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die hard is a xmas movie | by maryann johanson

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Weed the People documentary review: do-it-yourself medicine in 21st-century America

Fri Oct 26 2018, 09:00pm | 1 comment

A smart, vitally important documentary look at medical marijuana, how it is helping real Americans right now, and why Big Pharma has ignored its healing properties.


I’m hosting a postscreening Q&A re ‘Dead in a Week’ on Sunday in London…

Fri Oct 26 2018, 06:38pm | 2 comments

Very last minute, but this has just come together.


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Mon Oct 22

Fri Oct 26 2018, 05:19pm | 0 comments

Sandi Tan writes and directs documentary Shirkers; Audrey Wells writes and Amandla Stenberg stars in teen drama The Hate U Give; more…


Beautiful Boy movie review: emotionally wrenching drug depiction (#LFF2018)

Thu Oct 25 2018, 04:33pm | 0 comments

This portrait of drug addiction and its impact on a family may be Hollywood sleek and smooth, but its authenticity is in the empathy, in the lack of judgment. Steve Carell is absolutely heartbreaking.


Fahrenheit 11/9 documentary review: America is burning (#LFF2018)

Tue Oct 23 2018, 08:34pm | 8 comments

In his latest righteous broadside, Michael Moore takes on Donald Trump as but a symptom of the political rot in the United States. Upsetting, enraging, exhausting… which is just as it should be.


Hunter Killer movie review: dead in the water

Sun Oct 21 2018, 08:56pm | 23 comments

The Hunt for Red October as made by a Michael Bay wannabe who can’t even rise to the level of giving-a-propagandistic-crap. Absurd geopolitics and laugh-out-loud clichés abound; tension and excitement do not.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Wed Oct 17

Fri Oct 19 2018, 09:24pm | 0 comments

Elizabeth Chomko directs family drama What They Had; Marielle Heller directs literary-forging dramedy Can You Ever Forgive Me?; plus a whole bunch of documentaries directed by women…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Oct 19

Fri Oct 19 2018, 06:04pm | 0 comments

Adina Pintilie directs arthouse docudrama Touch Me Not; Cristina Costantini codirects documentary Science Fair; and there’s not a lot else…


Halloween (2018) movie review: all tricks, few treats

Tue Oct 16 2018, 03:21pm | 59 comments

A minor fan-fiction take on the franchise’s mythology: Hey, maybe middle-aged Laurie Strode likes guns LOL? Nowhere near as feminist or as psychologically incisive as it thinks it is. And it’s not even scary.


Sadie movie review: coming of age the hard way

Sat Oct 13 2018, 11:48am | 0 comments

This tale of a teenaged girl’s crossing the boundary from childhood to too-early adulthood, simultaneously a portrait of a society quietly yet inexorably collapsing, has a disturbing power that sneaks up on you.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Oct 12

Fri Oct 12 2018, 10:43pm | 2 comments

Megan Griffiths directs troubled-teen drama Sadie; Polly Draper directs romantic comedy Stella’s Last Weekend; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Oct 12

Fri Oct 12 2018, 05:18pm | 0 comments

Leanne Welham directs social-justice drama Pili; Clare Sera cowrites animated comedy Smallfoot; and not much more…


Pili movie review: the trials of women are many, and universal

Fri Oct 12 2018, 12:51pm | 0 comments

A wholly remarkable film, just barely fictionalized from the lives of its cast of nonprofessional actors, about the indomitable spirit of the women of East Africa. Pili’s life isn’t unrecognizable to women worldwide, though.


Johnny English Strikes Again movie review: the spy who was a complete doofus

Thu Oct 11 2018, 05:15pm | 10 comments

Better than the unfunny first one, not as witty as the clever second one. But it has a bit of sly Brexit bite that is very welcome right now. Laugh until you cry!


Bad Times at the El Royale movie review: bad times indeed

Thu Oct 11 2018, 11:53am | 24 comments

A self-indulgent, faux-woke mashup of noir crime, black comedy, and Tarantino-esque ultraviolence. Some great performances, including a spectacular feature debut from Cynthia Erivo; shame they’re so wasted.


First Man movie review: over the moon

Tue Oct 09 2018, 09:28pm | 7 comments

Damian Chazelle finds a dreamlike reverie amidst rocket-powered mechanical brawn. As wonderfully, nerve-wrackingly exhausting as it is movingly intimate.


Google+ is shutting down…

Tue Oct 09 2018, 09:16am | 1 comment

But you have plenty of other options for following me on social media…


curated: Jodie Whittaker is getting paid the same as the male Doctors

Sun Oct 07 2018, 12:42pm | 5 comments

I sure hope so.


curated: contemplating ‘The Good Place’…

Sun Oct 07 2018, 12:40pm | 3 comments

…a radical sitcom about kindness.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Wed Oct 03

Fri Oct 05 2018, 10:55pm | 0 comments

Marta Prus directs a documentary about Olympic gymnast Margarita Mamun; Theresa Rebeck directs feuding-siblings dramedy Trouble; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Wed Oct 03

Fri Oct 05 2018, 05:47pm | 0 comments

Heather Lenz directs a documentary about artist Yayoi Kusama; Sahra Mani directs a documentary about women impacted by sexual abuse in Afghanistan; more…


Venom movie review: no teeth, no bite

Fri Oct 05 2018, 11:15am | 12 comments

A dull, dated comic-book clunker that is somehow even smaller and lesser than the sum of its noisy, junky, clichéd bits. So perfunctory that it saps even its excellent cast of all their charisma.


I’m on BBC World Service’s “The Arts Hour” again this Sunday, October 7th

Thu Oct 04 2018, 11:56am | 2 comments

We’ll be talking about director Cary Fukunaga, Netflix, Night School, Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, rapper M.I.A., and a lot more.


A Star Is Born movie review: a perfect movie in all ways

Mon Oct 01 2018, 05:18pm | 25 comments

Instantly sweeps us up in its passion, its electricity, its music, and characters to fall in love with. Lady Gaga is a revelation. It’s impossible to believe Bradley Cooper has never directed before. I adore this movie.


All About Nina movie review: a woman owning her anger

Sun Sep 30 2018, 08:43pm | 4 comments

Hail Mary, full of rage. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is utterly incendiary in this own-worst-enemy dramedy that gender-flips a tired genre to give angry new voice to a woman speaking her own truths.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Sep 28

Fri Sep 28 2018, 06:39pm | 0 comments

Clare Niederpruem directs a modern updating of Little Women; Eva Vives directs dramedy All About Nina; Becca Gleason directs comedy Summer ’03; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Sep 28

Fri Sep 28 2018, 02:52pm | 0 comments

Crystal Moselle’s coming-of-age drama Skate Kitchen and Kate Novack’s documentary The Gospel According to André hit the screens…


Science Fair documentary review: these kids today, with their changing the world…

Fri Sep 28 2018, 12:52pm | 0 comments

Meet some of the most brilliant teenagers alive, high-school students from all over the world competing at the World Cup of genius geekery. Funny, sobering, and inspiring.


Little Women movie review: sisters weird

Thu Sep 27 2018, 09:40am | 10 comments

This modern update of the beloved classic novel is embarrassingly misjudged, so earnest and on-the-nose a transfer to today that the March sisters feel not like modern girls but odd, out-of-step transplants from another time.


Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. documentary review: the multiple identities of a modern artist

Wed Sep 26 2018, 10:18pm | 0 comments

A tremendous backgrounder, intimate and personal, on the massively popular — and massively political — hip-hop artist. Here is the source of all her anger and passion, and here is why she needs to be heard.


Jane Fonda in Five Acts documentary review: the political is her personal

Sun Sep 23 2018, 09:49pm | 2 comments

An extraordinarily intimate and perceptive new biography of the legendary actor and activist. Fonda reveals insecurities and anxieties that are achingly raw and very personal, but which many women will see themselves in.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Sep 21

Fri Sep 21 2018, 10:46pm | 0 comments

Lisa Dapolito directs a documentary about comedian Gilda Radner; Sasha Waters Freyer directs a documentary about the photographer Garry Winogrand; more..


A Happening of Monumental Proportions movie review: no, honey, no

Fri Sep 21 2018, 08:49pm | 0 comments

The title is intentionally ironic, and yet still feels like a bad and desperately unfunny joke. The spectacular all-star cast holds their noses and gamely dives in anyway, for the sake of Judy Greer’s directorial debut.


Where Are the Women? goes to Ravencon

Fri Sep 21 2018, 07:31pm | 5 comments

OMG! My feminist-rating criteria has a fancy name like The Bechdel Test! Apparently people are calling it “The Johanson Analysis.” I am floored and immensely flattered.


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Wed Sep 19

Fri Sep 21 2018, 03:35pm | 0 comments

Anna Kendrick investigates the disappearance of her friend Blake Lively in A Simple Favour; Lea Carpenter cowrites action thriller Mile 22; more…


The Little Stranger movie review: so many ways to be haunted

Fri Sep 21 2018, 10:42am | 0 comments

A glorious gothic conundrum of obsession, delusion, psychological infection, and just possibly actual malevolent spirits. The most haunting aspect of this eerily enrapturing film may be the sly, maddening ambiguity of it all.


Tea with the Dames (aka Nothing Like a Dame) documentary review: legends speak

Thu Sep 20 2018, 09:45pm | 0 comments

Come sit next to Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, and Eileen Atkins and eavesdrop on their witty banter, amiable swearing, and grand tales of their stage and film careers.


Mile 22 movie review: unfortunately no one can be told what any of it means

Thu Sep 20 2018, 03:47pm | 8 comments

Welcome to the first action movie of the Trump era, wherein civil liberties are a distant fantasy and “no man left behind” has been forgotten, yet this is all “a higher form of patriotism.”


The House with a Clock in Its Walls movie review: good witches and not-so-good witches

Tue Sep 18 2018, 05:39pm | 10 comments

Charming entry-level spookiness and nicely old-fashioned eeriness for budding fright fans. A disarmingly goofy Jack Black and a vamping-it-up Cate Blanchett meet in a comic middle that is perfectly pitched.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Sep 14

Sat Sep 15 2018, 08:35pm | 0 comments

Angie Wang directs crime drama MDMA; Amma Asante directs historical romance Where Hands Touch; Amy Scott directs documentary Hal; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Fri Sep 14

Sat Sep 15 2018, 03:30pm | 2 comments

Chloé Zhao directs modern revisionist Western The Rider; Annemarie Jacir directs Palestinian family drama Wajib; Eva Hausberger codirects a documentary about the Glock pistol; more…


Lost Child (aka Tatterdemalion) movie review: little devil? or little boy?

Fri Sep 14 2018, 02:51pm | 0 comments

An extraordinarily delicate balancing act between drama and horror, visually and psychologically expansive, set in a place where stories of monsters are not mere entertaining fun, and where superstition is not harmless.


The Predator movie review: pointless retro junk

Thu Sep 13 2018, 11:19pm | 20 comments

Garbage. A bad excuse for a movie, even for the pulpy disposable popcorn nonsense it wants to be. Incoherent and illogical, cheap and shoddy. Wannabe sci-fi action horror that can’t pull off any of it.


The Rider movie review: when the work that makes a man is taken away

Wed Sep 12 2018, 05:01pm | 2 comments

An extraordinary semidocumentary drama, beautiful and beautifully accomplished, about dignity, work, and masculinity. Heartbreaking and yet utterly unsentimental, this is one of the best and most important films of the year.


A Simple Favour movie review: suburban mom stumbles into mystery!

Mon Sep 10 2018, 11:05pm | 23 comments

Witty, tense, and thrilling, but also cheerful, escapist, and fun, this is a perfect cinematic cozy mystery, kept on an even keel by the irresistibly charming Anna Kendrick. Merrily absurd pure entertainment.


why not buy Flick Filosopher a beer for its 21st birthday?

Sat Sep 08 2018, 01:17pm | 16 comments

On this day in 1997, I launched Flick Filosopher. It’s my baby, and now it has reached the US legal drinking age. Damn.


movies by or about women opening US/Can from Fri Sep 07

Fri Sep 07 2018, 09:55pm | 0 comments

Rungano Nyoni tells a tale of witches; Heather Lenz profiles artist Yayoi Kusama; more…


movies by or about women opening UK/Ire from Thu Sep 06

Fri Sep 07 2018, 07:31pm | 2 comments

Taissa Farmiga investigates a demonic nun; Chloë Grace Moretz goes to gay conversion therapy; more…


The Miseducation of Cameron Post movie review: just as she is

Fri Sep 07 2018, 03:13pm | 5 comments

Like a black comedy from a dystopia, except the dystopia is real and we are living in it. Chloë Grace Moretz is better than ever as a teen who discovers she may not be able to pray her gay away.


Crazy Rich Asians movie review: a Golden Age of Hollywood romance with an overdue fresh twist

Thu Sep 06 2018, 10:28pm | 13 comments

An opulent, juicy, splendidly silly, tears-of-joy spectacle reminiscent of the escapist fluff of 1930s Hollywood… yet also a romantic fantasy that a progressive, feminist gal can actually feel good about.


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