LIFE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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lifeposter Whether you’re a fan of James Dean’s or not, there’s no question that he is one of the key figures that helped create the myth of the movie star as icon, partly by dying way too young and just as his talent was beginning to blaze across the screen. His legend received an assist via a propitiously timed photo essay in Life magazine in 1955 that offered an intimate look at a young actor on the edge of fame. It included that famous — well, iconic — photo of Dean hunched over in the rain in Times Square, smoking a cigarette. Life is the story of how that photo came to be, and it ends up a smart, wistful exploration of art, ambition, celebrity, and the unhappy crossroads where they clash. 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).