Vadim has written 17 reviews for films during 2017.

  • Song to Song

    Song to Song

    ★★½

    This movie is absolute trash (I have zero interest in discussing this, I know all the arguments already and trust me there's absolutely no good reason to get into this with me, let it be).

    That said: this is an Austin movie shot almost entirely in locations that were built up after I left in 2004, so it's weird to watch - a hometown dispatch I largely don't recognize. But there is one exception. There's literally like two shots in…

  • The Disaster Artist

    The Disaster Artist

    ★★★

    "James Franco has been annoying a lot of people, myself included, for a variety of reasons, not least his relentless direction of a shocking number of movies, most quite poorly received: if I’m counting the credits on his IMDB page right, The Disaster Artist is his 16th feature since 2005 — not precisely Fred Olen Ray levels of shoddy productivity, but not that far off either. For easily his most mainstream effort (and, full disclosure, the only one I’ve seen),…

  • Lost Highway

    Lost Highway

    ★★★½

    The first time I saw Lost Highway was 2006 at BAM in downtown Brooklyn. I left the auditorium and everything seemed wrong: there was no one outside on an eerily deserted street on a Saturday afternoon. I walked to the subway to visit my friend in Manhattan and there was no one on the platform, just a loud, previously unnoticed hum from the lights. The train arrived and it was empty except for the blatantly mentally ill. Not until I…

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    ★★★

    "Here’s where my reservations kick in: Mildred starts the film as a completely sympathetic and righteous character, tying her fury over the police’s incompetence to their legacy of racist conduct. But of course, All Is Not As It Seems: at various points, we learn that she drove drunk with her kids a long time ago, that her daughter wanted to leave and go live with Mildred’s ex-husband, etc. People are complicated and more than they appear to be at first,…

  • On the Beach at Night Alone

    On the Beach at Night Alone

    ★★★½

    "On the Beach builds on Right Now, Wrong Then‘s airlessly nearly room-tone-free settings; barring a few crucial outbursts, both settings and people are relatively quiet. Where Right Now felt (to me) self-consciously unnatural in its attempted calm, this works better as a sad, mournful work that’s also unexpectedly heartening in cordoning off a meaningful, if probably fragile, moment for actual healing and self-improvement. There’s two out-of-character ruptures: one is the improbable number of times characters note how much Korean beer…

  • Let the Sunshine In

    Let the Sunshine In

    ★★★

    "Denis’s film hit NYFF a few months before the first publication of her co-writer Christine Angot’s work in English — fortuitous for me, since I’ve written so much about Denis over the years that it felt like I’d totally run out of new material. Reading Incest (copies are out there already) clarifies some things about where Sunshine is coming from. A controversial cultural institution in France, Angot practices auto-fiction; the title should be taken literally, but it takes a while…

  • A Question of Faith

    A Question of Faith

    "Most Pure Flix productions—the flagship God’s Not Dead films, The Case For Christ, I’m Not Ashamed—stick to a fundamentalist emphasis on the importance of testifying to faith in every possible arena, with a healthy dose of persecution paranoia for garnish. The comparatively innocuous A Question Of Faith is a surprisingly unrelenting lecture on the dangers of texting while driving (a phrase said way more times than the name of Jesus), with a secondary emphasis on why it’s good to be…

  • Last Flag Flying

    Last Flag Flying

    ★★★

    "Until relatively recently, Richard Linklater’s hopscotching across genres and budgetary tiers had him generally pegged as an unpredictable magpie whose next move would never be clear; now, certain circles of online discourse have him basically pegged as the alpha male celebrator of white patriarchy (I did my song and dance on this a while ago, no reprise necessary). Setting aside those pejoratively-described constants, I think it’s true that starting with Before Midnight (the exact pivot point is arguable) the mandatory…

  • My Journey Through French Cinema

    My Journey Through French Cinema

    ★★★

    "Names you won’t hear in Bertrand Tavernier’s personal history of French cinema: Abel Gance, Marcel Pagnol, Sacha Guitry, Alain Resnais, Philippe Garrel. Don’t expect to hear about any directors who got started after the ’60s either: Tavernier begins with a solid overview of the glories of Jacques Becker, the first director to make an impression on him (“At age six, I could have chosen worse”) and ends with an equally lengthy tribute to Claude Sautet — along with Jean-Pierre Melville,…

  • Golden Exits

    Golden Exits

    ★★★½

    "Alex Ross Perry’s Golden Exits premiered last night to a wave of Twitter responses that were outstandingly negative, and this morning’s P&I screening was accordingly underpopulated, especially for a movie with Big Names in it — that’s simply not the norm. It’s a little strange that the film is being perceived as a whiff, or a step in a wrong/different direction, instead of one that logically continues from his previous work. ARP’s stated goal was to make a film 'without…

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★★

    Three stars but barely and no I don't feel like elaborating.

  • Stranger in Paradise

    Stranger in Paradise

    ★★★★

    "A zippy montage prologue establishes an effective analogy between the refugee crisis and nothing less than the entire history of evolution and global dispersion of human life. Then we’re placed in a classroom for three labeled acts with one European instructor (Valentijn Dhaenens, scripted actor) vs. a room full of (non-actor, non-scripted) migrants in bruisingly direct sessions. 'You are not welcome,' he says unambiguously. 'We don’t want you here.' As soon as those words dropped, I thought of Malcolm X:…