REVIEW: Queen & Slim [2019]

Can I be your legacy? Despite what your Fox News watching relatives say, Black people in America aren’t asking to be killed. They aren’t “thugs” leeching off a system those same folks are banking on to carry them through retirement. And their rage at being left for slaughter isn’t an excuse for you to wield a badge like a southern slave owner. So when a young couple lurch their car while driving at night, they aren’t baiting a cop to pull them over. That teetotaler praying before diner food and…

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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 excitement to this reality…

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REVIEW: Widows [2018]

This isn’t your world. When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate my perception of what this thing was behind its marketing push. Would there be more than just revenge and heist-based thrills? Would this be a slower burn a la co-writer Gillian Flynn‘s novels augmented by…

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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: Black Panther [2018]

We had to maintain the lie. It’s easy to forget how important Creed was to getting this specific Black Panther made. From Wesley Snipes wanting to get something off the ground in the 1990s to Kevin Feige courting Ava DuVernay as director post-Selma success, things could have been very different. Hiring Ryan Coogler before his Rocky sequel took the box office by storm with almost universal critical acclaim would have made it very different too. Suddenly the man who made his name off the fantastic indie Fruitvale Station was a…

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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. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners are labeled in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years anyway.)

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REVIEW: Get Out [2017]

“Magic isn’t real” If you ever watched “Key & Peele” you’d know the line between comedy and horror is very fine. Their sketches would often devolve into a horrific situation that you’d have to cry about if you weren’t already laughing. I think of “Aerobics Meltdown” where there’s this hilarious conceit of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele going over-the-top, 1980s-era Richard Simmons—it’s absurd, campy, and frivolous. But then they inject a sense of fear and helplessness through a stagehand explaining how one of their wives was in a terrible accident,…

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REVIEW: Sicario [2015]

“For now let’s just keep an eye on the time” There should be no illusions that Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario will deliver a story we haven’t seen before. Any action thriller set at the Mexican border between El Paso and Juarez is bringing heavy artillery, copious drugs, and amoral warlords on both sides of the fence/law. First-time screenwriter Taylor Sheridan of “Sons of Anarchy” fame knows this and therefore decides to place a slightly different spin on the proceedings. Rather than watch from the vantage point of those looking to deal…

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