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SilentDawn has written 436 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Mystery Men

    Mystery Men

    ★★★★½

    83

    "You must lash out with every limb, like the octopus who plays the drums."

    Absolutely preposterous, but incredible nonetheless. A two-hour Schumacher Batman riff that features caped crusaders such as 'The Shoveler' and 'Spleen'. Sublimely silly. I bet all of these actors keep evidence of Mystery Men locked away deep in their subconscious, but I cherish it. Filled to the brim with fart jokes and stupid slapstick and yet entirely more engaging than most superhero movies this decade. Shoutout to Tom Waits, master builder of non-lethal weapons.

  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

    Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

    ★★★★½

    *Was a 78, now an 88*

    "The original film is a claim to our slasher heritage, and a connection to the sinister subversions of holiday traditions, but it also can become tedious to watch it each and every year. Even as it’s one of my very favorite films, I find myself burnt out on its pleasures, letting it rest every once and awhile to hibernate before a new grand unveiling. In the meantime, however, I cling to the Halloween sequels,…

  • Hocus Pocus

    Hocus Pocus

    ★★★★½

    84

    A charming dose of autumn chills, and a wonderful family film that still finds the space to ruminate on the comfort of death and the passage of time. So spooky. That prologue with the lucid purples and greens against the dull brisk look of the woods still sweeps me off my feet, not to mention the impeccable trio casting of the witches and its scrumptious Halloween setting! If this isn't in your October viewing, rent it or buy it or turn on Freeform - it's probably playing right now (for the 100th time)!

  • Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

    ★★★★½

    85

    In the heart of LA.

  • Night of the Comet

    Night of the Comet

    ★★★★½

    83

    "See, this is the problem with these things. Daddy would have gotten us Uzis.

    Nearing the mid-80s, Night of the Comet is by any standards stripped to the core of its being, and all the better for it. With a blaring red atmospheric haze, well-sketched characters, and hardly anything else, Thom Eberhardt's hilarious, satirical blast on Reaganism and the joy of consumer control is intermingled with a low-fi sci-fi hang-out vibe. It exists on the brink of a void,…

  • Hustlers

    Hustlers

    ★★★★½

    85

    What Lorene Scafaria demonstrates with Hustlers is not just a knack for musicality within the realm of the body, but a musicality of transactional processes and the hierarchy of the masculine world. This is a firecracker film that beautifully, expertly captures the occupation of stripping, with its own elements of creation, success and failure, allure and danger, in addition to dissecting how any honest work is lost in a recessed economy. This is no mere 'scam the system' ensemble…

  • The Devil's Rejects

    The Devil's Rejects

    ★★★★½

    81

    "The Devil’s Rejects was a microcosm of post-9/11 rage, both at the exploitation of victims by the hands of the government and big business as well as the attackers. It was so shocking and yet so pure in intent that it almost got past Roger Ebert’s weak stomach for a four-star review (he gave it 3 stars, probably the film’s highest recommendation at the time). The final movement of ‘Freebird’ building over grainy Firefly family videos and the reality…

  • Boy

    Boy

    ★★★★½

    85

    Just so gosh darned lovely. Takes a detailed father/son dynamic and places it within an equally meticulous examination of small-town space. Moving and warm and inviting.

  • Mikey and Nicky

    Mikey and Nicky

    ★★★★½

    86

    "What is Mikey and Nicky, then? While not necessarily a buddy film, as the plot revolves around Nicky hunted by the mob and his friend (Mikey) tasked to wander with him as the night grows longer, it offers the concept as an understanding of negotiation. They are, in a sense, a perfect couple – two lost souls at the center of a terrible situation, on either side of the gun, and yet they are still familiar with the joys…

  • Over the Garden Wall

    Over the Garden Wall

    ★★★★½

    83

    For the autumn leaves and the candle-light, for the crescent moon and the creatures roaming storied paths in which they find solace; a new world is granted for two young boys, discovering that reality is merely a journey from one grove to another. As touching as it is expressive, this miniseries is carried by the wind towards the chill of a slowly setting sun; an experience lifted by levity and pummeled by adolescent awkwardness. At once a poisoned treat for the onset of Fall and a reminder of its clammy, eternal embrace. Such a cozy, wonderful thing.

  • Antichrist

    Antichrist

    ★★★★½

    88

    "What stings most after the provocative, harrowing prologue of Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist is the silence. It is a painful constant in our time on earth that cannot be avoided after a familial death. When my grandmother passed away, my family went out to her home in Denver, Colorado to clean it up, sell what we could, and prep it for a potential buyer. It hurt to see a happy, lifelong home be so quiet. All the memories and…

  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

    Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

    ★★★★½

    85

    An autumn ode to innocence lost and reality's lingering, omnipresent stain, whether embodied in the people of the present or the names of history. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark depicts a world where children start to grapple with the very-real horrors beyond the drive-in - that the scariest stories are often real, and are always in the process of being re-written. It isn't that scarecrows or spiders or boogeymen aren't terrifying (as it is seen in this…