Reviews & Commentary

Vampyros Lesbos (1971)

Linda Westinghouse (Ewa Strömberg) is a lawyer who has a recurring dream about a mysterious brunette (Soledad Miranda, credited as Susann Korda) whom she later, on a date with her boyfriend, Omar (Andrés Monales), sees dancing in a nightclub. The dance involves Miranda taking off her clothes and putting them on a mannequin, which brings the doll to life. “You are very excited,” says Omar to Linda. Linda denies it, but in a session with her therapist, Dr. Steiner (Paul Müller) — who doodles distractedly in his notebook, which quite subtly sets up a recurring theme of masculine disregard for women’s experiences — we learn otherwise; Linda confesses that her dreams of Miranda have more than once brought her to orgasm


Written by Kalle on Wednesday August 12, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, lesbian-vampire, vampire, jess-franco, soledad-miranda, featured

The Secret of Monkey Island (2009)

It’s hard to believe now, when they’re known mostly for rushing out one half-finished Star Wars game after another (for one Christmas season after another), but in the late eighties and early nineties, LucasArts were, along with Sierra On-Line, the première adventure game company in the business. For a period of some fifteen years, beginning with Maniac Mansion, they released some of the best-regarded point-and-click adventures of the era. In 1990, at the peak of their powers, they released The Secret of Monkey Island. For a generation of gamers, Monkey Island‘s combination of fourth-wall-breaking comedy and clever puzzles became the standard against which all later adventure games were measured.


Written by Kalle on Monday August 10, 2009
Permalink - Category: Video games - Tag: 2000s

The Silence (1963)

Two women, Esther (Ingrid Thulin) and Anna (Gunnel Lindblom), travel by train to a hotel in an unnamed foreign city along with Anna’s young son, Johan (Jörgen Lindström). Esther is dying and is left in the hotel room while Anna goes out to have sex with a waiter and Johan explores the hotel.


Written by Kalle on Friday July 31, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1960s, ingmar-bergman

Winter Light (1962)

A widowed priest, Thomas (Gunnar Björnstrand), has lost his faith in God. After a sermon, a fisherman, Jonas (Max von Sydow), comes to see him, troubled by his own lack of faith and anxious about the state of the world — he saw a news story saying the Chinese are brought up to hate us, and that they’ll soon have the bomb. Thomas speaks to Jonas and thinks he was able to help, but Jonas shoots himself soon after their conversation. Meanwhile, the local schoolteacher, Märta (Ingrid Thulin), is in love with Thomas, who either is unable to love her back or is at least unable to admit to himself that he loves her.


Written by Kalle on Wednesday July 29, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1960s, ingmar-bergman

Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

A second-rate author, David (Gunnar Björnstrand), his son and daughter, Minus (Lars Passgård) and Karin (Harriet Andersson), and the daughter’s husband, Martin (Max von Sydow), are staying on an island. Karin is a latent schizophrenic who has just gotten back from hospital, while David has just returned from Switzerland, where he fled to write when Karin fell ill. On the island, Karin’s condition worsens; she wakes in the night and goes up to the attic, where she hears voices talking from behind the frayed wallpaper. They tell her to read her father’s diary, where she learns that her condition is incurable and that her father is disgusted to find himself studying her as a subject for his writing. Meanwhile, Minus tries and fails to connect with his father, and Martin grows ever more desperate at his inability to help Karin.


Written by Kalle on Monday July 27, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1960s, ingmar-bergman

Vampyres (1974)

Vampyres opens on a day-for-night shot of a Victorian Gothic country house, then zooms in on a window. Inside the house, we find two naked women in bed together. A man climbs the stairs outside their room, enters, and shoots them to death. You have to admire the efficiency of that opening; it tells us right away what kind of film we’re watching: Zoom and day-for-night? OK, it’s a 1970s British horror film. Naked lesbians? Ah! It’s a 1970s British lesbian horror film.


Written by Kalle on Monday July 20, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, lesbian-vampire, vampire

Thriller - En grym film (1974)

Madeleine (Christina Lindberg) is mute, ostensibly after being raped as a child. One day she leaves the family farm, lead to the city by a man who seemingly can’t stop talking. As you might’ve guessed, it doesn’t end well. The man, Tony (Heinz Hopf), forces Madeleine into prostitution and heroin addiction. After at first refusing, Madeleine soon has her mind changed by a scalpel to the eye. Despite the steady heroin supply, Madeleine doesn’t very much like prostitution, and sets out to get her revenge on Tony and the tricks.


Written by Kalle on Friday July 17, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, christina-lindberg, revenge

Watchmen (2009)

Zack Snyder’s feature film debut, Dawn of the Dead (2004), had a kinetic, visually exciting opening sequence, but the rest of the film was fairly pointless. His second film, 300, was all flash and no substance, and, frankly, I found it a bit boring. And now, he’s tasked with bringing the Tristram Shandy of comic books, Alan Moore'sWatchmen (1986-7), to the silver screen. So, a comic book by a wizard, adapted by Solid Snake, and directed by a man who made his name remaking Romero. If that isn’t the definition of the post-modern condition, I don’t know what is; thecreators are mash-up of pop-culture mythology.


Written by Kalle on Wednesday July 15, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 2000s, zack-snyder, comic-book

Persona (1966)

A projector lamp. Film running through spools. A penis. A nail driven through a hand. A spider. Footage from a silent film. Bodies in the morgue. A boy watches Bibi Anderson’s and Liv Ullman’s faces on a screen. No, that isn’t an excerpt from a Coleman Francis film’s narration, but a list of some of the images which open Ingmar Bergman’s Persona.


Written by Kalle on Tuesday July 14, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1960s, ingmar-bergman, liv-ullman, bibi-andersson, sven-nyvkist, featured