MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
"One of online's finest" film critics, or so says trade mag 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
3.5/5 31% Corporate Animals (2019) Corporate culture gets a delightfully twisted kick in the *ss when a 'team-building retreat' turns disastrous. As horror vies with comedy, the pitch(black)-perfect cast gets the balance just right. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
3/5 85% Downton Abbey (2019) Wherein the working class revels in servitude, and wealth and privilege are deserved. Deeply reactionary and unlikely to please anyone not already enamored of the show. I get Anglophilia, but really? - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
4/5 75% Phoenix (Føniks) (2018) This Norwegian family drama, tinged with fantasy and horror, depicts a teen girl's emotional turmoil through fantastical, yet oddly pragmatic, reveries. Newcomer Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin is heartbreaking. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
5/5 88% Hustlers (2019) GoodFellas, except they're gals. A cinematic bonbon of delinquent deliciousness that easily wraps us up in charmed complicity. And the exquisite lack of a male gaze means it's never salacious. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
4/5 50% Mrs Lowry & Son (2019) A study of the painter LS Lowry that, with sly whimsy and darkness, finds a universality of the creative psyche via the toxic relationship with his mother, who tried (unsuccessfully) to crush him. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
1.5/5 63% It Chapter Two (2019) A bigger misfire than its predecessor, and a waste of a great cast. Unsupportably overlong, with a feel-good self-care denouement that's almost dangerous. The only terrifying thing here is the tedium. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2019
1.5/5 39% Angel Has Fallen (2019) A sad retread of The Fugitive. Dumb, pointless, confused, full of contempt for its audience, and laughably unable to convince us that Gerard Butler is an acceptable stand-in for Harrison Ford. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
3/5 68% Gwen (2019) Atmospheric mood - this is a dour nightmare in the stark gloom of 19th-century Wales - and a striking performance by Eleanor Worthington-Cox aren't quite enough to sustain this near-horror film. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
3/5 59% Brian Banks (2019) There's plenty injustice here to enrage the thinking, feeling citizen, but despite a passionate performance by charismatic Aldis Hodge, this docudrama is nowhere near incensed enough on his behalf. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
1.5/5 72% The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) Painfully stupid faux-woke slapstick that wants to have its idiot male hero and its nods to feminism at the same time. Kids are listening, they are absorbing this garbage, and they deserve better. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
3.5/5 79% Good Boys (2019) Much more sweet than raunchy, and surprisingly innocent. Genuinely kind to its young protagonists as they try to navigate a culture that doesn't much care to protect them from growing up too soon. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2019
4/5 88% Blinded by the Light (2019) Seriously adorkable teen is saved, in 1987, by the rock poetry of Bruce Springsteen. The Boss is still relevant today, as is, alas, the harsh political and economic setting of Thatcher's Britain. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2019
3/5 84% Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) Raiders of the Lost Ark lite for kids, but juvenile humor and a derivative plot limit its appeal for adults. Teen Dora is really cool, though, and a great role model for girls and boys alike. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
2/5 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) A stew of 'hilarious' toxic masculinity and nonstop violence as the solution to all problems. Sexist, stupid nonsense, tediously familiar and wholly predictable. Even the cartoonish action falls flat. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
No Score Yet Bob Saget: That Ain't Right (2007) This intolerable standup routine, which aired on HBO in August, was performed in front of a New York University audience, but to call the quality of the "comedy" juvenile is to give it too much credit. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
3.5/5 74% Armstrong (2019) Meet the 'nerdy engineer' who dreamed of a life in aviation... and landed a tin can on the Moon. A deeply moving portrait of the modest man who seems to have been destined for his historic voyage. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 8, 2019
2/5 40% Vita & Virginia (2019) The legendary literary lesbian romance, starring the incendiary duo of Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki, is criminally blah, lacking all sexual and intellectual passion. How does this happen? - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 7, 2019
1/5 83% Midsommar (2019) It's hard to escape the sense that Ari Aster is getting off on Florence Pugh sobbing and screaming as he fetishizes her terror and torment. And none of it is in the pursuit of any meaning or message. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2019
4.5/5 98% Maiden (2019) The riveting tale of misogyny-busting sailor Tracy Edwards is as beautifully modulated as fiction, full of twists and turns and delicious ironies, and even sports a perfect ending. Yet it's all true. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
5/5 99% Apollo 11 (2019) This astonishing assemblage of vintage footage, some never before seen, may be unspoilable (we know how it ends) but it's still hugely suspenseful, and beautifully immersive visually and emotionally. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
4.5/5 91% Support the Girls (2018) Regina Hall is glorious in this sharp yet generous portrait of women's relationships, one smart and witty about how women navigate everyday sexism. Genuinely surprising that it's by a male filmmaker. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
1.5/5 96% In Fabric (2019) A murderous dress and creepy shop clerks add up to nothing more than exhausting nonsense full of fetishizing of women and weirdness for weird's sake alone. Consumerism is killing us, or something. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
2.5/5 63% Yesterday (2019) It's not interested in a world absent the incalculably enormous impact of the Beatles. It's just a lazy comedy of one running joke, a regular schmoe enjoying unwarranted success, and a blah romance. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2019
3.5/5 87% Ever After (Endzeit) (2019) This German zombie flick offers horror with a spin of feminine steel, not soft but brutally maternal, as necessary as natural selection and as nurturing as civilizational, even planetary tough love. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2019
.5/5 57% Brightburn (2019) Superman, but he's evil. That's the whole movie. This is a depiction of violent entitled sociopathy that may think it's critiquing toxic masculinity yet is indistinguishable from a celebration of it. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
3.5/5 97% Toy Story 4 (2019) The series' saving grace is that, with humor and heart so beautifully wise and stunningly rendered (CGI pun intended), even as returns diminish, a new chapter is still warm and smartly entertaining. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 19, 2019
1.5/5 22% Men in Black International (2019) Performs a complete charmectomy on its usually hugely charismatic stars, leaves them to flounder about with a bizarrely inept script, and actually seems to be trolling us with its pseudo feminism. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2019
3.5/5 90% Always Be My Maybe (2019) Doesn't rock the rom-com boat but absolutely delightful anyway. A smart, modern romantic comedy that flips genre scripts and finds a freshness in making room for new voices and new perspectives. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
2.5/5 73% Papi Chulo (2019) An uncomfortably clueless portrait of societal privilege taking advantage of financial desperation. Matt Bomer is very effective as a man truly heartbroken, though. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
4/5 79% Free Trip to Egypt (2019) An emotional roller-coaster ride as bigoted Americans find common ground with the people Fox News has told them to hate and fear. I laughed and cried, found myself full of despair and full of hope. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2019
4/5 80% Late Night (2019) The deliciously entertaining Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling take center stage in a comedy about women in a male-dominated world. Laugh-until-you-cry and witheringly funny, often even keenly skewering. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2019
4.5/5 91% Gloria Bell (2019) Julianne Moore pulls off the small miracle of tamping down her own intense charisma while still imbuing the ordinary, unglam Gloria with lively verve and a dynamism of low-key resilience personified. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
2/5 23% Dark Phoenix (2019) A lazy treadmill of a sci-fi morality play that wastes a terrific cast. A numbingly dull game of mutant checkers that has no idea how to tell a woman's story except filtered through the eyes of men. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
1/5 41% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) An absolute mess, and nowhere near enough monster action. Does not give good disaster. No fun at all. Makes me long for guys in rubber monster suits awkwardly sparring. At least you could see them. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2019
2.5/5 60% The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) Underwhelming: episodic, a random collection of unconnected vignettes rather than one cohesive story. Inoffensive, but missing the first movie's fantastical animals' perspective on the human world. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
1/5 54% Ma (2019) A bargain-bin cockadoodie pseudo-Misery, a disgraceful waste of the brilliant Octavia Spencer. Has no interest in women's pain and trauma even as it appropriates it for entertainment purposes. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
5/5 89% Rocketman (2019) Joyful and rowdy, self-deprecating and vulnerable, absolutely electrifying as it deconstructs the sex-drugs-and-rock'n'-roll story. Taron Egerton is chills-inducingly good. Sheer cinematic magic. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2019
4/5 62% XY Chelsea (2019) Pensively melancholy, this jagged, humane portrait of US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is a massive challenge to the notion of soldiering as a good way for a lost young person to find oneself. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
3.5/5 61% Trial by Fire (2019) Earnest, old-fashioned social-justice drama focuses on the death penalty from the 'what if we execute an innocent person?' angle, with hugely engaging performances by Jack O'Connell and Laura Dern. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
4/5 94% My Days of Mercy (2017) Beautifully incisive performances by Ellen Page and Kate Mara create a prism through which to examine how the death penalty impacts those far beyond death row. Hardly subtle, and yet still delicate. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
5/5 97% Booksmart (2019) A rare treat: a perfect film. Smart, funny, wise, sparkling with wit both visually and in its snappy dialogue. A self-assured directorial debut from Olivia Wilde, confident and effortless. Pure joy. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
2/5 57% Aladdin (2019) The romance lacks chemistry, and the villain lacks bite. It seems embarrassed to be a musical, failing to embrace the necessary ineffable daydreaminess. Somehow even more cartoonish as live-action. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
4/5 90% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) Modern noir god Keanu Reeves again stalks a fantasy(ish) world of exhausting, inventive violence. But this time, the curtain is drawn back on the sham of seeming orderliness in its world (and ours). - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
5/5 98% Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (2019) If you don't get why Beyoncé is worshipped as a goddess, this glorious pop spectacle - part concert film, part myth-in-the-making - will fix that. Enormously entertaining, and absolutely landmark. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2019
3/5 51% A Dog's Journey (2019) Pure rerun of A Dog's Purpose: Pooch Bailey returns again and again (again) in different bodies to love and serve his humans. A sappy tail, pleasantly daydreamy. I'm not crying you're crying. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
2/5 51% Tolkien (2019) This infuriatingly reductive biopic of the Hobbit author renders him as stolid and dull, and removes all the mystery and the wonder from creative inspiration. Literal-minded and free of magic. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
4.5/5 68% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) Designed to cash in on the popular mobile game, this kiddie noir nevertheless sparkles with charming originality. Gentle enough for tykes but with satirical bite for grownups, too. Downright adorable. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2019
4.5/5 81% Long Shot (2019) House of Cards as a satirical workplace comedy, with just a touch of rom-com thrown in to render it genuinely sweetly sexy. Theron and Rogen share palpable chemistry, both comic and romantic. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
4/5 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) A miraculous blend of grief and humor. Big, bold, brash, then sneakily meta. I am only starting to get my head around the emotional and creative right-hook of it. A fitting end (for now) to the MCU. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 1, 2019
2/5 48% Bel Canto (2018) This tonal misfire never hits the notes of drama and romance it aims for with its ickily problematic terrorist-hostage relationships. Facile and uncomfortably implausible, emotionally and practically. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019