Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

By 1973, the British horror film industry was collapsing. The smallest of the three main studios focusing genre films, Tigon, released its final film in that year; the largest, Hammer Films, very famously spent the first five years of the decade desperately trying every new idea they could scrounge up, which in 1973 meant a […]

These days, when the 1967 Stimulantia comes up – something it is powerfully unlikely to ever do – it’s almost certainly in the context of being the one anthology film that Ingmar Bergman contributed a segment to, right in the heart of his international heyday in the 1960s (it nestles in his career during the […]

On paper, The Personal History of David Copperfield does everything right. The first feature film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s 1849-’50 novel in a half century is both clearly in love with the source material (just check out that title, which at least reminds us that most Dickens novels technically have much longer names than we […]

It will always be a little asterisk on the career of director Ingmar Bergman that the film for which he always has been and likely always will be best-known, 1957’s The Seventh Seal, is among the least-characteristic films he ever made. This is, in and of itself, neither good nor bad, nor anything (though it […]

The clear winner of the first round of voting in the poll to select what 2020 arthouse film I should watch and review next. Vote in that and the other polls if you want to control my, and the website’s fate Kelly Reichardt has never felt like a director who was forcing her career to […]

I have one thing about Disney’s new live-action Mulan that makes me extremely happy: it’s not a mindless shot-for-shot remake of the 1998 animated film, and in this respect is considerably less irksome than the 2017 Beauty and the Beast and the 2019 Aladdin and The Lion King, the other remakes of films from the […]

I do not like to start reviews with the most obvious possible statement that hundreds of people before me have already pointed out, but sometimes it doesn’t pay to be clever. And so: the 2000 ancient world epic Gladiator is quite clearly what you get when 1995’s Braveheart and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan have a […]

No reviewer of the 1958 MGM musical Gigi will ever come up with a better lede paragraph than the one Bosley Crowther wrote for his review in The New York Times, in which he affects modest shock at the astonishing list of coincidences between the film and a recent Broadway, before drily ending with the […]

I literally cannot imagine a world where The Seventh Seal didn’t exist. It is, without a trace of hyperbole, one of the works that defines its medium. That there is a thing called “the art film”; that we can, without embarrassment, treat cinema as something that serious intellectuals can and should grapple with; that there […]

Ingmar Bergman once suggested, I do not know how seriously, that his choice in the early summer of 1955 was between two things: making a lightweight comedy for Svensk Filmindustri, or killing himself. Now, I shouldn’t think that his professional situation was as bad as all that – his position with Malmö City Theatre was […]

One would be hard-pressed to overstate the importance of director-producer-writer-star Laurence Olivier’s 1948 film of Hamlet in the history of screen adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays. It’s not necessarily a question of direct influence: despite the film’s commercial success and sizable haul of awards (both the Golden Lion and the Best Picture Oscar, a combination […]

It’s easy – very, very easy, I’d say – to look at the current state of comic book movies and feel nothing but cold dislike for the machine-pressed non-art that the genre has largely turned into, as we enter the third decade of the post-X-Men superhero boom. But, while I have no desire to apologise […]