Vadim has written 9 reviews for films rated ★★★½ during 2018.

  • The House That Jack Built

    The House That Jack Built

    ★★★½

    "It was strange to see The House That Jack Built presented so gaudily, with taped intros from Von Trier (who began his remarks with ‘Hello you bold people of America’ and closed with ‘Never another Trump’) and Dillon, in the same theatre where, 13 years ago, I’d seen the director conduct a Q&A via video conference. Back then, he was still a Respected International Arthouse Director, whose Manderlay (2005) would receive, de facto, serious consideration if not actual approval. All…

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★½

    All six segments are about Death; it's the climax of the first five, with four of six specifically involving gun violence, either implicitly or shown on-screen. While the Coens are unlikely to lay their political cards on the table, many of these deaths wouldn’t be possible without guns, esp. a particularly devastating suicide; NB copious research about e.g. how ready access has increased the US firearms suicide rate to eight times that of other high-income OECD countries, which is a…

  • Ash Is Purest White

    Ash Is Purest White

    ★★★½

    "For otherwise underinformed viewers like myself, one of the functions of watching Jia Zhangke’s movies in real time as they came out was pedagogical: because I don’t read the news enough, I’m not sure I would have known about the construction of the Three Gorges Dam otherwise, let alone developed a visceral understanding of its impact. It was Jia’s extended project, in narrative and nonfiction films made during its construction, to continually integrate footage documenting the destruction of houses where…

  • Nadja

    Nadja

    ★★★½

    "Brooklyn. I've never been there. Have you?" "Once. No. Actually twice. A long time ago."

    There are movies that get less weird when I rewatch them, having seen more stuff since last viewing and acquired a wider frame of reference. I think this is the third time I've seen this over 16 years or so and it's still a very strange movie. Peter Fonda's haircut in The Limey was a better call but he's still funny here.

    "After that he didn't care about anything. It was back to basics."

  • Monrovia, Indiana

    Monrovia, Indiana

    ★★★½

    "Monrovia is a pure case study in 'fly-over country,' a tiny town whose demographics shifted from 99.2% white in the 2000 census to 97.3% in the 2010 census. In the culture wars we will all be pleased to engage in until our deaths (the way things are going), there are, broadly speaking, two stances on this type of community. There’s the anti-, 'What’s the Matter with Kansas?' case, which isn’t all that new and doesn’t really require much explicating (hotbeds…

  • Maya

    Maya

    ★★★½

    "Because Hansen-Løve does not neatly alternate between a fixed number of narrative strands, there is no sense of what the film’s agenda(s) might be, or even if it has one. As such, I sat right up in my seat in sheer surprise a number of times; there was the feeling that anything might happen with no notice, which I find exhilarating. Still, it’s impossible not to note that this film is Problematic in at least three different ways:"

    From TIFF.

  • Full Metal Jacket

    Full Metal Jacket

    ★★★½

    There is not a single normal personal interaction in the first reel — there are the numbed close-ups of the recruits having their heads shaved, but no signs of life there, and only one reaction shot of Matthew Modine having time to contemplate rather than responding to R. Lee Ermey. There is not a single conversation between two people until the start of the second reel; I'm guessing this internal timing was not an accident. I very much admire how,…

  • 12 Days

    12 Days

    ★★★½

    That score is awful, please stop encouraging Alexandre Desplat. His name is on the poster, I assume there is some pragmatic reason for his involvement. The accompanying long shots are also useless. Otherwise this is great as Depardon usual.

  • Venom and Eternity

    Venom and Eternity

    ★★★½

    "I may not be right, but the others will soon be wrong." Exactly.