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Home » Articles »   By MaryAnn Johanson
 

Arts & Entertainment

DVD | Secret Agents, Man: Cinematic spies—both serious and snarky—sometimes tell us about their time.

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Nov 19,2008 - nI’ll be real clever, I thought. I’ll look back at the long history of cinematic spies and find a correlation between geopolitics and how seriously we want our spy flicks. Witness the present: With the United States seemingly hopelessly quagmired in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hollywood—in partnership with the Brits, pretty much our only friends left in the “coalition of the will...

Film & TV

Cinema | True Flood: Trouble the Water is a wake-up call for the enlightened and the condescending.

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Oct 22,2008 - Some documentaries change how you see the world. Some change how you see yourself. Trouble the Water—Grand Jury winner for Best Documentary at Sundance in 2008—astonishingly, does both, and does both better the more you suspect yourself in no need of any eye-opening. nIf you consider yourself an enlightened, civilized person, as I consider myself to be, then you have no need to have it...

DVD Reviews

DVD | The Rights Stuff: A pre-election film festival to remind you of what the Constitution protects.

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Oct 1,2008 - If the last seven-plus years of life in America have been, ahem, something of an ongoing challenge to the ideals of the U.S. Constitution, well, we’ll have our chance soon enough to have a say in how the next four-to-eight years will go when we...

Film Reviews

Cinema | G.I. D’oh!: Spike Lee turns Miracle at St. Anna into a war story with no focus, and no point.

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Sep 24,2008 - I have to confess that I’m not entirely sure what the “miracle” at St. Anna is meant to be. I get that there is a small confluence of events that comes together during the larger, very horrific awfulness that transpires in the tiny Italian...

Theater

A&E | DVD Homework: Prep for new theatrical releases with some film schooling.

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Sep 3,2008 - It’s the home stretch of the movie year, when the cinematic floodgates open and we are deluged by all the movies hoping for Oscar glory and other year-end awards notices … not to mention all the goofy counter-programming. So why not pile...

Film Reviews

Cinema | Kids These Days: American Teen reminds us how little the agony of adolescence has changed

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Aug 13,2008 - Does life change after high school, or is it just more of the same-old same-old? Seems to me it must be a little bit of both, because as I sat in the dark watching American Teen, the intimate and incisive new documentary about senior year for five high-schoolers,...

Other A&E

A&E | No Holds Bard: DVD shelves are filled with imaginative takes on Shakespeare.

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Aug 6,2008 - Ready for Hamlet 2? When the Sundance comedy—about a high school drama teacher, played by Steve Coogan, who inspires his students with a politically incorrect sequel to the Bard’s play—gets a wide release in August, it’ll be only...

Film Reviews

Cinema | Bury It: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor leaves The Mummy’s charm dead in the dust.

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Jul 30,2008 -  I’m a big, big fan of 1999’s The Mummy. This needs to be said, because it’s vital to understanding how deep my disappointment is with The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the third—and now I hope final—installment...

Film Reviews

Cinema | Darned to Heck: Hellboy II tames the wild imagination of its predecessor

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Jul 9,2008 - Now how does this happen? The first Hellboy movie was crazy mad insane; you couldn’t even figure out what the frak was going on a lot of the time but it didn’t matter, because it was that wildly entertaining in its all-out, geek-out nuttiness....

DVD Reviews

DVD | Post-Gay Pride: Unique DVD offerings for a world of more fluid sexuality

By MaryAnn Johanson
POSTED // Jun 25,2008 - It’s June—Gay Pride Month—and time again to talk about great movies and other DVD goodies that celebrate openness, acceptance and not caring about who sleeps with whom. Or, as is usually the case, DVDs that hail from a tiny subgenre...
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