Vadim has written 37 reviews for films during 2015.

  • 88:88

    88:88

    ★★★

    Would've been nice to have something interesting to listen to to go along with all those striking visuals and editorial aggressions. I struggle to imagine navigating my early 20s (?) via the twin guiding lights of hip-hop and contemporary philosophy, let alone making a copy of Alain Badiou's Plato's Republic a fetish object, but that's my problem I guess.

    [UPDATED: without comment, Isiah Medina, via Twitter: I read your comments on 88:88 and the pages, chapter headings, are from different…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★

    "When confirming RSVPs for the one and only Episode VII press screening in NYC, Disney’s email included some more-severe-than-usual boilerplate about spoilers and embargoes: 'In order to give audiences around the world the opportunity to enjoy Star Wars: The Force Awakens to its fullest and allow them to discover its surprises and plot twists in the cinema, we respectfully ask that you as press continue to be our partners on this journey, and we ask that you refrain from revealing…

  • Carol

    Carol

    ★★★½

    "At no point in Todd Haynes’ Carol is the word 'lesbian' heard — nor 'homosexual,' the now-arcane 'homophile' or any other period-appropriate descriptor of the LGBTQ spectrum. This is the love that literally dare not speak its name, a conspicuous absence viewers will automatically fill in (especially after seeing dozens of headlines and articles bluntly/reductively identifing the film as a 'lesbian drama'). Depending on your POV, this resistance to labeling is either an accurate depiction of period repression, or oddly…

  • Mustang

    Mustang

    ★★★½

    I cannot tell a lie: my short review/interview is just OK. But the story about how Ergüven shot a whole scene without any cameras (sorta) blew my mind a little.

  • Sicilian Vampire

    Sicilian Vampire

    This is a truly awful movie that I wrote up as part of a fairly weird assignment (for Vanity Fair!) which I was more than happy to take on — money's money. The original remit was more or less to explain the reasons for this particular film's existence with this particular cast, but the answers to that were fairly obvious. What became of greater interest to me was the strange, tortured saga of Frank D'Angelo, this film's writer/producer/director/star/musician. I included…

  • The Peanuts Movie

    The Peanuts Movie

    ★★½

    "The two opening logos for The Peanuts Movie say pretty much everything about the two differing sensibilities birthing Charles Schulz’s characters into the 3D CGI 21st century. First there’s the 20th Century Fox logo, its familiar fanfare rearranged to accommodate Schroeder’s extra piano flourishes in front of the spotlight beams. Then emerges Skrat the squirrel, mascot of Blue Sky Studios, the animation studio whose signature product is the Ice Age franchise. In line with its competitors at DreamWorks and Universal…

  • Night Without Distance

    Night Without Distance

    ★★★★

    I'm not gonna excerpt this, but I wrote about this very cool short film here. The movie's all in negative reverse, so Blake Williams reversed some stills to see what the shots initially looked like, and the compare-contrast is pretty neat, I think.

  • Junun

    Junun

    ★★★½

    "I don’t think it’s unreasonable to speculate that any director fresh off his second ambitious, divisive high-profile theatrical underperformer/probable money-loser (or anyone fresh out of a recently completed production, really) might generally welcome a chance to get out of town. It’s unclear how far in advance Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood planned to go to Rajasthan to collaborate on an album with Israeli-born, Indian-residing Sufi convert Shye Ben Tzur, or whether Paul Thomas Anderson initially committed to tagging along; regardless, it seems…

  • Mistress America

    Mistress America

    ★★★½

    "Does Frances Ha cozily appropriate Georges Delerue’s score from Truffaut’s A Gorgeous Girl Like Me to rub cinephiles the right way without having to contribute anything more? Are Baumbach’s films generally cozily insular and meant only for a myopic, self-selecting group? It’s true that they’ve cleaved to the experiences of a certain geographic and social caste: white, well-educated, NYC-centric, part of the east coast nexus of lightly worn elitism that generally shuns vocal conservatives, proximate to if not directly part…

  • War Room

    War Room

    The 7 PM Thursday (i.e., night before official Friday release) crowd for War Room was about 40 strong and totally into it; there was a lot of whopping, cheering, "amen"-ing at appropriate moments throughout (like when the heroine repudiates Satan from her suburban doorstep), etc. You rarely get an audience that's that unforcedly happy to be there, for what it's worth. Since this was my second "faith-based" (i.e., evangelical Christian — the term falsely implies movies are also being made…

  • Benji

    Benji

    ★★

    "'People like Lassie, they liked Rin Tin Tin, but people love Benji,' director Joe Camp said in 1977. 'Everyone who sees him wants to touch him, to hug him, everyone wants to love him. Why is everyone crazy about Farrah Fawcett-Majors?' The comparison hasn’t aged well (women, dogs, etc.), but the general point abides: Benji was a limited-duration pop-culture phenomenon whose fiscal earnings in the first five years of action, according to trainer Frank Inn, totaled $75 million (close to…

  • Listen to Me Marlon

    Listen to Me Marlon

    ★★★

    "Listen to Me Marlon is a very good film of its kind, if not precisely for me. I’m interested in, but not deeply passionate about Marlon Brando, but — with access to the actor’s copious archive of tapes of self-hypnosis, to-do lists, answering machine messages, etc. — director Stevan Riley’s succeeded in telling a familiar story almost entirely through the actor’s own words and those of important people in his life. It’s a semi-classical compilation documentary (improbably, my second film…