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SilentDawn has written 349 reviews for films during 2015.

  • Carol

    Carol

    ★★★★★

    99/100

    A symphony of fleeting glimpses, glances, touches, embraces, and an overwhelming ambience of aching desire. Rain-drops mix with tears, discernable to only those who know the source and the resonance behind sheltered memories. Todd Haynes takes the foundation of Super 16mm and refines it until every color and texture leaps off the screen with subdued grandeur. Fleeting moments, usually tossed aside in most films, are an essential component to a love story that carried me deeper into the delicate…

  • Django Unchained

    Django Unchained

    ★★★★½

    86/100

    "Who's that stumblin' around in the dark? State your business or prepare to get winged!"

    A beginning shrouded in the iciness of the woods. America is at a point where even a tumbling wagon with a waggling tooth on top can signal the forthcoming force of death. Slave-owners, fugitives, and other scumbags of varying maliciousness don't just explode when shot. In fact, they practically expand across the walls in an uproarious fury, sending blood and guts to splatter against…

  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★★★★½

    90/100

    The Police Officer subplot fails tremendously on a rewatch, mainly because Villeneuve only glances back at it when necessary, leading to a supposedly heart-wrenching conclusion that feels resoundingly false in the grand scheme of the narrative. Everything else, however, works like gangbusters. A sickly cinematic experience that surrounds the viewer in blackness before sending them right into the thick of it. Its eerie mood, showcasing a continuous contrast between horror and sunny dustiness, is petrifying from the first image of a SWAT unit lumbering in plain sight along a landscape of cul-de-sacs, leading to countless set-piece explosions of tension. Heart-stopping cinema.

  • Anomalisa

    Anomalisa

    ★★★★★

    99/100

    Anomalisa, co-directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson and written by Kaufman, opens its pleasures and pains like an expansive dollhouse. Just like Kaufman’s other efforts, it isn’t strictly focused on the roots of human troubles, but why these existential (and in this case, depressive) ruptures surface and where our characters will be led as a result. While Synecdoche, New York unfolded an expansive, even monumental narrative through various tangents and cascading events, ultimately leading to a distinct representation…

  • Beasts of No Nation

    Beasts of No Nation

    ★★★★½

    86/100

    Second viewing is a relative disappointment, but that doesn't exactly *mean* anything in the long run, just more of an observation. It's still one of the great modern War pictures, and even with its flabby pacing, the narrow POV, ravishing performances, and lush direction results in something deliberately fresh in spite of its obvious influences (The 400 Blows, Apocalypse Now).

    Agu is still, and probably always will be, one of my favorite characters, especially because his connection to the…

  • The Big Short

    The Big Short

    ★★★

    58/100

    At the end of Adam McKay's The Big Short, I walked out of the theater with an aura of implicit rage. I assume the audience I saw it with felt the same, as the extended chatter carried far into the crowds leaving the other big showings of the weekend. It's a successful film, full of anger, passion, and a focused "Fuck you!" motive, and on that front, I cannot deny the dedication of the filmmaking and its smooth array…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★★

    95/100

    I figured that the 3rd viewing of The Force Awakens would bring fatigue along with the usual symptoms of dizzying adventure and copious amounts of nerd tears, but I'm happy to say that this delightful slice of entertainment keeps on giving. Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8 are indelible additions to this universe, and I'm still overwhelmed by the immense scale and the old-fashioned soul of its storytelling.

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Eyes Wide Shut

    ★★★★★

    100/100

    A Tale of Transactions, leading to the end of the rainbow.

  • Room

    Room

    ★★★½

    70/100

    Room begins and ends with two tremendous, tender performances and one evolving relationship. Nothing else matters when the camera focuses on them, mainly because Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay fill every space, whether large or small, with the same loving affection for the story they're telling and a continuous, truthful intimacy.

    The issues with Room, are basically, everything else. Lenny Abrahamson's direction fits at first but he soon tries to tell a calculated style of evolution visually, and it…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★★

    95/100

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn't so much a typical fantasy as it is a sweeping display of history and scattered remnants. Ever since the historical release of Star Wars in 1977, the adventures of the Skywalker family have enraptured and resonated with countless individuals. To say that The Force Awakens is anticipated isn't enough. It's a defining Event with a capital E, a juggernaut, and a historic beginning for a whole new generation. It's overwhelming to think, even…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★★

    FUCK.

    I laughed. I cried. I got genuine, bona-fide chills. I cheered. I wanted to leap in the air and hug every human, droid, and alien in the vicinity. STAR WARS isn't just back, but fully expanded and revitalized. It's a genuine spectacle with enough history and operatic energy to fill every STAR WARS fan with undiluted glee and vicious emotion.

    I now believe in aliens, because JJ Abrams somehow convinced them to revive the essential spirit of the original…

  • Phoenix

    Phoenix

    ★★★★½

    88/100

    Phoenix, in a word, is spellbinding. I was shaken awake by its haunting melodies throughout the soundtrack and a splendid evocation of post-war Berlin. However, its fascinating central relationship, performed beautifully by Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld, avoids the typical thriller roles of mystery and intrigue. Comparisons to Hitchcock's Vertigo have been tossed around, but it isn't just to point out the surface similarities.

    Phoenix, in a tantalizing way, buries its sexuality far lower than Hitchcock would've ever dared,…