Summer Fun Film Festivals in WNY

With the dwindling numbers of drive-in theaters across the country, independent theaters finding it difficult to compete with huge chains, and the ever-fluctuating national box office needing too many 3D films to turn a profit, certain cities somehow find a way to keep the medium alive. Buffalo is one of them and always has been since I can remember. My days as a high schooler trying to figure out plans with friends for the weekend always ended up being decided between catch the latest blockbuster or hit up the local…

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Posterized Propaganda December 2012: A Cinematic Library with ‘Django Unchained’, ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Les Miserables’ & More

“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. Here we are at the end of 2012, ready for the release of the last few Oscar. It’s a time where story generally triumphs over mainstream appeal and where the…

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REVIEW: That’s My Boy [2012]

“Secret tickle time” Just when you thought Adam Sandler had hit bottom and could only improve upon a lackluster string of film’s that have to make you question the quality of his earlier gems, he proves it can always get worse. From Sean Anders (the director of Sex Drive) and David Caspe (creator of “Happy Endings”) comes one of the most unoriginal comedies in years. Recycling the ‘disastrous wedding’ trope that I’m sad to say was actually done better in Meet the Parents—a film I also abhor—we’re made to watch…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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REVIEW: Restless [2011]

“One—with a big fat head” I looked forward to this film with anticipation after watching its sweetly touching trailer of quirky kids, death, and the journey taken to find light amidst darkness. Gus Van Sant appeared the perfect match as a visionary able to do so much with sparse material; to allow quiet moments of introspection room to breathe and more resonate sentimentality an authenticity to rise above its inherent triteness. He found a way to make Good Will Hunting‘s overly clichéd script great and Elephant‘s silent storm invigorating, but…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Death of a Superhero [2012]

“Life is a sexually transmitted disease” Cancer is one of life’s great fears, a grand equalizer that takes without discretion. Children are lost while their parents watch, talents with the ability to make a difference in the world leave us before their impact can ever be felt, and loved ones pass when after we told ourselves we’d have so more time. For the person dying, however, the outlook becomes both bleaker and brighter. Sure, they are angry with God or whomever they blame for putting them in their impossible position,…

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REVIEW: Horrible Bosses [2011]

“How you like ‘dem nipples?” I had such high hopes. Between Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day being the leads, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston the supporters, and Jamie Foxx as the comedy’s comic relief, how could it have gone wrong? It must have been the writing, right? The trio tasked to tackle this tale of men trapped in jobs with the worst bosses possible, who hatch a plan to murder them all, ended up falling prey to the easy desire of catering the characters to the…

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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: Milk [2008]

“We gotta give em hope” I have to admit that I forgot Gus Van Sant knew how to make films with a linear storyline. The man is a visionary with My Own Private Idaho standing as one of my personal favorites and, a little more recently, Elephant being a testament to craft succeeding beyond a need for dialogue. But of course, the film everyone loves is that Damon/Affleck darling Good Will Hunting, and I do too. Mix them all together, add some non-fiction, and you’ll come close to Milk, the…

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Top 20 Films of 1997

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 57 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #20: Suicide Kings directed by Peter O’Fallon #19: The Fifth Element directed by Luc Besson #18: Titanic directed by James Cameron #17: Grosse Pointe Blank directed by George Armitage. #16: Mononoke-hime[Princess Mononoke] directed by Hayao Miyazaki #15: Deconstructing Harry directed by Woody Allen. #14: Jackie Brown directed byQuentin Tarantino #13: Funny Games directed by Michael Haneke. #12: A Life Less Ordinary directed…

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