And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: Bergman Island

You don’t have to be a fan of the legendary director Ingmar Bergman to enjoy this film, but it certainly does help. In it a couple of American filmmakers, Chris (Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread) and Tony (Tim Roth, Selma, The Hateful Eight), take a summer trip to Fårö island in Sweden where Bergman lived and shot some of his best known movies. Both of them are hoping for some inspiration for the films they’re working on. One of Tony’s films is showing in the annual Bergman Week there, and he and Chris are in residence at the house where Bergman shot his award winning series Scenes from a Marriage, about the disintegration of a marriage. And while theirs doesn’t, it’s clearly seen better days.

Review: The Song of Names

I was going to make this more of a full-blown review but then decided not to bother, as the film itself is simply too unsatisfying to recommend. I wanted to like it. The premise seemed quite interesting. The first half was slow but engaging. The performances were solid. The music was hauntingly beautiful. And yet – the last half-hour destroyed whatever goodwill I was feeling toward the film by taking the final act in a direction that was awkward and annoying. Talk about ending on a sour note!

Arbitrage

Arbitrage is already out on DVD, so this brief review falls into the ‘better late than never’ category. I actually watched Arbitrage on the heels of Flight and it made for a rather interesting double feature. Both movies star extremely watchable men (Denzel Washington in Flight, Richard Gere in Arbitrage) playing extremely flawed and conflicted characters that you can’t help but root for on some level — even when they’re being total jackasses. You can read more about Flight here. As for Arbitrage, it’s a much quieter drama that never quite gets off the ground.