Vadim has written 30 reviews for films rated ★★★½ during 2012.

  • I Are You, You Am Me

    I Are You, You Am Me

    ★★★½

    Only my second Ôbayashi — after House, natch, which works best in clip-party segments. This is equally impressive, but much more casually: dig the many shots of bicycles being ridden up and down hills parallel to trains and cars, elegantly impressive choreography of events that can only be harnessed, not arranged for. (Wikipedia tells me this is the first of nine films Ôbayashi shot in Onomichi, a suburb of Hiroshima.) The seaside vacation here clarified for me that that segment…

  • Tabu

    Tabu

    ★★★½

    Here's my review.

  • That Obscure Object of Desire

    That Obscure Object of Desire

    ★★★½

    "This one is practically a testament," said producer Serge Silberman on the eve of this film's American opening, before worrying that Buñuel wouldn't make another film (correctly, as it happened). Not just a restaging of Viridiana and Tristana (forming a trilogy of frustrated sexual desire for Fernando Rey) but a kind of grand synopsis of Buñuel's recurring preoccupations in general, with a kind of detached, proudly anachronistic gaze upon the '70s. (Anti-bourgeois bourgeois that he is, Buñuel's identification with Rey…

  • The Whole Town's Talking

    The Whole Town's Talking

    ★★★½

    By my count, I've seen 13 John Ford films so far including this one...but IMDB has him credited as director in part or whole of some 144 titles, so it feels like I'm not even remotely close to getting a handle on what Ford's signature elements might be. (Compare/contrast with e.g. golden age Hollywood fellow traveler Howard Hawks, whose work practically screams its idiosyncrasies.) So it's hard for me to isolate what elements of The Whole Town's Talking are "Fordian,"…

  • The Day of the Jackal

    The Day of the Jackal

    ★★★½

    Unusually successful in compressing the details of Forsyth's novel and following its structure almost exactly, hence a pioneering effort in the procedural "genre" (is it a genre? I think so). Extensive European location shooting now seems more valuable than ever, the labors behind the camera no less detail oriented than its antihero's. My only complaint, really, is that I wish that all the French characters weren't forced to speak English constantly in deferral to the marketplace; it's almost enough to…

  • Barbara

    Barbara

    ★★★½

    Reviewed here. Didn't think it was worth adding a whole paragraph to talk about it, but this is also decidedly a collaborative work with Harun Farocki, more so than the credits indicate.

  • Chronicle of a Summer

    Chronicle of a Summer

    ★★★½

    I have to address this in two parts, for reasons that will become evident in a bit here:

    1) The idea of a film structured around the question "Are you happy?" is a bit misleading. Chronicle Of A Summer (a film which embraces, happily, the coinage "cinema-verite," a terminological straitjacket so many subsequent documentarians have struggled to evade) is a series of staged conversations no less valuable for being overtly arranged by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin; the title could…

  • In Another Country

    In Another Country

    ★★★½

    It's not even fair at this point, because I'm cracking up at virtually the first shot, before anyone's really said anything. Hong makes my kind of comedies, though this is the first time I've felt he may be getting too lighthearted for his own good. "Ooh, these Korean men!" could be the title of Hong's next movie, which would presumably feature more of the same recurring elements: women on the beach, dream sequences which don't reveal their surreal elements immediately, delightfully blunt women (asked if she lusts over younger bodies, Isabelle Huppert replies "Of course, don't you?" Real talk.).

  • The Rolling Stones: Charlie Is My Darling - Ireland 1965

    The Rolling Stones: Charlie Is My Darling - Ireland 1965

    ★★★½

    The Rolling Stones, young and relatively carefree in 1965, before the legal/interpersonal shit hit the fan. No drugs are abused on-screen, but Mick and Keith get drunk and launch into a singalong, Keith playing piano as Mick hams up imitations of Elvis and travesties "Blueberry Hill." In the first year of serious success, every move requires police assistance, buying off entire dining rooms to have an meal. Elsewhere, Mick and Keith work through "Sitting On A Fence" over and over…

  • The Baby Maker

    The Baby Maker

    ★★★½

    Seems to have been largely ignored upon release, pending its descent into total obscurity. (My interest's based on too many childhood viewings of The China Syndrome [don't ask] and the sorely underviewed, at least in my memory, 9/30/55, which I saw a print of on lucky chance something like a decade ago. James Bridge is surely a subject For Further Research.) Contemporary responses dilated upon the topicality (hippie check lets herself be impregnated the old-fashioned way for cash), a contextual…

  • Kill Bill: Vol. 1

    Kill Bill: Vol. 1

    ★★★½

    Hadn't seen this or Vol. 2 since they came out. Was a bit disappointed at the time that this was so overtly frivolous (it gains some heft viewed in immediate sequence with Vol. 2, but not all that much, unless you consider it a prolonged wind-up). It's still very frivolous, but so elegantly executed (like Hard Boiled, reviewed earlier this year, I was pleasantly shocked by how many shots I remembered exactly) it's hard to object, and the Crazy 88…

  • Le Grand Amour

    Le Grand Amour

    ★★★½

    It's germane that Étaix worked with Tati (on Mon Oncle; he collaborated with Jean-Claude Carriere on novelizations of that and M. Hulot's Holiday): the initial wedding sequence, full of indebted Funny Foley Noises, is so irritatingly broad and unclever I wanted to bolt right there and then. But the opening-credits helicopter shot preceding it — scored to a melancholy ballad about adultery while the camera hovers dispassionately over a French suburban neighborhood — is closer to the subsequent tone. Étaix…