Flick Filosopher

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3/5 Downton Abbey (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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? EDIT
Posted Sep 19, 2019
4/5 Phoenix (Føniks) (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Sep 13, 2019
5/5 Hustlers (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2019
4/5 Mrs. Lowry & Son (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Sep 6, 2019
1.5/5 It: Chapter Two (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2019
1.5/5 Angel Has Fallen (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2019
3/5 Gwen (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Aug 16, 2019
3/5 Brian Banks (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Aug 15, 2019
1.5/5 The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Aug 14, 2019
3.5/5 Good Boys (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Aug 13, 2019
4/5 Blinded by the Light (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2019
3/5 Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Aug 8, 2019
2/5 Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Aug 8, 2019
Bob Saget - That Ain't Right (2007) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019
3.5/5 Armstrong (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jul 8, 2019
2/5 Vita & Virginia (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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? EDIT
Posted Jul 7, 2019
1/5 Midsommar (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jul 5, 2019
4.5/5 Maiden (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 28, 2019
5/5 Apollo 11 (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 28, 2019
4.5/5 Support the Girls (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 28, 2019
1.5/5 In Fabric (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 26, 2019
2.5/5 Yesterday (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
3.5/5 Endzeit (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 21, 2019
.5/5 Brightburn (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2019
3.5/5 Toy Story 4 (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2019
1.5/5 Men in Black: International (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 15, 2019
3.5/5 Always Be My Maybe (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
2.5/5 Papi chulo (2018) MaryAnn Johanson An uncomfortably clueless portrait of societal privilege taking advantage of financial desperation. Matt Bomer is very effective as a man truly heartbroken, though. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
4/5 Free Trip to Egypt (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2019
4/5 Late Night (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 9, 2019
4.5/5 Gloria Bell (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 7, 2019
2/5 Dark Phoenix (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2019
1/5 Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted Jun 1, 2019
2.5/5 The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
1/5 Ma (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
5/5 Rocketman (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 29, 2019
4/5 XY Chelsea (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 24, 2019
3.5/5 Trial by Fire (2018) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
4/5 My Days of Mercy (2017) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
5/5 Booksmart (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
2/5 Aladdin (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
4/5 John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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). EDIT
Posted May 15, 2019
5/5 Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 14, 2019
3/5 A Dog's Journey (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
2/5 Tolkien (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 8, 2019
4.5/5 Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2019
4.5/5 Long Shot (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2019
4/5 Avengers: Endgame (2019) MaryAnn Johanson 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. EDIT
Posted May 1, 2019
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