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SilentDawn has written 335 reviews for films during 2016.

  • Assassin's Creed

    Assassin's Creed

    ★★½

    48/100

    Justin Kurzel sucks the lifeblood out of anything he touches, and Assassin's Creed is no exception, but the self-serious ambition exudes an entrancing sense of style in spite of the goofy premise being drained of its inherent silliness. The flashback sequences are silent, acrobatic showcases - a dizzying soundtrack fulfills the extended chases and high-jumping movements - while the present-day material drowns in convoluted concepts, and the resulting mix is one of continuous fascination and intermittent thrills. See it for the Fassbender.

  • Love & Friendship

    Love & Friendship

    ★★★★½

    83

    What do you call someone who doesn't like this?

    A bit of a rattle.

    Whit Stillman's mastery falls in line with the confined structures and rooms of Austen's sharp, blistering snark, so it's only a matter of time before he tackled her work directly, settling into the plainly decadent hallways of Churchill and reveling in the quick wit of the tongue. So much delight in its airtight 93 minutes that it'll give you a contact high via the sheer extravagance of its mise en scène and the sly, sneaky women within it; a rearranging of a table controlled by buffoons.

  • Sully

    Sully

    ★★★★½

    88

    "What did you think? Hearing the CVR just now? Let me tell you what I think. I'm just so damn proud."

    Clint Eastwood's exploration of tried-and-true collective heroism in the face of detached government agency may be old-fashioned, but its pragmatic grace embodies an American legend with unassuming, quiet gestures and leisurely-crafted character dynamics. Tom Hanks is utterly incredible; the chilled, practical center of this ninety minute universe, encased in shadow and frozen by the January air, surrounded by…

  • Raising Cain

    Raising Cain

    ★★★★★

    93

    First viewing of the RECUT; a director-approved 'fan edit' instinctively focused on gradual deterioration rather than the Theatrical Cut's grasp on masterful surface shocks. Indeed, the RECUT commits to the insanity as it's an inherent part of Lithgow's performance and De Palma's stirring eye, but there's a lyrical dreaminess to the way this "Director's Cut" explores the initial set-up which knocked me on my ass. Preferably, De Palma should always work in limited locations, as it enables greater expansion…

  • A Christmas Story

    A Christmas Story

    ★★★★★

    94

    Nothing captures the essence of Christmas like the scene where the dad is struggling and uttering obscenities to himself while decorating the tree.

  • Basic Instinct

    Basic Instinct

    ★★★★★

    93

    Sex not just as power, but as the ferocity of power. Captures the energy and the sweat behind the curtains of Noir; a sticky, coked-up dance in early 90s garb. Sure, it's a Verhoeven picture, but all I see is Sharon Stone.

  • Gremlins

    Gremlins

    ★★★★★

    95

    "They're inside."

    "All of them?!?!"

    Master filmmaker Joe Dante has been sharper (The New Batch) and angrier (Looney Tunes: Back in Action) but never so economical. For such a quaint, little slice of Rockwellian subversion, each frame moves as if the Gremlins are already festering out of the walls. It's a cartoon that doesn't translate into the literal until the middle act, but Dante is wide-eyed and quick-witted throughout, and the payoffs are endless. Favorite moment has to be…

  • Blade Runner

    Blade Runner

    ★★★★★

    100

    "I'm not in the business. I am the business."

    One More Kiss, Dear.....

  • Krampus

    Krampus

    ★★★★½

    84

    A howling blizzard blast of Gateway Horror. Christmastime may be dysfunctional but it's nothing compared to when your gingerbread cookies learn how to use a nail gun.

  • The Tree of Life

    The Tree of Life

    ★★★★★

    100

    "Tell us a story from before we can remember."

    An impression of many lives, countless lives, vast, immeasurable lives but centralized around the duration of just one human being. So much of Malick's ingenuity stems from the fact that no other movie, before or since, looks like this, and as much as Lubezki has tried to replicate the effect for other artists, it is the singular worldview which embodies its essence, capturing a startling, fierce way of seeing the…

  • Jackie

    Jackie

    ★★½

    44

    Look, I'm all for an intoxicating Portman-led character piece, but the history - and the contemplation of it - in Jackie is laced with eye-rolling digressions and odd, hammerhead structural issues. If anything truly shines (besides Portman, of course), it's Mica Levi's chilled, honorable score, although even that fully runs out of steam by exploring its climatic rhythms before the first frame burns brightly on the screen, settling for shallow repetition and cyclical motifs instead. A missed opportunity precisely…

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    78

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story presents itself as a 'group on an impossible mission' action picture, but its enthralling moments undoubtedly lie in the intricate balance between unexplored concepts, locales, and creatures and sightings of the familiar. The Force Awakens has sadly grown controversial for diving back into the series' history in spite of its theme of legacy being the entire focus, and Rogue One expands on the innocent child-like wonder of nostalgia by playing with brand new…