Vadim has written 16 reviews for films during 2021.

  • The Souvenir: Part II

    The Souvenir: Part II

    ★★★★

    I wrote a pretty straightforward review, which is here.

  • Bergman Island

    Bergman Island

    ★★★½

    Filmmaker: There’s two other elements involving film that I’m curious about: the print of Cries and Whispers that they watch in the screening room, and also the film that Tim Roth’s character has made. I’m curious about filming the Bergman print off the screen, and the visual language of Tim’s film is very different from your usual visual language.

    Hansen-Løve: The screenings in 35 in Fårö happen only once a year, during the Bergman week. The prints do not stay…

  • Benedetta

    Benedetta

    ★★★

    A simplistic model of “humanistic” screenwriting complexity is to produce characters who initially seem Good but turn out to Do Bad Things and vice versa; Verhoeven regularly proposes a world with no well- or ill-meaning actors, where everyone’s waiting to take turn to get the upper hand and expose their true, almost invariably malign motives and/or assert themselves via brute violence. These actions are understandable as survival mechanisms within foul matrices (American society, the Catholic Church, righting nationalism); systems are the ultimate villains, but the people within them aren’t that far behind.

    More here.

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★★

    In American Gigolo, Light Sleeper and First Reformed, redemption gets conflated with sex in the single figure of a romantic interest; saddled with the latest iteration of this unenviable function, Haddish is unprepared to make the leap to her “comic performer shows off dramatic chops” role. But both the hits and misses in Card Counter are irrelevant to its central charm, which is comparing/contrasting how it varies the tropes of Schrader’s self-created genre. Gigolo harvested “Call Me” for two hours…

  • Earwig

    Earwig

    ★★★

    This is Hadzihalilovic’s English-language debut, a pandemic production which began shooting November of last year. These factors aren’t as important as they might be for other filmmakers: she’s never been dialogue-driven, preferring layered atmospheric unease instead, nor aimed for naturalistic performances—in any case, I doubt this has more than 100 lines. The pandemic factor, too, is imperceptible without background knowledge: Hadzihalilovic’s previous studies in isolation make her ideally suited for the production particulars of this moment.

    More here.

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★

    The biggest problem, though, is Hans Zimmer, whose score is incredibly loud and unremittingly the dominant sound for more of the movie’s 155 minutes than not. Zimmer’s approach to musical cultural appropriation has been blithe since at least 1994’s The Lion King, while his subsequent rise to Coachella fame has accelerated improbably. Both worlds collide in Dune’s score, a nightmare barrage of field-filling drums punctuated by the odd muezzin-ish call to prayer—given how fraught the material already is (brown-skinned desert…

  • Blackmail

    Blackmail

    ★★★

    [sound version, the last time I saw the silent one and I can’t believe these can’t be logged separately]

  • Serene Velocity

    Serene Velocity

    Here’s a little piece about visiting the hallway.

  • Annette

    Annette

    ★★★

    Leos Carax’s Annette begins with a variant on Holy Motors’s “Entrac’te,” now split from one mid-film break into opening and (mid-end-credits) closing musical numbers that set a similarly grimly determined/celebratory tone. The director and his real-life daughter are among the first people seen, leading Sparks and the film’s main cast out of the recording studio and into the world. Adam Driver gets on a motorcycle and zooms into the night to begin his diagetic story proper as confrontational stand-up comic…

  • Teenage Emotions

    Teenage Emotions

    ★★★½

    This is a good movie that I recommend, and I talked to Frederic Da about making it here.

  • Cusp
  • The Blazing World

    The Blazing World

    ★★

    At this point The Blazing World starts to resemble Ready Player One if the latter hadn’t, Overlook Hotel sequence aside, rendered its references as avatars and characters within an original (relatively, anyway) visual world of its own construction and instead made every single shot full-on pastiche. In a production design-minded way, Blazing is impressive, but to no end worth pursuing. On her quest, Margaret’s first dropped into a fantasy desert world to face off against her mom as a mask-wearing…