Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 To have made one of the most sublimely beautiful urban-set movies of a decade is […]

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 winner of 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 The good news first: Waiting for the Barbarians is one of the finest overall pieces […]

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 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 […]

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 […]