REVIEW: Dark Waters [2019]

You think they’re gonna show me?! It’s crazy how our country protects for-profit businesses in ways that allow them to accrue astronomical profits with little to no oversight. There’s this notion that what they provide our economy outweighs the damage they inflict on our society. But who reaps that financial benefit? Rather than collect millions of dollars in taxes that could fund programs the poor need to survive, we line the pockets of the already rich and watch their trickle down faucets divert someplace else to line them thicker still.…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame [2019]

“I love you three thousand” The best thing Marvel ever did was split their Avengers 1.0 saga’s final chapter in two since it allowed Infinity War to deliver what no other entry could: stakes. Despite knowing they were always false due to the giant gauntlet in the room that literally bends time and space to its whims, they hurt nonetheless simply because we were forced to sit with those results for a full year before discovering how things might be put right. Had Anthony and Joe Russo conversely fixed everything…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War [2018]

“He’s never fought me twice” It’s been ten years since we met Tony Stark on the big screen. Ten years of serial storytelling with massive budgets, character crossovers, television offshoots, and Stan Lee cameos that took Hollywood and the box office by storm. Not even steward Kevin Feige could have predicted that type of longevity with twenty films by 2018’s completion, but here he and we are at the culmination of all those carefully laid plans. It’s been an enjoyable journey with origin tales, rights swapping, tonal shifts, and more…

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REVIEW: Thor: Ragnarok [2017]

“Good luck with that, new Doug!” Marvel fatigue has officially hit me, but not like a ton of bricks as much as a nagging sense that the studio is merely going through the motions. Unfortunately this slow unraveling is worse than a huge misstep because it means that a shift back onto the rails is less likely, especially with everyone hailing Thor: Ragnarok as a franchise entry that “breaks the rules.” If that means “push plot to the background for bloated excess dragging pacing out to the point of realizing…

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REVIEW: Now You See Me 2 [2016]

“You may not be having fun, but I am” The problem with giving a film steeped in misdirection a sequel is that the mysteries have already been uncovered. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle to achieve the same success. Now You See Me had a great magic premise wherein the theatrical audience was as in the dark as the fictional audience attending The Four Horsemen’s performances. We knew something big was happening, but weren’t privy to the plan. We watched the intrigue, received truth from an illusion-debunker,…

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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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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 #1Inside Out. #2Carol. #3Spotlight. #4Ex Machina. #5Mad MaxFury Road #6Brooklyn #7The Revenant #8Room #9The Martian #10Sicario Best Animated Film #1Inside Out. #2Shaun theSheep Movie #3Anomalisa. #4The PeanutsMovie #5The GoodDinosaur Best Film Not in the English Language #1Phoenix. #2Mustang. #3GoodnightMommy #4The Assassin. DIDN’T WATCHSon of Saul. Best Documentary #1The Look ofSilence #2Best ofEnemies #3Going Clear.…

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REVIEW: Spotlight [2015]

“What arraignment?” If Thomas McCarthy’s maligned fairy tale The Cobbler provided any help in securing money to put his script Spotlight in front of cameras, it was worth every disparaging word thrown its way. Co-written with Josh Singer, this 2013 Blacklist alum proves an informative and accurate look at the investigative journalism process as well as an engrossing exposé that refuses to let go despite our knowing the story it exposed. Much like famed predecessor All the President’s Men, audiences arrive keenly aware of the Catholic Church scandal at its…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron [2015]

“It wasn’t a nightmare. It was a legacy.” He may not have been there at the start, but Joss Whedon stewarded the Marvel Cinematic Universe through its make or break stage. It was one thing to give the world high-tech flying fun via a sarcastic playboy, otherworld fantasy come to earth courtesy of a haughty royal, and the ‘aw shucks’ patriotism necessary for a bona fide WWII hero on their own terms. Bringing them together along with even more allies was anything but. Yet Whedon—fearless when it comes to delving…

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Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the bone by credits’ end. The best thing I can say about 2014 is that my top ten (heck, maybe my top twenty-five) could be re-organized and re-listed without making me too angry about what is…

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Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing surprises in the second-tier categories like Best Animated Feature (I really hope How to Train Your Dragon 2 loses to one of the other much more aesthetically and conceptually unique nominees) or Short Film Animated…

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