Vadim has written 213 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • Teenage Emotions

    Teenage Emotions

    ★★★½

    This is a good movie that I recommend, and I talked to Frederic Da about making it here.

  • El Planeta

    El Planeta

    ★★★½

    I generally strive to be a well-informed viewer; in the case of Amalia Ulman’s El Planeta, however, I was perhaps better served by going in uncharacteristically ignorant. Because I didn’t really know anything about Ulman besides the fact that she’s a performance/video/web-artist, I wasn’t picking up on any of her debut feature’s connections to the personas she’s developed on Instagram and elsewhere. Instead, Ulman’s debut feature, shot in the town of Gijón, where she grew up, registered as exactly the type of movie I like, a droll comedy formally descended from Éric Rohmer.

    Good movie!

  • Atlantis

    Atlantis

    ★★★½

    I’m not crazy about what I wrote about this from TIFF, but it’ll serve and this movie needs a signal boost as it “enters American release,” so posting here.

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★★½

    I wrote something like a personal essay on my 2020 in film, and since it includes Mank I’ll park it here.

  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    ★★★½

    Adapted from Iain Reid’s 2016 novel, Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things returns to familiar preoccupations—solipsistic men and idealized girlfriends, already subjective memory’s decay, aging and death, ambitious futility. From the book Kaufman retains the text of page one (an interior monologue from the unnamed female narrator), some dialogue from the subsequent first chapter and the course of events up to about page 150 (out of 210). Otherwise, the dialogue’s almost entirely been junked before a final act of…

  • Pajeú

    Pajeú

    ★★★½

    "Diógenes got my attention within two minutes by briefly seeming to promise a horror movie with an opening daylight nightmare sequence of Maristela (Fatima Muniz) crossing a small bridge over the stream, then stopping and turning her head, her gaze arrested by a freaky-looking creature sitting mid-stream that ever-so-slowly unfolds and starts rising into the air. This is almost the equivalent of placing a bait-and-switch trailer at the beginning of your own movie—the nightmarish vision recurs, but without any additional…

  • A Voluntary Year

    A Voluntary Year

    ★★★½

    Everything I've read about this basically admits that the person writing has never heard of co-director Henner Winckler, and neither had I, so I looked him up. Short answer: he made two features early on as the Berlin School was getting its first features out, working with production company Schramm Film as did Angela Schanelec, Ulrich Köhler, Thomas Arslan and Christian Petzold: "when I was looking for a production company and noticed that they had produced these films by Arslan,…

  • Vanilla Sky

    Vanilla Sky

    ★★★½

    Every Crowe movie from Jerry Maguire onwards worries over the exact same scenario: a man who’s important in his field experiences failure and must rebuild.* Crowe was obsessed by the possibility of failure long before he actually failed (at least in terms of commercial performance and critical perception—again, I’m a fan) and the movies became a self-fulfilling prophecy. This tremendous fear of overreach and being leveled by hubris has big "gifted and talented kid meets world" energy behind it, which…

  • Bacurau

    Bacurau

    ★★★½

    I never did end up writing about this. But I did write some journalism about the first nine weeks of "virtual cinemas," the box office returns from those runs, whether those are numbers are good (and if so, for whom), and whether this window of exhibition is here to stay permanently. And since Bacurau is one of the early success stories of this experiment, I'm parking this link here.

  • The Pageant

    The Pageant

    ★★★½

    " The idea of an event called 'Miss Holocaust Survivor Beauty Pageant' seems so self-evidently dystopian that not even Southland Tales would have thought to include it, and my first reaction wouldn’t certainly align with the cheery evaluation of Ted Thornhill, filing for the Daily Mail on the 2016 edition documented in Ipeker’s film: 'These women show that joy can come from even the darkest of experiences.' My skin was crawling from the first scene, where two women from the…

  • Adaptation.

    Adaptation.

    ★★★½

    "There’s zero chance I was the only one who went to film school shortly after (fall of 2004) with a firm animus against McKee specifically, and 'good screenwriting practices' generally, stoked by Adaptation. The NYU reality turned out to be way grimmer than expected." More here.

  • Intimate Distances

    Intimate Distances

    ★★★½

    "Phillip Warnell’s Intimate Distances immediately situates itself at an intersection I know well: Steinway St. and 34th Ave. in Queens, the intersection of the closest M/R train stop to the (indefinitely shuttered) Museum of the Moving Image. DP Jarred Alterman’s camera rests on a roof, slowly zooming in and out of a (now mouthwatering) procession of normal New Yorkers going about their daily business, slowly settling on a short, white-haired white woman leisurely pacing back and forth. Over the next…