Vadim has written 7 reviews for films rated ★★ during 2014.

  • The Liberator

    The Liberator

    ★★

    "The makers behind the Spanish-Venezuelan biopic The Liberator plausibly claim that their $50 million film is the biggest Latin American production of all time. If it’s meant to educate or entertain non-Spanish-speaking audiences, that doesn’t come across. Its specific assignment is to rouse those vaguely or intimately familiar with Simón Bolívar. Nor is Alberto Arvelo’s film formally compelling enough to demand the attention of viewers with no previous historical stake in Bolívar’s historical significance, or his present-day relevance as a…

  • The Last of Robin Hood

    The Last of Robin Hood

    ★★

    Reviewed for The AV Club. As far as Killer Films biopics about 20th century figures not directed by Todd Haynes go, it's no The Notorious Bettie Page.

  • To Be Takei

    To Be Takei

    ★★

    There’s nothing actively off-putting about To Be Takei, an innocuous fans-only-and-even-that’s-pushing-it profile of George Takei, the Star Trek icon now equally known as an out-and-proud actor. Jennifer M. Kroot’s portrait takes its title from a 2011 highlight in the performer’s career as a gay-rights activist, when he combated the Tennessee legislature prohibiting teachers from using the word “gay” by offering his own name as a replacement (“it’s okay to be Takei”). The documentary’s other activist focus is Takei’s ongoing lectures…

  • Video Games: The Movie
  • In the Blood

    In the Blood

    ★★

    Reviewed this here.

  • RoboCop

    RoboCop

    ★★

    [More outlet turmoil. I got the kill fee, w/e.]


    The MGM lion opens its mouth but instead of the expected familiar roar there’s the parodically defanged sound of comically buzzing lips. That reversal of expectations is the first and last good joke in the new “Robocop,” nicely mirroring the disgusted expectations aroused by news this remake would trade the hard R violence of the original for bloodless PG-13: instead of a righteous predatorial scream, we get a puny little buzz.…

  • Grudge Match

    Grudge Match

    ★★

    "Sight & Sound" review, not online. Predictably dire. Sample dialogue from my notes:

    "I never had jock itch. I'm just a good actor" — Robert De Niro, inadvertently summing up his usual range these days

    "Would one of you guys rape him already?" — Sylvester Stallone cracking wise in the lock-up facility about De Niro

    "I got a creative side. You didn't know that, did you?" — Stallone

    "I'm an old guy! I gotta be watching 'Dancing With The Stars'! I'm serious!" — Alan Arkin, repeatedly reminding us he's old

    "I can't, I can't — this is white people shit!" — every Kevin Hart joke ever, apparently