Vadim has written 7 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2017.

  • The Disaster Artist

    The Disaster Artist

    ★★★

    "James Franco has been annoying a lot of people, myself included, for a variety of reasons, not least his relentless direction of a shocking number of movies, most quite poorly received: if I’m counting the credits on his IMDB page right, The Disaster Artist is his 16th feature since 2005 — not precisely Fred Olen Ray levels of shoddy productivity, but not that far off either. For easily his most mainstream effort (and, full disclosure, the only one I’ve seen),…

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    ★★★

    "Here’s where my reservations kick in: Mildred starts the film as a completely sympathetic and righteous character, tying her fury over the police’s incompetence to their legacy of racist conduct. But of course, All Is Not As It Seems: at various points, we learn that she drove drunk with her kids a long time ago, that her daughter wanted to leave and go live with Mildred’s ex-husband, etc. People are complicated and more than they appear to be at first,…

  • Let the Sunshine In

    Let the Sunshine In

    ★★★

    "Denis’s film hit NYFF a few months before the first publication of her co-writer Christine Angot’s work in English — fortuitous for me, since I’ve written so much about Denis over the years that it felt like I’d totally run out of new material. Reading Incest (copies are out there already) clarifies some things about where Sunshine is coming from. A controversial cultural institution in France, Angot practices auto-fiction; the title should be taken literally, but it takes a while…

  • Last Flag Flying

    Last Flag Flying

    ★★★

    "Until relatively recently, Richard Linklater’s hopscotching across genres and budgetary tiers had him generally pegged as an unpredictable magpie whose next move would never be clear; now, certain circles of online discourse have him basically pegged as the alpha male celebrator of white patriarchy (I did my song and dance on this a while ago, no reprise necessary). Setting aside those pejoratively-described constants, I think it’s true that starting with Before Midnight (the exact pivot point is arguable) the mandatory…

  • My Journey Through French Cinema

    My Journey Through French Cinema

    ★★★

    "Names you won’t hear in Bertrand Tavernier’s personal history of French cinema: Abel Gance, Marcel Pagnol, Sacha Guitry, Alain Resnais, Philippe Garrel. Don’t expect to hear about any directors who got started after the ’60s either: Tavernier begins with a solid overview of the glories of Jacques Becker, the first director to make an impression on him (“At age six, I could have chosen worse”) and ends with an equally lengthy tribute to Claude Sautet — along with Jean-Pierre Melville,…

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★★

    Three stars but barely and no I don't feel like elaborating.

  • Les Hautes solitudes

    Les Hautes solitudes

    ★★★

    "The closeness of the camera, combined with intense grain, is reminiscent of Peter Hutton’s approach to black and white: you’re watching a real space being thoughtfully and deliberately abstracted into an expressive, abstract, often quite grainy black-and-white palette. There’s great drama in a woman turning suddenly away from a blown-out window and moving into the near total darkness of a room, snuffing out all light in one quick violent pan. The subject may be suffering and loneliness; there is, nonetheless,…