Vadim Rizov

Vadim Rizov

Contact: vadim dot rizov at gmail dot com

Favorite films

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Recent reviews

  • The Holdovers

    The Holdovers


    It is, as previously announced, a crowdpleaser directed by Alexander Payne, designed for career rejuvenation after the ambitious, unwieldy and expensive commercial failure of 2017’s Downsizing, and effectively written under his instruction by sitcom writer-producer David Hemingson. He cannibalized what was initially written as a prep school-set pilot by, among other things, following Payne’s directive to modify a plotline from Marcel Pagnol’s Merlusse. Payne saw that film at Telluride in 2011 while promoting The Descendants, and despite the very specific…

  • Poor Things

    Poor Things


    Initially, Poor Things seems like it might be a Yorgos Lanthimos provocation about the value of provocation, a suspicion prompted when medical student Max McCandless (Ramy Youssef) first sees Bella Baxter (Emma Stone) and, awestruck, describes her as a “beautiful retard.” Given the film’s steampunk trappings, the 19th-century setting doesn’t offer “period verisimilitude” as a cover for vocabulary that feels suspiciously like a Red Scare shout-out. Bella is seen naked for the first time while unconscious; depending on how you…

Popular reviews

  • Frances Ha

    Frances Ha


    This is the kind of movie that causes strongly polarized reactions based on each viewer's capacity to tolerate/recognize/empathize with those on-screen. Some people just can't handle watching 20-/30-something white people undergo minor crises within a basically privileged framework, which is understandable. (That said, I'm not sure why someone with that mindset would ever go watch ANY NOAH BAUMBACH MOVIE and ask afterwards — as some guy did — " if it had any sort of larger social context… besides only…

  • Magic Mike XXL

    Magic Mike XXL


    Magic Mike XXL is a putatively "modest"/"small" film — $14.8 million budget, 28-day shooting schedule, a shambling road movie meant to showcase extended musical numbers and largely excising the first film's recessionary panic. (Business is discussed, specifically the hustle of running a small business, but it's not the dominant throughline motivating everything as in the first, a line of inquiry Soderbergh pursued in Erin Brockovich, Bubble and The Girlfriend Experience, in ways that increasingly played like a meta-text about his…