• Picking Winners at the 91st Annual Academy Awards

    The 90th Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 24th, 2019 at 8:00pm on ABC. For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself. Jared Mobarak: It’s the type of year where hashtags rhetoric simply won’t work. There’s just not one all encapsulating buzzword to […]

  • REVIEW: Destroyer [2018]

    “Let’s see if it’s your time” It’s billed as a down and dirty revenge flick with some calling it a redundant variation on a theme “better” films already delivered. That’s not how I see it, though. No, Karyn Kusama‘s latest is about guilt. Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) isn’t drowning herself in alcohol and pushing everyone […]

  • REVIEW: The Standoff at Sparrow Creek [2019]

    “One’s missing” The film begins in total silence to the point where you wonder if something went wrong with the sound. The camera pans through still trees until finding Gannon (James Badge Dale) on the ground with rifle ready to take out the deer we can assume is somewhere out of frame. It’s only when […]

  • Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2018

    Below is my December 27th ballot for the 22nd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2018 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (No option to abstain was supplied this year.) Best Picture #1If Beale StreetCould Talk #2You Were NeverReally Here #3Hereditary #4Eighth Grade […]

  • REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

    “It’s just puberty” You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Werk ohne Autor [Never Look Away] [2018]

“Everything that’s true is beautiful” The thing that people who didn’t attend art school or don’t have a foundation in art history never understand is the reasoning behind postmodern art. They find it funny to reductively joke about how their three-year old child could net them a million dollars by scribbling on a canvas because […]

REVIEW: 2050 [2019]

“You are a dirty manipulation of natural elements” There’s something endearing about a company manufacturing impossibly realistic “e-mates” (robotic companions programmed to be subordinate to your every whim whether task-driven, intellectual, or sexual) having a lo-fi TV-spot with 90s internet graphics and over-the-top infomercial testimonials from people stopped on the street. They’ve spent so much […]

REVIEW: Arctic [2019]

“You’re not alone” All we have to guess the duration of time Overgård (Mads Mikkelsen) has been stranded alone in an icy wasteland nearby his crashed plane is the beard on his face. Even then we don’t know how long it was when he escaped the fuselage to pretend to have a starting point for […]

REVIEW: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World [2019]

“There’s no better gift than love” It’s not often a studio as big as Dreamworks goes on record to say the third installment of a critically acclaimed series and box office success will be its last. Why paint yourself into a corner like that when the possibility for more is right at your fingertips? Dare […]

REVIEW: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie [1976]

“Got the world by the balls” It’s a wild beginning with Cosmo Vittelli (Ben Gazzara) paying off a guy (Al Ruban‘s Marty) we assume let him borrow money to create his now successful club. Fast-forward to him introducing his seedy establishment’s main act in Mr. Sophistication (Meade Roberts) and the naked girls the audience has […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Kameni govornici [The Stone Speakers] [2019]

“We need both spiritual and physical healing” Writer/director Igor Drljaca takes us on a contemplative tour through four towns in Bosnia-Herzegovinia with his documentary Kameni Govornici [The Stone Speakers]. We never hear him speak nor watch any of his subjects respond. All we hear are their disembodied words atop static portraits of them standing against […]

REVIEW: Alita: Battle Angel [2019]

“No one’s greater than the game” This is a film twenty years in the making despite James Cameron being attached from the start. The story goes that Guillermo del Toro introduced the King of Hollywood to Yukito Kishiro‘s manga Gunnm and he fell in love with the book enough to give it permanent placement on […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Ringside [2019]

“You can hit people and you can’t get in trouble” Boxing became the way two fathers in Chicago could keep their sons off the streets. Kenneth Sims Sr. was a brawler back in the day before turning his passion into a career as a coach. Destyne Butler Sr. was a pugilist aficionado who succumbed to […]

REVIEW: My Bloody Valentine [1981]

“It can’t be happening again” Only Canada would let a holiday slasher film like My Bloody Valentine—known for having its most disturbing bits of gore chopped away for the ratings board—end with a folk ballad that gives its murderous psychopath Harry Warden an almost nostalgic lilt. With John McDermott‘s voice lending it credence, we’re pretty […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: MS Slavic 7 [2019]

“You’ll have to use this pencil” Director Sofia Bohdanowicz found a series of letters written between 1957 and 1964 by her great-grandmother Zofia Bohdanowiczowa (a poet) to the Nobel Prize nominated author Józef Wittlin at Harvard’s Houghton Library. Both literary figures were forced to leave Poland during World War II with the former heading to […]

REVIEW: The Kid Who Would Be King [2019]

“Quick. Lift up the flaps.” Another King Arthur retread? This was my first thought watching the trailer for Joe Cornish‘s The Kid Who Would Be King and probably a main contributor to why its box office was so poor (alongside an American aversion to thick British accents—albeit not nearly as thick as the writer/director’s brilliant […]

REVIEW: Serenity [2019]

“Go catch that fish, Dill” **Spoilers** I was rooting for Steven Knight‘s Serenity long before sitting down at the theater. Why wouldn’t I? The trailer had it looking like one of my favorite types of films—namely the sort wherein what we see and experience ultimately proves to be the inner-workings of a troubled, delusional mind. […]

REVIEW: Zama [2017]

“Europe is best remembered by those who were never there” A man speaks about a fish rejected by the water it needs to breathe, swimming back and forth to fight that current of repulsion and stay alive in the hopes of earning an opportunity to be desired, valued, and worthy of the life God has […]

REVIEW: Sombra City [2019]

“I said I don’t trust you, but—” It’s 2037 and the world looks similar to ours but for certain societal changes. The main alteration at the center of Elias Plagianos‘ Sombra City is the legality of murder if done with a bounty hunting purpose. Think a duel, but farmed out to trained assassins. As long […]

REVIEW: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs [2018]

“Well don’t let my white duds and pleasant demeanor fool ya” You know the whole enterprise will be a bit cheeky just by directors’ Joel and Ethan Coen‘s statement of intent. While explaining that their love for anthology movies stems from the format’s ability to unite multiple directors with a common theme, they admit their […]