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13 articles


It Follows movie review: sexually transmitted dread

1 hour ago

Wait. Really? Horror movies are still doing the punishing-girls-for-having-sex thing? Ah, but this is 80s retro, so it’s “okay,” then. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Wait. Really? Horror movies are still doing the punishing-girls-for-having-sex thing? Goddammit…

Ah, but It Follows is “retro,” so that’s okay then. It’s “80s.” Except for that one cell phone in the opening scene, and the weird little e-reader in a cosmetics case. But listen to the electronica score, clearly meant to evoke John Carpenter! Check out the old gas-guzzling cars and square cathode-ray TVs and the cheesy porn mags! So 80s.

Girls weren’t allowed to have sex in the 80s, and if they did, they were sluts. If they wanted it, they deserved to die. Everyone knows this. (Some people still think it today.) So »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

18 hours ago

Cartoons can be tricky to rate for gender representation… but it’s clear here that the only two female characters fill only limited supporting roles.

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

Note: This is not a “review” of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water! 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.) My review of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is coming closer to the UK release date of March 27th.

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

This rating is brought to you without paywall restrictions by my generous Kickstarter supporters. If you missed out »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie review: return visit

19 hours ago

There’s not much of a story, just a chance to spend more time with the gang of classy sexy randy oldsters. And that’s just fine. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Well, what else were they going to call the sequel? At least there is an actual “second best” iteration of Sonny Kapoor’s (Dev Patel: The Last Airbender) residential hotel in the works: he is ready to expand into a new location in Jaipur, thanks in part to the steady business hand of his partner and one-time first guest (back in the previous film, that is), Muriel (Maggie Smith: My Old Lady). There actually isn’t much of the way of story this time around, just some gentle dramedy, as everyone is prodded to settle into the ex-pat retirements they chose in »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Focus movie review: con inartistry

22 hours ago

Unpleasant, humor free, and contrary to accepted codes of movie morality. And that’s before it shows its hand as a pile of implausible sentimental mush. I’m “biast” (pro): love a good con movie

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

How did the filmmaking team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa — responsible for the brilliant nastiness of Bad Santa (as writers) and charming sweetness of I Love You Phillip Morris (as writers and directors) — come to this? Focus is unpleasant, humor free, and contrary to accepted codes of movie (and nonmovie) morality. Con artists Nicky (Will Smith: Winter’s Tale), a seasoned expert, and Jess (Margot Robbie: The Wolf of Wall Street), a naive upstart, meet-criminal-cute in New York and move on to work an elaborate pickpocketing operation at the “Associated Football Franchise of America”’s not-Superbowl in New Orleans, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? the 2014 Oscar-nominated films ranked

25 February 2015 8:48 AM, PST

A ranking the 2014 Oscar-nominated films for their representation of girls and women. These are not “reviews” of the films! These are simply examinations of how well or how poorly they depict girls and 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. My reviews are linked from each rating page.)

See the rating criteria.

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

Ratings to come for:

Beyond the Lights

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ida

Inherent Vice

Salt of the Earth

Wild Tales

This ranking is brought to you without paywall restrictions by my generous Kickstarter supporters. If you missed out on the Kickstarter and would like to support this project, you may:

• become a monthly or yearly subscriber of FlickFilospher.com

• make a pledge at Patreon

• make a donation via »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? The Boy Next Door

25 February 2015 8:46 AM, PST

The villain is a dude who fails to appreciate that sex is not all about what he alone wants. And the film gender-swaps a trope to motivate the protagonist.

Warning! Some of the details here may constitute spoilers for those not familiar with the story.

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

Note: This is not a “review” of The Boy Next Door! 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 The Boy Next Door.

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

This rating is brought to you without paywall restrictions by my generous Kickstarter supporters. »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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The Boy Next Door movie review: boys will be psychos

25 February 2015 8:19 AM, PST

Reaches beyond ordinary laughable movie nonsense to create a moment — only one, alas — that will reign in the annals of cheesy cinematic history. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Isn’t it amazing how guys in movies get to have decades-younger wives and girlfriends and it’s not a problem, not even a thing to be mentioned, but let a woman get in on the fun and enjoy some sexytime with a hot-bodied barely overage youngster, and suddenly it’s instant nightmare? That’s what happens to high-school lit teacher Claire (Jennifer Lopez: What to Expect When You’re Expecting) when Noah (Ryan Guzman: Step Up All In) moves in next door. The film goes to great lengths to reassure us that Noah and his abs are 19, almost 20 years old, but that he needs »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? Birdman

24 February 2015 10:07 AM, PST

It’s rare that a film makes it this explicit that women are little more than supporting characters in a man’s story.

Click here for the ranking of 2014’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

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

Note: This is not a “review” of Birdman! 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 Birdman.

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

This rating is brought to you without paywall restrictions by my generous Kickstarter supporters. If you missed out on the Kickstarter and would like to support this project, you may: »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) movie review: winged infamy

24 February 2015 9:43 AM, PST

It’s all a bit satirical. Or maybe not. Look, over there, Shakespeare in a superhero cape! I’m “biast” (pro): like the director, love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

It was one thing when Birdman was the scrappy little indie that could. (Never mind that it was an indie with a budget of $22 million and an A-list cast.) Then it was just a snooty pretentious film with an arty gimmick that hardly anyone had seen. But now it has been crowned as the very best movie of 2014 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. The people who are the most Hollywood that people can be have officially spoken. And what they have said is, “We hate superhero movies. We hate the fans who make superhero movies huge. But we love your money, so thanks for that. »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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new and ongoing dvd & streaming releases, Us/Can/UK, from Feb 23-24

24 February 2015 12:56 AM, PST

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.

new Us/Can Feb 24    streaming only    [no new releases]    dvd/streaming Big Hero 6 Whiplash Horrible Bosses 2 Beyond the Lights new UK Feb 23    streaming only Mr. Turner Nightcrawler    dvd/streaming Fury Life Itself Effie Gray Serena Annabelle

more recent releases Us/Can    streaming only Advanced Style Amira & Sam The Babadook Belle Camp X-ray Frequencies The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I Last Days in Vietnam Mistaken for Strangers Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts Oscar Nominated Live-Action Shorts Particle Fever Penguins of Madagascar Pump Rich Hill Tracks Virunga Before I Disappear Believe Me A Picture of You Pioneer Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys Calvary The Devil’s Violinist Extraterrestrial Hangar 10 (aka The Rendlesham UFO Incident) Inherent Vice Listen Up Philip Open Windows »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? Maps to the Stars

23 February 2015 5:13 AM, PST

“Strong female characters” doesn’t necessarily mean “good and noble,” as several complex but twisted women in this ensemble black comedy demonstrate.

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

Note: This is not a “review” of Maps to the Stars! 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 Maps to the Stars.

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

This rating is brought to you without paywall restrictions by my generous Kickstarter supporters. If you missed out on the Kickstarter and would like to support this project, you may:

• become a monthly or yearly subscriber of FlickFilospher. »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Maps to the Stars movie review: kill it with fire

23 February 2015 4:18 AM, PST

Quite hilarious in a deeply disturbing way that you won’t want to look straight on at, lest it forever ruin you as a lover of movies. I’m “biast” (pro): mostly like Cronenberg’s work, love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Oh, did you have dreams of going to Hollywood, becoming a star, and living happily ever after? Maps to the Stars will put paid to them. This is one of Canadian horror auteur David Cronenberg’s (Cosmopolis, Eastern Promises) least trippy films: it’s hardly surreal at all. Which makes it all too plausible as it looks askew at the living nightmares that are the lives of the Weiss family of Los Angeles, all of whom are deeply entrenched in the industry. Except the one thing they think is horrific — and it’s pretty bad »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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87th Academy Awards: the Oscar nominees (and winners) for 2015

23 February 2015 1:57 AM, PST

Update 02.23.15:

Winners are now indicated. I correctly guessed only 9 out of the 24 categories.

Previous 02.22.15:

Here’s an at-a-glance look at my picks for tonight’s Academy Awards — projected winners are Xed at the lefthand side. Keep in mind: those Xes don’t represent whom I think should win Oscars but whom I think will win, based on what little I can grasp about how the Academy thinks. (I’ve also noted which nominees I think should win. Kindly note that this is not necessarily my take on who did the best performance/writing/FX/whatever of the year, but whom I think is best among the nominees.)

Also noted are the two films — The Salt of the Earth (a documentary nominee) and Wild Tales (a foreign-language nominee) — that I haven’t been able to see.

I suspect I won’t be able to make it through the ceremony »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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13 articles



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