Vadim has written 41 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2013.

  • 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…

  • Weekend of a Champion

    Weekend of a Champion

    ★★½

    Not so hot. Wrote about the film itself and a very weird Skype press conference with Roman Polanski here.

  • Trent's Last Case

    Trent's Last Case

    ★★½

    This is missing a reel, but none of us could figure out what reel exactly until it was over, and it's really not a good sign when you can remove 15 minutes of a plot-heavy film without anyone noticing. Broad mystery burlesque I found kind of infuriating as a quasi-devotee of the classic British manifestations of the genre: it makes fun of all the tropes without giving any indication as to why it might be an appealing thing to read anyway. But the physical comedy isn't very satisfying on its own either.

  • Like Father, Like Son

    Like Father, Like Son

    ★★½

    Scroll down here.

  • Metallica: Through the Never

    Metallica: Through the Never

    ★★½

    Well-respected man that I am, I was assigned to review this. And so I did.

  • The Do-Deca-Pentathlon

    The Do-Deca-Pentathlon

    ★★½

    In which two man-children brothers resurrect an ancient sibling rivalry via boys'-own athletic hijinx; the married brother's wife is a joyless harridan who tries to stop their fun, but she smokes when nobody's looking, so she's a hypocrite. There are tentative but awkwardly sincere reconciliations at the end, and the improv is in the lingua franca of mediocre mumblecore: lots of embarrassed hedging around the truth, all of it in the same vernacular of performers flailing out of their depth. Deadly.

  • Uncle Kent

    Uncle Kent

    ★★½

    This is the scenario: there's this moon-faced, neither disastrously unattractive nor terribly attractive dude who's visibly in some kind of 30something state of arrested adolescence and it's working out fine. When he's not working at his animation studio with a jackass friend/hire, which apparently pays the bills, he sits at home, takes massive bong rips and gets his rocks off by surfing ChatRoulette (two years old and Uncle Kent's already an Internet Period Piece). One might think a life of…

  • Fazil

    Fazil

    ★★½

    The kind of routine Hollywood exotica it doesn't take a Hawks to make, and he appears to have given up on making it his own from the outset. Future co-founder of the Racquet Club of Palm Springs Charles Farrell predictably unconvincing as an Arabian despot with no use for the fairer sex (presented with a woman as a gift from "the sheik": "a camel would have been more useful"). Unexpectedly smitten by free-spirited Parisian Fabienne (Norwegian Greta Nissen), they ride…

  • Woman They Almost Lynched

    Woman They Almost Lynched

    ★★½

    "You either suffer or you don't - take your choice," Allan Dwan told Peter Bogdanovich of his "decision" to make The Woman They Almost Lynched into camp parody. "If you treat that seriously, where would you be?" I'd personally rather be anywhere else: dialogue like "Listen to her, she thinks she's a man!" is ripe for academic dissection, but actually watching a solid 90 minutes of operatic emotions deliberately undercut and mocked by a weary director nearly killed me. When…

  • Elysium

    Elysium

    ★★½

    I totally adore Jodie Foster, but a woman who generally limits herself to one movie every two years should really make better decisions; there's Inside Man, Panic Room and Carnage, but there's also Flightplan, The Brave One and now this, in which she gets to bark out dialogue like "You fool! Do you realize what you've done?" Her character's also French, which gives Foster another excuse to break out her flawless command of the language, but she has major trouble…

  • Prince Avalanche

    Prince Avalanche

    ★★½

    Capsuled within this ranked listicle. That whole David Gordon Green is the Next Great American Director thing really hasn't panned out.

  • The Yards

    The Yards

    ★★½

    Fresh out of the joint, Mark Wahlberg comes home and mom Ellen Burstyn says "from now on, we're going to have nothing but good times" and you know you're in for it. Does something count as tragedy if it's relentlessly clear that everyone's going to have a miserable time, without even any kind of starting lofty heights to fall from? Endlessly dour and humorless (there's a climactic death where the only surprise is that it took Gray this long), lots…