REVIEW: The Last Full Measure [2020]

Justice delayed is justice denied. While Todd Robinson‘s The Last Full Measure does center upon the cost of war, it’s neither a pro-war or anti-war film. He instead allows the idea of battle to exist as an imperative within Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr.’s story. Not only did this young man enlist to go to Vietnam, his bravery led him to voluntarily exit his helicopter above the massacre of Operation Abilene in order to help a division of total strangers who just sent their only medic up for evacuation. Pits…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: Knives Out [2019]

The cow and the shotgun. No stranger to a good mystery—noir (Brick) or comedy (The Brothers Bloom)—Knives Out sees Rian Johnson getting back to a wholly original property before returning to the world of Star Wars. From the stellar cast to its Clue-esque estate (even he couldn’t resist that joke), this whodunit has looked impeccably positioned to deliver exactly what the genre demands while also dissecting and subverting it for good measure. That the final result might go even further than that only makes it more intriguing. Why? Well the…

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Picking Winners at the 90th Annual Academy Awards

The 90th Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, March 4th, 2018 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: This new look Academy is really starting to pay dividends. The fight for representation might have begun with a focus on the acting categories (there are four POC actors nominated this year out of twenty slots), but it’s expanded much further in a very short period of time. This 90th year of Oscar becomes…

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REVIEW: All the Money in the World [2017]

“‘Thank you’ is for strangers” It’s impossible to see a disclaimer at the end of an “inspired by” film reiterating with more direct language about how the “truth” has been altered without assuming the majority of what I just saw never really happened. Ridley Scott fades to black on a seething Michelle Williams before two one-sentence captions replace her with epilogue declarations that then are replaced by the caveat of taking everything with a grain of salt. It reeks of lawyer speech as though the studio anticipated backlash from those…

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REVIEW: The Man Who Invented Christmas [2017]

“Why throw everything away for a minor holiday?” As Les Standiford‘s book would tell it, Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) found himself in somewhat of a creative rut after a lengthy and expensive tour of America post-Oliver Twist. He had published three flops since buying a new London home in need of wholesale remodeling and began watching his pocketbook dwindle along with his confidence. It was as though the autumn of 1843 presented him a make or break moment wherein he wasn’t certain he would ever write again. And then inspiration…

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REVIEW: The Exception [2017]

“Do your duty” By all accounts Kaiser Wilhelm II was hardly a great leader. He put Germany onto its fateful course towards World War I and shortly after defeat was forced to abdicate the throne into exile at the secluded Netherlands mansion Huis Doorn. Alan Judd would eventually write an historical fiction novel entitled The Kaiser’s Last Kiss about the former crown holder and an incident involving the Nazis, Gestapo, and Hitler’s right-hand Heinrich Himmler—with the potential for redemption. Christopher Plummer would read said book, let his manager know of…

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FILM MARATHON: Movie Musicals #13: The Sound of Music [1965]

“They were strawberries! It’s been so cold lately they turned blue!” My enjoyment of Oscar-winning musical The Sound of Music can best be described as the product of subjective expectation. I finally saw it around the age of twelve or thirteen after hearing of its greatness for years only to be left staring at the television with a quizzical look that said, “That’s it?” Despite the music’s appeal—Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II‘s final collaboration with the latter passing away nine months following its Broadway debut—it seemed to add up…

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The 84th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Shut up Ryan Seacrest … Like the studio isn’t going to reimburse you. Cry about it #Oscars12 And with a little Bisquick, the 84th Annual Academy Awards show began before the camera even entered the Kodak “Chapter 11” Theatre. The is he or isn’t he banned from the show star of The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, did what he does best by getting interviewed in character and causing a scene. Ryan Seacrest appeared to be enjoying the joke of it all and remained quite amiable until the comedian…

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Top Ten Films of 2011: Melancholy with a slice of hope

If anyone tells you 2011 was a bad year for cinema, stop in your tracks, turn around and walk away without ever looking back. They have no idea what they’re talking about. With a wealth of quality films from bonafide auteurs devoid of source material, the sheer amount of original work is astonishing. The trend for remakes will most likely never end, but it’s good to know artists in and out of the Hollywood system are fearlessly treading their own path to make movies exciting again. And by exciting I…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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REVIEW: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [2011]

“It’s how we’re taught about strangers” If Stieg Larsson had lived long enough to see his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo become an international sensation worthy of two cinematic adaptations in less than two years, I wonder which he would have approved of more. It’s easy to disregard David Fincher‘s remake as nothing more than an Americanized version of a top-notch mystery thriller already wowing audiences across the globe and much harder to praise it alongside its predecessor. While I’ll admit to finding the telepathic translation device turning everything…

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