Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The winner of the latest round of voting in the poll to select what major 2020 release – such as there have been major 2020 releases – I should watch and review next. Vote in that and the other polls if you want to control my, and the website’s fate It has been nine years […]

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 […]

It is very often the case that film directors are terrible judges of their own art, both qualitatively (was this good or bad?) and descriptively (why does this work the way it does?). Not so with Ingmar Bergman. Almost without exception, when he said that one of his films was bad, it was bad, and […]

The winner of the second 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 Werner Herzog has the kind of wide-ranging, long-lasting career that has very earned him at […]

Let Him Go has benefited to an unusual degree from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic: it’s a film that almost certainly would have vanished without a ripple in any other circumstances other than being one of the handful of movies to get a large-sized theatrical release in the United States in the last four months of […]

Calling 1969’s The Passion of Anna by that name is already doing too much work in tidying up a film that’s almost perversely happy at how messy it is. Certainly, it is the messiest film directed by Ingmar Bergman, a director much more driven to crisp, clean, focused (to some of his critics, focused to […]

Truth in advertising: The Dark and the Wicked is basically nothing else beyond the two adjectives promised by its title. The fourth film directed by Bryan Bertino (whose failure to generate a high-profile career after his 2008 debut The Strangers remains a bizarre mystery to me) is the latest entry in the blossoming genre of […]

“This movie had really great jump scares” isn’t much of a compliment: jump scares are, are they not, the resource of a filmmaker who cannot make something properly scary, the kind of scary that soaks into your bones like a tenacious autumnal dampness, cold and dead. They’re a fast and easy way to get the […]

Categories: domestic dramas, horror

In the year of our Lord 2020, you have either made your peace with Sofia Coppola’s entire filmmaking project focusing on stories of upper-class women suffering from an indescribable ennui – women whose biographies overlap in significant ways with Coppola herself – or you have not. As long as they remain insightful and clever, I’m […]

According to a certain strand of criticism that has existed since the early 1960s, the biggest single shortcoming with Ingmar Bergman is that he is fundamentally apolitical. His international heyday exactly overlapped with a moment of heightened political activism around the world from artists of every medium, much of it oriented in opposition to the […]

1968’s Hour of the Wolf has perhaps the single least-enviable position of any title in Ingmar Bergman’s filmography: it’s the feature film he made next after Persona. Anything would seem like a step down in ambition and visionary madness compared to that movie, though Hour of the Wolf makes a good-faith effort to stand out […]

The Silence is a film of negation. The first words spoken –  the first of not very many, at that – are a declaration of ignorance and meaninglessness. A boy of ten or eleven, Johan (Jörgen Lindström) points to a sign written in an unfamiliar language, asking, “Vad betyder det?” (What does that mean?). Off-camera […]