Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In the summer of 2003, documentary filmmaker Marie Nyreröd interviewed Ingmar Bergman in his home on the island of Fårö, in the process of making three one-hour documentaries about his life and work that aired on Swedish television the following year. At the same time, she recorded several short conversations with him, staged in his […]

When I think upon Ingmar Bergman’s cinema, and what most perfectly embodies it, why he is one of my very favorite filmmakers of all time and what are the irreducible components of his style, what I always think of first is Winter Light from 1963. Specifically, I think of the shot of Ingrid Thulin’s face. […]

Whether you consider it a strength, or the movie’s most damning flaw, I think this much cannot be denied: The Godfather, Part II knows the scale of the movie it’s following, and it is hellbent on topping it. 1972’s The Godfather, adapted from Mario Puzo’s 1969 crime novel, was never supposed to be one of […]

You have perhaps heard of The Godfather. It is a three-hour movie about the Mafia, released in 1972 by a studio that had been losing money at a steady clip, directed by an up-and-coming filmmaker whose last film had been a major flop (he was hired, in large part because the desperate studio knew that […]

The most amusing thing about the 1972 adaptation of Solaris – a film about which very little is amusing, to be fair – is that Andrei Tarkovsky made it, basically, as a “one for them” project. His previous feature, Andrei Rublev, had met with enormous hostility upon delivery, and was shelved for five years; his […]

What is cinema? We can speak of its technical aspects: cinema is a medium in which still images (often, but not always photographic in nature) are shown at a fast enough rate to create the illusion of movement. Cinema is a medium of montage, in which the creator shows the viewer a single image followed […]

Intermittently this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. Last week: there are many ways we could plausibly describe Midsommar, one of them being to call it a psychodrama about the […]

A review requested by Mat Daniel, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I would have thought we were past this, but I’ve recently come to find that no, there’s still a seemingly insurmountable gulf in people’s attitudes towards Orson Welles. On one side, there are people who regard […]

A review requested by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. 23 August, 1951, is one of the key dates in the history of world cinema. That was the day (almost exactly a year after it opened in its native Japan) that […]

A review requested by Nik Evans, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Laura is a fucked-up movie about sex. There’s much else to say about it, virtually all of it good, but I think that’s the core of it. Movies released in America in 1944 didn’t have the […]

A review requested by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Ugetsu is everything. I don’t think it’s the best movie ever made – I don’t, in fact, think it’s even the best Japanese movie of 1953, what with Tokyo Story sitting […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: if you have been paying very close attention you might have stumbled across the obscure little tidbit that the […]