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7 articles


A Lego Brickumentary documentary review: brick by brick

31 July 2015 9:42 AM, PDT

It does sort of feel like one of those rah-rah corporate promo videos they make you watch on the day you start a new job, but there are some surprises here. I’m “biast” (pro): love Legos (who doesn’t?)

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It does sort of feel like one of those rah-rah corporate promotional videos they make you watch on the day you start a new job, in between filling out all the paperwork and being taken to lunch by your new boss, with its forced cheerfulness and its willingness to “criticize” its subject only to the degree that it shows how progressive and open-minded it is. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone with a bad word to say about Lego bricks or the company that makes them, beyond »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Of Girls and Horses movie review: wishes are horses

31 July 2015 5:16 AM, PDT

A lovely film with a compassionate appreciation for how teen girls can often find a sort of comfort in clinging to their woundedness and pain. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

German filmmaker Monika Treut is renowned as the creator of groundbreaking narrative and documentary films with lesbian and feminist themes, but if there’s anything in the least bit radical about Of Girls and Horses, it’s not what you imagine it to be. This is the gentle tale of Alex (German TV star Ceci Chuh), a troubled, lonely 16-year-old who’s been “consoling” herself with drugs and cutting who is sent on an internship to a horse farm in the quiet countryside, and the charm and delight of her interior journey for us is all about watching her slowly transform from a sullen mope to a vibrant, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? Inside Out

29 July 2015 12:47 PM, PDT

That a young girl’s emotions are used to tell a story about universal human experience is something new, a paradigm-smashing win for female representation.

Click here for the ongoing ranking of 2015’s films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of Inside Out! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Inside Out.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)

This project was launched by my generous Kickstarter supporters. You can support this work now by:

• buying some Where Are the Women? merch

• becoming a monthly or yearly subscriber of FlickFilospher.com

• making a pledge at Patreon

• making »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Inside Out movie review: all the feels

29 July 2015 12:16 PM, PDT

There is joy and wonder in this marvelous mounting of a human mind, and a thrilling audacity in how it dares at such a strange and impossible thing. I’m “biast” (pro): mostly love Pixar’s films

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I have some misgivings about this Inside Out movie. Only five emotions in a little girl’s head? Only Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness? Maybe things will get more complicated when she’s an older girl… but even the grownups here have only those five emotions. I dunno about that. Cuz in my not-little-girl head right now, Doubt is telling me “There’s no way you can do justice to this movie, so don’t even bother trying,” and Procrastination is agreeing, saying, “See? It was right to put off writing this review. Let’s put it off some more, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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new and ongoing dvd & streaming releases, Us/Can/UK, from Jul 27-28

28 July 2015 1:44 PM, PDT

A simple listing, duplicated from the homepage, of new releases and other stuff currently available, for the benefit of those playing along by RSS or keeping up via the Daily Digest emails (sign up here).

new Us/Can Jul 28    streaming only Big Significant Things Frank the Bastard Unfriended Xmoor About Elly Before We Go The Escort Jack Strong Unexpected    dvd/streaming White God Home Comet Jauja 52 Tuesdays new UK Jul 27    streaming only Best of Enemies Robot Overlords Run All Night The Water Diviner Get Hard She’s Funny That Way Land Ho!    dvd/streaming Clouds of Sils Maria A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Suite Française That Sugar Film While We’re Young Listen Up Philip Seventh Son Wild Card Of Girls and Horses

more recent releases Us/Can    streaming only Citizenfour Dior and I The Divergent Series: Insurgent Every Secret Thing The Face of an Angel Far from the Madding Crowd »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

27 July 2015 2:44 PM, PDT

The only female character here may be intelligent and capable… but she is often treated as a decorative object in a way that her male colleagues aren’t.

Warning! Tiny spoiler in the Wildcard section.

Click here for the ongoing ranking of 2015’s films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)

This project was launched by my generous Kickstarter supporters. You can support this work now by:

• buying some Where Are the Women? merch

• becoming »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation movie review: familiar yet fresh

27 July 2015 9:29 AM, PDT

Works for your appreciation with gasp-inducing action sequences and an ethos that has fun with its legacy while moving in a new direction. I’m “biast” (pro): loved the previous film in the series

I’m “biast” (con): really would like to see some new stories

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

If we simply must keep getting the same movies over and over and over again — and that is not a concession that this status quo is unchangeable — they need to be at least as good as Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Though perhaps with less convoluted punctuation in their titles.

Have we see this all before? Yes… and no. Spy action thrillers should be a dime a dozen instead of $21/£18 a pop in IMAX, but ubiquitous they certainly are. Globetrotting gunplay by agents with cool gadgets and a particular set of skills are utterly »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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7 articles



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