Top 100 Albums of 2019

Honorable Mention Tinlicker – This is Not Our Universe; Cold War Kids – New Age Norms 1; Sara Bareilles – Amidst the Chaos; Sleater-Kinney – The Center Won’t Hold; Elbow – Giants of All Sizes; Coldplay – Everyday Life; Chance the Rapper – The Big Day; Yeasayer – Erotic Reruns; The Chainsmokers – World War Joy; Ghostface Killah – Ghostface Killahs; Chromatics – Closer to Grey; Free Nationals – Free Nationals; Matt Maeson – Bank on the Funeral; Tove Lo – Sunshine Kitty; The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger; Jimmy…

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INTERVIEW: Benh Zeitlin, co-writer/director of Wendy

Beasts of the Southern Wild was the indie darling of 2012 having racked up prestigious festival wins en route to four Oscar nominations. Despite being credited to “Court 13” as a collective at the beginning of the end credits, the driving force behind the film was New York native and current Louisiana resident Benh Zeitlin. He earned two of those nods as director and co-writer while also serving as co-composer alongside Dan Romer. It was the type of whirlwind ride that propels many filmmakers straight to Hollywood and yet Zeitlin…

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The 92nd Oscars recap through tweets …

What a weird, wild night. After the debacle that was Kevin Hart’s appointment as Oscar host last year and the straight-up refusal by everyone else to dare take the baton in the wake of his dismissal, The Academy chose right from the start to not have a host for their 92nd annual event. So what do they do after Janelle Monáe’s opening number (itself strange for representing more films that weren’t nominated than those that were)? They ask Steve Martin and Chris Rock—two former hosts—to go on-stage and deliver an…

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Picking Winners at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 9th, 2020 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: Let’s face it. The Oscars have been irrelevant from a creative standpoint since … probably forever. The whole thing is a marketing ploy to boost box office numbers and give trailer makers something to put next to names of creative. That’s why theaters re-release nominees. That’s why boutique studios hold wide rollouts until foreign…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Parasite #2Portrait of aLady on Fire #3Marriage Story #4Knives Out #5Us #6Uncut Gems #7The Irishman #8Jojo Rabbit #9Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood #101917 Best Animated Film #1Toy Story 4 #2I Lost My Body #3How to TrainYour Dragon:The Hidden World #4Frozen II #5Missing Link Best Film Not…

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REVIEW: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu [Portrait of a Lady on Fire] [2019]

Don’t regret. Remember. An eighteenth century Italian countess (Valeria Golino) still residing at the French estate of her late husband has decided she’d like to return home. The best way to accomplish this is marrying off one of her daughters to an affluent Milanese suitor since doing so would secure both their futures while also providing an excuse to travel east along the Mediterranean. Rather than hear what the young woman has to say about this fate set before her, however, it’s discovered through her actions instead. One untimely death…

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REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

We lived above the clouds. With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments (including partisan blindness in the United States), a rarely told story like that of conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter becomes more important than ever. While it might have been lost in 2016’s shuffle, seeing it now…

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REVIEW: Marriage Story [2019]

The pie was just a pie. It’s crazy how love changes the way we see things. Ambition can look like genius when we’re there as a supportive cheerleader and narcissism when we begin to recognize our sacrifices in seeing it get fulfilled. Success can be construed as a mutually beneficial byproduct of a union when one is strong and fertile, but also evidence of what we personally brought to the equation despite the other when we’re picking through the past to dissect what went wrong and who’s to blame. We…

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REVIEW: For Sama [2019]

I don’t regret anything. After five years of footage depicting the rapid decline in Aleppo as college protests turn to rebellion with a dictatorial regime finding friends in Russia to decimate innocent civilians it intentionally refuses to differentiate from soldiers and extremists, Waad al-Kateab realizes that the snippets she’s uploaded to expose these atrocities to the world on YouTube are just as important for Syrians to remember what was and what happened. It’s about the uncertainty of whether you’ll see another day. The futility of watching friends and loved ones…

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REVIEW: Waves [2019]

All we have is now. Ronald Williams (Sterling K. Brown) tells his son Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) what so many parents do: “You don’t know how lucky you are.” What are those words besides a pat on the adult’s back for providing a decent life for their child, though? To me they’re often a source of resentment on behalf of the son or daughter receiving them because they’re very much a deflection wherein the parent places blame for whatever is wrong on the kid’s shoulders. Rather than have a conversation…

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REVIEW: Honey Boy [2019]

Why am I here? The bane of childhood stardom is that nothing you do will ever be a secret again. Your success will be written in black and white in the trades. Personal relationships will be speculated upon in the tabloids. And mistakes—large or small—will trend like wildfire on the internet until they become the prevalent way by which you will be defined. Shia LaBeouf experienced every last bit of this with a keen, if imperfect, vantage point allowing him to use it to his advantage through performance art pieces…

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