Top Ten Films of 2017

We pretty much knew last year’s Best Picture Oscars race was coming down to La La Land and Moonlight right after the completion of the Toronto International Film Festival in September. But while there’s something to be said about the strength of films able to ascend to frontrunner position, I can’t help loving the idea of heading into March without a clue as to who might win. Ask ten different critics what their favorite of 2017 is and I’d estimate hearing at least eight unique titles. There’s a level of…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2017

Below is my December 24th ballot for the 21st annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2017 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years anyway.) Best Picture #1 Dunkirk #2 Call Me By Your Name #3 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri #4 Get Out #5 The Shape of Water #6 The Florida Project #7 mother! #8 Lady Bird ABSTAIN…

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REVIEW: A Quiet Passion [2017]

“Give me something pressed from truth” I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who never heard the name Emily Dickinson, although I’m probably not alone insofar as being ignorant to her work. For someone as prolific as the Amherst, Massachusetts-born poet with approximately 1,800 poems to her name, I’m sure I’ve heard at least a few over the years. Like many revered artists ahead of their time, however, only a dozen were published before she died of Bright’s disease at age fifty-five. It would therefore be easy to fashion…

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Top Ten Films of 2015: Where emotions run high

I have no problem saying 2015 was a great year for cinema. Putting together a Top Ten was difficult at every turn—both because each time I had to do so meant I had seen more films and as a result of my preferences constantly changing. There are more than a few from 11-20 that easily could be Top Ten candidates on a different day. Sadly for them that day isn’t today. Happily for us: the art’s level of quality was good enough to cause such problems. Rules: eligible feature-length films…

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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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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1 Inside Out . #2 Carol . #3 Spotlight . #4 Ex Machina . #5 Mad Max Fury Road #6 Brooklyn #7 The Revenant #8 Room #9 The Martian #10 Sicario Best Animated Film #1 Inside Out . #2 Shaun the Sheep Movie #3 Anomalisa . #4 The Peanuts Movie #5 The Good Dinosaur…

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REVIEW: James White [2015]

“It’s okay to be sad” It begins and ends with a face of pain—the titular James White‘s (Christopher Abbott). We see that something is eating away at him, trapping him inside himself so imbibing drugs, alcohol, and sex is his only reprieve. We also know he’ll eventually recover even before family friend Ben (Ron Livingston) says so aloud. James isn’t okay now and won’t be by the conclusion of Josh Mond‘s semi-autobiographical work, but he’ll at least be in a better position to begin the healing process. It’s ultimately something…

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REVIEW: Rabbit Hole [2010]

“Why didn’t he just make another angel?” Everyone copes with tragedy differently. Some may go to group therapy sessions and slowly peel away at their grief while others do the same around them; some bottle it all up as though they are going through the pain alone, eventually seeing the pent up anger released all at once to an undeserved receipt of whomever is in the crossfire; and others might even attempt to talk with those involved in the event, whether victims or killers, to reconcile guilt, revenge, or give…

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REVIEW: Sex and the City 2 [2010]

“Somewhere between wild sex and a baby” Remember your wild thought of what Liza Minnelli would look like jiving and grooving while singing Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”? You know the dream that’s haunted you since Sasha Fierce’s hook took over the airwaves two short years ago—or was that a nightmare? Either way, boy did Sex and the City 2 burn the vision to my retinas just twenty or so minutes in. I’m not sure I ever really recovered from it. Sure there was tacky, ugly fabric…

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REVIEW: Let It Ride [1989]

“This is just taking advantage of an extraordinary business opportunity” I sometimes forget how blatant music was used in films of the 1980s. Let It Ride may have been made in 1989, but it did not leave that trend behind quite yet. Not only do the cheesy rock ballads come through at the start, the montage shots behind the credits are graced with one that has the title in the lyrics. That’s just how Hollywood rolled in the 80s, and the process recalled those films of John Hughes, a man…

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REVIEW: Sex and the City [2008]

“The last single girl” I learn something new everyday. Here I thought the feature adaptation of the immensely popular HBO show “Sex and the City” was written and directed by its creator Michael Patrick King. After a little research, I come to find that King was only a producer on the show, with only 31 writing credits as opposed to the full 94 for real creator Darren Star and literary basis Candace Bushnell. Despite this, though, it would seem that King is now the driving force behind Carrie Bradshaw and…

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