• Never So Few

    Never So Few


    After seeing Never so Few I am just grateful that this film didn’t wreck Steve McQueen’s career before it even got off the ground. I have always had a thing for these kind of old-fashioned war films that are low on the unnecessary subplots and affluent in action, explosions and bravado. Looking at John Sturges’ career he has always been the kind of director to deliver. He was no Hawks or Ford, but more like a 1950s/60s equivalent of Richard…

  • The Bridge on the River Kwai

    The Bridge on the River Kwai


    ”You have turned defeat into victory”.

    The great John Milius described The Bridge on the River Kwai as the ultimate ‘men-on-a-mission’ film. I don’t know whether I agree with him. It is undoubtedly a great ‘men-on-a-mission’ war adventure, but it only becomes one well after the one hour mark. I once heard Sydney Pollack state in an interview that The Bridge on the River Kwai takes its time that is almost unbelievable and is simply impossible to make today. Or…

  • The Name of the Rose

    The Name of the Rose


    I was really looking forward to The Pale Blue Eyes. There is a plethora of novels featuring murder mysteries in a historical setting, and while I hadn’t read this particular source material it sounded and looked at first very promising. Unfortunately, The Pale Blue Eyes turned out (very) mediocre. Just like there are only few contemporary thrillers in the same league as Fincher’s Se7en, so it turned out that it is also difficult to equal arguably the greatest historical murder…

  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick


    I was afraid Top Gun: Maverick would end up like basically ever Nolan film: one that I adore in the cinema – sometimes even resulting in multiple visits – but once I watch it again at home wonder why I ever liked it in the first place. But irrespective of the size of your screen or whether or not you have dolby atmos in your living room, Maverick remains just an incredible movie experience. A film like this has no…

  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari


    I had seen Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari once before and was deeply impressed by the creepy atmosphere, twisted set design and the vivid imagery reflecting the mental state of the antagonist. But these by themselves were not sufficient reasons to spend 35 euros on a 78-minute 4K Eureka special edition of a silent era expressionist German film. What tipped the balance was, in addition to being in a sort of end-of-the-year Blu-ray buying spree, the extreme and excessive visual…

  • Inherit the Wind

    Inherit the Wind


    It was quite a stroke of genius to pit two of Hollywood’s greatest actors of the 1930s, now at a more respected age, against each other in Stanley Kramer’s somewhat overlooked courtroom drama. Admittedly, I think I have only seen Spencer Tracy in Bad Day at Black Rock and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner , and in those films he struck me as a quiet, more contemplative sort of actor. But here, in Inherit the Wind, Tracy goes all out…

  • 3 Godfathers

    3 Godfathers


    3 Godfathers is probably the closest we ever come to a Christmas themed western. And who else but John Ford to direct this almost biblical redemption parable in what is, moreover, his first colour Western. As a western it is very atypical, but it actually fits quite well in Ford’s wider career. The warmth, the feeling of belonging to a community, and a sense of duty are recurring themes in all of Ford’s works. In that sense it is an…

  • Giant



    In one of many great scenes in The Searchers, the actress playing Mrs. Jorgensen says: “It just so happens we be Texicans. Texican is nothing but a human man way out on a limb. This year and next, and maybe for a hundred more. But I don't think it'll be forever. Some day this country's gonna be a fine, good place to be. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come.”

    The first time watching…

  • Autumn Sonata

    Autumn Sonata


    At first Autumn Sonata seemed just like another small-scale personal family drama, but around the 45 minute mark, just when I began to wonder what all the praise for this Bergman film was for, I got to witness some of the best acting I have ever seen.

    This being only my fourth Bergman film, I dare already say that while because of his themes and style Bergman is unlikely to become my all-time favourite director, he is without a doubt…

  • Argentina, 1985

    Argentina, 1985


    With last week’s publication of the 2022 Sound & Sight poll of the ‘Greatest films of all time’, most of those criticizing the list were angry that classics like Lawrence of Arabia or Chinatown were excluded, while I was quite relieved (and frankly also surprised) that my personal favourite The Searchers wasn’t washed away in the woke tidal wave that is the 2022 list. But the comment section was actually more entertaining than the list itself. And in addition to those…

  • Zodiac



    It is interesting how one’s appreciation of a film can change so radically over time. The first time I watched Zodiac was just after it released and I remember it as an absolute waste of my time. I expected another Se7en and was sorely disappointed with what I saw on the screen. According to my Letterboxd diary I saw it a second time in 2019 and already appreciated it much more then. And while for me basically every Nolan film…

  • Mary Queen of Scots

    Mary Queen of Scots

    I think future generations will look back and come to regard Mary, Queen of Scots as the high-water mark of wokeism (or is it wokeness, wokism, etc?... please, don’t cancel me for the wrong spelling!). Much like today we tend to frown, and rightfully so, for some of the casting choices of 1950s or 1960s historical dramas or westerns that have European actors portray native Indians, Chinese emperors, or African warlords. I am afraid, however, that the pendulum has now…