Vadim has written 14 reviews for films rated ★★★½ during 2015.

  • Carol

    Carol

    ★★★½

    "At no point in Todd Haynes’ Carol is the word 'lesbian' heard — nor 'homosexual,' the now-arcane 'homophile' or any other period-appropriate descriptor of the LGBTQ spectrum. This is the love that literally dare not speak its name, a conspicuous absence viewers will automatically fill in (especially after seeing dozens of headlines and articles bluntly/reductively identifing the film as a 'lesbian drama'). Depending on your POV, this resistance to labeling is either an accurate depiction of period repression, or oddly…

  • Mustang

    Mustang

    ★★★½

    I cannot tell a lie: my short review/interview is just OK. But the story about how Ergüven shot a whole scene without any cameras (sorta) blew my mind a little.

  • Junun

    Junun

    ★★★½

    "I don’t think it’s unreasonable to speculate that any director fresh off his second ambitious, divisive high-profile theatrical underperformer/probable money-loser (or anyone fresh out of a recently completed production, really) might generally welcome a chance to get out of town. It’s unclear how far in advance Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood planned to go to Rajasthan to collaborate on an album with Israeli-born, Indian-residing Sufi convert Shye Ben Tzur, or whether Paul Thomas Anderson initially committed to tagging along; regardless, it seems…

  • Mistress America

    Mistress America

    ★★★½

    "Does Frances Ha cozily appropriate Georges Delerue’s score from Truffaut’s A Gorgeous Girl Like Me to rub cinephiles the right way without having to contribute anything more? Are Baumbach’s films generally cozily insular and meant only for a myopic, self-selecting group? It’s true that they’ve cleaved to the experiences of a certain geographic and social caste: white, well-educated, NYC-centric, part of the east coast nexus of lightly worn elitism that generally shuns vocal conservatives, proximate to if not directly part…

  • Results

    Results

    ★★★½

    "I’ve been making movies for 15 years. I love those movies. I’m so, so grateful that I got to do them. And frankly, if I get the opportunity again in life, I would love to scurry back to making strange and obscure things. I mean, Results may well be strange and obscure, but it’s my best effort to make something that can exist in the marketplace. Certainly making movies that I’d spend three or four years on and earn four…

  • You're Sleeping Nicole

    You're Sleeping Nicole

    ★★★½

    "Upon its Cannes premiere and ever since, Stéphane Lafleur’s Tu dors Nicole (You’re Sleeping Nicole) was instantly and endlessly pegged as the Québécois equivalent of Frances Ha. Understandable, given that it’s a black-and-white portrait of two close girlfriends’ extended falling-out as one conspicuously matures while the other flounders aimlessly. Still, Nicole‘s tempered acridness and emphasis on the annoyances of minimum-wage jobs taken upon reluctant entrance to the working world makes Ghost World a closer point of reference. Despite taking place…

  • Aloha

    Aloha

    ★★★½

    "If you’re a dedicated Cameron Crowe fan, you may have been forced to spend part of the last 15 years repeatedly explaining why. Since Almost Famous, Crowe’s non-documentary feature output has included two movies instantly/violently rejected by both critics and the public (Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown) and one semi-soft family film that got a parody Twitter account and endless derision months before release solely due to the admittedly risible title We Bought a Zoo. His latest, Aloha, also has a dumb…

  • Jauja

    Jauja

    ★★★½

    "In his first three features (pointedly not counting the self-congratulatory medium-length indulgence Fantasma), Lisandro Alonso often favored a camera moving along with its stoically silent protagonists: La Libertad's laborer, Los Muertos' downriver traveler, Liverpool's cross-terrain tramper. Though once again largely narratively predicated on covering lots of ground, Jauja does something very different, which could be labeled landscape shot-reverse shot. The opening nicely establishes this principle: we see Dinesen roaming the cliffside area, then a reverse shot of a military subordinate…

  • Of Men and War

    Of Men and War

    ★★★½

    "The camera is playing a role in acknowledgment. The major part in therapy is acknowledgment. On an everyday basis, you are acknowledging that something really happened to that person, which is so important that this stranger has come from so far away and he’s spending so much time there with no agenda for interviews, and he’s here from the very beginning with a promise to stay until the very end of everything that could be said. The 45 minutes the…

  • Amour Fou

    Amour Fou

    ★★★½

    "Henriette is initially resistant to entering a mutual suicide pact, but when diagnosed with an incurable tumor she changes her mind, and not for the last time. It’s one of Hausner’s little jokes (repetition being a key principle of comedy) that this mutual consummation is scheduled, canceled and reattempted time and time again: this is a mutually destructive relationship comprised of only one, initially hypothetical act, with ancillary sexual and social relations virtually elided. This cycle is reminiscent of a…

  • The Fog

    The Fog

    ★★★½

    If John Carpenter was a chef, he'd be a nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk guy, because that's his approach to shot composition: all parts of the frame matter, even the presumably neutral ones. The opening scenes of The Fog play like an extended riff on Close Encounters' abduction-of-Barry sequence, in which objects come to life, possessed entities threatening physical harm. In a wide interior house shot, an armchair sits frame center, seemingly just a negative blocking element, then suddenly shoots forward towards the camera;…

  • The Duke of Burgundy

    The Duke of Burgundy

    ★★★½

    I was fighting The Duke of Burgundy hard for the first 15 minutes because its digital sheen didn't fit connotationally at all with its obvious reference points. The pre-credits sequence establishing putative sub Evelyn (Chiara D'Anna)— a '70s bookishly demure black-haired girl, peddling on a bike through a field on her way to a sinister rendezous at the mansion up the way to the strains of a knock-off Morricone tune with wordless female vocals (e.g.) — is structurally exactly what…