BIFF19 REVIEW: Buffaloed [2020]

Debt never dies. Leave it to an actual Buffalonian to write a screenplay set in the city without one mention or frame of snow. Only they know what else the Queen City has to offer above cheap jokes about blizzards and cold because they’ve grown up amongst the eccentric characters found in every corner bar or Bills game that can hate the person next to them despite still supplying a high-five if a touchdown is scored. So when Brian Sacca mocks the chicken wing feuds (Anchor Bar or Duffs?), fandom,…

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REVIEW: The Wedding Planner [2001]

Dark tower demolished. I shouldn’t be surprised that my nineteen-year old self wasn’t a fan of The Wedding Planner when it came out. Romantic comedies weren’t my genre of choice and I surely didn’t pick it upon going to the theater with friends. So I probably watched with an immovable bias, honed in on its familiarity, and ignored its strength with an agenda to walk out without laughing. Watching it almost twenty years later removed from that teenage boy mentality, however, reveals how strong preconceptions can prove. That’s not to…

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REVIEW: A Happening of Monumental Proportions [2018]

Choose, commit, and move. Men have it tough don’t they? I mean they have to worry about married women they’ve engaged in inner-office affairs with ratting them out to the new boss. Some are forced to face the crushing existential crisis that comes with their failed pipe dreams of rock stardom revealing how they’re nothing but lowly private school music teachers who’ve accomplished nothing in their lives—including, apparently, educating the children in their class. And don’t get me started on the ones who must endure the untimely death of their…

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REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp [2018]

“Like Baba Yaga …” While a lot of fans were instantly and irrationally mad upon learning Avengers: Infinity War wouldn’t include Hawkeye or Ant-Man, I rejoiced knowing that Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s release date fell between both it and its as yet untitled Avengers follow-up. This meant that Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) latest adventure to the Quantum Realm would have no bearing on the crazy cliffhanger seemingly sealing the fates of so many other superheroes. Marvel was positioning its cinematic universe’s “lighter side” as a vehicle to help distract audiences…

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REVIEW: Measure of a Man [2018]

“This time I had something to prove” The coming of age dramedy is a crowded genre with many seminal works established in the 70s and 80s. It’s tough to therefore see any entries without comparing them to what came first. Some can still find their niche and win audiences over before earning a place besides those former greats, but oftentimes they simply feel too familiar to necessitate a second look. The latter category is a shame because familiarity isn’t always synonymous with “bad.” Take Jim Loach‘s Measure of a Man,…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Men, Women & Children [2014]

“I guess I was just scared” We are the pale blue dot. Earth? No. The intermittently blinking light on the end of an out-of-touch parent’s device for transparently spying on a daughter’s electronic path when he/she should be proud for having a smart and compassionate teen unlike the majority populating the local high school. Our world’s different from the one Carl Sagan represented by filling the Voyager spacecraft with records of music, languages, and calls of whales. Now in a post-9/11 America we fear strangers as well as friends, peers,…

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REVIEW: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014]

“Ape no kill ape” The hype is spot-on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A more focused film than Rise of the Planet of the Apes—which served as an emotive origin tale possessing little unique conflict beyond a fight scene showing off computer effects more than propelling storyline—you should still acknowledge that predecessor allows it to be so. This doesn’t mean you must view it to understand the sequel, however, as a concisely informative prologue is delivered to explain the key plot point of mankind simultaneously giving apes…

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REVIEW: Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2012]

“The Porsche is normal size. You’re a Sasquatch.” It’s good to see Mark Duplass hasn’t stopped making small-scale, heartfelt indies with his brother Jay despite success on the acting front with the likes of “The League” and Safety Not Guaranteed. While I’m not sure you could still call them mumblecore with increasingly prominent casts—although their second film of 2012, The Do-Deca Pentathlon might—they haven’t lost the quirkily authentic appeal that originally endeared the duo to audiences. Jeff, Who Lives at Home contains some questionable choices with constant zoom pulls recalling…

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REVIEW: The Descendants [2011]

“Goodbye my love, my friend, my pain, my joy. Goodbye.” Beginning in voiceover, Alexander Payne’s new film The Descendants introduces us to the King family through its in-over-his-head patriarch. In a brilliant analogy, he posits how his clan resembles their home state of Hawaii very closely—beyond the obvious ancestral roots dating back to the area’s native royalty. Like the archipelago, the Kings consist of differing parts of one whole that appear to slowly move away from each other as time passes. Physically split between islands due to boarding school and…

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REVIEW: Love & Other Drugs [2010]

“Were you molested by a Care Bear?” What do you do when you read something about a movie that appears to ruin a key ingredient the trailer doesn’t show? You get pissed. I know I did when I read—yes, I’m going to tell you—that Anne Hathaway’s character Maggie in Love & Other Drugs has Parkinson’s. Here I thought the film looked like an above average rom/com and I get blindsided by this disease that has to end up playing a huge role in what goes on. And it does, the…

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REVIEW: 27 Dresses [2008]

“What color is that—vomit?” Can expectations ever be high for a romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl The answer from this guy, who was even low on Knocked Up, is no. Coming from a script by screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, she of abysmal Laws of Attraction and mediocre Devil Wears Prada fame, I can say I went into 27 Dresses very low, with only the stalwart adoration of my viewing partner keeping me from not even giving it a chance to prove itself. A day later, I am glad she got…

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