Reviews of Film, TV, and Music


Their Messages and Methods, by Stefan Stenudd

The arts inspire — also to comment and reflect on them. I've been a newspaper critic of music, books, drama, even restaurants. In the reviews here, I focus on what is being said by the artists and how they say it. Their messages and methods. That's the essence of any art. Click the headers to get to the reviews.

Saltburn. Movie review.

Barry Keoghan pretends to be someone who pretends to be someone like him

The movie Saltburn is an enjoyable spectacle thanks to some splendid acting, especially by the lead Barry Keoghan who is carrying just about the whole story on his shoulders.

Ever Young. Supernatural fiction by Stefan Stenudd. Ever Young
Supernatural fiction by Stefan Stenudd
Caroline meets those who do not age, and this ability can be transmitted. But there are grisly downsides. Click the image to see the book at Amazon (paid link).

Captain America: Civil War. Movie review.

Iron Man's rage proves the need for government scrutiny

In the movie Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man's vindictive rage proves that superheroes must be under democratic government scrutiny.

A Rainy Day in New York. Movie review.

Woody Allen even more bland than usual

A Rainy Day in New York shows Woody Allen at his blandest, which is saying something. Everything is so predictable and conventional, even splendid actors fail miserably. They stand no chance.

That's Not Magic

The Magicians TV-series bluntly plagiarizes Harry Potter and The Mentalist. Its main shortcoming, though, is its poor understanding of magic.

Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens

My Guess: A Badly Camouflaged Rerun

There are several trailers for Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens, but they look very much the same with minor variations. I bet that's significant of what the new movie will be: same same, with nothing but minor alterations.

Not That Funny

The Writers Guild of America has chosen the 101 funniest screenplays ever. Not only is it odd that they should, but also the result is questionable.

Failing Father Figures

The Simpsons and Family Guy have lots in common. The most striking – and tiresome – similarity is that of Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin.

Don't Wanna Stay Alive When You're 25

What's with the withering of rock stars, when they become adults?

No Rule Can Substitute Compassion

No Rule Can Substitute Compassion

In The World's Strictest Parents, troublemaker teens are shown the way. The teenagers are narrowmindedly blamed for just about everything.

Georgian Gethsemane

Searching the web for versions of Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say) from Jesus Christ Superstar, I came across Luka Zaqariadze on a Georgian Idol show.

Totally Messed Up Rising

The grand finale of the Batman films, The Dark Knight Rises, is a complete mess. The 2.5 hours have a plot that is a maze.

Not Taken by the Dramatic Curve

The film Taken is a decent action movie, but it fails mainly in its dramatic curve. So, the end can be nothing but disappointing.

Age-old Dilemmas Also Plague the Future

Looper is a film playing with the idea of time travel – but doing so with a dramatic nerve that leaves the intellectual paradox far behind.

The Rage of Puberty

Underneath the spectacular surface, the film Chronicle is all about the torment and rage of male puberty.

Still a Beatle

In the TV concert of Paul McCartney singing a handful of evergreen covers, what stood out the most was what a delicate singer he can be.

Mama, Just Killed a Man

A few thoughts on the lyrics of the Queen anthem Bohemian Rhapsody. They're just as impressive as the music.

Mental Narcissist

The Mentalist, the police procedural TV series, is catchy. But it's not about a mentalist. It's about a raving narcissist.

We Need to Listen to Kevin.

We Need to Listen to Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin fosters the myth of the innocent parent. That's not believable even in fiction.

Where Were They?

The London Olympics opening ceremony was spectacular, but where was everybody? Not much of a line-up, considering what Great Britain has.

Two and a Half Ceases to Compute

In the 9th season of Two and a Half Men, uncle Charlie is replaced by Walden. It's not working. The money keeps it running, but surely not for long.

Game of Thrones. Review.

Game of Words

The Game of Thrones fantasy drama would have pleased even William Shakespeare. Its foremost quality is that of words, words, words.

Counter Acting

Those who master the art of acting know to play on the opposite of what is called for, thereby enhancing it, as if real acting is counter acting.

Vanity Cards Are Not in Vain

The TV writer and producer Chuck Lorre puts in Vanity Cards at the end of every TV sitcom episode he produces. It started already in 1995.

Fame Must Be Raw

The 2009 remake of Fame was just a bunch of scenes. The film makers might have watched the 1980 original, but they didn't learn from it.

Actors Interruptus

I've become addicted to Inside the Actors Studio. Like any addiction, it's a combination of delight and agony.

Harry Potter vs. Voldemort – so what?

Harry Potter vs. Voldemort – so what?

It might be blasphemy, but I have trouble appreciating the Harry Potter stories. The Deathly Hallows is a gloomy end to them.

No Hit Song Without Words

A research team presents a formula to predict what songs will be hits. But they ignore one of the top components of a song: the lyrics.

Burlesque Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions, the film based on Kurt Vonnegut's novel, turned the wonderfully absurd novel into a tiresome burlesque.

Music Is Immune to Parody

Tim Minchin's comedy consists of satirical songs. So, his music is parody, but it doesn't matter. It's still sweet, sweet music.

Choose Your Weapons

I wonder about musicians who go for the most unwieldy instruments. What were they thinking?

Faith or Not, You Have to Leap

The naked take on fake religion suddenly becoming real in the film Leap of Faith — that is my favorite Steve Martin movie.

Don't Wanna Stay Alive When You're 25

David Bowie lost his edge in the 1980s. Is rock'n'roll something reserved for all the young dudes?

On location, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Shooting on My Street

Hollywood came to my street in Stockholm, shooting scenes for the Stieg Larsson crime story The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Characters With Character

Without Charlie Sheen, the sitcom Two and a Half Men can't continue. That perfect set of characteristic characters can't be rearranged.

Bland Leads Dull Glee

I often wonder why those who get to play the lead roles are frequently chosen as if failure is the goal. Glee is a typical example of this.

A Ratatouille of the Heart

A Ratatouille of the Heart

In the film Ratatouille, it's amusing for me to see the portrayal of Ego, the restaurant critic, since I was one for twelve years.

What They Should Have Sung

Some songs have an element of magic. Lyrics have a lot to do with it, too. One such song is Handbags and Gladrags from the 1960s.

Bye to Censorship – and Hello

Sweden stops censoring movies. It's the last of the democratic countries to do so, and it was one of the first to start it in 1911.

Not Only Punched by Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman confessed that he had punched a critic to stop him from writing any more reviews about Bergman's work. He seemed quite proud of it.

Idol is a Tragedy – Literally

Most things we humans do adapt the form of drama. Not only fiction, but so do sports, religious practices – and every reality show on TV.

Movie Reviews in Short

In 2003 I got the impulse to write movie reviews for the IMDb website. There were many movies at that time without reviews or very few of them. This was partucularly true for Swedish movies, so I kind of specialized on those — though not exclusively.

       I also wrote about movies I regard as particularly significant, and some I just happened to come across.

       The reviews are rather short. In old newspaper terms I made most of them a sheet and a half, circa 20 lines, which was the normal format for short reviews when I worked as a rock critic. A full review was twice that amount. Newspaper writing is all about being comprised, and that's very good exercise for any writer.

       It was great fun to write these short movie reviews, until I had done almost 50 of them. Then I ceased doing it — on IMDb, that is. They are still around on the IMDb website, but I thought I might as well have them on my own website, too, now that I have a reviews section on it. Here they all are:

American Strays
Another Day in Paradise
Apocalypse Now
Bad Company
Barnens ö
Bert — Den siste oskulden
Bröderna Mozart
Cruel Intentions
Death in Venice
Den osynlige
Dom kallar oss mods
Ebba the Movie
Eyes Wide Shut
Good Will Hunting
G — som i Gemenskap
Ingen kan älska som vi
In the Bedroom
Lust och fägring stor
Mannen på taket
Mon oncle
Mr. Music
Murder by Numbers
Sagan om Karl-Bertil Jonssons julafton
Simon Birch
Star Wars I: Phantom Menace
The Ice Storm
The Man from Majorca
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Thin Red Line
The Watcher
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing
Too Tired to Die
Total Eclipse
You Can Count on Me

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Myths in general and myths of creation in particular.

The wisdom of Taoism and the Tao Te Ching, its ancient source.

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The ancient Chinese system of divination and free online reading.

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Stefan Stenudd

Stefan Stenudd

About me
I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both English and Swedish. I'm also an artist, a historian of ideas, and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.