twins was an interesting touch, as were the violet rabbits. Overall the film was very bizarre, but seemed fit for an audience at the time of its release.

    • There’s an Australian show called Danger 5 it is really great if you get a chance to watch, in the first season is satirizing 60’s film and tv in general but also sci-fi especially in s1,ep2 Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich,and i think this really shows how you satirize something right.

  • eXistenZ  is one of the lesser known films directed by David Cronenberg, who is probably the most famous Canadian Director, (unless you count James Cameron). Unlike Cameron, Cronenberg has always been someone […]

    • cronenberg takes away visual subtly so he can add contextual subtly, unlike other directors who would only use the biotech for gross-out effect, in all his sci-fi-ish films he uses it to dig deeper into what the story is trying to get across there is an initial ew effect but then we must think, from brood to videodrome to crash, things get less crazy and out there and more achievable in the realm of possibility and i don’t think this is an accident.

    • I watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and I wasn’t entirely sure what this film was about. Its Wikipedia page says that the film is dieselpunk which is part of cyberpunk. Dieselpunk combines the aesthetics of the diesel-based technology of the interwar period through the 1950s with retro-futuristic technology and postmodern sensibility (Wikipedia). There is conflict between man and machine and the advancements of technology in the film but I didn’t pick up on its punk aspect. The movie felt more like an homage to the glamorous 1940s style movies with its lighting, scene transitions, overlay of shots, design, and much more. I thought the movie was so beautifully rendered and at times, it looked like it was animated as opposed to live action. It also combined so many tropes of the science fiction genre. There were scientists, robots/machines, a rocket, man playing God, apocalyptic moods to create a master race with biblical references to Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark, distorted Utopian views for said apocalypse. Sky Captain was the savior and he reminded me of the revered astronauts (if only the movie were set in the 1950s/1960s). However, he got too much credit, in my opinion, as he rode on Dex’s coattails. Dex was the brains and he easily could have done everything that Sky Captain did. I also didn’t like how Sky Captain would always say “good boy” to Dex. Is he a dog or is he the person that was constantly saving you and giving you correct and useful information??

    • I also watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and really enjoyed the stylistic element of the film. It felt like a comic book that came to life. This seems to me that it is a modern approach to the famous German Expressionism and film noir styles.

    • In Johnny Mnemonic, people were being used to send messages because the world was almost in ruins. The movie says that if too much information is in someone’s head, it can be used for good or evil against the company that manufactures its own intentions.

    • I watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow too, and I agree that it’s style is reminiscent of some aspects of both German Expressionism and film noir, as well as some science fiction of course. The movie is full of vintage technology that would’ve been seen in film noir such as typewriters, but also includes futuristic technology such as giant robots. The film contains traces of both mystery and science, and serves as a good example of genre blending.

  • The Hunger Games is more than just dystopian speculative fiction. One could argue that, due to its popularity and influence, it is one of the defining texts — books and films — of the past ten years, telling us […]

    • I remember when the first film came out, I hadn’t watched it about a year later, the main talk was about the violence. Like “ooh wow, they kill kids.” and like you said, it shifted to older enemies and the “grayishness” of who’s killing who got less ambiguous. Katnis becomes idolized by the end, even by the second film. She’s the hero in every sense. The bad guys get more and more evil, they even try to make some of the kids in the 1st film unlikeable and the nice ones have sad scenes. Eventually the foes becomes actual evil dudes with planes and *spoiler/ actual sewer monsters /spoiler* with unworldly nano sludge. I’m jus saying that the focus dramatically shifted as the series went on.

    • When I first watched the Hunger Games a few years back, I didn’t initially pick up on its reality television element. It does seem like a critique on our current society on how we view these people as gods and put them on a pedestal in our minds. It can also be viewed that they are making a statement on our media, by the bending of truth and portrayals in order for them to relay what they want the public to feel/know.
      What I liked most about The Hunger Games was that there was a female hero, unlike other action movies. In a world where female actresses and characters aren’t taken seriously, Katniss became so popular because she proves that women too can be tough and smart. Maybe this was the writers comment on societal views of woman in media and trying to shape a new picture for the future.

    • I agree with you in that Catching Fire is the best one because of the heavy reality tv and celebrity components. That part of the movie is so much more light-hearted and fun. I also enjoy it for Stanley Tucci’s role in the movies as the fabulous, energetic and over the top Caesar Flickerman, the host of the Hunger Games.
      Side note: when the first movie came out in 2012, I had never read the books nor had I watched a trailer for the movie so I went into the theater without knowing that this was a movie where kids would kill other kids. Not a fan of violence, I hid my head on my mom’s lap for a large portion of the movie.
      We have some dumb and dangerous reality tv now whether it’s a dating show or a competitive sports type of show but the people on those shows all have free will and sign themselves up for it. We have less compassion for them if they screw up or look dumb on the show because they chose to be on the show. It’s easy to forget that the people on reality tv are in fact people with feelings and emotions. Online bullying and criticism is rampant and these contestants are not immune from it and actually receive a lot of hate. The Hunger Games is such an extreme scenario but today’s tv viewers can be cruel too and have no problem disassociating themselves from that cruelty they exhibit.

    • The Hunger Games series is an amazing example ofI h a dystopian future. Panem’s society is living in ways that are so close to ours that seeing that there is a possibility that our future can look the same one day is frightening. The films have all the elements of science fiction films. New technology and achievements such as hovercrafts, the arena, the absence of guns, etc. I had always felt that the arena and the games in general, felt like something out of old greek mythology. I actually read that the author intended to evoke greek mythology in her books. I have read the books and seen the movies and i think a reason that i enjoyed it all was because the author writes in katniss’ point of view. The readers/viewers are able to put themselves in her shoes on her cruel adventure and it helps to really immerse the audience into the novel/film.

    • The idea of children being forced to kill each other in order to stay alive was very harsh and scary, but it’s what attracted many people because violence is just something we as humans are always drawn to. That’s why the games are televised, not only to force the people of the districts watch children murder one another, but because the rich in some ways enjoyed watching the violence. It’s easier to watch it than to experience it. Like Anna, I also didn’t catch on to the reality television aspect of it right away. It’s like a huge part of the movie and is kind of hidden in plain sight. That part is probably the most interesting thing though. Basically the poor people have to put on a show for the rich people and make them like them and sympathize with them. They can’t show their true emotions of anger that the games even exist, instead they have to put on a show and make the rich empathize with them because having fans helps you out later in the games. It is pretty much identical to a reality tv show, especially in the aspect of the fake love story between Katniss and Peeta in the beginning. Peeta having a crush on Katniss led to her being more likable and seeming more appealing. Their fake romance created a large fan base that didn’t want them to participate in the 75th Hunger Games. It’s also similar to reality tv because everything in the arena is controlled. Certain things are done to make sure that the illusion around everything is not destroyed.

    • Hunger Games reminds me of the original American Gladiators, not the horrible remake with Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali.

    • I loved the Hunger Games: Series. I did it read any of the books. I was gone of the scenery and the action in the film more than anything else. The most touching scene for me was when Katniss sung to Rue. I found it unfortunate that Rue died at such a young age but she died for the better of her District or community per se. I didn’t understand the correlation between sending girls and boys to fight districts for the Capitol to remain order in society. I understood the part that the games was more so for the amusement of the Capitol. But I do want to bring up the fact that, a film can have an incredible impact on society because Thailand residents has taken a stance against their own government with the three finger symbol from the Hunger Games. The movie took an activist stand point because it is clearly that the districts are tired of living the way they do. Also tired that the capitol has so much power over them. I’ve watched all the movies but one which is the mockingjay part 2. This class has allowed me to have a better appreciation for all genres including sci-fi which is my favorite genre. Get a better look into what each genre has to say.

    • Along with Anna, when I initially watched The Hunger Games, I didn’t pick up on the reality television element either. After seeing the movie again however, I picked up on the critiques a little bit more than when I had initially seen it. The idea of kids killing kids is definitely a bit gruesome, and I think the idea of The Hunger Games being like the “worst case scenario of a show like Survivor” is pretty accurate. I’ve also heard of people comparing The Hunger Games to Battle Royale before, but have yet to see it.

    • It was my first time watching The Hunger games. All the trailers and everything when it came out, it didn’t really catch my attention. Now that i watched it, it was an interesting movie. The whole story of the movie almost relates to the movie “Condemned” with stone cold steve austin. In the hunger games world kids from different districts fights each other to death and only one district can be the winner. In condemned criminals fight each other in an island and could only be one winner. I just didn’t like the fact about hunger games is how the children’s are involved fighting each other to death instead of the adults. Beside this fact i think it was really a cool movie.

    • The Hunger Games is a film that a younger generation can relate to because of the violence and the young teenagers that are in the Hunger Games challenge. I agree with Angel as the Hunger Games is like gladiators, but with teenagers fighting to the death for people pure entertainment.

    • The first Hunger Games always reminds me of a short story called “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, where a town annually draws papers and essentially whoever gets the bad paper gets stoned to death. In that story, there’s not much backstory about how it started and there’s no resolution alluding to it ever ending. The Hunger Games is different in that way, we know the games are as a result of social unrest and an overpowered government, and we get a hero by the end. I like that the films comment on media and its impact on society.

    • When I watched The Hunger Games and the sequels. The first thing that came to mine was how President Snow and the other people in their government take advantage of their resources while the other districts are struggling. For example: they drink something so they can eat more while the other districts are starving and eating scraps. This relates to our current situation because of the debate of pay inequality. The people who have the most money are the ones getting tax breaks while the ones without are being taxed more.
      I also took note on how the person everyone goes to as their leader is a strong female. Katnis doesn’t even realize how much people are relying on her because she is the only one who can do that. Today, women are feeling more and more empowered to stand up and fight for what’s right and it’s so important that continues.

    • I think the Hunger Games is a solid concept but I think the point it is trying to make about oppressive governments and societies is done far better and less glossy in films such as 1984 and Alphaville, I don’t know I feel like Hunger Games cares less about being a film and more about being a franchise to really focus on making the point strong

  • Canadian actor-writer-producer-director Don McKellar’s film Last Night, is one of the very few science fiction films to attempt to provide a ‘realist’ vision of what might happen if the end of the world were […]

    • I think this film really shows what defines a science fiction film more than science and is why i personally class something like star wars more as a fantasy in space and see something like seconds which barley has any science elements as completely Sci-Fi, because Sci-Fi is not space or robots or the future, it is the question raised by these elements, Sci-Fi is a deeper meaning being presented in a palatable way, as stated perfectly by Rod Serling creator of the Twilight Zone “Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.” Science fiction has a question presented because what we see has some form of possibility actually being true and presents to us a moral dilemma based on this truth and that is Sci-Fi the moral dilemma.

    • I actually really enjoyed this film and previously would have never of thought that this would constitute as a science fiction film. There were so many elements that are key components of this genre throughout this film, one being the philosophy. What made this film so enjoyable that it does answer the question of how would you spend your last days on Earth. In most apocalyptic films, there isn’t any focus on that, but more so on how to save the world. This movie felt like it was made for us who aren’t in the science field and will have no opportunity ever to actually save the world, which was refreshing.

    • Spectacles in science fiction films are not necessary, but they do come in handy. They help the audience visualize what the world looks like in the future or in whatever time period it is set in. I believe that sometimes the spectacle can be within the story. Like what’s going on with the characters and how they develop from beginning to the end. I also think apocalyptic science fiction films are the most important because they’re really relevant to people’s mindset today. Everyone is constantly worried about the world ending and what will happen when it does and what could happen afterwards. Everything must eventually come to an end.

    • Seeking a friend for the end of the world was really interesting. At someday in the future our world as we know it it really has to end. How it will no one knows that. If it does end with an astroid colliding with earth and we get an heads up theres only 15 days left. what would i do and what would any body do? would people actually go crazy do riots or being in jail. would that solve the problem or make the astroid go away or gathering food and seeking shelter being a survivalist and pray to God make the astroid by pass earth. would would we humans do?

    • I think that these types of movies try to remind us of our mortality, that we don’t live very long in spite of our desires to do so.

    • It had been a long time since I had seen Armageddon, and it is clearly a sci-fi film that emphasizes spectacle. The movie is an action packed sci-fi that displays scenes filled with explosions both on earth and in space. I agree with the comment that people tend to have a fairly existential mindset today, and movies like Armageddon echo that in being about a disaster happening. I think that most people are less concerned with something from space crashing into us though, and more concerned about wars, or global warming.

    • Movie like these films show an audience that they should be more aware of what is going on around them. People live their lives day by day not knowing a catastrophy can happen at any given moment. I am not saying that people should live their lives in fear every day but they should be more aware.

    • This movie was interesting because I feel like everyone in the film sort of just accepted their fate and lived life to the fullest except the main character. But he realized in that final moment that his last two weeks left on Earth were better spent with this girl he got to call a friend and a lover. A theme we see in many sci-fi/disaster films is that even in the midst of disaster, love seems to reign above all.

  • Another music post…

    Two of my other favorite musicians are Jimi Hendrix and Gilberto Gil. Hendrix was interested in science fiction – apparently he was an avid reader of fantasy and SciFi books, at least […]

    • This song is pretty cool. Just the title of this song “up from the skies” . when i look up in the skies two things come to mind. At night skies the stars wonders, how are actually there. During the day time a fear of a nuclear war.

    • I listened to a lot of Jimi Hendrix as a kid, and he definitely was a big reason why I ever picked up a guitar. I actually think the first time that I heard a song of his may have been “Foxey Lady” in Wayne’s World.

    • I guess when Wesley Snipes told Woody Harelson you’re just listening to Jimi nit hearing Jimi this is what he meant. All kidding aside when I look into the sky I have many thoughts good and bad ones. The sky is a symbol of infinite thoughts.

  • When it comes to groups that have been sampled by contemporary hip-hop artists, Parliament Funkadelic, led by visionary songwriter George Clinton, must be the R&B musicians with the most songs utilized. Their […]

    • The big help of Bootsy was that he brought the idea of the one with him from James Brown into P-Funk and that is what really separates Funk from soul, jazz, r&b, etc so yeah good job Bootsy!

    • I believe in RHCP’s music video for “Dani California” they perform a scene as the Parliament Funkadelics, clearly showing how much influence the band had on them! I think P-Funk has more of a disco vibe than RHCP, but you can see the strong comparisons between the two.

    • this song is aweosme. The beginning with the guitar solo was really cool. The starting scene was really interesting as well. This song and the elements made me think of a lot of the Psychedelic things.

    • Parliament Funkadelic’s influence spreads far and wide. The band is by far one of the more popular sources of samples for today’s music, and they’ve even made appearances in movies over the years, such as the 1994 release, PCU.


    The post-apocalyptic tale is fairly common these days, but that was not always the case. In fact, the post-apocalyptic science fiction film only became prevalent following the massive success of The Road W […]

    • After watching Mad Max, the first thing that comes to mind is one of my favorite band Motorhead and their band logo. I love how this movie uses the special effects to show all the classic cars stunts. Although the movie is an apocalyptic movie, it was really exciting and fun to watch. My favorite part in mad max and furry road was where the guitarist never stops playing and how the flames comes out. It was awesome.

    • What a bleak and depressing movie The Road was. From the sunless grey lighting to the disturbing sounds and images of cannibalism, watching this movie was no fun task. Throughout the movie, I empathized with Papa and found his son to be annoying and unfortunately burdensome from time to time. However, at the end of the movie, when the boy becomes part of his new family, I realized that he was right and that his instincts were better than those of his Papa. The boy had compassion for strangers whereas his father did not, and only focused on his and his child’s survival. But because of his paranoia and worry, he led both of them into dangerous situations. The boy heard a dog and spotted another child. As the audience we think “dumb kid, stick with your Papa. Everyone around you will try to kill you” but he was right with the dog and kid.
      The boy constantly needs reassurance from his father that they are the good guys. Papa is a good man because he wants to protect his child and keep him alive. He also refuses to succumb to cannibalism like other characters do. However, when his food and shoes are taken, Papa takes a dangerous turn and leaves the thief naked and defenseless. It’s during that same scene that we see Papa speak to his son in a more aggressive “toughen up” manner. Even with that, Papa can still be considered good because survival is key and he’s trying to survive for himself and for his son.

    • i never thought about the future being carved by the survivors as them bringing back the past instead of making a new future, but that’s really interesting and i think it’s visually shown in how all the new things are made from things of old like their new super cars, or tools, or hideouts.

    • The Road was definitely a more depressing view of a post-apocalyptic world. It’s different from other films of this kind because most have a happier ending or give you a sense that the future will be better from that point on. However, personally I wished the little boy would’ve been the one to die instead of the father. The father spends the whole movie trying to survive and protect his son. I feel like this just kind of sent a message that even if you’re a good person and you try hard to protect those and the ones you love, you’re not always gonna have a happy ending.

    • I agree with both Shira and Andrea in their comments that The Road was a depressing movie. It was the first time I had seen it, and it was one of the more negative views of the future that I’ve seen depicted. The movie is grey in almost every way possible, with the color scheme containing a heavy dose of shades of grey, while the story itself is grey in that it’s gloomy. The father even mentions the greyness at the beginning of the movie. The scenes in which the father is explaining suicide and then giving his son instructions of how to do so, followed up later in the film by him almost killing his son himself is pretty disturbing. Really that was a common theme throughout The Road as it also displays a rather graphic example of cannibalism.

    • I know everyone else so far haven’t enjoyed The Road, but i thought it was a really good movie due to its simplicity. I really enjoyed the coloring they used, as it’s meant to show how run down and depressing the world has become. Typically in these types of films, theres a savior that will eventually resolve all the problems the characters are having, but I think The Road had a different take. It’s a story about saving our morality and the ideology of Good VS Evil. It reminded me a lot of The Walking Dead, specifically the relationship between Papa and the son in comparison to Rick vs Carl.While the fathers have lost all sight, the kids are the symbols of the future and keeping good still alive. Really the only part of the movie I didn’t enjoy was how the mom just walked into the forest and that was it for her.

    • Mad max fury Road is one of my favorite film out of the Mad max Series. It made me want watch the other three films prior to this one. & I believe that I’m now a Mad Max series fan. I also want to see if there will be a fifth sequel. I want to know what happens to Furiosa & What’s next for the Wasteland. Does Furiosa become the next dictator or does the wasteland actually have a democracy now. Does Max pack up and leave because he’s a Lonewolf or does he stay to help Furiosa govern the waste land? I have a lot of questions for what the next film will be like. I guess it’s not only about what’s next for the wasteland but also how they can actually implement what’s happening in society and how it fits in the next film.

    • Fury Road admittedly is the only film from the Mad Max franchise that I have seen. The movie is visually stunning and i’m truly a fan of the steampunk/dieselpunk aesthetics. The film also packs a lot of social and philosophical themes which makes it much more interesting than just a visual showcase. The inclusion of the pro feminist rhetoric by way of Furiosa’s strength and leadership, and the inclusion of religious metaphors through the “green place” as a representation of a sanctuary such as the garden of eden, really leaves room for much discussion aside from the plot of the film. This is a film that I would certainly recommend and is definitely a unique contribution to the science fiction genre

    • I vaguely remember reading The Road in high school so the film didn’t surprise me or depress me too much. The most shocking parts of the film for me were the parts where suicide was so blatantly and casually brought up. The father talking to the son about how to use the gun and preparing him for a situation where he would have to kill his father and then himself, for example. Even just letting his son walk right up the the family that hung themselves and not trying to hide him from seeing any of it was shocking. I do think that made it that much more realistic, though. I liked the fact that this post-apocalyptic place seemed like it could be real, compared to ones in other films.

    • Mad Max is a classic Sci-Fi film. It is packed with action and it shows a post apocalyptic world, with super cars and how they ride. What is cooler than super cars and use of weapons in a ski-fi film.

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