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die hard is a xmas movie | by maryann johanson

 

Mortal Engines movie review: it’s got no rev

Thu Dec 13 2018, 05:49pm | 0 comments

Like the book it’s based on, the worldbuilding is intriguing, but the characters and story are strictly cliché. A lazy, confused, and derivative disaster, with plot points and visual and thematic motifs shamelessly stolen from far better movies.


new and ongoing dvd/blu/vod releases, US/Can, from Dec 11-14

Thu Dec 13 2018, 03:25pm | comments off

A simple listing of new releases and other stuff currently available.


new and ongoing dvd/blu/vod releases, UK/Ire, from Dec 10

Thu Dec 13 2018, 09:08am | comments off

A simple listing of new releases and other stuff currently available.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie review: animation gets reanimated

Wed Dec 12 2018, 09:21pm | 0 comments

Has a verve rare in big-budget movies at the moment. Fun and fresh and legitimately engages with its source material on the levels of story, visuals, and mythology all at once. It feels like discovering storytelling anew.


curated: “Movies Starring Women Earn More Than Male-Led Films”

Wed Dec 12 2018, 12:06pm | 0 comments

This is even better than my Where Are the Women? project found…


Dumplin’ movie review: throwing her weight around (#Netflix)

Mon Dec 10 2018, 06:44pm | 0 comments

A lovely movie that warmly embraces a wide(ish) range of girls-and-women-as-people, one that doesn’t reduce its large heroine — the amazing Danielle Macdonald — to nothing more than her size. This should not feel so damn radical, but it is.


curated: Rose Macaulay, author, influenced Orwell and Huxley, forgotten and erased

Mon Dec 10 2018, 10:00am | 0 comments

But her groundbreaking book is coming back into print (a century later).


new and ongoing cinema releases, US/Can, from Thu Dec 06

Fri Dec 07 2018, 11:38pm | comments off

A simple listing of movies opening this week and in continuing release.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Thu Dec 06

Fri Dec 07 2018, 11:18pm | 0 comments

Bridey Elliott directs dramedy Clara’s Ghost; Alexis Bloom directs documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes; more…


new and ongoing cinema releases, UK/Ire, from Fri Dec 07

Fri Dec 07 2018, 05:56pm | comments off

A simple listing of movies opening this week and in continuing release.


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Dec 07

Fri Dec 07 2018, 05:47pm | 0 comments

Lola Arias directs documentary Theatre of War; Mélanie Laurent and Alicia Vikander costar in historical romances; and not much more…


new Patreon tiers and rewards (and a note to current PayPal donors)

Thu Dec 06 2018, 05:41pm | 0 comments

I’m afraid it means more hassle for some of my most devoted, most supportive readers. I wish it didn’t have to be like this…


say hello to the “movies for the resistance” and “on Netflix globally” pages

Thu Dec 06 2018, 05:01pm | 0 comments

Two big new sections arrive on the site today, both excuses for me to review more — and more different kinds of — movies.


Anna and the Apocalypse movie review: it shuffles along like the undead

Wed Dec 05 2018, 02:55pm | 0 comments

A zombie musical comedy set at Christmas should be a can’t-miss. But this one isn’t scary or funny; its characters are one-note, and the whole shebang — blah songs included — is emotionally flat.


top secret report on Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (EYES ONLY!)

Tue Dec 04 2018, 04:06pm | 0 comments

NOTE: THIS REPORT IS FOR S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENTS, AVENGERS S.T.A.T.I.O.N. ASSOCIATES, AVENGERS, AND OTHER APPROVED PERSONNEL ONLY. UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS IS SUBJECT TO PROSECUTION.


movies for the resistance: Schindler’s List

Mon Dec 03 2018, 05:18pm | 0 comments

The devastating cultural experience Spielberg’s masterpiece presented to us 25 years ago felt then like a piece of history. Today, from the bowels of 2018, it feels like a warning, a premonition, a harbinger.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Thu Nov 29

Fri Nov 30 2018, 10:26pm | 0 comments

Jennifer Westcott directs animated family comedy Elliot the Littlest Reindeer; Dava Whisenant directs documentary comedy Bathtubs Over Broadway; more…


2018’s films ranked

Fri Nov 30 2018, 09:13pm | comments off

I rank films on the fly as I see them for the 2018 awards year.


Family in Transition documentary review: weathering change at home (#DOCNYC2018)

Fri Nov 30 2018, 08:05pm | 0 comments

Frank and bittersweet, this is a quietly remarkable portrait of one father and husband’s gender transition, and how the family coped — and didn’t — with dramatic upheaval in the most intimate of settings: home.


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Thu Nov 29

Fri Nov 30 2018, 06:05pm | 0 comments

Sarah Silverman gives voice to a videogame character on an adventure; Shay Mitchell is a cop investigating a possessed corpse; more…


Creed II movie review: a bout of familiarity

Fri Nov 30 2018, 02:58pm | 0 comments

Can’t quite manage to continue the first film’s smart, unsentimental examination of male emotion and men’s relationships. At best achieves a draw with a genre path that is already extremely well worn.


curated: teaching cinema in the age of #MeToo

Fri Nov 30 2018, 11:28am | 0 comments

Good nuanced take on a complex issue.


Mirai movie review: and baby ruins everything

Thu Nov 29 2018, 03:58pm | 0 comments

This tenderly animated Japanese film about sibling rivalry is lovely with its fantasy, but too convoluted for children and too slight for adults.


The Christmas Chronicles movie review: the Kurt Russell–as–Santa Claus movie you didn’t know you needed (#Netflix)

Thu Nov 29 2018, 12:01pm | 0 comments

Kurt Russell’s hot biker Santa is naughty and nice, but this otherwise discount holiday schmaltz is only half onboard with him.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Wed Nov 21

Sat Nov 24 2018, 04:12pm | 0 comments

Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz in the midst of high intrigue in the court of Queen Anne; Alba August portrays Pippi Longstocking author Astrid Lindgren; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Wed Nov 21

Sat Nov 24 2018, 03:25pm | 0 comments

Claire Foy and Tiffany Haddish headline big new wide releases; Erika Cohn directs documentary The Judge, about a female pioneer of jurisprudence in the Middle East; more…


The Girl in the Spider’s Web movie review: an itsy-bitsy reboot

Fri Nov 23 2018, 09:12pm | 0 comments

A rote crime action thriller — very car chase! such gunshots! — that drains its protagonist of much of the raw power that has made her so fascinating in the past.


Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is coming to London!

Wed Nov 21 2018, 02:29pm | 1 comment

Woo-hoo! I’ll be checking out Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. next week and will report back forthwith.


Robin Hood (2018) movie review: it should be outlawed

Tue Nov 20 2018, 09:05pm | 15 comments

Ugly, garish, anachronistic like a small mean child playing with matches, and completely lacking in anything Robin Hood–y: there’s no fun, no romance, no virtue. Instead? Bizarre “aesthetics” and even worse politics.


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald movie review: the crimes of this movie, though…

Tue Nov 20 2018, 01:09pm | 10 comments

It certainly is MORE than the first movie: more incoherent, more confused about who its protagonist is, more crammed with contrivance and coincidence. Even the title is more nonsensical this time.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Nov 16

Fri Nov 16 2018, 10:41pm | 1 comment

Nijla Mu’min writes and directs teen drama Jinn; Angela Shelton writes and directs boxing drama Heart, Baby!; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Nov 16

Fri Nov 16 2018, 08:24pm | 16 comments

J.K. Rowling writes another Harry Potter spinoff; Emily Atef writes and directs a portrait of European film star Romy Schneider; more…


3 Days in Quiberon movie review: a star is torn

Fri Nov 16 2018, 06:59pm | 2 comments

A raw and uneasy film about tortured celebrity — mid-20th-century European film star Romy Schneider — and the endless female struggle to break free of the small boxes our culture tries to confine us to.


Green Book movie review: a road frequently taken, but a lovely trip nevertheless (#LFF2018)

Thu Nov 15 2018, 09:14pm | 1 comment

The tune may be familiar, but it is performed with virtuoso style, its central characters drawn with wit, charm, and complexity and brought to life via the absolutely gorgeous performances of its stars.


Dead in a Week (Or Your Money Back) movie review: the dying isn’t easy (but the comedy is)

Thu Nov 15 2018, 12:03pm | 0 comments

This unexpectedly gentle black comedy about depression and suicide gets the tone just right, and could prompt as many empathetic conversations as it does compassionate laughs.


Under the Wire documentary review: journalists under fire in Syria

Wed Nov 14 2018, 05:06pm | 0 comments

A harrowing portrait of the slaughter of civilians and the urban destruction that was the siege of Homs in 2012, and a terrific honoring of journalist Marie Colvin, who died getting the story out to the world.


A Private War movie review: this is not fake news (#LFF2018)

Tue Nov 13 2018, 07:38pm | 1 comment

A moving and important portrait of legendary Times of London foreign correspondent Marie Colvin. We need more movies like this, about fearless, badass women this outrageously good at their vitally necessary work.


They Shall Not Grow Old documentary review: more museum exhibit than movie (#LFF2018)

Sun Nov 11 2018, 08:21pm | 0 comments

There’s a poignant eeriness to this modernization of WWI footage: we are looking into a past that feels touchably close and immediate like never before. But this is a novelty. A solemn one, but a novelty nonetheless.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Wed Nov 07

Sat Nov 10 2018, 03:40pm | 0 comments

Claire Foy takes over as the dragon-tattooed Lisbeth Salander; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Tue Nov 06

Sat Nov 10 2018, 01:04pm | 0 comments

Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo go a-heistin’; more…


Widows movie review: the women left to clean up men’s messes (#LFF2018)

Fri Nov 09 2018, 08:58pm | 4 comments

A heist movie that is gripping and badass, elegant and assured. You could ignore all the social-justice-warrior stuff and just enjoy this as a popcorn thriller. But what makes this so special is how it reexamines the genre’s clichés.


Overlord movie review: underwhelmed

Thu Nov 08 2018, 02:53pm | 8 comments

This Nazis-with-supernatural-weapons horror schlock drags its feet getting to its fantastical elements and then does absolutely nothing interesting with them, just wallows in dull, rote gore and grue.


The Grinch movie review: he’s not much of a mean one, actually

Thu Nov 08 2018, 01:29pm | 14 comments

Candy-colored slapstick and kindergarten-level humor make this perfectly suitable for small children, and perfectly bland and inoffensive to the adults accompanying them. Somehow, I don’t think Dr. Seuss would entirely approve.


The Front Runner movie review: when politics turned tabloid (#LFF2018)

Tue Nov 06 2018, 10:16pm | 4 comments

Snappy Sorkin-esque banter, 80s nostalgia, and Hugh Jackman in a bad wig yet still hot as hell. But also an enraging, ironic look at how a reality-TV resume ended up becoming a legit qualification for the American presidency.


Prospect movie review: frontier sci-fi with a working-class vibe

Sat Nov 03 2018, 05:11pm | 0 comments

Smart, gritty-stylish indie science fiction that is actually about ideas, and about building a future world that is authentic and lived-in. It has a really memorable teen-girl protagonist, too, who is badass but still a real kid.


readers’ choice: should I review ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’? vote at Patreon (final)

Sat Nov 03 2018, 08:11am | 0 comments

Due to overwhelming lack of interest from readers, I will not be reviewing this movie.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Thu Nov 01

Fri Nov 02 2018, 03:46pm | 0 comments

Suzi Yoonessi directs dramedy Unlovable; Nosipho Dumisa directs thriller Number 37; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Nov 02

Fri Nov 02 2018, 12:28pm | 0 comments

Mackenzie Foy has a Disney adventure; writer-director Clare Anyiam-Osigwe explores colorism in the black dating world; more…


Peterloo movie review: it’s a battle just to get through it

Thu Nov 01 2018, 08:35pm | 3 comments

The saddest ever Regency cosplay. Behold, a tableaux of thespians who shall teach us about the Corn Laws! Well-intentioned this would-be epic may be, but it’s dull and dry as dirt.


Slaughterhouse Rulez movie review: no, it doesn’t

Wed Oct 31 2018, 01:30pm | 7 comments

This unfunny, unscary mess is a series of missed opportunities that has no idea what to do with its attempted class-warfare satire. It’s cheap but not even cheesy: that would require some passion, which is completely lacking.


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