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I haven’t had a week like this since the insanity of the awards season back in December. After a long stretch of there simply not being all that many interesting movies scheduled for release, combined with non-film-criticism demands on my time (yes, I do in fact do other things, both professionally and personally, than watch movies and write about them), all of a sudden, I’m inundated with flicks.

It started yesterday with an early-morning screening of Maxed Out, a festival favorite documentary about how the banks and the credit-card companies are screwing us all. If you’re carrying a balance on a credit card or have a mortgage, you’ll want to see this and get scared straight … that is, straight out of debt. After lunch was the Korean monster movie The Host, which could and should have the same kind of impact as the original Godzilla: it ties up a whole lot of modern global anxieties into one entertaining and surprisingly poignant tale. Then, in the evening, came 300 in IMAX. I saw the non-IMAX version a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t wait to check it out on the really big screen … and I’ll be seeing the film for a third time on Saturday night. (And you can join me, if you’re in NYC — details here.)

Today is my slow day: there’s only Black Book, which is Paul Verhoeven’s Nazis-in-Holland thriller. I am being told the film is “relentlessly gripping.” I fear greatly that this will not be the case, seeing as Paul Verhoeven is involved. Unless they mean “relentlessly gripping” in the same way that Showgirls was.

On Wednesday, I will take in a public screening of the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, The Lives of Others — it’s already playing here in New York, but it’s still slowly opening across the rest of North America. Look for my review on Friday. After that I’ll pop into screenings of indies The TV Set, a satire on television starring — ohmigod! — David Duchovny and Ioan Gruffudd; and then First Snow, starring yet another of my boyfriends, Guy Pearce, as a man who gets a psychic reading that changes his outlook on life. I’m looking forward to both of those.

Then, on Thursday, it’ll be American Cannibal, another TV satire, this one about the grip that “reality” nonsense has over the medium. And then it’s on to the last screening of the week, the new Sandra Bullock flick, Premonition, which looks like a rejected script for an episode of Medium, and so I am officially dreading this one. But even bad movies can be a lot of fun, if they’re bad in the right way.

Nine movies in four days! Fun!

Exhausting, but fun.

MaryAnn Johanson
author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride
minder of


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