Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I have had cause to mention multiple times now that the tradition of regarding Fanny and Alexander as Ingmar Bergman’s final film is almost entirely a matter of sophistry, but the biggest sophist of all was Ingmar Bergman himself. When his 1984 telefilm After the Rehearsal was released theatrically basically everywhere in the world other […]

A finalist from the latest round of voting in the poll to select what 2020 streaming exclusive I should watch and review next. Vote in that and the other polls if you want to control my, and the website’s fate Lord forgive me for starting with the most obvious question, but in the case of […]

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 […]

A finalist from the latest round of voting in the poll to select what 2020 indie movie I should watch and review next. Vote in that and the other polls if you want to control my, and the website’s fate Capone is an outright disaster, but it’s my favorite kind of outright disaster: ones that […]

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 […]