Vadim has written 220 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • There There

    There There

    ★★★½

    Filmmaker: The movie dares you not to notice the way by which it’s made, and you toy with that throughout. That early moment of realization, that the characters are never going to enter the same frame, forces you to ask yourself questions about how this was made, even if you didn’t know.

    Bujalski: I’ve been surprised—there are people who can and do watch this whole thing, and certainly understand that something strange is happening, but never put together that these…

  • Armageddon Time

    Armageddon Time

    ★★★½

    It’s 1980, morning in what’s not quite yet Reagan’s America: he’s still a candidate heard on TV prophesying that America is approaching its own moral moment of Armageddon, which—along with the Clash’s cover of “Armagideon Time”—is the pretext for the title. Gray’s gloomy takes on Greek tragedy, from Little Odessa up through We Own the Night, could all have had this title, their narratives devoted to plunging characters into endless downfalls. Armageddon Time, though, unexpectedly begins in a place of…

  • Constant

    Constant

    ★★★½

    I interviewed the directors of this film, which made me finally look up what “point cloud animation” and “photogrammetry” were after years of seeing examples I couldn’t name in experimental films.

  • Friends and Strangers

    Friends and Strangers

    ★★★½

    We shot Friends and Strangers on an ARRI Alexa, but like a 2010 [camera]—one of the very first versions released, which still has the same sensor, the same image basically as what the Alexa Minis, or whatever the latest ones are, use. But it’s bigger, it chews through a lot more power, it’s noisier, it’s extremely heavy, so cinematographers and directors working commercially are happy to pay $100,000 [for a newer camera] instead of $10,000, which is what we paid…

  • The Dream and the Radio

    The Dream and the Radio

    ★★★½

    I’ve never had the true believer intensity that would draw me to a director’s bio that reads, in part, “Renaud Després-Larose studied philosophy in Montreal before choosing to devote himself to cinema.” Oh good! I sat down and devoted myself to the darkest (in a very literal sense) movie I’ve seen since Vitalina Varela; it wasn’t super-surprising (in fact, rather validating that I guessed right) to see Pedro Costa thanked in the end credits for an indeterminately phrased form of…

  • Dos Estaciones

    Dos Estaciones

    ★★★½

    In the opening sequence of Juan Pablo González’s second feature, Dos Estaciones, DP Gerardo Guerra’s Steadicam roves a tequila farm’s fields as workers chop down agave plants; when they pause for lunch, the camera pans equally slowly, seemingly without planning, to bring whoever’s speaking into frame. In these opening moments, Dos Estaciones could be any one of a number of post-Lisandro Alonso films composed of tracking shots, slow pans and nonprofessional performances by Latin American laborers, differentiated only by the…

  • 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…

  • Teenage Emotions

    Teenage Emotions

    ★★★½

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

  • El Planeta

    El Planeta

    ★★★½

    I generally strive to be a well-informed viewer; in the case of Amalia Ulman’s El Planeta, however, I was perhaps better served by going in uncharacteristically ignorant. Because I didn’t really know anything about Ulman besides the fact that she’s a performance/video/web-artist, I wasn’t picking up on any of her debut feature’s connections to the personas she’s developed on Instagram and elsewhere. Instead, Ulman’s debut feature, shot in the town of Gijón, where she grew up, registered as exactly the type of movie I like, a droll comedy formally descended from Éric Rohmer.

    Good movie!

  • Atlantis

    Atlantis

    ★★★½

    I’m not crazy about what I wrote about this from TIFF, but it’ll serve and this movie needs a signal boost as it “enters American release,” so posting here.

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★★½

    I wrote something like a personal essay on my 2020 in film, and since it includes Mank I’ll park it here.

  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    ★★★½

    Adapted from Iain Reid’s 2016 novel, Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things returns to familiar preoccupations—solipsistic men and idealized girlfriends, already subjective memory’s decay, aging and death, ambitious futility. From the book Kaufman retains the text of page one (an interior monologue from the unnamed female narrator), some dialogue from the subsequent first chapter and the course of events up to about page 150 (out of 210). Otherwise, the dialogue’s almost entirely been junked before a final act of…