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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REVIEW: The Two Popes [2019]

We need someone to blow the ash away. I’m a lapsed Catholic who cynically wonders why the Pope isn’t considered a false idol—a direct result of my loathing of the church as a corrupt and hypocritical institution. I adopted this position years ago for the same reasons many others have. Catholicism has constantly proven itself to be nothing but alienating to those who would rather see with their own eyes than ignore moral truths by wielding scripture as an excuse for hate. It’s unyielding on certain human rights issues, refuses…

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REVIEW: Mission: Impossible II [2000]

“Who wants to be decent?” It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s seen the movie to read a 2016 interview and learn how screenwriter Robert Towne came aboard John Woo‘s Mission: Impossible II after the big action sequences were already set in stone. His job was to therefore connect those choreographed behemoths into a cohesive enough story to invest audiences beyond the requisite quick-cut fisticuffs and volatile explosions. Towne was more or less set-up to fail and there’s nobody but Tom Cruise to blame, especially since the two worked together to bring…

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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 less likely, especially with everyone hailing Thor: Ragnarok as a franchise entry that “breaks the rules.” If that means “push plot to the background for bloated excess dragging pacing out to the point of realizing…

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REVIEW: Transformers: The Last Knight [2017]

“You’re running out of tomorrows” Fact: Transformers: The Last Knight is its franchise’s most entertaining entry. While I definitely felt ready to nod off during my original trilogy refresher course this week—and actually shut my eyes a couple times during Age of Extinction—this latest installment had me wide-eyed and interested throughout its 149-minutes (the series’ shortest runtime since its 144-minute original). Sometimes that interest was in the insane retrofitted King Arthur plotline padded by manageable excess, but mostly it was attuned to an unhinged and manic Anthony Hopkins having a…

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REVIEW: Noah [2014]

“Maybe we’ll learn to be kind” Religion likes to talk about mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance as though such grace was instilled in humanity before we decided to ignore it for carnal pleasure, bloodlust, and greed. This is why most films depicting Biblical stories go heavy on angels and enlightenment, giving pithy parables with “a-ha” lessons to take stock and deflect from the copious amounts of violence throughout its text. Yes there’s creation, salvation, good deeds unto others, and heroes to aspire towards, but don’t forget deception, cleansings, sin, and damnation.…

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REVIEW: Thor: The Dark World [2013]

“I’ll just stay here and say ‘sea bass’ alone” There was something off with Thor in 2011 besides its horrid post-conversion 3D. While many believe Iron Man 2 was nothing but an evolutionary bridge for its hero to move closer towards what The Avengers needed, it was actually the Norse God of thunder who provided the most obvious bit of prequel exposition by introducing himself, extraterrestrial life, and that forthcoming blockbuster’s main villain, Loki. Captain America: The First Avenger also brought us a new character’s origin, but his story—like Tony…

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REVIEW: RED 2 [2013]

“I was very touched that you cried at my funeral” For DC Comics imprint Homage’s RED, screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber turned Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner’s original work into a surprise box office hit with an inspired cast of aged, former CIA operatives presently labeled “retired: extremely dangerous”. The goal with any successful comic book adaptation is then to greenlight a sequel in the hopes lightning will strike twice in a bigger and better way. Like many before them, however, the task of expanding on a winner is never…

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REVIEW: Hitchcock [2012]

“All men are potential murderers” Based on a book called Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, it’s easy to assume Sacha Gervasi‘s Hitchcock will do just that and little else. And while fans of the horror classic clamoring for this exact insight will fill the seats opening weekend, more needs to happen to ensure broader success. So it’s no surprise that John J. McLaughlin‘s script delves deeper into the iconic auteur’s psyche at a time when the world believed him to be over-the-hill and ready for…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2012: Marketing Goes Artsy With ‘Killing Them Softly,’ Lincoln,’ ‘Skyfall’ & 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. I have to credit the Alamo Drafthouse and Mondotees for slowly turning the industry around to the appeal of limited edition prints and excessive series. You’re spending an insane amount…

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REVIEW: Thor [2011]

“Unworthy of the loved ones you’ve betrayed” Considering the extent of my knowledge on Thor pertains to the fantasy that Vincent D’Onofrio was he in Adventures in Babysitting, you will not be getting any grand breakdown comparison of the film with the comics. I just don’t know anything about the source material, much like all the DC and Marvel films coming out the past decade—I simply didn’t start reading comics until college and by then it was just graphic novels. So my entry into the world of Asgard came from…

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