Dylan has written 33 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ during 2021.

  • Halloween

    Halloween

    ★★★★½

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

    It’s the cool thing now to say that x horror movie is really about trauma, but I don’t think any film from the last ten years have driven home that point as pointedly or as viscerally as the 2018 Halloween requel (that’s reboot +sequel for the uninitiated). Much more than a retread of movies past or a passing of the torch to a younger cast, this installment posits the future of the final girl as a reclamation of the butcher…

  • The Clock

    The Clock

    ★★★★½

    Forget about cities becoming actual characters in your film, make them active antagonists to the proceedings. From the moment Joe steps onto the streets of New York, Vincente Minnelli captures the city as an imposing concrete behemoth in glorious canted low angles. Gnashing and grinding its skyscraper lined jaw with every cut and rush of sound from a crowd constantly in transit, it threatens to swallow him whole…until the introduction of Alice.

    The abrasiveness of New York frames their romance…

  • Moonstruck

    Moonstruck

    ★★★★½

    Deeply romantic picture for almost entirely counterproductive reasons, positioning a tragedy built around lies and infidelity as a lush little jaunt across the small intersection of love and marriage. Having a deeply corny force like a giant ass moon acting as a cosmic matchmaker shouldn’t work, just like having Cher instantly fall into the arms of a bread maker ripped straight from the pages of a tattered romance novel shouldn’t work either, but there’s enough latent cynicism woven into the…

  • Detour

    Detour

    ★★★★½

    Fuck. Yes. The very best of film noir concentrated into only 67 minutes of hazy storytelling laced with psychological barbed wire. Operating on a serendipitous blend of expressionist sensibilities and frugal ingenuity, Detour is the rare film where the imperfections loop back onto themselves to become a critical part of its internal logic. Not quite dream like, not quite Lynchian, it is more akin to a sticky kind of guilt that never leaves. Days may pass and we may forget…

  • The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

    The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

    ★★★★½

    Unfortunately the copy I watched on Amazon was one of those atrocious English dubs you often associate with Kung fu movies, but it’s ultimately inconsequential in a work reliant on the expression of movement. Gordon Liu masterfully sells the choreography and journey of novice to master, failing spectacularly with every pratfall and flagellation before becoming a honed weapon of pure instinct and reflexes. Just chef kiss all around when a bo staff or fist is whiffing through the air making the same sound effect.

  • The Stunt Man

    The Stunt Man

    ★★★★½

    Peter O'Toole gliding around set like god damn Lakitu manages to be the most menacing thing once you reach the end of this incredible ride.

    Loves to blur the line between fiction and reality like most Hollywood satires do, but seems a lot less critical of the overall system (it still has it's fun there with a montage that begs that you draw the comparison between a film crew and a travelling circus) with most of the venom being delivered…

  • Near Dark

    Near Dark

    ★★★★½

    Two words: Sunlight gunfight.

  • Streets of Fire

    Streets of Fire

    ★★★★½

    In case of emergency, just hook this movie directly into my veins. Campbellian myth strummed through an electric guitar amp; a rich heroic tapestry of cigarette smoke and sewer steam with painterly washes of neon glow. Its everything George Lucas did with the original Star Wars cranked to eleven, taking familiar fantasy archetypes and revitalizing them through unfamiliar aesthetics in hopes of instilling the same kind of grandeur those dusty stories once did long ago.  

    An easy five star…

  • Boyz n the Hood

    Boyz n the Hood

    ★★★★½

    Outstanding debut from John Singleton (at 23 no less!); not just a great first film, but more importantly a cultural touchstone that begs to be revisited. A blistering manifesto that's so incredibly thoughtful about the actions and reactions of living in an unending cycle of violence; the way Singleton uses melodrama positions it coming not from a place of angst, but instead from increasing pressure from all kinds of inescapable forces. The droning of helicopters, the blast of a gunshot,…

  • Paper Moon

    Paper Moon

    ★★★★½

    Tatum O’Neal acting circles around everyone involved by simply taking a drag of a cigarette and scowling. Nothing but respect.

  • Dog Day Afternoon

    Dog Day Afternoon

    ★★★★½

    Choices presented not in black and white, but gorgeously muted creams and browns. Uncharacteristically human for a crime movie, much more concerned with the why than the how of pulling off a heist, but just as tense all the same. Lumet’s characters aren’t the typical victims taken hostage or slick cold blooded thieves, they’re fallible humans all grappling with extraneous factors from the fallout of The Vietnam War to queer identity. Nothing short of a masterwork of empathy that still manages to be a highly entertaining itchy piece of 70s cinema.

  • Fast Five

    Fast Five

    ★★★★½

    Consider myself officially FastnFurious-pilled. You can write these movies off as pure mindless fun all you want, but it takes true mastery over cinematic language to make the small moment of two musclebound baldies embracing forearms sing like the second coming of Christ. Peak Rock and peak Diesel in one harmonious shot of solidarity making the greatest piece of entertainment they can help conjure. 

    And then the film goes to pull off the stunt with the safe (which I’m now…