REVIEW: The Irishman [2019]

It’s what it is. Aging lead Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is approached by two detectives towards the end of Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman (the cinematic adaptation of Charles Brandt‘s I Heard You Paint Houses as scripted by Steve Zaillian) who let him know he’s the only one left. All the other big-time mafiosos from the Bufalino family and elsewhere had met their demise either from bullet, garrote, or disease (with the rare case of natural causes thrown into the mix). The tactic was to let Frank know that there…

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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: Youth [2015]

“Levity is an irresistible temptation” What strange beauty writer/director Paolo Sorrentino finds within the sadness of his palatial Swiss Alps resort’s inhabitants in Youth. The story plays like a surrealistic existential revelation—the aftermaths of each character’s crisis as they discover exactly who they are in the midst of tragic knowing. Age transforms bodies and minds into a monotonous amalgam of flesh and fatigue, years worn as wrinkles and memory gaps while ego remains untouched except by the grace of but a single reveler who truly gets who we are when…

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REVIEW: The Grand Budapest Hotel [2014]

“Who’s got the throat-slitter?” The films of Wes Anderson have always resided in some sort of parallel universe full of stylistic flights of fancy, but never has one been so completely defined by its fantasy than The Grand Budapest Hotel. His previous work exists to pay homage with stories filled to the brim by aesthetic flourishes and meticulously detailed set dressings that transport us into his familiar yet unfamiliar worlds. Rather than start with story as usual, however, his latest seems to have sprung out from its environment. This shouldn’t…

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REVIEW: Little Fockers [2010]

“Stay calm, Mr. Jinx. I’m going to defibrillate myself.” Par for the course. Is that diplomatic enough? It’s a statement that could go both ways depending on what came first, but for those who know me, and my comedy sensibilities, it is not good here. Meet the Parents was harmless enough and semi-worthwhile to see Ben Stiller squirm, Robert De Niro use his brooding persona for humor, (although give me Analyze This any day), and Owen Wilson’s other-worldly transcendence. Meet the Fockers then took a marginal film, added two kooks…

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REVIEW: National Treasure: Book of Secrets [2007]

“Oh look, a little golden man” National Treasure: Book of Secrets will always be known as the film that prevented Helen Mirren from meeting Queen Elizabeth after the success of The Queen. I mean really, I would have made the same choice, because this film is truly high art. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the first installment for its poor-man’s Indiana Jones feel mixed with glossy effects and convoluted plot lines (Bruckheimerisms as I like to call them) and for the most part had fun with this one. Well…

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REVIEW: From Dusk Till Dawn [1996]

“I’m Sex Machine, pleased to meet ya” This year’s Grindhouse was not the first of such collaborations between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. One could argue that their production of From Dusk Till Dawn laid the seeds for that schlock-fest extravaganza. I remember while watching Planet Terror thinking how overboard Rodriguez was going, and loving every minute of it. Revisiting this film, however, showed how he didn’t stray too far from where he had already been. Sure Tarantino’s dialogue is at the forefront for much of the film’s duration, but…

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REVIEW: A Life Less Ordinary [1997]

“I thought we agreed there’d be no cliches” I had always heard good things about this film, but never had the chance to check it out despite being a fan of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and 28 Days Later. A Life Less Ordinary has a lot of aspects that Boyle later used in his child fairy-tale Millions from inventive camera tricks to a melding of fantasy sequences with reality. The main thing taken from this viewing however is the tragedy that Ewan McGregor and Boyle may never work together again. Ewan…

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