Vadim has written 6 reviews for films rated ★★★★ during 2014.

  • Hill of Freedom

    Hill of Freedom

    ★★★★

    The dialogue is predominantly in awkward English, because Japanese Mori (Kase Ryo) is in South Korea to search for Kwon (Seo Young-haw) without a handle on the language. Lingua franca necessity supplements/supplants alcohol as the primary agent for awkward truth-telling. Other disjunctures from past precedent include a liquor switch (wine is the norm, with soju making only a token cameo), a complete lack of characters related to the film industry, and a cessation of repeated trips to the same locations…

  • In Comparison

    In Comparison

    ★★★★

    Not a workingman death's-type scenario, but a journey traversing a sliding scale where dignity in labor is present/absent to varying extents, mediated by varying degrees of mechanical labor. There are two shots in here that, if you'd shown them to me in a Hollywood film, I would've sworn were shitty CGI: one of the stamping gears of an automated brick line pumping back and forth, like someone doing reps faster than humanly possible, and another assembly line image of bricks…

  • Él

    Él

    ★★★★

    The audience was howling from the get-go, as was I; it's hard not to. A dialogue-less church opening dollies in to isolate, in decidedly complicit fashion, a priest's washing and kissing young boys' feet with undeniably, outrageously lasvicious intensity. The camera/priest's gaze is transferred to Francisco (Arturo de Córdova), who scans the shoes of women sitting in the front pew before lighting on Gloria (Delia Garcés). This fetishized activity within a chuch (sacreligious, tellingly inherent to the setting, or both?)…

  • Yoshie Fujiwara's Hometown

    Yoshie Fujiwara's Hometown

    ★★★★

    Because of its technological-limitations-dictated status as a part-talkie, Home Town alternates between scenes with faint but discernible audio of actors on set, scenes with post-sync diagetic music or sound effects with title cards, and scenes of total silence. Mizoguchi switches between the three different modes seemingly at will (though probably also as a result of managing early sound technical difficulties), and the unpredictability of which comes next is suspenseful. The camera moves frequently, sometimes with surprisingly rough-hewn urgency: the signature…

  • Under the Skin

    Under the Skin

    ★★★★

    Mostly did what I needed to do with this here. Otherwise: not being a Birth true believer (and never having seen Sexy Beast), I wasn’t sufficiently prepared, even by advance hype, for how ridiculously confident this is. Shots begin as seemingly uninflected observation, then the music creeps in and a whole new emotional tone is set without a single cut or camera movement. Glazer can plunge into a ridiculously complicated kaleidoscopic pile-up of Glasgow-at-night images, then get right back to…

  • Journey to the West

    Journey to the West

    ★★★★

    Wrote about this here.