HARRIET – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

We’re so used to our historical figures, our Great Men, requiring a bit of grading-on-a-curve. “Oh, we must forgive So-and-So for that aspect of his life and work, times were different then.” Meanwhile, one of our great true heroes — someone who needs no justifying or qualifying — has been all but left out of the collective American imagination.

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BETHANY HAMILTON: UNSTOPPABLE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

There aren’t anywhere near enough movies about thrill-seeking women, which makes this documentary about professional surfer Bethany Hamilton very welcome. Aggressive, competitive, and driven, Hamilton has been a powerful role model for girls and women — and for boys and grown men, too — not least because she bounced back from a horrific injury that should have ended her career before it even started.

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MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

It’s been five years since Disney’s revisionist Maleficent set the story straight on the (we’re told) unfairly maligned “wicked witch” of the Sleeping Beauty legend… which, of course, *checks notes* Disney itself helped to perpetuate, the monsters. So how is that Disney is now doubling down on her terribleness, what with all this Mistress of Evil nonsense for the sequel?

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HUSTLERS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

It’s GoodFellas, except they’re gals. This based-on-fact drama about New York City strippers who conned their clients is wonderfully redolent of Scorsese’s mafia masterpiece in both style and substance: the seductiveness of easy money, the giddiness of getting away with a perfect crime. It’s a cinematic bonbon of delinquent deliciousness.

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VITA & VIRGINIA – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

A movie about the legendary literary lesbian romance that directly inspired the creation of one of the great works of fiction, starring the absolutely incendiary duo of Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki? It’s criminal that Vita & Virginia is this dull. This blah. This, somehow, stodgy. There’s no passion to be found here: not sexual, not intellectual. How does this happen?

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IN FABRIC – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

It’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, except the jeans are a dress and the dress is murderous, because LOLsob consumerism is killing us, or something. Settling on that theme is merely the result of desperately trying to extract some meaning from this oh-so arthouse, infuriatingly wanky retro exercise in style at the expense of all substance.

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