BACK TO BLACK – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Amy Winehouse was one of the most original musical artists of the 21st century, and probably back through to the latter half of the 20th century as well. Her music was raw and real and full of pain and rage; it crossed the genres of jazz and soul, R&B and reggae, and yet still managed to be as popular, as, well, modern pop. She was as wild and as wise as her music; she exuded a feral sexual energy and embodied all the anger of smart, ambitious, talented women in a world that, if it is able to appreciate such women at all, can only do so if it can corral them and tame them and commodify them.

The brilliant Oscar-winning 2015 documentary Amy, by filmmaker Asif Kapadia, captures Winehouse in all her glorious, damaged, unclassifiable, irrepressible messiness.

The tepid, perfunctory Back to Black — from director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh — does not. (Continue reading…)

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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).