Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 will always be a little asterisk on the career of director Ingmar Bergman that the film for which he always has been and likely always will be best-known, 1957’s The Seventh Seal, is among the least-characteristic films he ever made. This is, in and of itself, neither good nor bad, nor anything (though it […]

Brink of Life is an overlooked film in Ingmar Bergman’s career, possibly because he later stepped away from it, but it feels to me like a crucial example of his developing career at the end of the 1950s. On top of being, in its own right, a terrific acting showcase, which by this point was […]

The late and quite unlamented (by me, anyway) horror subgenre of torture porn was, if it was anything, aggressively unpleasant. Watching extended scenes of human having miseries realistically inflicted upon them without the sweet release of death would sort of have to be; this is the difference between the torture films and other gore-driven subgenres, […]

The torture porn fad of the mid-’00s was one of the dreariest developments in the history of horror cinema: take the imaginative gore effects of the early slasher films, strip away the merry exploitation hucksterism, and replace it with bitterness and a fascination with the human capacity for cruelty. I have seen at least a […]

The 1983 animated feature Barefoot Gen has the bad luck to suffer from being overshadowed from two different directions. First, it’s an adaptation of one of the most important manga of the 1970s, Nakazawa Keiji’s very loosely autobiographical story about a six-year-old boy living in Hiroshima at the time that residents of that city became […]

I wonder, if I didn’t already know that Ivan’s Childhood was possibly my least favorite and certainly the least audacious and ambitious of the seven feature films directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, if I’d be less inclined to nitpick it. Taken solely in the context of the Soviet art cinema of the late 1950s and early […]

The United Kingdom has been socked by the ravages of neoliberal capitalism. Rather than serving the best interests of its subjects, the government seems to regard them as a problem to be solved or, better still, ignored. A technocratic, bureaucratic system of means-tested quasi-solutions serves to funnel human suffering into a warren of endless regulations […]

A review requested by Kelleson, with thanks to supporting Alternate Ending as a donor through Patreon. Do you have a movie you’d like to see reviewed? This and other perks can be found on our Patreon page! “Adult animation” is a category so broad as to be meaningless,* but I bet if I just put […]

Recently, in reviewing the 14-hour La Flor, I suggested that most films that are very, very long achieve their great length in part by trying to make themselves deliberately unpleasant and hard to watch. Here we have a perfect case in point: An Elephant Sitting Still is three hours and 54 minutes long (so let’s […]

Any film as enervating as The Nightingale must be doing something right: it is one of the most upsetting, unpleasant, grueling films I have watched all year, and this is not something that happens without effort. If you consider (as I do) that the first mission of art is to trigger an emotional response in […]