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Jesse Faden, Director of the Federal Bureau of Control

Spoilers for Remedy Entertainment’s Control below

Control is a fantastic game that ultimately betrays its most powerful themes.

Or maybe it doesn’t. Or maybe it doesn’t know that it doesn’t.

Jesse Faden, searching for her missing brother, is called by an unknown force to the official headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Control, which specializes in the paranatural and the weird. But this building is not a secret underground base, not an Area 51 or a lunar space station. It is a massive concrete monolith smack dab in the middle of New York city, in plain sight. …


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Major spoilers for the film ‘Us’ follow

Poblador.

That was my mother’s maiden name, the name of our family’s Filipino heritage. She wasn’t squeamish about talking about her home country. In private, mom would gladly answer questions about her childhood and how she was raised. She was the eighth child out of what would later be ten. Her father died when she was very young. They couldn’t afford toys so they played with paper dolls. One of her favorite foods was cooked slugs, a delicacy in the Philippines if you know how to make ‘em right.

It’s all so vivid in my head. And yet, if you…


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A body is not your own.

It is a collection of parts that make up who and what you are, but it is not of your own choosing. It is the slate, the template. You are what you are because of it, not in spite of it. At least, that’s what they say.

Few cinematic works really capture the horror and beauty of what it means to inhabit a body. Most recent to come to mind is Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, a meditation on the ways bearing a human, female body fundamentally changes you and how you move through…


CW: Sexual harassment and assault

By far the most popular thing I’ve ever written was this piece from over a year ago about a three-weekend trans actors workshop I attended that featured Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor as its instructor, which inspired me to finally come out to my parents and set me on a life-changing course. If you haven’t read that yet, please do, because I don’t want to waste time recalling the entire thing and this piece may not make sense without the proper context.

I’ve struggled internally with the sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Tambor more than with…


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Day 327

Every day is the same now. We’re driven from housing to our building for program. Today’s class is a repeat of what I learned on my first week. Dialectical behavior therapy. Distress tolerance. Coping mechanisms. The trick they use, I later learned, is that they don’t expect you to absorb these lessons naturally. They expect it to be drilled into you through repetition, until it becomes second nature. Soon, you can’t help but think about coping mechanisms, whether you intend to or not. This way, you have no choice but to learn it.

We’re driven back home. I check Twitter…


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Jennifer Lawrence in mother! (2017, dir. Darren Aronofsky)

Major spoilers for the film ‘mother!’ below

Jennifer Lawrence is being beaten senseless by a horde of her own husband’s religious followers.

They’re screaming at her. “How dare you.” “Fucking cunt.” “Bitch.” You can see the fists landing on her face and creating bruises, black eyes, cuts — the camera never once shies away from the violence being inflicted to her. To be fair, she has just killed a few of these people, including their priest. But in her defense, they killed her baby. …


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This changes nothing

This article contains spoilers.

After a good friend of mine, let’s just call him Matt, failed to get into NieR: Automata for the umpteenth time, he had this to say about why he just couldn’t click with it:

“Fast-paced action games like this depend on the player making improvisational, dexterous use of the systems. Not only do the AI patterns not necessitate this, but the areas are so open that there’s rarely an immediate threat to the player. Thus no urgency to the fights. It feels like if Devil May Cry let you get away with just blasting everything with…


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Tambor, accepting his 2016 Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series

On live TV, Jeffrey Tambor used the platform of his Emmy acceptance speech to urge producers, casting agents, and directors all throughout the entertainment industry to hire trans actors and hear their stories, concluding with “I would not be unhappy, were I the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television.” I wasn’t there to watch it, but I was moved just hearing what had happened. Not necessarily because he said it because, well, anyone could have said it. And if you asked for my opinion on Tambor playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent a year ago, I would’ve…

Carol Grant

trans girl screenwriter into movies, TV, games, and anime.

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