REVIEW: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie [2019]

“Nothing beats cash on-hand” Obviously contains “Breaking Bad” spoilers. I’m neither alone in this thinking nor objectively correct, but “Better Call Saul” is superior to its predecessor “Breaking Bad”. I didn’t even really get into the latter until the season three finale and even then it was tough to stay invested in its cast of monsters doing monstrous things to each other ad nauseam. I say that because they used to be good people—or at least innocent of murder. The intrigue was therefore rooted in how deep they’d fall. Since…

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REVIEW: Isle of Dogs [2018]

“You’ve heard the rumor, right?” I feel like the twee sensibilities of writer/director Wes Anderson might be catching up to him. Moonrise Kingdom was a sort of rejuvenation proving both exactly like his oeuvre and wholly unique as its child’s perspective lent a fresh voice to his usual brand of artificial melodrama. But rather than propel him forward, it seems it may have pulled him back. The auteur’s follow-up was the hilarious The Grand Budapest—perhaps his funniest tale to-date despite ringing hollow in a way that turned endearing artifice into…

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REVIEW: Wakefield [2017]

“Who hasn’t had the impulse to just put their life on hold for a moment?” There’s a great line of self-realization around mid-way through Robin Swicord‘s Wakefield where Howard (Bryan Cranston) acknowledges how he didn’t leave his family—he left himself. It’s this brilliantly profound yet simple understanding, something we all must face head-on once our daily routines prove too predictable and boring to bear. But where most people’s mid-life crises result in affairs or new cars to implode their seemingly utopic lives as a blunt-force wake-up call, Howard’s arrives in…

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Picking Winners at the 88th Annual Academy Awards

For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself. Jared Mobarak: Here’s hoping Chris Rock does his best Ricky Gervais as far as not caring about political correctness or duty to kissing up to the celebrities all dressed-up nice because having him host the 2016 Oscars ceremony amidst the whole #OscarsSoWhite controversy is an opportunity not to be squandered. Two years in a row with no black actor/actress up for gold? That’s a major problem with The Academy and the…

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REVIEW: Trumbo [2015]

“The rich guy wins with the cunning of Satan” I will admit that my interest in the Dalton Trumbo biopic Trumbo was held in check for one reason: director Jay Roach. The guy behind the horrible Meet the Parents saga and uneven Austin Powers series was hired to helm a historical drama with huge political ramifications and a slice of Hollywood’s past many would like to forget? It’s my fault for forgetting that he also helped steward the HBO dramas Recount and Game Change—two other biographies with casts and aesthetics…

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VIDEO: “Barely Legal Pawn”

“Cable money, though” A partial ad for Audi—in the way that Jerry Seinfeld‘s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is for Acura (product placement)—and full viral promotion for the 2014 Primetime Emmys, former award-winners Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have some fun spoofing “Pawn Stars”. “Barely Legal Pawn” is a comedic treat for all involved with the “Breaking Bad” co-stars going full white trash and the “Veep” star straight man. Complete with a few barbs volleyed at each other as far as acting diffculity in their respective programs—and at…

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REVIEW: Godzilla [2014]

“Let them fight” The reason Gareth Edwards‘ rebooted Godzilla proves so effective is that it retains the thematic essence of its 1954 ancestor, Gojira. Still an over-arching metaphor for mankind’s hubris and wont to destroy everything it doesn’t understand out of fear, Dave Callaham, Max Borenstein, and multiple script doctors simply found ways to alter the DNA so it could be relevant for an American demographic rather than Japanese. I’ll be honest: we aren’t a country that enjoys watching foreign lands painted as the victim while we look on with…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Argo [2012]

“The United States government has just sanctioned your science fiction movie” In 1979, tensions between Iran and the United States reached a boil after Ayatollah Khomeini called for a return of his predecessor—Shah Pahlavi—in order to try him in what would be a kangaroo court whether or not deserved. Allowed passage into the US to attend the Mayo clinic and combat his cancer, the fact we were housing him infuriated a group of Islamist students and militant followers of the Imam’s Line to the point of storming the American embassy…

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REVIEW: Rock of Ages [2012]

“Actually, I told him the gig was last night. So he’s a day late.” Listening to Night Ranger‘s “Sister Christian” sung by a bus full of strangers a la Almost Famous was a pretty good way to start Rock of Ages, the big screen adaptation of the Tony Award nominated musical. Julianne Hough‘s ‘Sherrie’ Christian’s blandly starry-eyed wonder was acceptable; Hollywood circa 1987 took shape via hookers, muggers, and over-zealous cops; and the hyper-real Broadway sensibilities came out as extras broke into song and dance while a sweaty, sex-infused rock…

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REVIEW: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted [2012]

“I’m like a candy cane in a black and white movie” A round of applause for directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath—and Conrad Vernon who joins them to expand on his responsibilities playing Mason the monkey—because they have kind of accomplished the impossible with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. I was surprised at how much better Escape 2 Africa was in comparison to the original Madagascar, but never expected my level of enjoyment to rise even more with the third. Darnell—also a co-writer with Noah Baumbach—and McGrath have grown alongside…

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REVIEW: John Carter [2012]

“Vir-gin-ya, Vir-gin-ya, Vir-gin-ya!” When you’re working from a novel written almost a century ago about a planet we still have yet to truly discover, it would be easy to find yourself going off track onto a cheesy, archaic path of exposition. John Carter is not without its moments of superfluity and at over two hours in length does at times find itself sprawling out into an epic beyond the needs of the story being told. However, writer/director Andrew Stanton and company still manage to intrigue with their desert wasteland of…

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