Vadim has written 6 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2014.

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    ★★½

    This simply isn't good enough. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was obviously meant to be fun, swinging through trees and bridges while emphasizing chimp solidarity and swift developments; Dawn begins with a ponderous zoom out from Caesar's ready-for-war eyes, and ends (over two hours later) with a slow zoom back in, as deadly heavy a bookend as imaginable. There are people I read who believe Matt Reeves is a talent, and with due respect I have no idea…

  • The Stag

    The Stag

    ★★½

    Reviewed for The Dissolve here.

  • Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia
  • The Great Beauty

    The Great Beauty

    ★★½

    Endless endless. Too many random surface baroque fillips, the usual Sorrentino riot of random musical cues, and nearly 2.5 hours of...what? A lecture about Italy? And yet somehow on this one I don't think anyone will be telling me I failed to properly "engage" with the currently unfashionable Sorrentino, which kind of makes me want to be more sympathetic. Alas.

  • Ninja: Shadow of a Tear

    Ninja: Shadow of a Tear

    ★★½

    The estimable R. Emmet Sweeney breaks down some of the indeed-impressive fight scenes here. Isaac Florentine has clearly studied vintage '90s HK, plundering Drunken Master- for a bar fight (he also steals the surrounded-by-fire ending) and deploying a brisk widescreen rack focus — from background villain to foreground hero, establishing their starting positions before a brawl — that took me back, as did the routine use of a fisheye lens during fight scenes (it helps you see movement on the…

  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    ★★½

    "David [O. Russell] has a very unusual style of directing," Robert De Niro told A.O. Scott in 2012. "You’ve got the camera moving around, he’ll push the camera over to this character, to that character, he’ll throw lines at you and you repeat them." That explains a lot about the constant manic energy in Russell's work from I Heart Huckabees' onwards (where I came in; shamefully, have yet to come up with the prior reputation-making films) and why the camera…