Picking Winners at the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The 91st Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 24th, 2019 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: It’s the type of year where hashtags rhetoric simply won’t work. There’s just not one all encapsulating buzzword to touch upon the myriad problems these nominations face. What do you do when you have a film up for Best Picture that was directed by a known presumed sexual predator who was fired for not…

Read More

REVIEW: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs [2018]

Well don’t let my white duds and pleasant demeanor fool ya. You know the whole enterprise will be a bit cheeky just by directors’ Joel and Ethan Coen‘s statement of intent. While explaining that their love for anthology movies stems from the format’s ability to unite multiple directors with a common theme, they admit their hopes of doing the same with a sextet of Western tales written and adapted over the years. Instead of lamenting the fact they couldn’t make it happen before deciding to direct everything themselves, the duo…

Read More

REVIEW: Miller’s Crossing [1990]

I’ll think about it. The mob is a business like any other. Leadership must be strong and decisive, employees must be loyal to a fault, and every once in a while you have to cut someone you like loose in order to not anger someone you might like less but definitely need more. Despite everything we learn as kids that ends up being useless, the concept of “choosing the lesser of two evils” will forever prove as useful as breathing and yet we have trouble reconciling such dilemmas due to…

Read More

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…

Read More

REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! [2016]

“It’s all in the hips, the lips, the eyes, and the thighs” You don’t think much when you read the Coen Brothers have been bouncing Hail, Caesar! around since 2004. After all, they’re prolific auteurs that often write scripts for other directors, so a decade-long gestation period is nothing to scoff at. Only when you learn the idea was little more than an idea that you start wondering about the final product. Maybe they loved that initial pitch so much the words simply poured out over the last couple years.…

Read More

REVIEW: Bridge of Spies [2015]

“So everyone will hate me, but at least I’ll lose” I’m sure it was a foregone conclusion that Steven Spielberg would choose to direct Matt Charman‘s Bridge of Spies himself the instant it crossed his Dreamworks desk. The story possesses all the earmarks the director has gravitated towards for years, namely an unlikely hero finding himself in the position to do something historically extraordinary to save those who aren’t. “Unlikely hero” because who would peg an insurance lawyer—reveling in smooth talk about his firm’s willingness to cover one collision despite…

Read More

REVIEW: Unbroken [2014]

“If you can take it you can make it” Universal Pictures has possessed the rights to Louie Zamperini’s life story since 1957 with good cause considering its scope spanning a troubled childhood, Olympic glory, and POW torture at the hands of the Japanese during WWII. Only when Laura Hillenbrand‘s mouthful of a book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption came out in 2010 was traction finally found assumedly in large part due to her previous adaptation at the hands of Hollywood, Seabiscuit, earning seven Oscar…

Read More

REVIEW: Inside Llewyn Davis [2013]

“Llewyn is the cat” Can I chalk my ambivalence to the Coen Brothers‘ newest film Inside Llewyn Davis up to knowing nothing about the Greenwich Village folk music scene of 1961? It is after all loosely inspired by the life of Dave Van Ronk, containing aspects of his autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street for authenticity. But how much should knowing the setting of a story impact the enjoyment of what’s unfolding in its space? Shouldn’t the success of what the Coens have accomplished live or die by my interest…

Read More

Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

Read More

Top 25 Films of 2009

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 153 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: An Education directed by Lone Scherfig #24: The Box directed by Richard Kelly #23: Sunshine Cleaning directed by Christine Jeffs #22: The Road directed by John Hillcoat #21: District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp #20: Fantastic Mr. Fox directed by Wes Anderson #19: Lebanon directed by Samuel Maoz. #18: The Hurt Locker directed by Kathryn Bigelow. #17: Los abrazos rotos[Broken Embraces]…

Read More

Top 25 Films of 2007

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 114 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Away From Her directed by Sarah Polley . #24: Cassandra’s Dream directed by Woody Allen . #23: The Cake Eaters directed by Mary Stuart Masterson #22: Grindhouse directed by Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez #21: Stardust directed by Matthew Vaughn . . #20: Reign Over Me directed by Mike Binder . . #19: El Orfanato [The Orphanage] directed by J.A. Bayona…

Read More