Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The Father is the most miraculous kind of film adaptation of a theater piece: one that’s almost impossible to imagine being staged live. In principle, sure, one can ponder how this exact screenplay might be fitted into a theatrical space, and how it could use stagecraft to get at the same sense of slithery, unstable […]

A finalist in the latest 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 For as long as the Romanian New Wave of the mid-2000s could be identified as […]

The consensus of opinion, as far as I can tell, is that Alex Wheatle, the fourth episode of Small Axe, is also the weakest, granting an exceptionally high lower bound for “weakness”. I don’t agree, but it’s not hard to understand why somebody might come to that conclusion: the 67-minute story (written and directed, as […]

For what would prove to be the final film of his self-imposed exile in West Germany, Ingmar Bergman wanted to finally honor the cinema of his host country, rather than keep making quasi-Swedish chamber dramas as if nothing had changed but the address of his studio. And indeed, that is very much what he ended […]

The phrase which most irresistibly attaches itself to Rabies, a 1958 television play that is maybe the most obscure piece of filmed media Ingmar Bergman ever directed, is “an unpleasant piece”. Bergman himself first described it that way in 1945, in the notes to his production of the play onstage at the Helsingborg City Theatre; […]

Forgive me if start talking about Tenet, the eleventh feature directed by Christopher Nolan (and, I am tempted to say, the most Nolan-ish of them all), by simply quoting what I had to say ten years ago about Inception, the seventh Nolan feature: “What some critics have praise/assailed as ‘confusing’ in [Tenet] is really just […]

One thing you quickly notice when perusing retrospective criticism of the early work of Ingmar Bergman is that there is absolutely no consensus when “the early work” ends and “the real work” begins. Almost every feature he made from 1948’s Port of Call onward has at least one writer citing it as “here it is, […]

As a genre, the making-of documentary is down near the very bottom of where you’d expect to find genuine artistic inspiration. At their worst, these are absolutely nothing but promotional puff pieces, and even when they are impressively packed with interesting and rare information, presented in a clear and engaging way (my mind immediately goes […]

The Russian language does not have a definite article. Instead, as with most languages with the same characteristic, the difference between a generalised version of an object and this specific example of an object is largely gleaned through context. But that context is not available for a standalone noun, and here’s where we come to […]

I have nothing but scorn for the full title Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which I will only henceforth refer to as Birds of Prey in the interest of bringing this review in under 3000 words,* but credit where credit’s due, it’s unquestionably right for the movie it’s attached […]

The most interesting thing about 6 Underground The only thing that is interesting about 6 Underground whatsoever is how it was financed and distributed. The 14th film directed by Michael Bay  comes after a bizarre dozen years in his career, during which time he focused on only two kinds of production: five Transformers pictures, each […]