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SilentDawn has written 292 reviews for films during 2014.

  • Top Five

    Top Five

    ★★★★

    A gorgeous, vulgar, painful, and subversive urban fable; Top Five is both a wonderful satire on the nature of celebrities as well as a charming ode to magic still present in a changing society. Chris Rock absolutely kills it as Andre Allen, a comedic actor trying to make his mark in a more serious role. Discussing sobriety, fairy-tales, mistakes from the past, and the inability to change in the entertainment world; Chris Rock weaves a screenplay filled with as many…

  • The Evil Dead

    The Evil Dead

    ★★★★★

    Unanimously a horror masterpiece and one of the great works of surrealism, The Evil Dead is a film of shocking gore and unabashed macabre beauty. Filmed on a meager budget around $350,000; Sam Raimi and company set out to make a simple film about a terrifying night set in a cabin in the woods. Both remarkably scary and ferociously paced, The Evil Dead is 85 minutes of splatter, foggy atmosphere, solid acting, and tremendous visual storytelling. While not as comedic…

  • Scarface

    Scarface

    ★★★★★

    Brian De Palma's Scarface is unquestionably one of the great gangster epics, mainly because of its incredible vibrancy and hyper realism in regards to both the style and the main character tapestry. The feeling of the film is simply suffocating, clashing sound and image in a concussive fashion that bears a shocking resemblance to a train-wreck. In a good way of course. Yet, under all the neon and the constant blaring of a wonderful Giorgio Moroder soundtrack is a character…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Grand Budapest Hotel

    ★★★★½

    "What is the meaning of this shit?!?!?!?!"

    Simply put, this grew on me IMMENSELY on the second watch. I can't believe I thought this story didn't have enough emotional punch, as I got a whole lot of that on this re-watch. Utterly moving, melancholic, vibrant, wistful and hilarious; The Grand Budapest Hotel is the second Wes Anderson (the first being Life Aquatic) film that I have grown to love. I think I've finally come to appreciate Anderson as a filmmaker,…

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★★½

    (Read this in Caesar's voice)

    Apes! Strong Characterization!

    Humans! Mostly Lifeless and Dull!

    Visuals! Lush and Vibrant!

    Story! Falls apart in Final Half-Hour!

    Still Better than Transformers 4!

    As well as a Majority of Summer Blockbusters!

  • Tusk

    Tusk

    ★★★★½

    There's a point in Kevin Smith's Tusk where the toxic absurdity reaches a boiling point of cathartic proportions, and It's a fork in the road of sorts. You'll either happily and giddily stroll down the left road, or annoyingly sprint down the right road. I'm in the former camp, and I couldn't be in a grander state of nirvana.

    Tusk is simultaneously a subversive take on the classic "old house in the middle of nowhere" trope as well as a…

  • The Interview

    The Interview

    ★★★★

    At the surface, The Interview seems like a strict political satire while showcasing moments of trademark Seth Rogen humor. However, It's the exact opposite. While the mocking tone is constant throughout and the overall feel is both biting and sardonic; The Interview is actually a charming and outrageous buddy spy picture, one that is like a marvelous mix of Peter Segal's Get Smart and any Abbott and Costello joint. Personally, I had way more fun with this than I thought…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    ★★★★

    On a re-watch, the Marvel third act syndrome is even more prevalent, and the plot is stupid as ever. However, in spite of a final battle that couldn't be more generic and a set of villains that are as dull as ever; the groovy and lighthearted tone compliments a set of characters SO FREAKING WELL. The music, the direction, the writing, and the cinematography are all seamless, and if you focus on the timing between the Guardians, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better Superhero movie. Too bad formula gets in the way.

  • Only God Forgives

    Only God Forgives

    ★★★★½

    While lacking the neo-noir sheen and emotional core of Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn's fiery creation of Only God Forgives is a film composed and constructed with pristine precision and intent. It is a work of a filmmaker who doesn't give a fuck and he's going to make films his way. I think that's why I love it so much. Throughout the lean run-time, you're repulsed, entranced, scared, and by the end, weirdly moved. It is not a film of twisty-turny…

  • A Christmas Story

    A Christmas Story

    ★★★★★

    Part Twenty-two of A Very Merry Christmas Challenge.

    Simultaneously a glistening piece of nostalgia and a free-wheeling work of Christmastime charm and cheer; A Christmas Story is an utter masterpiece that explores the life of a child named Ralphie as well as visualizing a period of vibrant happiness and Rockwellian beauty.

    Directed by Bob Clark, the film flows like a constant stream of memories. Some good, some embarrassing, some bad, and some venturing into the surreal and the fantastical; the…

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas

    A Charlie Brown Christmas

    ★★★★★

    Part Twenty one of A Very Merry Christmas Challenge.

    Absolutely perfect. Like "this is so good, no other Christmas film needs to exist" type of perfect. There are a few that I like more, but if I never need to get in the Christmas spirit, I'll watch this.

    Beautiful.

  • The Polar Express

    The Polar Express

    ★★★★

    Bringing a visual style that expertly showcases serene beauty within a snowy night as well as a unique vision of the North Pole; The Polar Express works wonders in spite of its more silly and darker "zemeckis" flourishes. The music is gorgeous, the opening is wonderful, and while the pacing is lackluster, many memorable moments hide that aspect. The rollercoaster scene is kinda silly, as is the mandatory sequence where Zemeckis does his best to scare the shit out of all the younger viewers, but the emotional impact by the end is undeniably subtle and majestic.

    Recommended beverage: Hot Cocoa.