MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
"One of online?s finest" film critics, or so says trade mag </i>Variety, MaryAnn Johanson is a New York City-based freelance writer who loves movies but hates what Hollywood sometimes does to them. She is the webmaster and sole critic on FlickFilosopher.com, founded in 1997 and now one of the most popular movie-related sites on the Internet. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, and she is a founding member of Cinemarati: The Web Alliance for Film Commentary. She is also an award-winning screenwriter. She doesn?t feel it?s necessary to divulge how many cats she lives with, or the state of their mental health.
Favorites:
Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eight Dimension, The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap, Ghostbusters
Critics' Group: Online Film Critics Society
Location: New York City
Official Websites: flickfilosopher.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
5/5 98% Us (2019) An anxious moan, a looming disquiet of a reckoning coming for America. This is horror as weird, funny, damning, and more disconcerting the more you think about it, finding fear right in front of us. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2019
4.5/5 80% The Fight (2018) Actor Jessica Hynes makes an astonishing directorial debut with this disconcerting little movie about women's everyday anger and resentment, and the absolute battle just to get through the day. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2019
3/5 53% Five Feet Apart (2019) Beautiful teens fall in love while dying prettily in this year's tragic young romance, one that medical necessity renders refreshingly chaste. Best bit: Star Haley Lu Richardson is genuinely charming. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
5/5 79% Captain Marvel (2019) An indie ethos comes to the comic-book movie, upending the origin story and offering a female superhero who throws out the boys' rule book, goes her own way, and stalks among us with easy confidence. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 10, 2019
4/5 No Score Yet Doctor Who: Logopolis (2019) An iconic story from the classic era of the British cult TV favorite comes to US big screens for one night only... and the cleaned-up FX as well as its deceptively simple tale hold up rather well. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2019
2.5/5 78% Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) (2019) Asghar Farhadi attempts to meld melodramatic mystery with his usual humanistic drama, but leaves little space for either impulse to be satisfied. Disappointing and strangely anticlimactic. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2019
2/5 25% The Aftermath (2019) Post WWII upheaval is a cheap backdrop to beautiful people getting it on. Characters and situations are undeveloped, and there little genuine romance here, and too much laughable preposterousness. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
0/5 19% Serenity (2019) Accidental hilarity turns ugly in this baffling exercise in genre-hopping that thinks it justifies its Hollywood-typical adolescent-boy attitudes about women, sex, violence, and morality. It does not. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
5/5 89% Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) Harrowing and heartbreaking, a nightmare dystopia that could almost be a documentary. This tough but essential film slyly asks us to consider what we owe children, not just our own but the world's. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
3.5/5 79% 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Live Action (2019) My pick: Vincent Lambe's controversial and profoundly harrowing 'Detainment,' a dramatization of the real-life police interrogations of the 10-year-old boys who killed a toddler in England in 1993. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2019
5/5 100% 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Documentary (2019) My pick: Marshall Curry's 'A Night at the Garden,' presenting footage from a 1939 'pro-America' rally in New York City, a chilling reminder of the unpleasant cycles of American history. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
3.5/5 90% 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Animation (2019) My pick: The animated short of the year surely must be Domee Shi's 'Bao,' a bittersweet reverie on motherhood that features one of the most hilariously shocking moments onscreen this year. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
4/5 92% Fighting with My Family (2019) Genuinely heartwarming, totally cheerworthy, bursting with warm and generous performances, and just a whole damn lotta fun. (And I hate professional wrestling.) Florence Pugh absolutely rocks it. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2019
2.5/5 91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) The gorgeous and once glorious fantasy series comes to a flat conclusion, one in which the stakes feel way lower than they should and the spark that once animated and elevated the story is missing. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
0/5 60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Devoid of personality and soul, this hellish Frankenstein monster of processed entertainment product wallows in a stew of borrowed ideas and imagery and does absolutely nothing fresh with them. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
5/5 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) A beautiful story about ugliness, about dignity in the face of hatred, told via delicate yet steely performances that imbue it with a power at once tender and infuriating. Totally enrapturing. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
4/5 86% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Our expectations are a lot higher now after the unexpectedly wildly inventive first movie... and this sequel delivers, digging with witty subversion into Hollywood's glorification of its male heroes. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
0/5 70% Cold Pursuit (2019) The latest Liam Neeson revenge fantasy simply makes no sense even before you get to the tedious action, undeveloped characters, and stubborn racism and sexism. A rancid excuse for a thriller. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2019
2.5/5 94% Burning (Beoning) (2018) Oh hey it's The Nice Guy's Complaint done up arthouse style, meant to render male entitlement, unwarranted sexual jealousy, and personal ineffectualness as something deep and meaningful. It's not. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
0/5 70% The Mule (2018) Welcome to Peak Apologetics for the Bull[crap] of White Men, replete with many appalling messages about their endless entitlement to redemption and forgiveness. And as a bonus, it's racist and sexist. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2019
1/5 40% Nina (2018) Overlong and underwritten, tepid and dreary, this would-be sexual melodrama isn't lurid enough to qualify as soft-core porn, but never finds any true emotion among its triangle of lovers, either. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2019
1/5 37% Glass (2019) Earnest and humorless, this is a faux-intellectual Comic Book Guy ponderously well-actually-ing us about shallow superhero tropes and clichés as if those are the most intriguing bits of these stories. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2019
4.5/5 73% Destroyer (2018) Nicole Kidman's pitiless performance completely upends genre expectations in Karyn Kusama's tense, grim crime noir. Uncompromising and subtly challenging, like a cerebral itch you can't quite scratch. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2019
4.5/5 97% Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018) Slice-of-life and stream-of-consciousness, this is unlike any documentary before about what it's like to be poor and black in America. RaMell Ross is an important new voice in American cinema. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2019
4/5 73% On the Basis of Sex (2019) Coasts on the awesomeness of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a way unadventurous if solidly crowd-pleasing. But the depiction of her incredibly supportive marriage to a feminist man is intensely satisfying. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2019
4/5 83% Polina (Polina, danser sa vie) (2017) A marvelous paean to everything that goes into making great art: hard work, complicated humanity, taking risks, and trusting one's own instincts. Anastasia Shevtsova is tremendous as a young woman with an indomitable spirit. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
3.5/5 93% Bumblebee (2018) Nostalgic without being mindlessly retro; a sweet, heartfelt girl-and-her-alien-robot-car action-adventure buddy dramedy that hits all the right notes. Hailee Steinfeld is terrific, and there's not a whiff of Michael Bay to be found. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
2.5/5 32% Welcome to Marwen (2018) The plastic terror of The Polar Express melded with the kooky charm of Forrest Gump is a bad, sometimes outright icky, way to tell a tale of trauma and recovery, and does a disservice to Steve Carell's sensitive performance. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2018
1.5/5 65% Aquaman (2018) When it's not tediously predictable in its clichés, its complete lack of narrative or thematic daring, and its colorless meathead hero, it's a mess of incoherent action and noisy psychedelic chaos. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2018
4/5 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie command the screen in this delicious anti costume drama with an earthy ethos, replete with movie-movie internecine spycraft and a sly, smart feminist parable that resonates for us today. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
1.5/5 27% Mortal Engines (2018) Like the book it's based on, the worldbuilding is intriguing, but the characters and story are strictly cliché. A lazy, confused, and derivative disaster, with plot points and visual and thematic motifs shamelessly stolen from far better movies. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
5/5 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Has a verve rare in big-budget movies at the moment. Fun and fresh and legitimately engages with its source material on the levels of story, visuals, and mythology all at once. It feels like discovering storytelling anew. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
3.5/5 85% Dumplin' (2018) A lovely movie that warmly embraces a wide(ish) range of girls-and-women-as-people, one that doesn't reduce its large heroine - the amazing Danielle Macdonald - to nothing more than her size. This should not feel so damn radical, but it is. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2018
1/5 78% Anna and the Apocalypse (2018) A zombie musical comedy set at Christmas should be a can't miss. But this one isn't scary or funny; its characters are one-note, and the whole shebang - blah songs included - is emotionally flat. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
3.5/5 100% Family in Transition (2018) Frank and bittersweet, this is a quietly remarkable portrait of one father and husband's gender transition, and how the family coped - and didn't - with dramatic upheaval in the most intimate of settings: home. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
3/5 84% Creed II (2018) Can't quite manage to continue the first film's smart, unsentimental examination of male emotion and men's relationships. At best achieves a draw with a genre path that is already extremely well worn. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2018
2.5/5 91% Mirai (2018) This tenderly animated Japanese film about sibling rivalry is lovely with its fantasy, but too convoluted for children and too slight for adults. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
3/5 69% The Christmas Chronicles (2018) Kurt Russell's hot biker Santa is naughty and nice, but this otherwise discount holiday schmaltz is only half onboard with him. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
2/5 40% The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) A rote crime action thriller - very car chase! such gunshots! - that drains its protagonist of much of the raw power that has made her so fascinating in the past. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2018
0/5 15% Robin Hood (2018) Ugly, garish, anachronistic like a small mean child playing with matches, and completely lacking in anything Robin Hood-y: there's no fun, no romance, no virtue. Instead? Bizarre 'aesthetics' and even worse politics. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
.5/5 37% Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) It certainly is MORE than the first movie: more incoherent, more confused about who its protagonist is, more crammed with contrivance and coincidence. Even the title is more nonsensical this time. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
4/5 92% 3 Days in Quiberon (3 Tage in Quiberon) (2018) A raw and uneasy film about tortured celebrity - mid-20th-century European film star Romy Schneider - and the endless female struggle to break free of the small boxes our culture tries to confine us to. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
4/5 78% Green Book (2018) The tune may be familiar, but it is performed with virtuoso style, its central characters drawn with wit, charm, and complexity and brought to life via the absolutely gorgeous performances of its stars. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
3.5/5 35% Dead in a Week (Or Your Money Back) (2018) This unexpectedly gentle black comedy about depression and suicide gets the tone just right, and could prompt as many empathetic conversations as it does compassionate laughs. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018
4/5 86% Under the Wire (2018) A harrowing portrait of the slaughter of civilians and the urban destruction that was the siege of Homs in 2012, and a terrific honoring of journalist Marie Colvin, who died getting the story out to the world. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2018
4.5/5 90% A Private War (2018) A moving and important portrait of legendary Times of London foreign correspondent Marie Colvin. We need more movies like this, about fearless, badass women this outrageously good at their vitally necessary work. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2018
3/5 99% They Shall Not Grow Old (2019) There's a poignant eeriness to this modernization of WWI footage: we are looking into a past that feels touchably close and immediate like never before. But this is a novelty. A solemn one, but a novelty nonetheless. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2018
4.5 91% Widows (2018) A heist movie that is gripping and badass, elegant and assured. You could ignore all the social-justice-warrior stuff and just enjoy this as a popcorn thriller. But what makes this so special is how it reexamines the genre's clichés. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2018
1.5/5 81% Overlord (2018) This Nazis-with-supernatural-weapons horror schlock drags its feet getting to its fantastical elements and then does absolutely nothing interesting with them, just wallows in dull, rote gore and grue. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
2.5/5 58% The Grinch (2018) Candy-colored slapstick and kindergarten-level humor make this perfectly suitable for small children, and perfectly bland and inoffensive to the adults accompanying them. Somehow, I don't think Dr. Seuss would entirely approve. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018