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SilentDawn has written 327 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • Drugstore Cowboy

    Drugstore Cowboy

    ★★★★

    75

    Possibly the hottest cast in cinema history, chilled to the bone by Gus Van Sant's direction. Free to meander as it pleases, Drugstore Cowboy still offers up an intensity of living life on the edge, on the border between addiction and process. How these characters operate is just as interesting as who they are as people, and it's often the tension that drives their lifestyle as a replacement for personality. Their habit finds root in the aimlessness of their environment.

  • Pioneer

    Pioneer

    ★★★★

    74

    David Lowery has found multiple avenues to explore the enormity of time. Whether it's in the independent mold of something like A Ghost Story or the big-budget exercises of Pete's Dragon - there's a clear through-line of time being the representative pain of those still with us, and the mystery that binds the line between the tangible and ethereal. What Pioneer visualizes is how even a short film offers the focus of the world beyond, in addition to Lowery's…

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★★★

    80

    An often repeated composition in Mike Flanagan's Doctor Sleep adaptation is the chilling image of a person greeting the decaying, cackling 'room 237' spirit from Kubrick's film in a bathroom far away from the Overlook Hotel, shutting the door behind them in an effort to confront the evil head-on. Whereas Kubrick's film often revealed ghosts as totems of existential memory and the pains of being alive ("great party, isn't it?"), it is the reconciliation between King's overt mythology and…

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★

    80

    Two weathered souls.

    A folk-lore history resurrected and displayed via an assortment of textures - splintered wood, scruffy beards, itchy wool, bottles upon bottles of whiskey, wet rocks, seagulls and mermaids and the eternal depth of the sea. The only thing scarier than its surreal horror logic is how succinctly it confronts the burden of labor and its dynamics of power. Willem Dafoe is on a god-tier level, while Robert Pattinson brilliantly plays along until eventually deciding he's had…

  • The Departed

    The Departed

    ★★★★

    73

    A sweltering, vulgar monstrosity of off-the-rails catholicism and pent-up masculine entrapment. Scorsese throws everything at the wall to see what sticks in order to get an interesting angle on what ultimately amounts to a bunch of Bostonians saying 'microprocessor' and 'fuck'. The ensemble cast is to die for and they're yelling constantly, it's great!

  • Brigadoon

    Brigadoon

    ★★★★

    80

    Sound-stage romance. An eternity amidst a ticking clock. Fantasy against reality. Love above all, and the physical expression of it.

  • Dolemite Is My Name

    Dolemite Is My Name

    ★★★★

    79

    "I'm so grateful for what you did for me, cause I'd never seen nobody that looks like me up there on that big screen."

    A film about visibility and creativity, about being up on the silver screen for the sake of being known and understood. One of the funniest movies in a long time, and oh so joyous.

  • I Was a Teenage Serial Killer

    I Was a Teenage Serial Killer

    ★★★★

    74

    A story worth listening to.

  • Support the Girls

    Support the Girls

    ★★★★

    75

    This past summer, I took a break from a food-service job that had, in hindsight, been wearing me down to the thinnest modes of existence. I couldn't come to terms with it in the moment, but once I stepped away, I knew that it was the right choice. Employees were constantly calling in so I was being handed additional hours, and while I wasn't necessarily 'forced' to work those shifts, it wasn't exactly deemed acceptable for me to clock…

  • Crawl

    Crawl

    ★★★★

    73

    Not as wacky as the bright-red gore-fest of Piranha 3D or as torturous as his remake of The Hills Have Eyes, but sheesh, this is pretty ruthless. The gators give no fucks. Crawl offers around ten minutes of typical set-up and then it's off to the races. While Aja isn't as spatially capable as Collet-Serra or as subversive as Eli Roth, he's still a modern horror craftsman hellbent on making nasty surface-thrill experiences, and I appreciate his dedication to…

  • Brick

    Brick

    ★★★★

    78

    What Brick lacks in a homage for Film-Noir is a tangible reverence for the melancholy and patterns of the genre's language. The spirited, flowery conversations between High School students is funny at first, but then deeply sad - a world with hardly any adults, with grown-up children on the edge of a ravine of depression and trauma. If anything, Rian Johnson mines inspiration from the childhood narratives of Stephen King to incorporate a story of withered adolescents having to…

  • 3 from Hell

    3 from Hell

    ★★★★

    75

    Putrid, stripped-to-the-bone rumination of America's sweethearts - the serial killers. As Rob Zombie drifts closer and closer to total abstraction (many explosive moments become completely indecipherable and yet still function as exploitative and ravenous), he also veers towards sympathy. A movie that dares us to not simply bear witness to atrocity, but to grant these characters a laugh and a tear and maybe even investment. A fine closer to a trilogy that turned villains into myths and myths into real people.