Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

Depending on how you count the intermissions that are baked right into the print – there are five of them, all about 15 minutes in length – La Flor is anywhere from about 13.5 hours long to a bit less than 15 hours long. This is, of course The Big Fact about the film that […]

When a film comes into the world with the kind of uncommonly bad reputation as The Grudge, 2020 edition – simultaneously a remake of and sequel to the 2004 film of the same name, and the 13th feature film in a multi-national horror franchise with at least three different continuities – the obvious first question […]

In space, maybe, nobody can hear you scream, but in High Life, space is marked out primarily by the thick omnipresence of sounds. The lucky 13th feature film by director Claire Denis – and her first in English, a leap she navigates with a force and confidence that equals any other great director’s forays into […]

The title of Life Itself comes from one of its most particularly florid, sophomoric lines, “The most unreliable narrator is life itself.” This sentence, or a close variation, is spoken enough times during the length of the film that, if you were to take a shot every single time, you would likely die. Given that […]