REVIEW: Velvet Goldmine [1998]

“It’s funny how beautiful people look when they’re walking out the door” What if Citizen Kane wasn’t about Charlie’s Foster Kane but instead the interviewer tasked with speaking to those in Kane’s life, mining for the meaning of “Rosebud”? This is sort of where director Todd Haynes (co-written with James Lyons) begins his fictional account of Brit glam rocker Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Velvet Goldmine deals with this enigma of a star and his tumultuous life before fading completely out of the public consciousness following a misguided stunt. (Or…

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REVIEW: Sans toit ni loi [Vagabond] [1985]

“Champagne on the road’s better” When I saw Sans toit ni loi [Vagabond] for the first time as a twenty-year old in college, I did so believing its titular nomad Mona Bergeron (Sandrine Bonnaire) was the focal point. This was a mistake. I was bored—frustrated that I was forced to care about someone who obviously wanted to be alone and on the road. She’s resentful, temperamental, and above all else ungrateful when the kindness shown dries up. It’s not, “Thank you for the time we’ve spent together and the warmth…

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Summer Fun Film Festivals in WNY

With the dwindling numbers of drive-in theaters across the country, independent theaters finding it difficult to compete with huge chains, and the ever-fluctuating national box office needing too many 3D films to turn a profit, certain cities somehow find a way to keep the medium alive. Buffalo is one of them and always has been since I can remember. My days as a high schooler trying to figure out plans with friends for the weekend always ended up being decided between catch the latest blockbuster or hit up the local…

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REVIEW: Trouble [2013]

“Character separates the certain few from all the rest” I don’t think I have the objectivity necessary to teach because I interpret everything I come into contact with through my own personal visceral and emotional filter. With film I’m all about whether it speaks to me on a deeper level than pure artifice; if it makes me feel something other than appreciation an the artist who created something I have no aspirations of ever trying to create. I saw it in college when a professor would strain himself at the…

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REVIEW: The Artist [2011]

“Farewell Norma. I never loved you.” It all starts with a kiss for the cameras and the dot of an eyeliner pen. From there a star is born in the form of Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) while her accidental impetus to become an actress ends up an industry dinosaur of a bygone era overnight. Silent Hollywood’s finest actor from Kinograph Pictures, George Valetin (Jean Dujardin), wakes one day to find himself at a crossroads of cinematic history with the transition to Talkies forcing him into the background where once only…

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REVIEW: The Young Victoria [2009]

“You are confusing stubbornness for strength” When I had heard that the closing night film for the 2009 Toronto Film Festival was to be The Young Victoria, I admittedly scratched my head. Why would they choose some run-of-the-mill historical period drama when they could tap a new, exciting experiment instead, closing it in style? Well, I apologize for selling this film short because it is a beautiful piece of art, educating its audience about Queen Victoria at the same time as telling a story of youth, romance, power, and control.…

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REVIEW: JCVD [2008]

“I’ve done nothing!” People who know my film tastes can tell you that my favorite movies are those that stray off the beaten path. Film’s that break the fourth wall and involve me as the viewer in the actual plotline always seem to hit the right spot. Chalk up JCVD as another great entry to that style of filmmaking, but also understand that there is a lot more going for it than just being experimental and unafraid to be abnormal. Not only does Jean-Claude Van Damme give possibly his best…

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TIFF08 REVIEW: Me and Orson Welles [2008]

“Quadruple space” I am a huge fan of Tim Robbins’ film Cradle Will Rock. The cast is amazing, the story epic in scope, and the behind the scenes setting of the theatre and arts world is something I enjoy. So, when I saw that Richard Linklater had a new film at the Toronto International Film Festival and that it took place during Orson Welles’ run at the Mercury Theatre, I was very interested. Me and Orson Welles is based off a novel which creates a fictional character to be our…

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REVIEW: The Stranger [1946]

“I watched them, here like God, looking at little ants” With a plot that contains a Nazi war criminal hiding out in New England with his past erased, playing the role of school teacher and marrying the judge’s daughter, all while being on the hunt by an Allied Commission man, you’d think some good things could happen. Then you see that it stars and is directed by Orson Welles … you can’t lose. Unfortunately, absolutes are too misleading because Welles proves here that he is not infallible. In a heavy-handed…

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REVIEW: Over the Hedge [2006]

“Let’s call it Steve” There are so many animated films coming out a year that it is tough to bring yourself to see any of them. Sure the Pixar brand means instant gold, however, the multitude of studios popping up with computer graphics are really watering down the quality. Especially with every studio releasing the same thing in competition, how many free from the zoo films did we sit through, it is a true surprise when one of these films surprises you. When I first saw the commercials for Dreamworks’…

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