Vadim has written 111 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2013.

  • Providence

    Providence

    ★★★

    Wildly impressive in navigating back and forth between the real world and the novelist's distortion of it, but between John Gielgud yelling about his excretory difficulties and Dirk Bogarde saying "cock" with unusual vehemence dozens of times it's like being trapped in one of the more unpleasant Great White Male Novels of the '70s. Distinct orange-blue palette is exactly the same as the shades in Wild Grass. Resnais doesn't need CGI color correction; he was, somehow, doing this 36 years ago.

  • Coast of Death

    Coast of Death

    ★★★

    Like fellow Zeitun Films production Arraianos, Costa da Morte is a study of life in an isolated Galician village with a visual thing for wind turbines and out-of-control fires blazing at night; there's already some odd internal consistencies over there in a tiny filmography. Filmed largely in extreme long-shots (like a less sentimental The Sky Turns), Costa da Morte's most memorable images take advantage of the inherently texturally overwhelming properties of large bodies of water; for best results, decenter your…

  • The Crowd Roars

    The Crowd Roars

    ★★★

    Cocky Jimmy Cagney on auto-pilot is still better than most things, but this suffers from a particular kind of lazy studio screenwriting in which characters are constantly referring to other characters they've just seen in the last scene — ostensibly to stitch together time jumps, but really just a reminder of the limited number of possible romantic/social/whatever pemutations. Also Cagney's not very convincing as a seedy unshaven hobo, and the second half's sense of heavy tragedy shrugged off and halfhearted…

  • Blue Is the Warmest Color

    Blue Is the Warmest Color

    ★★★

    Scroll down here.

  • Redemption

    Redemption

    ★★★

    Considered here. Interesting as this is, I waffled a bit writing it up; on some level, I don't think this works if you're not in some way a member of the more-or-less orthodox "left." I am, but I think that still might be a problem.

  • The King's Body

    The King's Body

    ★★★

    Considered briefly here.

  • Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?

    Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?

    ★★★

    Wrote about this here, with much more on Gondry general plus parts of an interview I did with him; please check it out if that sounds of interest to you. How do I actually feel about this movie? About half an hour will do me; there doesn't seem to be much more visual territory to explore after that and I personally get irritated when Chomsky explains basic de Saussure like he's blowing our minds. But that's just me. YMMV, as ever.

  • Jesus the Revolutionary

    Jesus the Revolutionary

    ★★★

    “The Philippine apocalypse is approaching!” screams a military commander, the in-a-nutshell warning of every Diaz film I've seen. This one's under two hours (!) and yes, dwelling on duration or lack thereof is Philistine territory (is it? At least two of the brightest viewers I know find it hard to barrel past two hours), but it's weird to watch Diaz try (?) to at least look like he's checking off the components of a standard action movie. The opening shots…

  • West Side Avenue

    West Side Avenue

    ★★★

    Four films into the Diaz corpus, I'm getting increasingly impatient with my return-on-time-investment yield. For years he was kind of a festival phantom, a continuously invoked name by those lucky enough to travel that circuit year-round, an example of uncommercial brilliance unjustly marginalized for sheer duration. With Norte seemingly serving as some kind of wider awareness breakthrough, some skepticism about whether Diaz indeed earns every minute seems justifiable. It's one thing for Diaz to say "if you value life, if…

  • A Girl in Every Port

    A Girl in Every Port

    ★★★

    Reputed to be Hawks' greatest silent, but I had a hard time getting into this because a) group brawling as a form of especially OTT comedy is one thing (hilarity does indeed ensue in similar circumstances in Come And Get It) but this is really just boorish guys constantly spoiling for a fight with no provocation, and I get enough of that on the subway b) when Victor McLaglen registers big, he registers really big and I can't really handle it. Would much rather hang out with urbane Robert Armstrong.

  • Fatal Attraction

    Fatal Attraction

    ★★★

    Covered it here, I guess.

  • Paid to Love

    Paid to Love

    ★★★

    The way Hawks talked about this (as a Sunrise-influenced work with "a great many camera effects"; he seemed vaguely ashamed of the movie), I was expecting a mondo expressionist freak-out, but this is a pretty straightforward a) romantic comedy b) then quasi-lugubrious drama c) then back to romantic comedy. Dan Sallitt ran down the really surprising, uncharacteristic shots afterwards, most notably a totally uncharacteristic/ostentatious POV shot from a woman's head resting on a pillow using a wide-angle lens. The comedy's heart lies in the sequences of two old duffers cheerfully ogling women and decrying a spineless young man together, which is all good fun.