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Kata Szita, Paul Taberham, and Grant Tavinor

Bernard Perron and Felix Schröter, eds., Video Games and the Mind: Essays on Cognition, Affect and Emotion (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2016), 224 pp., $39.95 (softcover), ISBN: 9780786499090.

Christopher Holliday, The Computer-Animated Film: Industry, Style and Genre (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018), 272 pp., $39.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9781474427890.

Aubrey Anable, Playing with Feelings: Video Games and Affect (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2018), 200 pp., $25.00 (paperback), ISBN: 9781517900250, and Christopher Hanson, Game Time: Understanding Temporality in Video Games (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018), 296 pp., $38.00 (paperback), ISBN: 9780253032867.

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Close to You

Karen Carpenter and the Body-Martyr in Queer Memory

Julian Binder

Abstract

There has been much thought given to role of the body as a site of political, physiological, and cultural negotiation. What place then does the beloved and astonishingly affective singer of 1970s soft-rock, Karen Carpenter, occupy in this weighty discourse? Karen's death from complications related to her eating disorder in 1983 shocked the public, eliciting a new wave of cultural consciousness about the embodied nature of mental illness. But beyond the stereotypical white suburban Carpenters fan, Karen and her story had already become a cult favorite amongst the queer avant-garde as soon as four years after death, a mysterious phenomenon that I argue is decidedly queer in its emotional trafficking of Karen's subjectivity, among other areas. This essay explores the ways in which our bodies double as cultural repositories, as hallowed sites of memory, and as icons of martyrdom with the capacity to emit a healing resonance analogous to their fabricated religious counterparts. I must admit, this paper might also be guilty of occasionally engaging in the typical essentializing tendency toward Karen's personhood. For her sake then, reader, I ask you to ponder the following question with the same aversion to neat finality that you apply to your own story as you flip the page: who really was Karen Carpenter?

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Andrew J. Ball

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Ted Nannicelli

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James E. Cutting

Abstract

Much of aesthetics is based in psychological responses. Yet seldom have such responses—couched in empirically based psychological terms—played a central role in the discussion of movie aesthetics. Happily, Todd Berliner's Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema does just that. This commentary discusses some history and some twists and turns behind Berliner's analysis.

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Groped and Gutted

Hollywood's Hegemonic Reimagining of Counterculture

Samantha Eddy

Abstract

The realm of horror provides a creative space in which the breakdown of social order can either expose power relations or further cement them by having them persist after the collapse. Carol Clover proposed that the 1970s slasher film genre—known for its sex and gore fanfare—provided feminist identification through its “final girl” indie invention. Over three decades later, with the genre now commercialized, this research exposes the reality of sexual and horrific imagery within the Hollywood mainstay. Using a mixed-methods approach, I develop four categories of depiction across cisgender representation in these films: violent, sexual, sexually violent, and postmortem. I explore the ways in which a white, heterosexist imagination has appropriated this once productive genre through the violent treatment of bodies. This exposes the means by which hegemonic, oppressive structures assimilate and sanitize counter-media. This article provides an important discussion on how counterculture is transformed in capital systems and then used to uphold the very structures it seeks to confront. The result of such assimilation is the violent treatment and stereotyping of marginalized identities in which creative efforts now pursue new means of brutalization and dehumanization.

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Todd Berliner

Abstract

Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema investigates the Hollywood film industry's chief artistic accomplishment: providing aesthetic pleasure to mass audiences. Grounded in film history and supported by research in psychology and philosophical aesthetics, the book explains (1) the intrinsic properties characteristic of Hollywood cinema that induce aesthetic pleasure; (2) the cognitive and affective processes, sparked by Hollywood movies, that become engaged during aesthetic pleasure; and (3) the exhilarated aesthetic experiences afforded by an array of persistently entertaining Hollywood movies. Hollywood Aesthetic addresses four fundamental components of Hollywood's aesthetic design—narrative, style, ideology, and genre—aiming for a comprehensive appraisal of Hollywood cinema's capacity to excite aesthetic pleasure. This article outlines the book's main points and themes. As a précis, it is heavy on ideas and light on evidence, which is to be found in the book itself.

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Todd Berliner

Abstract

In this reply to four commentaries on my book, Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema, I address several conceptual and methodological issues raised by the respondents. Those issues include the book's focus on aesthetic pleasure; the functions of narrative, style, ideology, and genre in Hollywood cinema; the relationship between ideology and aesthetics; the use of scientific research in the humanities; normative aesthetic evaluations; real versus hypothetical spectators; and the practices of aesthetic film analysis.

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How Motion Shapes Thought in Cinema

The Embodied Film Style of Éric Rohmer

Maarten Coëgnarts

Abstract

This article provides an embodied study of the film style of the French filmmaker Éric Rohmer. Drawing on insights from cognitive linguistics, I first show how dynamic patterns of containment shape human thinking about relationships, a concept central to Rohmer's cinema. Second, I consider the question of how film might elicit this spatial thinking through the use of such cinematic devices as mobile framing and fixed-frame movement. Third, using Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series as a case study, I demonstrate how the filmmaker applies these devices—and with them the spatial thinking they initiate—systemically to shape the relationships of his films visually. Lastly, I use the results of this analysis to provide discussion and suggestions for future research.

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Introduction

Visibility and Screen Politics after the Transgender Tipping Point

Wibke Straube