CUTIE AND THE BOXER – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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“Cutie” is a character from artist Noriko Shinohara’s series of comic book-style drawings tracing the story of a woman in the thrall of her domineering drunk of a husband. “The Boxer” is Noriko’s own husband, Ushio, who — among his many other fascinating methods of creating art — punches paint-filled boxing gloves into giant canvases to produce abstract works of energetic power; Ushio also bears a striking resemblance to Cutie’s spouse. This utterly captivating documentary about the New York City couple, the feature debut of filmmaker Zachary Heinzerling, misleads you at first into thinking it’s going to be a portrait of 80-year-old Ushio, who is renowned for his “action paintings” and his enormous cardboard sculptures and yet is also almost the definition of a starving artist: he can’t find buyers for his famous work. Instead, we are treated to a sly, subversive version of an all-too-familiar story of a woman with brains and talent who has gotten steamrollered by a man who rendered himself helpless the moment there was someone else around to take care of him. Read more>>

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).