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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

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Breaking In movie review: setting her house in order

Fri May 11 2018, 04:41pm | 3 comments

This perfunctory home-invasion flick can’t whip up much suspense, and it strains for a feminism that it doesn’t know how to engage. But Gabrielle Union’s movie-star charisma shines through.

Life of the Party movie review: cut this class

Thu May 10 2018, 11:15pm | 3 comments

The complete lack of conflict overshadows even the cringeworthy attempts at physical comedy. Where’s the story in a woman who positively sails through her midlife crisis? The endearing McCarthy deserves so much better.

Sherlock Gnomes movie review: oh gnome they didn’t… (they did)

Thu May 10 2018, 04:11pm | 9 comments

A flimsy treasure-hunt plot, a sexy song-and-dance number, and more of the same Elton John songs deployed with trite, lazy tedium. They mean to keep cranking out these dumb, dull movies, don’t they?

curated: how the Hollywood old boys’ club gets perpetuated

Wed May 09 2018, 08:31pm | 2 comments

It’s like established older male filmmakers don’t even see women.

curated: the propaganda films that served Britain well in WWII are hurting in the Brexit era

Wed May 09 2018, 03:03pm | 5 comments

It’s time to let go of that (false) rosy view of the past.

They movie review: the most important decision of their young life

Tue May 08 2018, 07:00pm | 1 comment

Tender and contemplative, but as it meanders to its not-quite conclusion, it misses a ripe opportunity to give a stronger voice to a character the likes of which isn’t often heard.

movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri May 04

Fri May 04 2018, 10:31pm | 0 comments

Julie Cohen and Betsy West direct a documentary biography of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, among a slew of other very limited releases.

movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri May 04

Fri May 04 2018, 05:55pm | 0 comments

Charlize Theron cannot cope with her newborn; Amy Schumer cannot believe her “new” body; and more…

New Town Utopia documentary review: the future that never was

Fri May 04 2018, 10:55am | 0 comments

A lovely, melancholy documentary about the planned community of Basildon in England… but really about squandering of postwar optimism with the rise of neoliberalism.

The Judge documentary review: social (and legal) justice warrior

Thu May 03 2018, 08:21pm | 2 comments

A portrait as delightful as its subject: Kholoud Al-Faqih, a pioneer of Islamic jurisprudence and as fiery as any Western feminist. Essential viewing for its smashing of stereotypes.

Tully movie review: thou shalt be nicer to yourself

Wed May 02 2018, 10:03pm | 19 comments

A movie unlike any we’ve seen before, one deeply, intimately sympathetic to modern motherhood — to modern womanhood. Brilliantly wise and funny, and profoundly moving.

RBG documentary review: though she be but little she is fierce

Mon Apr 30 2018, 03:38pm | 4 comments

A marvelous, funny, deeply moving biography of Ruth Bader Ginsberg from her rise as a legal champion of women’s rights in the 1970s to her ascension as a Supreme Court justice and social-media hero “Notorious RBG.”

curated: the best should-be meme you’ll see today starring Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen

Mon Apr 30 2018, 12:16pm | 0 comments

Genuine LOL.

curated: on the diversity of fans, Part 7,862,971, Marvel Edition

Sat Apr 28 2018, 10:00am | 0 comments

Can we please put to rest the fallacy that only young white men like comic-book movies?

movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Apr 27

Fri Apr 27 2018, 06:25pm | 0 comments

There are no new movies opening in wide release in the US today that are written or directed by women, and none about women. In limited release, Juliette Binoche, Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, and Alia Shawkat are looking for love, with varying degrees of success.

movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Apr 27

Fri Apr 27 2018, 03:05pm | 0 comments

There are no movies directed by or written by women opening in the UK this week. And there’s only one about a woman… though the representation of its female protagonist is superb and insightful.

Avengers: Infinity War movie review: it’s all been leading to this

Fri Apr 27 2018, 12:20am | 39 comments

Ten years of Marvel superheroism culminates in a battle for the universe itself. Exhausting, bitterly humorous, and gripped in a stunning finality, it’s almost too much to take in, yet somehow not enough.

curated: the proposed TV interview show for men taken down by #MeToo

Thu Apr 26 2018, 08:34am | 2 comments

Jesus wept, no. Just absolutely not.

Beast movie review: a monstrous love

Wed Apr 25 2018, 06:00pm | 2 comments

Electrifying and genre-busting, this romantic mystery thriller toys with our expectations and plays with ambiguity. Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn are mesmerizing separately and explosive together.

2018 Webby Award winners (which I help pick)

Wed Apr 25 2018, 10:55am | 4 comments

A brief rundown of some of the film- and TV-related winners…

Mercury 13 documentary review: the even righter stuff

Mon Apr 23 2018, 10:46pm | 83 comments

An essential documentary look at yet another example of historical feminism that should never have been forgotten: the first American in space might have and probably should have been a woman.

Sweet Country movie review: an essential confrontation with the ugly not-so-past past

Mon Apr 23 2018, 06:27pm | 3 comments

As harshly beautiful as its landscape, this is a stark corrective to the American western it echoes, and a pragmatic confrontation with the deep, tenacious roots of modern racism.

movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Apr 20

Sat Apr 21 2018, 12:48am | 0 comments

Amy Schumer takes a knock on the head, Catherine Keener fights to save her home, and not much more…

movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Apr 20

Fri Apr 20 2018, 11:54pm | 0 comments

Helen Mirren, Angourie Rice, Lily James, Juliette Binoche, Shirley Henderson, Maxine Peake, and Bel Powley headline in an unusually rich week for movies about women…

Let the Sunshine In (Un beau soleil intérieur) movie review: her own worst enemy

Fri Apr 20 2018, 10:31pm | 0 comments

Juliette Binoche’s search for midlife love is drenched in ennui and punctuated by weary philosophizing. There’s not a lot of satisfaction in it, nor much by way of resolution. Very French.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie review: the stories too painful to tell

Fri Apr 20 2018, 07:15pm | 4 comments

A wonderfully old-fashioned tearjerker, with a thoroughly delightful cast, where cosy quaint Englishness is leavened by a harsh reality of World War II that pop culture has ignored.

Every Day movie review: a slightly more challenging teen romance

Fri Apr 20 2018, 12:31pm | 0 comments

It’s not as daring as its endearing protagonist, and its fantastical scenario plays out rather lifelessly. But its gentle exploration of the fluidity of human physical and emotional expression is very welcome.

Funny Cow movie review: standing up for herself

Thu Apr 19 2018, 06:02pm | 0 comments

This is scorched-earth cinema that challenges us to find moments of grace and triumph among misery, cruelty, and emotional frugality. Maxine Peake is absolutely incendiary.

Beirut movie review: an American man finds absolution in the messy Middle East

Wed Apr 18 2018, 08:44pm | 6 comments

A same-old story of a white man’s angst, set against the “exotic” backdrop of 1980s war-torn Beirut. This brand of Hollywood myopia is tired, uninteresting, and no longer acceptable.

The Titan movie review: bad science, worse science fiction

Wed Apr 18 2018, 02:10pm | 2 comments

The science is ludicrous, the story is almost entirely free of drama, and the finale descends into the hoariest, most ridiculous clichés of the genre. But the future smart-house porn is lovely.

movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Apr 13

Fri Apr 13 2018, 11:22pm | 0 comments

Sophie Fiennes profiles Grace Jones, Chloé Zhao tells a cowboy’s tale, and more…

movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Wed Apr 11

Fri Apr 13 2018, 09:47pm | 0 comments

Lucy Hale plays a deadly game against a demon, Naomie Harris genetically engineers monsters, and more…

Rampage movie review: American kaiju

Fri Apr 13 2018, 08:03pm | 12 comments

Raises the bar on big dumb fun, with The Rock’s social-justice-warrior badass and his genuinely charming relationship with a gorilla, plus a ton of goofball sci-fi monster action turned up to 11.

Truth or Dare movie review: it has none of either

Fri Apr 13 2018, 12:47pm | 0 comments

Infinitely small, petty, cruel; appallingly sociopathic even grading on the dumpster-fire-horror-flick curve. But forget the supernatural element: the human “drama” is the most ridiculous thing here.

Custody (Jusqu’à la garde) movie review: family ties, slashered

Thu Apr 12 2018, 05:49pm | 2 comments

Transforms a straightforward story of domestic violence into something like a horror movie, and it’s so harrowing and so incredibly tense that I’m not sure that it’s not exploitive.

Even When I Fall documentary review: a big enough tent for all

Wed Apr 11 2018, 06:43pm | 0 comments

An incredibly inspiring story about two young women who come back from dehumanizing experiences to advocate for change. A film of great grace, dignity, beauty, and power.

curated: based-on-fact movie replaces real-life woman hero with invented idiot man protagonist

Wed Apr 11 2018, 11:22am | 2 comments

Hollywood hates women. It really is that simple.

Borg vs McEnroe movie review: they get served

Tue Apr 10 2018, 08:34pm | 0 comments

Excruciatingly suspenseful and unexpectedly moving portrait of the on-court rivalry between the two great tennis players… and the intriguing secret layer to the public dynamic between them.

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero movie review: dogged soldier

Mon Apr 09 2018, 08:28pm | 4 comments

In this centenary year of the end of World War I, this story of a real-life dog who served in the trenches is a gentle, engaging way to introduce kids to an essential piece of history.

movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Apr 06

Fri Apr 06 2018, 10:30pm | 0 comments

Kay Cannon and Lynne Ramsay direct two very different movies about adults trying to protect children, and more…

movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Thu Apr 05

Fri Apr 06 2018, 06:53pm | 0 comments

Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds versus real monsters, Madison Wolfe versus (possibly) invented monsters, Maggie Grace versus armed robbers, and more…

Love, Simon movie review: call me by your screen name

Fri Apr 06 2018, 03:21pm | 5 comments

A sweetly old-fashioned romance about a young man who falls in love over email… with another young man. Tender, funny, sometimes heartbreaking, enormously human and honest.

Ghost Stories movie review: hasn’t got boo to say

Fri Apr 06 2018, 01:09pm | 3 comments

Not an anthology of complete short tales but the highlights from much longer stories only briefly sketched and left maddeningly unfinished. Barely a movie at all, more a tease of one.

The Hurricane Heist movie review: ’tis an ill wind that blows no minds

Thu Apr 05 2018, 12:47pm | 5 comments

A peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate movie, this Die Hard meets Twister monster is so ludicrous it comes all the way back around to being awesome and hilarious.

Finding Your Feet movie review: it’s never too late for a fresh start in life

Wed Apr 04 2018, 09:51pm | 0 comments

A tart, sharp, life-affirming dramedy, one that is slightly more edgy and far less predictable than it probably has any right to be. Celia Imrie and Imelda Staunton are magnificent.

Madame movie review: maid up

Wed Apr 04 2018, 02:53pm | 0 comments

What starts out as a genial drawing-room satire on class and snobbery soon turns to a sly romantic comedy about the fantasy of romance and the crushing expectations placed on women.

A Quiet Place movie review: hushed horror

Tue Apr 03 2018, 10:31pm | 25 comments

An apocalypse unlike any onscreen before. A film often almost unbearably tense, in part because it audaciously reconsiders the role sound plays in eliciting our emotional response.

All I Wish (aka A Little Something for Your Birthday) movie review: sassy birthday

Mon Apr 02 2018, 08:57pm | 0 comments

It’s too predictable and too disingenuous about the realities of what it means to be an “older” woman. But Sharon Stone is totally charming.

curated: the implosion of Channel Awesome

Mon Apr 02 2018, 02:11pm | 64 comments

Reader Jurgan notified me about the scandal currently unfolding regarding Channel Awesome, an online media company that hosts video shows revolving around stuff of geek interest…

curated: why we need more female film critics, part 54,335

Sat Mar 31 2018, 04:51pm | 0 comments


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