Movies, TV & Music
Screen Education

Screen Education No. 90

Screen Education is essential reading for those with an interest in media literacy. Produced by educators, scholars and critics, the magazines content is tailored to the primary and secondary classroom, as well as some tertiary-level material, offering a unique and engaging perspective on screen education.

Australian Teachers of Media Incorporated
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4 Issues

in this issue

19 min.
same old song nostalgia and fantasy in la la land

La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016) is most famous at least for the near future, if not forever – for its defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory Oscars loss, a moment of such off-script surprise and drama that it turned the 89th Academy Awards into something resembling a sports movie, with plucky underdog Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016) triumphing in unbelievable, at-the-buzzer fashion. Having won five BAFTAs, seven Golden Globes and – earlier that night – six Academy Awards, La La Land was fully expected to win the Oscars’ climactic prize, Best Picture. But in an upset made infamous by an all-time gaffe – the wrong envelope handed to presenters, the wrong film title read out, the wrong winners coming on stage – it lost, only after its makers had started delivering acceptance speeches. The film is…

15 min.
cautionary reflections looking into black mirror

The central premise of a Black Mirror episode often provides a small – but telling – exaggeration of a trend or phenomenon in contemporary life, usually connected to technological innovation, and usually set not terribly far into the future. Black Mirror uses a storytelling format that is not unprecedented in television’s history, but still manages to be surprising. Like a literary anthology of short stories – or like the original series of The Twilight Zone – the episodes of each Black Mirror season tell entirely unconnected tales, usually in very different genres. As each season begins its rollout, we can only guess at, or vaguely imagine, what these genres might be: fantasy, action, horror, comedy … there is absolutely no uniformity of style or tone from episode to episode, or season…

14 min.
a closer orbit relationships and empathy in wonder

Imagine (or remember) your first day at a new school. You don’t know anyone. You don’t know your teachers. You don’t even know where the bathroom is. How do you feel? Now imagine that you look different to everyone else. And that the reason you haven’t been to school before is that you have spent your life in and out of hospital, having operation after operation. Some of them were to save your life. Some of them were to make your life that little bit easier. And some of them were to make you look a bit more ordinary. Now, how do you feel? Wonder (Stephen Chbosky, 2017), based on the book by RJ Palacio, is about a ten-year-old boy named August, or ‘Auggie’, Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), who has been born…

15 min.
cinema science primate probabilities in the planet of the apes trilogy

From one perspective, the financial success of the new Planet of the Apes trilogy – from Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rupert Wyatt, 2011) through Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves, 2014) to War for the Planet of the Apes (Reeves, 2017) – doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, you’ve got recognisable intellectual property, big budgets and plenty of action: the kind of formula that makes for big bucks at the box office. Yet the fact that the Apes trilogy raked in over US $1.5 billion dollars worldwide belies the uniqueness of the series. It’s not just that the Planet of the Apes brand was hardly rock-solid after the original film (Franklin J Schaffner, 1968) was followed by an ignominious string of sequels and an…

17 min.
welcome to the machine artificial intelligence on screen

The earliest images of robots on the big and small screen were usually only vaguely humanoid; while they had something approximating a body, they were undeniably mechanical in nature. From The Jetsons’ Rosie the android maid (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl) to Lost in Space’s mononymous Robot (played by Bob May and voiced by Dick Tufeld), children’s TV versions of sci-fi robots were often benign, clunky creatures; the portrayals of their relationship with their human masters, however, suggested a desire on our part for our futuristic companions to have at least an approximation of intelligence and personality. The human need to communicate is perhaps the genesis of artificial intelligence (AI) as we see it most often depicted on screen now: the capacity to look, feel and speak like us makes…

14 min.
playing to win   women’s sport, equity and battle of the sexes

On 20 September 1973, an estimated 90 million people watched as Billie Jean King prevailed in a winner-takes-all tennis match against 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, who was once ranked as the top male tennis player in the world. Though King walked away from the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ with the US$100,000 prize, she had played for so much more. With Riggs, a self-proclaimed male chauvinist, disparaging the skills of female tennis players and degrading women more broadly at every opportunity, King took the court at the Houston Astrodome to win respect for female athletes and the codes they were competing in. With her victory, she inspired countless women – athletes or otherwise – around the world. Battle of the Sexes (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, 2017) dramatises the events surrounding what has…