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. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are labeled in red.

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REVIEW: The Irishman [2019]

It’s what it is. Aging lead Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is approached by two detectives towards the end of Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman (the cinematic adaptation of Charles Brandt‘s I Heard You Paint Houses as scripted by Steve Zaillian) who let him know he’s the only one left. All the other big-time mafiosos from the Bufalino family and elsewhere had met their demise either from bullet, garrote, or disease (with the rare case of natural causes thrown into the mix). The tactic was to let Frank know that there…

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REVIEW: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood [2019]

Give me sexy, evil Hamlet. It was around midnight between August 8th and 9th, 1969 that Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel arrived at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles on a mission from their cult leader Charles Manson. They were told to go to that house (a former renter named Terry Melcher once rebuked Manson) and kill everyone inside as gruesomely as possible. By morning five people were dead including a pregnant Sharon Tate (whose husband, director Roman Polanski, was in Europe working on a new film) with…

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INTERVIEW: David Gordon Green, director of Manglehorn

In the six years between Snow Angels and Prince Avalanche, writer/director David Gordon Green became a collaborator on a string of comedies of which he was not credited as a writer. In the two years since he’s utilized that process with drama Joe and now Manglehorn. He’s said in other interviews that it’s a way for him to have multiple projects going at once, passing ideas onto others to see what develops into something he wishes to pursue and what doesn’t. And as he tells us below, it also allows…

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REVIEW: Manglehorn [2015]

“I’m losing hope in tomorrow” Upon being asked whether he knows he’s a son-of-a-bitch or not, A.J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino) replies matter-of-factly with, “Yes. Maybe a little. Aren’t we all?” It’s a seemingly innocuous line within an intriguing film positing how each one of us can always see something of ourselves in characters onscreen. We can relate to the son-of-a-bitches and the kindhearted optimists, recalling moments in our lives mirroring what’s seen—probably not closely, but enough to send us back. The people surrounding this solitary curmudgeon of a man who…

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REVIEW: Despicable Me 2 [2013]

“Do not do your business on the petunias” When we last saw super villain Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me he had just returned the moon to its rightful place in the sky, retired from evil, and become a father to the three sweetest little girls ever: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher). He had turned over a new leaf after youthful innocence thawed his heart a la how Cindy Lou helped the Grinch grow his in the classic Dr. Seuss tale. It’s the kind…

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Posterized Propaganda February 2013: A Snort of Fresh Air with ‘Warm Bodies’, ‘Identity Thief,’ ‘Charles Swan’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. February. Just outside of the dump month that is January and yet still devoid of any true must-sees besides the arty ones no one has heard of and the umpteenth…

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REVIEW: Scarface [1932]

“It’s Poppy, boss. I got a name!” When you hear the title Scarface, I’m sure the first thing that comes to your head is Al Pacino’s horrid Cuban accent turning the phrase, “Say, ‘ello to my little friend.” And while Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Armitage Trail’s novel depicting Al Capone’s rise to criminal infamy is an entertaining, over-the-top gangster flick, it’s really Ben Hecht’s screenplay—adapted and filmed by director Howard Hawks while Capone was still alive—that truly depicts the era and this larger-than-life monster’s reign. The gangster even caught wind…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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REVIEW: 88 Minutes [2008]

“Tick-tock doc” Since I am unable to go to the theatre this weekend I thought I’d give a preemptive review of the Al Pacino thriller 88 Minutes, set to drop in a city near you on April 18. Yes that is right, the film you may have been hearing about since February of last year, the one that has been released on DVD everywhere in the world, will finally be unveiled for us to check out stateside, in the country that produced it. You know that must mean this thing…

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