Vadim has written 11 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2012.

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    ★★½

    Oh is this the way they say the future's meant to feel? Or just 20,000 hobbits tramping through a field? It's not every day that the global filmgoing public is asked to evaluate an entirely new technology rather than simply the latest seasonal blockbuster's minor upgrades. The 48 fps of The Bobbitt: An Unexpected Gurney (thanks to Matt Singer for that one) is so compellingly different from anything I've ever seen it kept me occupied for the first two hours,…

  • Promised Land

    Promised Land

    ★★½

    Typically hamfisted, emblematic moment: Matt Damon makes hollow promises to the townsfolk at their first group meeting in close-up against a giant American flag. (ANOTHER SYMBOL OF FALSE HOPE PAPERING OVER A DARKER HISTORY.) Damon reprises Will Hunting, and his twitchy, irritably charismatic smartest-guy-in-the-room act is still great fun to watch. People keep telling him he's not a bad guy (when he isn't protesting that himself), though his character — a rural childhood casualty of the end of the industrial…

  • Argo

    Argo

    ★★½

    It's bad form to bitch about your preferred version of a film vs. what's actually on-screen, but in this case the weaknesses in construction are so glaring it's hard not to object. Succinct opening seamlessly cuts between archival footage and re-creation; displaying the same interest in fidelity that led to numerous obvious real-life alcoholics and other Bostonians populating the backgrounds of Gone Baby Gone, Affleck keeps the archival stuff in 1.85, the recreations in widescreen. Opening mechanics less clunky than…

  • Flight

    Flight

    ★★½

    Here, basically. There are some lines in here I did not write, guess if you can what they are, hence my hesitation in linking. If it doesn't sound like me, I probably didn't write it! (If you don't know what I "sound like," I don't blame you.)

  • The House I Live In
  • Taken 2

    Taken 2

    ★★½

    Taken down here, har har.

  • Hotel Transylvania

    Hotel Transylvania

    ★★½

    I KNOW YOU GUYS WERE WAITING. REVIEW'S FINALLY here.

  • Here and There

    Here and There

    ★★½

    The single most exciting, original shot in the entire film comes when Esparza's camera pivots directly down to follow hands reaching to a suitcase placed just at the edge of the tripod's downward mobility. Genuine suspense: will the hands go beyond the frame or stop just in the nick of time? Otherwise, Esparza has a good eye for generic master-shot cinema: heavily Kiarostami inflected (winding roads/hills), long shots of not particularly responsive or expressive people in aimless conversation (only wide…

  • Forbidden Games

    Forbidden Games

    ★★½

    Opening German air attack's a doozy, but the panicked running looks a little too fake-y stage; the pathos is unearned, ditto the "famous" (saccharine) Narciso Yepes guitar score. "You're never satisfied," the boy bursts in exasperation, and I increasingly wanted to throttle that little girl. Definitely amused by the buffoonish, knock-down-drag-out graveyard finale, but this was a fundamentally enervating experience. Decanonization happens for a reason; this one's just hanging in there.

  • For a Good Time, Call...

    For a Good Time, Call...

    ★★½

    Justin Long is sassy and gay (though Zelda is indeed a great name for a dog). Whatever. Best line: "We're both Jewish."

  • Red Hook Summer

    Red Hook Summer

    ★★½

    Gets better once Spike loses his mind. First 20 a slog, steadily improves, my heart's with any movie that questions the role of religion as an unimpeachable pillar in black life. African Americans For Humanism might endorse this movie. The big SPOILER scene is handled with a dazzling lack of taste you kind of have to admire. Enough with the fucking Knicks though, OK?