REVIEW: Live By Night [2016]

“We don’t get to pick our sins” A scene happens early on in Live by Night where Deputy Police Captain Thomas Coughlin (Brendan Gleeson) tells his criminal son Joe (Ben Affleck) that our actions always add up to a conclusion for which we can never predict. The idea is that Joe is a good man—a war veteran with a good heart—who’s simply been disillusioned. Thomas is willing to not crackdown on him despite being fully aware of how his boy makes a living as long as the evidence doesn’t force…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Argo [2012]

“The United States government has just sanctioned your science fiction movie” In 1979, tensions between Iran and the United States reached a boil after Ayatollah Khomeini called for a return of his predecessor—Shah Pahlavi—in order to try him in what would be a kangaroo court whether or not deserved. Allowed passage into the US to attend the Mayo clinic and combat his cancer, the fact we were housing him infuriated a group of Islamist students and militant followers of the Imam’s Line to the point of storming the American embassy…

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10/12/10 … Talking Movies with Nick Mendola on WECK 1230AM

On the air with Nick Mendola at Buffalo’s own WECK 1230AM radio. 10/12/10 – Talking about, but not limited to, 127 Hours; The Social Network; Catfish; The Town; Jackass 3D; and A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop. Audio player appears once link is pressed: CLICK TO LISTEN [editor’s note: please excuse the constant interrupting of Nick as the connection constantly cut out to the point where I heard dead air and thought I needed to talk—hopefully rectified in the future.]

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REVIEW: The Town [2010]

“It’ll be just like one of my sunny days” There is just something about Ben Affleck and Boston. Raised in Cambridge, it seems that success and the hometown accent combine as though they are directly related. Good Will Hunting earned him an Oscar for Best Screenplay, his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone was—in my opinion—one of the best films of 2007, and now his sophomore effort The Town shows it wasn’t a fluke. I’m not saying he should quit his day job in front of the lens or anything; you…

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REVIEW: Shutter Island [2010]

“Retreat isn’t something you consider an option” Very rarely does a film meet, let alone exceed, the expectations of the piece of literature it is based upon. With a director like Martin Scorsese, however, you do hold out hope that it will at least come close. But with postponements from the Oscar wheelhouse of a fall release and the move to a dump month such as February, concern weighed very heavy. Maybe the departure in subject matter caused the venerable auteur to falter a bit, unsure of how to handle…

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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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REVIEW: Whip It [2009]

“Cause shoes are a gateway drug” Bravo Drew Barrymore, who thought you had it in you? I am a self-proclaimed hater of this former child actress turned mediocre adult actress/producer. I did love Donnie Darko, though, and she did play a part in getting it made, but her role was atrocious. So, one may infer where my head was upon sitting down at the screening for Whip It—complete with Buffalo’s own roller derby girls in attendance—to see if she could pull an Affleck, (which isn’t fair since I think he’s…

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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…

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Top Ten Films of 2007: The Year of the Adaptation

It was a year of many genres. We had some musicals, a few dramas, comedies galore, a little sci-fi, and a couple bio-pics sprinkled in to satiate the kiddies and Oscar voters. If anything, I guess one trend seemed to rise above, that being the adaptation, whether from plays (Sweeney Todd), novels (Zodiac), or comics (Stardust). I always try to read first, but the shear amount this year prevented me from doing so, therefore I can’t quite say if they were all successes or not. In the end, after seeing…

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REVIEW: Atonement [2007]

“No rhymes and no embellishments” Ladies and gentlemen, a hand for director Joe Wright; he has crafted a masterpiece. With resemblances to films like Cold Mountain and A Very Long Engagement, Atonement is just so much more. Visually stunning, intellectually stimulating, and forever heartbreaking, Wright has made a movie like no other this year. Sure I have seen “perfect” films this year, for lack of a better word, but even Gone Baby Gone winds up far down the list when compared to all 10/10 films I’ve seen and given that…

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REVIEW: Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead [2007]

“May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead” The often-used phrase about how it was too bad such great acting was wasted on an inferior film has always intrigued me. The last time I felt it was with The Last King of Scotland. There, however, its top-notch performances vaulted its above average story into a highly enjoyable experience. That is how these instances usually go for me. I don’t mind if the movie is on the simple side if the acting is worth the…

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