Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Just explaining the concept of Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets potentially constitutes a spoiler to the sufficiently way reader, so I guess the best way to start is to say: if you are a lover of human beings, this is a film for you. And if there is any shred of justice in this world, filmmaking […]

An apology, or if you prefer a warning: this is perhaps less on the order of a review than it is a rant. The thing is, I found Nomadland to be a completely repulsive movie, cloying when it works and actively pernicious when it doesn’t, and simply having to choke it down was galling enough; […]

To have made one of the most sublimely beautiful urban-set movies of a decade is a sign of talent. To have made two of them – maybe literally the two best-looking movies about cities of the whole of the 2010s – is a sign of outright genius. And that’s the place where director Diao Yi’nan […]

Every film director in the history of the medium has made, or will have made, their final film. Most of them scrape out some dumb nonsense, the kind of half-assed project that a fading, aging artist can get financed. The lucky ones are able to do so at least semi-knowingly, ending their career on a […]

The good news first: Waiting for the Barbarians is one of the finest overall pieces of craftsmanship I have seen in any film released in the United States (for the appropriately cautious definition of “released”) in 2020, a heady mixture of gorgeous cinematography, deliberately cautious editing, aggressive sound design, and atmospheric music that combine to […]

It is perhaps ironic for a film titled News of the World to have nothing actually new within it. Fortunately, it’s doing very familiar things very well, so even if the exact people most likely to enjoy what it’s doing (diehard Western fans) are exactly the people most likely to have seen it all before, […]

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 […]

Of all the subgenres that I would never have been able to predict in advance, I think I can safely say that “unusually well-shot documentaries about aging Europeans who use traditional methods to find luxury food items in the wild” is among the unlikeliest. Yet here we are with The Truffle Hunters, only a year […]

One cannot grapple with 1978 Autumn Sonata, not in any of the ways it’s doing pretty much anything, without going straight to the most blazingly obvious. This is, before it is anything else, the single collaboration between the two most internationally famous representatives of the Swedish film industry,* the one where iconic AAA-level Hollywood movie […]

By almost any conceivable metric, the experimental short film The Dance of the Damned Women/The Condemned Women Dance is the most minor work of Ingmar Bergman’s mature career, and maybe even putting the qualifier “mature” in there is unnecessary. Possibly its single biggest point of significance is that it was the last project the director […]

My first response to Mank has absolutely nothing do with the what we do see in the film, and everything to do with what we don’t: this is not, as was rumored, “Raising Kane: The Movie“, and for that I am grateful. “Raising Kane”, if you have the good fortunate not to have read it, […]

In the summer of 2003, documentary filmmaker Marie Nyreröd interviewed Ingmar Bergman in his home on the island of FÃ¥rö, 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 […]