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SilentDawn has written 79 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ during 2014.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Elf

    Elf

    ★★★★½

    Part Eighteen of A Very Merry Christmas Challenge

    A glistening, heartwarming, beautiful, hilarious, and utterly well-executed film by any standard. The third-act may lose me just a tad, but the rest totally makes up for that. Buddy the Elf is one of the great characters ever created. And that part where he describes the radiator noise is freaking perfect.

  • Arthur Christmas

    Arthur Christmas

    ★★★★½

    Part Fifteen of A Very Merry Christmas Challenge

    Rollicking, overloaded with pristine joy, and spun with familiar cloth to create a beautiful but charmingly contemporary story; Arthur Christmas is a film that is stuffed full of sweet energy and gorgeous invention. I love returning to it every Christmas season, and I look forward to the many viewings in the future.

  • Team America: World Police

    Team America: World Police

    ★★★★½

    It seemed like the perfect time to re-watch this immaculately dirty and frightfully brilliant satire, especially in the wake of one of the most embarrassing scandals of our time. Team America: World Police is overloaded with style, creativity, and hilarious moments. The music, the direction, the writing, and the general inspiration of the entire production culminates in a meaningful work that isn't afraid to have an entire speech on the inner turmoils of pussies, dicks, and assholes. Twice.


    Maaaaaattttt Daaaaammmmonnn!

  • The Long Goodbye

    The Long Goodbye

    ★★★★½

    Part Five of Preparing (As Much As Humanly Possible) For Inherent Vice

    A maddening, roaming, witty, wandering, and fascinating work of disillusion and social deconstruction; Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye is also a striking and vibrant neo-noir that cleverly subverts and wrecks expectations. Elliot Gould's performance is simply the cool of cool, and the tortured landscape that he flows through is both entrancing and sharply edged. Altman's direction is as smooth as butter, and his eye for the meandering and…

  • Calvary

    Calvary

    ★★★★½

    A deafening, calm, and challenging work of character building and complex screenwriting; Calvary is a film that filled me more with admiration than anything else. Brendan Gleeson gives a performance beyond words, and even with so many wonderful performances this year, his work here is the best I've seen in 2014. Overall, in spite of some characters that felt "off", the film as a whole is quite good. However, It definitely isn't one that I will be returning to very…

  • Return of the Jedi

    Return of the Jedi

    ★★★★½

    In spite of some pacing pitfalls and some silly elements that would foreshadow major problems in the prequels; Return of the Jedi is a rousing and gorgeous adventure that is as exciting as it is emotionally involving. While the final battle may seem like a retread of the first film, It's more about the concluding character arcs and their respective relationships that make this installment so lush and beautifully conclusive.

    And yes, I love the Ewoks. Don't judge me.

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

    ★★★★½

    Part 9 of A Very Merry Christmas Challenge

    An absolute classic, beautifully told and wonderfully constructed. How much more is there to say?

    My favorite moment is Santa. I wonder if he's on his own naughty list?

  • This Is the End

    This Is the End

    ★★★★½

    Riotously funny, rambunctiously playful, and jam-packed with perverse and breathtaking flourishes; This Is the End is a vibrant and gleefully inspired trip through different realms of ego, faith, the apocalypse, weed, fate, dick jokes, and friendship. It's fucking bonkers in just about every aspect, and that's probably why I fell in love so thoroughly when I saw it last year. Now, even on my third viewing, It still makes me smile and laugh at every absurd moment.

    This Is the…