REVIEW: Alice Through the Looking Glass [2016]

“Everyone parts with everything eventually, my dear” Now that the whole “should we reboot or create a sequel or just go ahead and do both at once” debacle is over thanks to Tim Burton‘s misguided Alice in Wonderland, maybe Disney’s desire to create an imaginative and surprisingly dark franchise of the absurd could find creative merit to match its insane billion dollar gross. This is because the filmmakers (Linda Woolverton returns as screenwriter with James Bobin taking over the director’s chair) have acquired the latitude to think outside the box…

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REVIEW: Inside Out [2015]

“I call it the Happy Core Memory Development Program” The simplest ideas really are the greatest and Pixar’s made a legacy built on just such an ideal. They brought toys to life as living companions caring for our children. They humanized the monsters in our closets, conjured a spark of love in the circuitry of a tiny robot, and gave an old curmudgeon tired of too much loss the opportunity to rediscover the joy of living. So it wasn’t a surprise when the germination of Inside Out was announced on…

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REVIEW: Cinderella [2015]

“Have courage and be kind” For anyone who cannot stand singing, Disney’s latest iteration of the timeless Cinderella is catered to you. I know Chris Weitz and the other screenwriters on the project before him poured through the fairy tale’s vast lineage for every detail they could cull together into what they surely believe to be the definitive version, but what I saw onscreen is the same thing I saw as a child in cartoon form. Just without the sing-songy “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boos”. There are a couple spoken ones for…

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REVIEW: Song of the Sea [2014]

“You’re going to be the best big brother in the world” Writer/director Tomm Moore received the okay to contemporize his peoples’ folklore from the seanachai he listened to while growing up in Ireland, Eddie Lenihan. A traditional storyteller known for modernizing these same archetypes, Lenihan explained to Moore that adapting them to our time might be the only way for us to keep them alive now that new technology has forced the oral custom of passing down history moot. He’s right too as the two films Moore has thus crafted…

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REVIEW: Maleficent [2014]

“Goodbye, Beastie” Let’s be honest, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is a bit of a bore. I remember my sister often wanting to watch when we were kids and me having none of it until the end’s fire and brimstone and menacing dragon spawned from the tale’s creepy, wide-smiling villain. Did I understand the fairy’s reason for cursing the princess? No. I’m not quite sure I realized the political ramifications of her baby shower invite getting lost in the mail until it was explained to me last night after watching Maleficent—the Mouse…

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REVIEW: What’s Up Lovely [2010]

“I don’t deal in fairy tales” We are all running from something. Love, work, life—our hopes and aspirations lie forever outside our reach while we push forward without going anywhere. For Luci (Jenn Dees), her escape from the clutches of her innermost fears and memories lies in the malaise of an insomniac’s evening sleepwalks through the streets of New York City. Mumbling to herself about never having had the chance to say goodbye, Luci counts to three and freezes time in tenuous snapshots of her eyes’ construction. The city is…

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The 83rd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Oscar time … congrats to The King’s Speech … why bother with the show when everyone thinks they know the winner? The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was quite possibly its worst incarnation the past decade. And things finally seemed to be going the right way. Hugh Jackman was fun; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were lukewarm, but the show was fun; and Neil Patrick Harris is Neil Patrick Harris. NPH can do no wrong. Much in that vein, I thought the pairing of James Franco and Anne…

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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: Alice in Wonderland [2010]

“Off with your head!” With a knack for creating imaginative worlds that can be both dark and colorful simultaneously, director Tim Burton seems like a natural fit to adapt the Wonderland of Lewis Carroll’s novels. However, for every inventive Big Fish or Edward Scissorhands come the atrocious re-envisionings of Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So, let’s just say I was scared going into Alice in Wonderland because, while the setting and art direction seemed perfect, I couldn’t help remember how bad his work from pre-existing…

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Finally, I’m in Buffalo! … Babel’s Azar Nafisi

Those four words were definitely not what I expected to escape Azar Nafisi’s lips upon reaching the podium at Kleinhans for 2010’s first installment of Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Babel Series. After Mike Kelleher finished his three pages of introductory notes—including naming three of the four authors to be stopping by this great city next season, listed below—the Iranian-born novelist took that stage and spoke enthusiastically about the children she visited earlier at City Honors. They gave her great insight and enthralled her enough to stay thirty minutes past her…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2010

2010 looks to be a very intriguing year for the film world. A lot of big name directors are coming in with new work, hopefully continuing on their winning ways, while others are returning to perhaps erase some recent blunders and get back on track. There are two true sequels on the list, four depending on your definition, (and Harry Potter isn’t one since I’m not quite sure what to think, being only a Part I of a final chapter), a couple television shows getting big screen love, and a…

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