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
1/5 31% The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020) Nice Guy garbage man Josh Lucas negs sad sack Katie Holmes. Based on the pernicious self-help philosophy that insists that everything wrong with your life is your fault. You know: feel-good romance! - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2020
4.5/5 60% Radioactive (2020) Rosamund Pike is perfection in this intellectual romance, an unsentimental portrait of a woman striving to be appreciated for her mind at a time even more anti-woman than today. Feminist and flinty. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2020
63% Dangan Ranna (D.A.N.G.A.N. Runner) (Non-Stop) (1996) Sudden, unexpected violence combines with sudden, unexpected comedy in this fast and furious film... - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2020
No Score Yet A Hole in the Head (1998) Kabillio's too-balanced reportage makes it clear that he gives more credence to crackpots than they deserve, and that he's not entirely convinced that reason and science merit the final word. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2020
5/5 95% First Cow (2020) A simple story about friendship. A revisionist Western reworking fables of masculinity and frontiers. A softly savage deconstruction of the American dream, of capitalism itself. An astonishing movie. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
5/5 100% Last and First Men (2020) A mesmerizing, haunting contemplation of the headiest issues we ever confront: evolution and extinction, the depths of time, the meaning of life. Screams with ominous alarm for the human future. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
4/5 95% John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020) Essential portrait of the US Congressman and civil-rights activist, for its lessons in the power of passive resistance to injustice, and its underscoring of how America has regressed in recent years. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2020
2.5/5 79% Greyhound (2020) How very kind of Tom Hanks to lend his gravitas and inescapable likability to a bunch of WWII naval reenactors on their weekend-getaway 'crossing the north Atlantic in 1942 dodging U-boats' LARPing campaign. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2020
3/5 35% The Sunlit Night (2019) A ramble with appealingly messy people rethinking their priorities that is perhaps more charming and touching than it might have been if this pandemic summer didn't have so many of us doing the same. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2020
4/5 80% The Old Guard (2020) There's plenty of bruising action, but this fantastic slice of comic-book pulp emphasizes the humanity of its immortal heroes. Gina Prince-Bythewood elevates the familiar with emotional authenticity. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2020
4.5/5 No Score Yet Little Girl (Petite fille) (2020) Lovely verité documentary about eight-year-old Sasha, who was born into a boy's body but is definitely a girl. An inspiring portrait of someone asking for so little: to be accepted for who she is. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2020
4.5/5 89% ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch (2019) Astonishing: sometimes oddly beautiful but mostly like sci-fi horror. An anti-meditation nightmare, a call to arms if only we were ready to finally address our thoughtless impact on planet Earth. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2020
4/5 98% Disclosure (2020) Terrific doc unpacks trans representation in Hollywood, unspoken attitudes about gender, sexuality, and race that most people, trans and cis, may never have clocked before... ideas that affect us all. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 4, 2020
4.5/5 77% Family Romance, LLC (2020) A marvelously strange and perplexing meta meditation on human connection and ritual, on fact and fiction, on emotional truth. An existential cinematic rabbit hole as only Werner Herzog can deliver. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 3, 2020
3.5/5 100% Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth (2019) This vital documentary about a trans man's pregnancy shatters stereotypes along all sorts of vectors, and underscores the fact that however atypical our lives may be, we have more in common than not. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2020
3.5/5 100% To Kid or Not to Kid (2019) Documentarian Maxine Trump's charming diary of deciding whether to have a baby does not shy from the most taboo of topics as she explores the cultural garbage that childless-by-choice women endure. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2020
4.5/5 95% Fanny Lye Deliver'd (2019) Maxine Peake is stupendous in this deliciously audacious period horror, ambitious in emotional scope and with monsters who feel unexpectedly modern: men who wield religion as a tool of oppression. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2020
0/5 47% My Spy (2020) A 'family' comedy about nuclear terrorism, the incompetent CIA agent on the case, and his 9-year-old sidekick. Desperately unfunny, thoroughly misjudged. We are in the worst and the dumbest timeline. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2020
4/5 98% The Last Tree (2020) An astonishingly beautiful coming-of-age story of startling specificity and intense intimacy, yet universal in its compassionate depiction of a child's perspective dawning on mature self-awareness. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
4.5/5 99% Miss Juneteenth (2020) A beautiful cinematic experience, delicately subtle and bursting with a gorgeous sense of place and character. There is wonderful intimate suspense in every moment of Nicole Beharie's performance. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2020
5/5 70% 7500 (2020) Mundanity builds to almost unbearable tension, but this isn't an action movie. It's a drama grounded in emotional realism thanks to the Joseph Gordon-Levitt's intense empathy and vulnerable humanity. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2020
0/5 9% Artemis Fowl (2020) A disaster of a kids' fantasy caper; feels like it's making up the plot as it goes. A mishmash of manufactured wonder: characters barely sketched, action seemingly setting up future Disney World rides. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2020
2.5/5 82% Sometimes Always Never (Triple Word Score) (2020) Gentle kook and visual frolicking bury emotion in this tale of a man mired in grief. Little of its head-scratching whimsy makes a melancholy landing; most just floats away on wisps of insignificance. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
5/5 87% Shirley (2020) A beautiful-ugly film, a work of domestic gothic grotesquerie, of women's suffocation and sacrifice, pain and isolation. Elisabeth Moss's performance is next-level glorious in its wackadoo intensity. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2020
4/5 100% 2040 (2020) A dash of eco-optimism to counter global-warming doom and gloom. Gameau is an enormously engaging fact-based dreamer offering a much-needed mindset refresh and proactive actions we can engage in now. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2020
4.5/5 97% 13th (2016) Brutal, necessary watch for all who want to understand why America operates with impunity re its horrendous treatment of Black people. Incisive and shocking, moreso now than when it debuted in 2016. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2020
4.5/5 92% The Vast of Night (2020) Striking sci-fi mood piece, all eeriness and ookiness, wonder and dread. Explicitly Twilight Zone-esque, summoning a midcentury-America innocence in order to shatter its narrowness (and our own). - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 3, 2020
3.5/5 65% The Lovebirds (2020) The hugely appealing Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani share terrific comic and romantic chemistry and work their everywoman and -man charm to the max. Go-to goofy escapism for, say, a pandemic lockdown. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 28, 2020
0/5 25% Inheritance (2020) Nothing works in this ludicrous thriller, which fails to compel us with its roster of monstrous characters. Lily Collins is woefully miscast; Patrick Warburton and Simon Pegg are criminally wasted. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2020
4/5 96% Lucky Grandma (2020) Wild sass, gentle comedy, shivs of poignancy, and instantly vivid characters add up to a wonderful riff on mob movies as a Chinatown granny faces off against gangsters. Tsai Chin is an absolute hoot. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2020
0/5 49% Scoob! (2020) A spectacularly scattershot, pandering mess of pulp junk, cheap-looking animation, and poisonous gender dynamics. A charmless cash-grab that can't be bothered with the slightest stab at originality. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2020
3.5/5 93% Becoming (2020) Verges on an ad for Michelle Obama's memoir, but a sincerely warm one. We glimpse a woman authentically funny, self-aware, down-to-earth. Like spending time with a friend you didn't realize you had. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 12, 2020
4.5/5 87% Spaceship Earth (2020) Was Biosphere 2 scientific adventure or eco-entertainment? This is a gripping portrait of the billionaire's folly/performance-art project, a hippie SF soap opera with unsettling resonance for today. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2020
4/5 81% How to Build a Girl (2020) The hypocrisy of the world's expectations of girls gets a gently sardonic knock via an audaciously confident young woman battling to be herself. This is a lovely, goofy movie, easygoing and chaotic. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2020
4/5 94% Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2020) Attention, social justice warriors. French economist Thomas Piketty's howl-of-rage academic treatise is now a hugely engaging documentary, eye-opening and brutally entertaining. Man the barricades! - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2020
4.5/5 93% Bad Education (2019) A laugh-until-you-cry dramedy burlesque, brilliantly structured and horrifically compelling, about the endless grift that passes for an economy in America. Hugh Jackman is at the peak of his powers. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 29, 2020
5/5 92% The Assistant (2020) A quietly brutal film that shows the dark underbelly of an industry - of a world - dominated by often predatory straight white men. Could be an eye-opener on a larger scale... if only we listen. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2020
0/5 67% Extraction (2020) Who are we rooting for in this accidental parody of the empty absurdity of modern action films? Everyone is awful, or a human macguffin. This is soulless technical wankery bereft of humor or humanity. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 27, 2020
3/5 65% Planet of the Humans (2020) From the warnings of the 1950s to the 21st-century corporate takeover of green energy, a grim look at humanity's fate as the planet heats up. Is there any hope? This feels like only half the story. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2020
1/5 81% To the Stars (2020) Coming-of-age melodrama about misfit girls is at first passingly diverting, but it whips up mystery and suspense where it shouldn't be, diminishing and minimizing an already neglected kind of story. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2020
4/5 79% True History of the Kelly Gang (2020) Revisionist tale of the Australian folk hero rages against the dark forces that shaped him: emotional and economic neglect and abuse forged in patriarchy and colonialism. Electrifying punk and vulgar. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2020
4.5/5 98% Extra Ordinary (2020) Sly, sharp, and snarkily underplayed, this instant little masterpiece of fantasy comedy is as occasionally shockingly horrific as it is nonstop shockingly funny, peopled with instant fast friends. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2020
1/5 40% Endings, Beginnings (2020) Love this cast, but, my god, I hate these characters. I hate this miserable take on romance, which mistakes wallowing in self-pity for introspection, and people being awful for philosophical depth. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2020
5/5 100% Beyond the Visible - Hilma af Klint (2020) Wonder and mystery dwells in the work of forgotten abstract pioneer Hilma af Klint. Sarcasm and side-eye for the male- and money-dominated fine-art establishment dwells in this superb doc about her. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 15, 2020
2/5 80% Who You Think I Am (Celle que vous croyez) (2020) Not even the treasure that is Juliette Binoche can make this cynical romantic thriller palatable. Does not say the things about social media and the lives of older women that it thinks it does. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 10, 2020
5/5 99% Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Softly savage, exposing the unspoken subtext of the lives of girls and women: the mundane but covert garbage that gets piled upon us, the knotted existence too many of us are just barely surviving. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2020
3.5/5 70% Trolls World Tour (2020) As pastel and glittery as its predecessor, with a silliness more glorious and less forced. Sweet, smart, sincere... but it doesn't deserve to be carrying the future of movies on its little shoulders. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 7, 2020
3.5/5 93% The Perfect Candidate (2020) A young Saudi doctor runs for local political office, finding her courage while more frustrated than usual by the limitations and restrictions placed upon her. Heartening, inspiring, gently ironic. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2020
3.5 61% Tape (2020) Messy, furious, sometimes at odds with itself, this tale of documenting a powerful man's sexual intimidation of a vulnerable woman is absolutely necessary, full of a rage that is absolutely vital. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2020
4.5/5 81% The Platform (El Hoyo) (2020) This sci-fi dreadfest immerses you into a shocking mystery, punches you in the gut, then grips you with a wisdom that transcends its obviousness, daring you to deny that its open savagery is our own. - Flick Filosopher EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2020