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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The 88th Oscars recap through tweets …

  The Oscars are today! You know, the awards show where Leonardo DiCaprio is “overdue” but black people can “wait till next year.” — Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) February 28, 2016 Bette Midler‘s tweet hours before the 88th Annual Academy Awards started says it all above. #OscarsSoWhite would and to a point should be the focus of the show because all the chaos that ensued once the nominations revealed a second consecutive year without a non-white acting nod deemed it so. However, the uproar was directed towards the Academy hastily and…

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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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REVIEW: O Menino e o Mundo [Boy & the World] [2014]

Writer/director Alê Abreu‘s O Menino e o Mundo [Boy & the World] is nothing if not a breath of fresh air against the animation medium’s otherwise stagnant aesthetic of glossy computerized fare. Not only does he dive back into a traditional hand-drawn style, he does so with an un-polished rough-edged crayon texture to make it appear as if a drawing on a piece of paper has come to life. The way he makes environments disappear so his titular boy Cuca is left with nothing but a white void 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: Mad Max: Fury Road [2015]

“Our babies will not be warlords” It’s not often delays, financial dissolutions, and waning interest make a film better, but I don’t want to know what Mad Max: Fury Road might have been without them. In its current form the film embodies a logical escalation of what director George Miller began over three decades ago by embracing the insanity eating away at his titular road warrior’s resolve. Survival becomes a collective pursuit whether in the wastelands left behind after wars ravaged the earth of gasoline, water, humanity, and life itself…

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REVIEW: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome [1985]

“He can beat most men with his breath” It’s said that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is based (without credit) on Russell Hoban‘s science fiction novel Riddley Walker. This could be true, but to my eye the finished product bears a striking resemblance to the 80s fantasy aesthetic thus far utilized during the decade. More of a parallel than to its own predecessors: low budget 70s cops and robbers actioner Mad Max and gritty dystopian epic The Road Warrior. Its first half in Bartertown is the Wild West of Star Wars‘…

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REVIEW: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior [1981]

“I’m just here for the gasoline” Welcome to the “Wastelands”. This is the Mad Max I remember—a desolate post-apocalyptic future riddled with mohawk-toting, S&M leather-wearing marauders bearing teeth and chaining submissives/human guard dogs on leashes until the fight needs some extra wild. It’s no surprise Hollywood changed the name from Mad Max 2 to The Road Warrior before release while refusing to call attention to it being a sequel in promotional materials because it’s a different beast altogether. With Mad Max‘s unparalleled international success positioning George Miller to choose his…

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REVIEW: Mad Max [1979]

“I’m a fuel-injected suicide machine” You couldn’t turn on the television without seeing Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome when I was growing up. I couldn’t tell you anything about it besides the fact Tina Turner co-starred, but I remember the whole terminally crazed aesthetic of George Miller‘s post-apocalyptic world. So much so that I always assumed I had seen the two previous entries. While I’m pretty sure memories of The Road Warrior lie somewhere dormant in the back of my mind, I cannot say the same about the original. The yellow…

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REVIEW: Happy Feet Two [2011]

“Sometimes you have to back up to go forward” It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I loathed Happy Feet. As a concept the film seemed quite solid—cute penguins dancing, a modern soundtrack to tap along with, the comedy stylings of Robin Williams—but the final result was an ambush of politics and sexuality I’m not quite sure belongs in a film targeted towards children. Its ugly duckling mantra of finding yourself and treading your own path no matter what does inspire, but George Miller and company couldn’t let…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2011: Too Many Characters!

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Hark! The holidays are upon us! While that signifies the beginning of what should be the glorious awards season flood of quality work only the lucky few of us attending…

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