Flick Filosopher

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
2/5 Bel Canto (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
2/5 William (2019) MaryAnn Johanson Plays with its let's-clone-a-Neanderthal plot like it has no idea of the horrors involved and no appreciation of the ethical questions it raises. (Paging Ian Malcolm!) A tremendous missed opportunity. EDIT
Posted Apr 25, 2019
2.5/5 The Silence (2019) MaryAnn Johanson Not a knockoff of that other quiet horror flick, though this familiar monster movie works hard to convince otherwise. But the terrific cast makes it worth a look, at least for Netflix subscribers. EDIT
Posted Apr 23, 2019
4/5 The Unicorn Store (2017) MaryAnn Johanson More movies like this, please: a piquant mix of whimsy and snark; an insistence that it's not crazy to forge your own oddball path; an embrace of girly uncool. Bring on the weird, difficult women. EDIT
Posted Apr 23, 2019
1/5 Greta (2018) MaryAnn Johanson Complete nonsense, and not in a good way, with an enraging side dish of male undercutting of women's friendships. For a movie to be both this ludicrous and this predictable is quite an achievement. EDIT
Posted Apr 19, 2019
4/5 Hail Satan? (2019) MaryAnn Johanson Hilarious, provocative look at the wonderfully profane rebels of the culture wars who, with tongue in cheek but seriously, too, are trolling fundie-Christian America with their delicious blasphemies. EDIT
Posted Apr 18, 2019
2.5/5 Red Joan (2018) MaryAnn Johanson There's a lot of hot-button stuff going on in this A-bomb spy drama - politics, sexism, scientific ethics - but it's all surprisingly inert, given the literal fate-of-the-world stakes. EDIT
Posted Apr 18, 2019
4.5/5 Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2018) MaryAnn Johanson Not only a portrait of the woman who made more than a thousand of the very first films, but a mystery detective story about how the achievements of a trailblazing woman were erased, and found again. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2019
4/5 Nervous Translation (2017) MaryAnn Johanson Shireen Seno's portrait of a remarkably imaginative and self-contained child at a specifically 1980s Filipino moment is full of both charming whimsy and a delicately observed, melancholy universality. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2019
4/5 Stuck (2017) MaryAnn Johanson Pure gritty urban joy, all marvelous, touching songs about grief, sacrifice, mistrust, misunderstanding, and other intimate perils. An exuberant marvel. EDIT
Posted Apr 15, 2019
4.5/5 Wild Nights With Emily (2018) MaryAnn Johanson Like Drunk History but sober, a lively, arch, dryly comedic corrective to the traditional, heteronormative, patriarchal image of Emily Dickinson. Incredibly audacious and utterly delightful. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2019
0/5 Hellboy (2019) MaryAnn Johanson Bounces from one preposterous setpiece to another across an inexcusably flavorless magical, monstrous world, and borderline incoherent as it races through the plots of half a dozen different films. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2019
2/5 Little (2019) MaryAnn Johanson Bullying tech CEO is cursed to revert to powerless kid-dom. The limp, desperate comedy that follows never figures out who its audience is and is often unintentionally obnoxious and disturbing. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
3.5/5 Amazon Adventure (2017) MaryAnn Johanson Stunning photography - perhaps the last time anyone will haul IMAX cameras into the Amazon - a bit of adventure, and a solid, simple, inspirational science lesson. Everything an IMAX doc should be. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
1.5/5 Missing Link (2019) MaryAnn Johanson A quite literally cartoonishly awful protagonist, a plot that makes no sense, lowbrow humor, and terrible gender dynamics add up to an unpleasant retro mess. EDIT
Posted Apr 6, 2019
2/5 Pet Sematary (2019) MaryAnn Johanson A lazy adaptation of the Stephen King novel, manipulatively cheap when it isn't provoking eye-rolls at its genre banalities. Why can't someone find the right role for the charismatic Jason Clarke? EDIT
Posted Apr 3, 2019
2.5/5 Shazam! (2019) MaryAnn Johanson Nothing matters in this literal adolescent-male power fantasy, a cheesy mishmash of nonsense and low stakes. Anyone who needs at least a bit of meat in their superhero tales will be disappointed. EDIT
Posted Apr 2, 2019
4.5/5 Blowin' Up (2018) MaryAnn Johanson A fly-on-the-wall peek into a court in New York City where women work to help other women with realistic solutions to complicated problems. A wonderful ode to creative and compassionate thinking. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
2.5/5 The White Crow (2018) MaryAnn Johanson Elegant but dull, and so subtle it's downright diffuse. If you don't know much about Rudolf Nureyev going in, you won't know much coming out, either. Weirdly, it doesn't even feature much dancing. EDIT
Posted Mar 29, 2019
4.5/5 The Brink (2019) MaryAnn Johanson I feared a portrait of human dumpster fire Steve Bannon would humanize him, but he's beyond that. Can we use this inside look at his political and cultural manipulations to stop his fomenting of hate? EDIT
Posted Mar 28, 2019
2/5 Dumbo (2019) MaryAnn Johanson The most soulless of the live-action Disney remakes yet, weighted down by too many blah characters, too much convoluted plot, unconvincing CGI, and a message that doesn't say what it thinks it does. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2019
2/5 Out of Blue (2018) MaryAnn Johanson A limp noodle of a cinematic noir that drains Patricia Clarkson of her usual eccentric charisma. And where it aims for intriguingly oblique pseudoscientific philosophizing, it ends up merely obtuse. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
1.5/5 The Crossing (Guo Chun Tian) (2018) MaryAnn Johanson This uninvolving coming-of-age crime drama tries to dazzle with visual tricksiness, but it cannot make up for its teen protagonist who is mere metaphorical symbol, and a bystander in her own story. EDIT
Posted Mar 22, 2019
5/5 Us (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Mar 20, 2019
4.5/5 The Fight (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Mar 16, 2019
3/5 Five Feet Apart (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Mar 14, 2019
5/5 Captain Marvel (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Mar 10, 2019
4/5 () MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Mar 6, 2019
2.5/5 Everybody Knows (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Mar 4, 2019
2/5 The Aftermath (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2019
0/5 Serenity (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 28, 2019
5/5 Capernaum (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2019
3.5/5 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Live Action (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 20, 2019
5/5 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Documentary (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2019
3.5/5 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Animation (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2019
4/5 Fighting With My Family (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 19, 2019
2.5/5 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 15, 2019
0/5 Alita: Battle Angel (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2019
5/5 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
4/5 The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2019
0/5 Cold Pursuit (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Feb 5, 2019
2.5/5 Burning (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2019
0/5 The Mule (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jan 29, 2019
1/5 () MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2019
1/5 Glass (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2019
4.5/5 Destroyer (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jan 19, 2019
4.5/5 Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jan 18, 2019
4/5 On the Basis of Sex (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jan 3, 2019
4/5 Polina, danser sa vie (2016) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2018
3.5/5 Bumblebee (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2018