Following my much-delayed recap of the movies I watched in 2021, here’s a roundup of January of this year. February will follow in a day or two, then March, etc., until I’m all caught up.
Looking back, I watched almost a full third of my year-end top ten list in January: “A Hero” (now somewhat notorious) “Bergman Island” (wonderful but esoteric) and “Titane” (only for the brave). I was of course still catching up on all of the prestige releases from late 2021, which also meant I sat through some real stinkers: Ridley Scott’s completely air-headed “The Last Duel” and Jane Campion’s excruciatingly shallow “The Power of the Dog.” Don’t let anyone try to convince you that these are good, ’cause they ain’t.
A word though on Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island,” which seems to have slipped by unnoticed by many. I went in with somewhat dire expectations; the title alone suggested slavish imitation but this ode to the great director Ingmar Bergman somehow pays tribute while remaining fully distinctive. It’s also got a wonderfully intricate, story-within-a-story construction that dovetails at the climax with such grace and lyricism that it beautifully recolors its preceding hundred minutes; a nifty trick. I wasn’t familiar with Hansen-Løve before this, but based on what I saw in this film, I’m desperate to see the follow-up she released this year, “One Fine Morning.”
Here’s all seventeen of the movies I saw in January.
This is the latest roundup of my monthly movie consumption. You can also see what I previously watched in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. Also, you can always keep up with what I’m watching by following me on Letterboxd—where I’m also writing tons of capsule reviews.