Vadim has written 6 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2019.

  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I watched this a second time to see if I would like it more or if it would remain my least favorite QT since Inglourious Basterds, and though I ended up liking the opening stretch significantly more, this doesn’t ultimately crunch. The first time around, there were a lot of moments where I wondered, “Is this relaxing or just boring?” The second time around, I was very into it for a while. And, on a production design, world-reconstruction level, this…

  • Gemini Man

    Gemini Man

    ★★★

    Wrote about this here.

    One thing I couldn't work in: there's a quick shot of Benedict Wong up at night, keeping watch with his pet toucan. Literally every other seemingly incidental detail in the script is inevitably a plant: Will Smith kills a bee and says he has an allergy to bees, which turns out to be a setup for...well, nevermind; Mary Elizabeth Winstead drinks a boilermaker, which prompts to Smith to note it's a cop drink and her to…

  • Knives Out

    Knives Out

    ★★★

    "A passion project Rian Johnson has been mentioning since at least 2010, Knives Out will presumably be a cornerstone of some future retrospective on movies made after fulfilling the imperative to successfully execute a blockbuster, alongside Ridley Scott’s The Counselor and Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry." More here. (This may gain half a star at some point.)

  • The Laundromat

    The Laundromat

    ★★★

    "Soderbergh’s other Netflix movie this year, The Laundromat, turns out to be something of an anthology film, and thus by definition pretty uneven. The subject is off-shore shell accounts, specifically those administered by the firm Mossack Fonseca, as revealed in the 2015 leak of the Panama Papers. I despise The Big Short for all kinds of reasons but give Adam McKay grudging credit for not simplifying the mind-numbing particulars behind credit-default swaps and the other previously obscure financial instruments inadvertently…

  • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

    ★★★

    There’s a brief shot of Ingrid Thulin coming out of Notre Dame. Whether this is Paris (where Four Horsemen was originally supposed to be filmed) or Hollywood (where it was mostly shot, when it turned out the locals were still understandably queasy about reenacting the occupation) is impossible to determine: there’s the doorway and wire fencing to the side, but no wider view to provide clues as to whether it’s soundstage or actuality. At frame left are three women, extras…

  • Toy Story 4

    Toy Story 4

    ★★★

    "Arriving a full 24 years after the first installment (long enough for CG water to finally be mastered; I’m impressed) Toy Story 4 improves on its misbegotten predecessor, an unceasingly loud affair that climaxed with weirdly intense imagery of the toys on a conveyor belt heading towards an incinerator. It made me think of the Holocaust, and I know I’m not the only person who had that reaction (although showing it to a group of children and pausing it at…