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In the Name of My Daughter movie review: suspenseless Riviera

6 hours ago

Not even Catherine Deneuve can save this dramatically inert soap opera of corruption and obsession, which does not even resolve its central mystery. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Based on a true-crime mystery from the 1970s South of France, this could have been a companion piece to the marvelous The Connection, if only it had characters we could care about, a sense of suspense, or even a clear idea of the story it wants to tell. A title change from the one it sported during some of its festival rounds — French Riviera — to the blah Lifetime docudrama one it has now may be an attempt to inject some drama into the proceedings, but by the time the film gets around to shifting gears into events where that begins to make the slightest bit of sense, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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new and ongoing dvd & streaming releases, Us/Can/UK, from Jun 01-02

2 June 2015 8:54 AM, 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 Jun 02    streaming only I Believe in Unicorns Results Run All Night Chappie Unfinished Business Survivor    dvd/streaming Camp X-ray Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Eastern Boys Focus Jupiter Ascending Monsters: Dark Continent Spring McFarland, USA new UK Jun 01    streaming only The Man Who Saved the World Results Selma Taken 3 The Interview    dvd/streaming Whiplash American Sniper The Gambler Shaun the Sheep Movie The Dead Lands Ex Machina I Am Big Bird Jurassic City Lost River

more recent releases Us/Can    streaming only Alex of Venice Citizenfour The Duff Every Secret Thing Frequencies Mistaken for Strangers Particle Fever Pump Rich Hill The Riot Club Timbuktu Two Days, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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a few thoughts about Game of Thrones S05 E08 (“Hardhome”) and open thread

1 June 2015 2:24 PM, PDT

I’m not gonna have time to blog in-depth about the new series of Game of Thrones, but I’m posting a few thoughts after each new episode. Please feel free to talk among yourselves about whatever is happening. (And of course I’ll jump into the comments as much as I’m able.)

Until I say otherwise, take it as a given that I love this show for its complex story and its fascinating characters. That’s the baseline that I’m working from.

I was all like, Hey, look what happens when you can bend and be flexible, learn to compromise, here’s Tyrion and Dany getting along so well, and Jon and the Wildlings coming to a truce, if an uneasy one, contrast that with Cersei who uses people instead of working with them and look how that gets her thrown in a cell and sucking spilt water off the stone floor, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Forbidden Films: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film documentary review: the power of propaganda

1 June 2015 8:48 AM, PDT

A frustrating movie in some ways, but an important reminder of the power of cinema to manipulate and seduce us, and not always for the better. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Nazis: we hate these guys. But can we learn anything from the wildly popular propaganda films they made for German and occupied-Europe audiences in the 1930s and 40s? That’s the question German documentarian Felix Moeller explores in his Forbidden Films: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film.

This is a frustrating movie in some ways: if you’re expecting, as I was, a thorough look at the Nazi films themselves, you will be disappointed. We get snippets of some of the most notorious of the movies, such as 1940’s Jew Süss, a historical drama that some consider the most anti-Semitic film ever made »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? Spy

1 June 2015 3:22 AM, PDT

A fantastic example of how casting women in roles that could have been played by men adds layers of cultural commentary that wouldn’t otherwise be present.

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

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

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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Spy movie review: the other gals

1 June 2015 2:38 AM, PDT

Does some wonderfully seditious feminist things while also being funny as hell. Finally, we are asked to laugh with Melissa McCarthy, not at her. I’m “biast” (pro): like Melissa McCarthy

I’m “biast” (con): …but have not been a fan of her movies

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

Director Paul Feig has made some very bad movies with Melissa McCarthy. The Heat and Bridesmaids were popular, this is true, but they were also cruel and unforgivably unfair to the women they were about. I console myself with the thought, however unlikely it may be, that it was McCarthy’s irrepressible charm and inherent likability, even amidst all the abuse she was forced to endure, that drew moviegoers to her (as well as to the other women featured in these films, of course).

But now, Feig — also taking on the screenwriting task — has made »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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