Douglas Johnson

Douglas Johnson

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  • The Morning After

    The Morning After

    ★★★

    In this house, Jane Fonda is a religion, and it certainly speaks to a higher power that something so trashy could have at its core such a pulpy, broad and knowing great performance.

  • The United States vs. Billie Holiday

    The United States vs. Billie Holiday

    ★★½

    At least one full star here could be for the raw, mesmerizing performance of Andra Day. The film around her is an overwrought mess, a biopic with everything thrown at it that nonetheless feels caught in a loop. The work somehow manages to oversimplify and overcomplicate, no small feat. Still, Day holds the center as Billie Holiday, a force that extends its gravity where much of the filmmaking falls away. Where the film doesn’t translate Holiday’s persecution into a social context, Day’s frail defiance does. I can’t help but appreciate this more than I should because of the lead performance at its core.

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  • The Third Lover

    The Third Lover

    ★★★★

    This is a flawed but wonderful appetizer to the main course Chabrol serves at the end of the decade. His gnashing of the bourgeoisie is tantalizing but not fully formed, though the psychological thriller elements are sharp.

  • The Awful Truth

    The Awful Truth

    This might be the most perfect comedy of remarriage ever. It's remarkably modern and sophisticated and one could see it easily transferred to the present (though God-willing no one will dare try, even if this film was a remake itself). Cary Grant fully emerges as Cary Grant with this film and Topper from the same year but it is Irene Dunne who walks away with The Awful Truth. Brilliant performance... that little lilt she does after she laughs kills me every time.