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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GLORIA BELL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

There’s usually little reason for a foreign-language film to get an English-language remake (that English-speaking audiences have an aversion to reading subtitles isn’t a good reason). But writer-director Sebastián Lelio found a really great excuse: because Julianne Moore, goddess, wanted to star in an American do-over of his 2013 dramedy Gloria.

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MA – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

The cinematic efforts of men to delve into the inner lives of women continue to fail abysmally, in particularly horrific manner with Ma, a disgraceful waste of the brilliant Octavia Spencer. She deserves so much better than this bargain-bin cockadoodie pseudo-Misery wannabe. I console myself with the fact that she was probably at least paid well.

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XY CHELSEA – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

The necessarily jagged new documentary portrait of Chelsea Manning — the feature debut of British filmmaker Tim Travers Hawkins — feels, at times, scattered, uncertain, even a little lost. But there’s a good reason why: it is reflecting its subject, who was trying to figure out who she was when she became a US Army whistleblower, and still is today.

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