REVIEW: Destined [2017]

“Either way you started a war” A young boy residing in the Brewster projects of Detroit follows his friend to a stash house unaware that the consequences of this moment will shape the rest of his life. He’s coerced into dealing as a means for survival—the only way to convince his friend’s bosses that he […]

REVIEW: Justice League [2017]

“I don’t have to recognize it. I just have to save it.” There are a lot of haters out there—those who pile on Zack Snyder, the DC Extended Universe, and both. I’m not one of them. But that doesn’t mean I’ve loved what they’ve delivered. We’ve received one good film (Wonder Woman), one ambitiously enjoyable […]

REVIEW: This is Congo [2018]

“The one who should keep you safe is the one who can kill you” Documentarian Daniel McCabe wastes no time getting to the point of his film This is Congo with the words of DRC National Army Colonel Mamadou Ndala. This smiling dreamer of peace and unity speaks about his home like a philosopher as […]

REVIEW: Die göttliche Ordnung [The Divine Order] [2017]

“But here at home time stood still” The opening transition from credits to film of Petra Biondina Volpe‘s Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award-winning Die göttliche Ordnung [The Divine Order] is absolute perfection. With Jo Jo Benson and Peggy Scott-Adams’ “Soulshake” playing atop images from America spanning women’s liberation, civil rights, Woodstock, and more, we begin […]

Babel’s Toni Morrison on “keeping the reader alive and worried”

Leave it to the Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize in Literature, and Presidential Medal of Freedom-winning Toni Morrison to get me back into Kleinhans Music Hall for Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Babel series after two years away with special thanks going to Artistic Director Barbara Cole for letting Cultivate Cinema Circle piggyback onto the occasion with […]

REVIEW: Curtains [1983]

“Call it research” By the end of Peter R. Simpson‘s Curtains—I use the producer’s name since he ultimately finished the film two years after original director Richard Ciupka left with only forty-five minutes shot—there are just three surviving characters. One is the potential victim being chased, another the homicidal maniac under a plastic old woman […]

REVIEW: Goodbye Christopher Robin [2017]

“I’ve had enough of making people laugh. I want to make them see.” It begins with a letter—the kind that rips heart from chest. World War II is in full swing and the Milnes (Domhnall Gleeson‘s Alan and Margot Robbie‘s Daphne) are biding their time awaiting word from their son Christopher (Alex Lawther). They know […]

REVIEW: Princess Cyd [2017]

“You get to see where your mom came from” Tragedies are never isolated incidents with a single victim, perpetrator, and survivor left to remember (or forget) what happened. Oftentimes those roles expand to encompass multiple parties or even overlap in ways that let blame, hate, and forgiveness coexist. This scenario is only rendered truer when […]

REVIEW: Bad Grandmas [2017]

“I’m nervous like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs” Writer/director Srikant Chellappa and co-writer Jack Snyder aren’t fooling around when it comes to Bad Grandmas. We don’t meet their senior citizens as innocent grannies playing Rummy before watching them turn “bad.” No, Mimi (Florence Henderson) walks into Jim’s (David Wassilak) place […]

REVIEW: Murder on the Orient Express [1974]

“With the help of a hat box” If the way in which Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) manipulates his suspects into perfectly incriminating themselves upon inquisition—often unbeknownst to us until the final reveal—infers that he has a photographic memory, we the audience need a bit more exposition as it concerns yet unseen connections than perhaps the […]

REVIEW: Thor: Ragnarok [2017]

“Good luck with that, new Doug!” Marvel fatigue has officially hit me, but not like a ton of bricks as much as a nagging sense that the studio is merely going through the motions. Unfortunately this slow unraveling is worse than a huge misstep because it means that a shift back onto the rails is […]