Vadim has written 293 reviews for films during 2013.

  • The Faculty

    The Faculty

    ★½

    I "honored" this movie on the "occasion" of its 15th anniversary here. The fact that I didn't mention Robert Rodriguez's name once is hopefully an indication of the contempt I hold his mostly anonymous/terrible work in. He's a cut above Robert Luketic, but he's not even Nimród Antal.

    Anyway, if you like me being mean, you'll like this one. It's a harmless enough target.

  • La Libertad

    La Libertad

    ★★★½

    It's only been 12 years, but this already feels like some kind of cinematic turning point — more modest in throwing down the gauntlet than e.g. L'Avventura, but a movie whose strangeness/divisiveness at the moment of release is hard to recapture. Alonso said he was influenced by Kiarostami and thought of himself in the same vein as Tsai Ming-liang and Apichatpong Weerasethakul; slow cinema directors all, and Tsai and Kiarostami had already been working in that loosely defined idiom for…

  • A Song Is Born

    A Song Is Born

    ★★★½

    Despised both by Hawks himself and most Hawksians, which baffles me a little: Danny Kaye is an admittedly acquired frantic taste, but as a showcase for that kind of mugging it's good fun. Ball Of Fire's emphasis on language allowed Billy Wilder to congratulate himself for his quick and total assimilation of American slang; here, the replacement emphasis on popular music is surprisingly comprehensive, with the long road from e.g. cakewalk songs to bop plausibly diagrammed on a blackboard. The…

  • The Haunting in Connecticut

    The Haunting in Connecticut

    Watched this so I could be better prepared to review The Haunting Of Connecticut: Ghosts Of Georgia for Sight & Sound , which is dumb — I knew from reading up the two are connected in name only (there's a third too), but I was wondering if there were any secret connections. (I found one in the review to make it count, but whatever.) Might as well be called When Daguerreotypes Attack, since lots of sinister photos lead to ghosts, yelling, shrieking,…

  • Polyester

    Polyester

    ★★★½

    Francine Fishpaw (Divine) of 538 (Jane) Wyman way gets more than the full Sirkian lot of suburban oppressions to work through, though aside from the opening intro of her house (with blue outside light refracted/distorted Fassinberishly through the windows) this is proudly cruddy filmmaking. The John Waters stock company internalize, magnify and vilify everything awful about conservatively mainstream American society, transfiguring it into lots of shrieking camp. A lot a lot a lot to take, and my limited exposure to…

  • Captain Phillips

    Captain Phillips

    ★★½

    "It's gonna be OK," Captain Phillips tells his wife (re: staying economically afloat), a line repeated by one of his Somali hijackers later. The captain and his pirate are capitalism's bitch and both are lying, but I'm damned if that kind of facile parallelism makes for "politically thoughtful" cinema or whatever you might claim. Dumb I can handle, but after a reasonably suspenseful first half Phillips founders, turning into a very boring movie about a guy trying to outwit his…

  • Man's Favorite Sport?

    Man's Favorite Sport?

    ★★★½

    Red Buttons firing a rocket to capture monkeys when I realized Hatari! was a lawless movie in which anything could happen at any time — but it comes pretty late in, and there's some tedium in getting there. Man's Favorite Sport? establishes its anarchic spirit way earlier, when Rock Hudson decides he needs a safe space to tell Paula Prentiss his terrible secret and announces, with no set-up, "Let's go to the piano museum." What piano museum? Well, it's a…

  • Saving Mr. Banks

    Saving Mr. Banks

    ★★

    Mostly covered this here, though I wan't as angry as I could've been about what a slimy, unctuous movie this is, or how crappy it is: pop psychology, back-and-forth parallel stories intercut metronomically, Colin Farrell as a frantic alcoholic, it's all pretty terrible.

    One thing I didn't get into (didn't seem like the time/place) is the very specific way the visuals are hacky. Not having seen any other John Lee Hancock movies, I don't know whether he or DP John…

  • Providence

    Providence

    ★★★

    Wildly impressive in navigating back and forth between the real world and the novelist's distortion of it, but between John Gielgud yelling about his excretory difficulties and Dirk Bogarde saying "cock" with unusual vehemence dozens of times it's like being trapped in one of the more unpleasant Great White Male Novels of the '70s. Distinct orange-blue palette is exactly the same as the shades in Wild Grass. Resnais doesn't need CGI color correction; he was, somehow, doing this 36 years ago.

  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★½

    O Brother, Where Art Thou? claimed to be “based upon The Odyssey, by Homer," a link explicitly picked up here when the missing cat Llewyn Davis has been looking for most of the movie returns home — and his name is Ulysses! But the continuity's also musical, Joel Coen told Robert Christgau: “If you trace it back far enough it's all Americana, the same kind of music, the same family tree [...] We felt the folk music revival of the…

  • Coast of Death

    Coast of Death

    ★★★

    Like fellow Zeitun Films production Arraianos, Costa da Morte is a study of life in an isolated Galician village with a visual thing for wind turbines and out-of-control fires blazing at night; there's already some odd internal consistencies over there in a tiny filmography. Filmed largely in extreme long-shots (like a less sentimental The Sky Turns), Costa da Morte's most memorable images take advantage of the inherently texturally overwhelming properties of large bodies of water; for best results, decenter your…

  • The Thing from Another World

    The Thing from Another World

    ★★★½

    Dimitri Tiomkin's theremin is terrified, but Hawks knows better. (Or maytbe it's Nyby, whose generally perceived lack of input is a more vexed issue than I initially realized, regardless of his apparently undistinguished subsequent output.) The presiding spirit's familiar, including a typical Hawks self-quotation: like Cary Grant in I Was A Male War Bride, Patrick Hendry's told by his colleague/rhetorical sparring partner that he had "hands like an octopus." Their budding romance is unavoidably interrupted by James Arness in a…