Vadim Rizov

Contact: vadim dot rizov at gmail dot com

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  • David Byrne's American Utopia

    David Byrne's American Utopia

    In between songs, Byrne gives a few speeches—all good-intentioned, some cornball. One is about Kurt Schwitters and Hugo Ball; Byrne quotes a few lines from the latter about resisting fascism and gets a nice round of applause from the crowd. Later on, he urges people to vote, noting that local elections only boast a 20% turnout. “We gotta do better than 20%,” he says, and the crowd cheers (what were they going to do, boo?). The intent in projecting a…

  • 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…

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  • 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…