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17 articles


Rams (Hrútar) movie review: brothers in farms

5 February 2016 1:17 PM, PST

Exists on the spectrum between “fascinating and unclassifiably odd” and “could almost be a parody of an arthouse film except it’s too moving to be a joke.” I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Nordic noir? Nah, more like Nordic baaaahhh. Look, the sheep are listed with the human cast in the end credits. I mean, of course the dog is credited, you always have to credit the dog, but here the sheep portray characters with different names; they’re not just playing themselves, okay? Rams — which was Iceland’s official submission for this year’s Oscars (it didn’t get a nomination) and winner of the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes last year — exists somewhere on the spectrum between “fascinating and unclassifiably odd” and “could almost be a parody of an arthouse film »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Tumbledown movie review: letting go of the past

5 February 2016 9:44 AM, PST

A portrait of grief that borrows the conventions of romantic comedies. There may not be a lot of passion here, but there is plenty of pleasant zing. I’m “biast” (pro): love Rebecca Hall

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Rebecca Hall is Hannah, widow of rock star Hunter Miles, who made “a single, nearly perfect album” of soulful acoustic folk before he died suddenly several years back. Jason Sudeikis is Andrew, a university professor who deems Hunter’s work “timeless” and wants to include the singer in the book he’s writing about tragic great American musicians. Hannah is reluctant to help Andrew with his research for lots of reasons: the most important one is the one she is unable to admit to herself, that she does not want to move on with her life. Does her finally agreeing »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? the 2015 Oscar-nominated films ranked

4 February 2016 3:09 PM, PST

A ranking the 2015 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 ranking of all 2015’s wide-release films (and some limited releases) for female representation.

Key:

[ F ] = film has a female protagonist

[ Fe ] = film has an ensemble that is predominantly or entirely female

[ f ] = film has a female coprotagonist alongside a male coprotagonist

[ e ] = film has an ensemble with no clear protagonist that is reasonably gender balanced

Still to be rated and ranked:

Anomalisa

Cartel Land

Embrace of the Serpent

Mustang

Racing Extinction

Son of Saul

The Hunting Ground

The Look of Silence

Theeb

What Happened, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? The Hateful Eight

4 February 2016 2:44 PM, PST

An opportunity for a female villain whose crimes are not gendered is squandered in favor of rendering her a punching bag for male protagonists.

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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of The Hateful Eight! 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 Hateful Eight.

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 »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? The Revenant

4 February 2016 2:16 PM, PST

Apart from motivating visions of the male protagonist’s dead wife and a kidnapped and raped woman for him to rescue, women are absent from this film.

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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

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

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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Where Are the Women? The Big Short

4 February 2016 1:58 PM, PST

Some of the characters in the all-male based-on-fact ensemble have been fictionalized, so there’s no reason why one of them couldn’t have been a woman.

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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of The Big Short! 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 Big Short.

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? »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

4 February 2016 1:37 PM, PST

The only female character with any significant presence instantly morphs into supportive help for men and a love interest for one of them.

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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared! 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 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

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 »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? Joy

4 February 2016 10:56 AM, PST

Any story about a woman pursuing goals beyond love and motherhood is a positive turn. Minus a few points, however, for making fun of feminine tastes.

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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

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

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. »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? A War (Krigen)

4 February 2016 10:28 AM, PST

A wife character with a bit more to do than the usual female support for a male protagonist keeps this male-centered story from scoring worse than it does.

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of A War (Krigen)! 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 A War (Krigen).

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 »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? 45 Years

4 February 2016 10:04 AM, PST

The film may dwell in the realm of romance, but its focus on a woman coping with unexpected upheaval in a long-established relationship is unusual indeed.

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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of 45 Years! 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.) See my rating of 45 Years.

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. »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? 2015 ranking

3 February 2016 9:11 AM, PST

An ongoing ranking 2015’s films for their representation of girls and women. (Some films that may qualify as 2014 films for awards purposes but that did not get wide releases until very late 2014 or early 2015 may be included here.) 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, when available, are linked from each rating page.)

See the rating criteria.

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

Key:

[ F ] = film has a female protagonist

[ Fe ] = film has an ensemble that is predominantly or entirely female

[ f ] = film has a female coprotagonist alongside a male coprotagonist

[ e ] = film has an ensemble with no clear protagonist that is reasonably gender balanced

This project »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? When Marnie Was There

3 February 2016 9:10 AM, PST

A story about a girl dealing with the sort of identity issues that hit all kids in early adolescence. Girls need more movies like this one.

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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

Note: This is not a “review” of When Marnie Was There! 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 When Marnie Was There.

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? »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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When Marnie Was There movie review: girls have adolescent angst too

3 February 2016 9:00 AM, PST

Enchanting, startling; a rare story about a girl at a precarious age. Full of that exquisite Studio Ghibli sorcery that captures the beauty of the ordinary. I’m “biast” (pro): love Studio Ghibli’s films

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

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

It’s another enchanting animated film from Studio Ghibli, but this one is really special. Less overtly fantastical than some of Ghibli’s other projects — though it’s still primarily a ghost story — When Marnie Was There is grounded in an adolescent reality that we almost never see onscreen: that girls have a rough time, too, in the transition from childhood to adulthood, and in finding a path through conflicting and confusing emotions to our own true identities.

The details of her pain are doled out slowly, over the course of her story, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Where Are the Women? Regression

2 February 2016 9:06 AM, PST

A movie that looks at first as if it might offer a good showing for women — or, at least, for one woman — descends into the hoariest of anti-woman clichés.

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 Regression! 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 Regression.

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? »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Regression movie review: no thanks for the memories

2 February 2016 8:52 AM, PST

Amenábar aims for a noirish X-Files vibe, but preposterousness rules this inert trudge that does absolutely no justice to a terrible real-life phenomenon. I’m “biast” (pro): like the cast

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

Alejandro Amenábar (Agora) would like you to believe that Regression is based on a true story, probably in the hopes that that impression elevates its solemn silliness somewhere into the realm of the plausible. It does not… and anyway, there’s nothing true here beyond the most general of circumstances. Yes, in the 1980s and 1990s, mass hysteria about Satanic cults holding black masses in which babies were murdered, children were sexually abused, and adults were tortured did indeed sweep the U.S. and much of the English-speaking world. But the particular details of this story are wholly invented, and where Amenábar — who wrote »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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

2 February 2016 5:18 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 (sign up here).

new Us/Can Feb 02    streaming only Difret Spotlight Steve Jobs The 33 The Forbidden Room Love the Coopers (aka Christmas with the Coopers)    dvd/streaming Bridge of Spies Freeheld The Keeping Room Suffragette Truth Bleeding Heart The Last Witch Hunter Man Up Our Brand Is Crisis Meadowland Rock the Kasbah Shelter new UK Feb 01    streaming only Bill One & Two    dvd/streaming Irrational Man Life Macbeth Miss You Already Sicario The Walk Captive Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Regression

more recent releases Us/Can    streaming only B for Boy Black Mass Crimson Peak How to Change the World Life A Perfect Day Racing Extinction Welcome to Leith Anesthesia The Hallow Mi-5 (aka Spooks: The Greater Good) Phoenix »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts (88th Academy Awards) review

1 February 2016 7:32 AM, PST

“A Girl in the River” masterfully portrays a culture that justifies killing women, its rage subsumed by a dispiriting account of how its customs are perpetuated. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

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

It’s an extraordinary group of short documentaries that received Oscar nominations this year, and I’m having a tough time picking a favorite, a best, or a guess about which will win the Academy Award. I am partial to stories about women, however, and in particular about the special hardships that women face because of our gender, so I’m gonna throw my hopes for a win behind “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” [IMDb | official site], from Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (who won this same Oscar in 2012 for her short doc “Saving Face”). This is a horrifying story of an attempted “honor killing” in Gujranwala, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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17 articles



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