THE PERFECT CANDIDATE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

A few years ago, Haifaa Al-Mansour made history with her Wadjda, a delightful tale of a little girl in Riyadh who really just desperately wants a bicycle. After a few detours into English-language, Western-set films, Al-Mansour returns home with The Perfect Candidate, about a young doctor who runs for her local Riyadh municipal council.

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BLOW THE MAN DOWN – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

A thorny knot of competing motives and pragmatic morality is at the heart of the quietly savage and occasionally weirdly funny Blow the Man Down. With their feature debut, writer-directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy give the crime-noir genre a radical, feminist rethink the likes of which I cannot recall seeing before…

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MY DARLING VIVIAN (SXSW2020) – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

The cliché about the women behind rich, famous, successful — “great” — men is a cliché not only because it’s true, but also because such women have been, for the most part, anonymous, individually and collectively. My Darling Vivian is here to right that wrong in one case that features not only unjust oversight but egregious, overt abuse and misrepresentation.

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SEBERG – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

The cat-and-mouse game that French New Wave icon Jean Seberg never realized she was playing with the FBI is the crux around which the confused Seberg pivots. By far the most compelling aspect of this limp, strangled attempt to merge the biopic with the paranoid thriller is the central performance by the always fascinating Kristen Stewart.

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OLYMPIC DREAMS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Guerilla filmmaking is at its most charming in the sweet-’n’-salty Olympic Dreams, a melancholy romance that is a little bit Lost in Translation crossed with a potential first installment of a new Before Sunrise, etc, soap opera, only set at four-year intervals. Which I would love to see.

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A SIMPLE WEDDING – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

“I can’t sleep until you get married.” So says Ziba (Shohreh Aghdashloo) to her daughter, Nousha (Tara Grammy). Nousha is not a youngster; she’s an adult who knows her own mind and her own needs… and she has no desire to get married. Certainly not to any of the dull and conservative Iranian men her mom keeps trying to arrange for her.

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