Picking Winners at the 89th Annual Academy Awards

The 89th Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 26th, 2017 at 8:30pm on ABC. Buffalonians can watch it from the comfort of their home or take a trip down to these local destinations: • The Screening Room, The Boulevard MallFree (doors open at 7:00pm)• Buffalo State College, Campbell Student UnionFree with Student ID, $10 general public (doors open at 8:00pm)• Q, 44 Allen StreetFree (Red Carpet party begins at 6:00pm) For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself.…

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REVIEW: Hacksaw Ridge [2016]

“Come back home to me” It took almost sixty years before Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor, was cajoled from modesty to allow for a cinematic adaptation of his harrowing journey from Virginia to Okinawa’s blood-soaked WWII battlefield. It took another fifteen before the result hit the big screen, sadly ten too late for this hero to watch the sobering yet wholly inspirational look at faith and valor amidst chaos himself. Mel Gibson took the director’s chair after twice turning it down with Robert…

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REVIEW: Mad Max: Fury Road [2015]

“Our babies will not be warlords” It’s not often delays, financial dissolutions, and waning interest make a film better, but I don’t want to know what Mad Max: Fury Road might have been without them. In its current form the film embodies a logical escalation of what director George Miller began over three decades ago by embracing the insanity eating away at his titular road warrior’s resolve. Survival becomes a collective pursuit whether in the wastelands left behind after wars ravaged the earth of gasoline, water, humanity, and life itself…

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REVIEW: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome [1985]

“He can beat most men with his breath” It’s said that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is based (without credit) on Russell Hoban‘s science fiction novel Riddley Walker. This could be true, but to my eye the finished product bears a striking resemblance to the 80s fantasy aesthetic thus far utilized during the decade. More of a parallel than to its own predecessors: low budget 70s cops and robbers actioner Mad Max and gritty dystopian epic The Road Warrior. Its first half in Bartertown is the Wild West of Star Wars‘…

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REVIEW: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior [1981]

“I’m just here for the gasoline” Welcome to the “Wastelands”. This is the Mad Max I remember—a desolate post-apocalyptic future riddled with mohawk-toting, S&M leather-wearing marauders bearing teeth and chaining submissives/human guard dogs on leashes until the fight needs some extra wild. It’s no surprise Hollywood changed the name from Mad Max 2 to The Road Warrior before release while refusing to call attention to it being a sequel in promotional materials because it’s a different beast altogether. With Mad Max‘s unparalleled international success positioning George Miller to choose his…

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REVIEW: Mad Max [1979]

“I’m a fuel-injected suicide machine” You couldn’t turn on the television without seeing Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome when I was growing up. I couldn’t tell you anything about it besides the fact Tina Turner co-starred, but I remember the whole terminally crazed aesthetic of George Miller‘s post-apocalyptic world. So much so that I always assumed I had seen the two previous entries. While I’m pretty sure memories of The Road Warrior lie somewhere dormant in the back of my mind, I cannot say the same about the original. The yellow…

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REVIEW: The Golden Child [1986]

“Hey Bird – Did you just see a little Hare-Krishna midget in the tree, floatin’?… Or is it me?” Only in the 80s could a film like The Golden Child be born. And that goes for the comedy it became and the supernatural drama screenwriter Dennis Feldman originally wrote it as with Mel Gibson in the lead and John Carpenter at the helm. Just look at the premise: a young Tibetan child with the power to heal the dead and save our world is kidnapped by a demon, inexplicably brought…

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REVIEW: Wild Wild West [1999]

“Never drum on a white lady’s boobies at a big redneck dance” Let’s just say that Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise dodged a bullet by backing out of Wild Wild West during its seven-year gestation. Its script probably wasn’t nearly as off-the-wall goofy at the start considering their clout as actors, but I highly doubt either would have been up for the parody it became. While the 90s were all about the television adaptation anyway—Gibson went on to do the lackluster Maverick and Cruise the effective Mission: Impossible—I’m not sure…

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REVIEW: Noah [2014]

“Maybe we’ll learn to be kind” Religion likes to talk about mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance as though such grace was instilled in humanity before we decided to ignore it for carnal pleasure, bloodlust, and greed. This is why most films depicting Biblical stories go heavy on angels and enlightenment, giving pithy parables with “a-ha” lessons to take stock and deflect from the copious amounts of violence throughout its text. Yes there’s creation, salvation, good deeds unto others, and heroes to aspire towards, but don’t forget deception, cleansings, sin, and damnation.…

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The 85th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • and the #Oscars begin … #[email protected] • SUCCESS!! Tommy Lee Jones smiles! #[email protected] • poor Don Cheadle #Oscars13 Welcome to the 85th annual Academy Awards from the newly renamed Dolby Theatre. Bankruptcy is a drag, ain’t it Kodak? Hopes were high after host Seth MacFarlane‘s surprisingly hilarious Ted made me wonder if the dude wasn’t the real deal after all. A poor man’s Ricky Gervais, the Academy was probably wise in going for the watered-down Americanized version of unbridled snark because one would think the “Family Guy” creator…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Lipstikka [2012]

“This is my life. I might as well live it.” Dealing with the tenuousness and unreliability of memory, Jonathan Sagall has crafted a sophomore feature that isn’t easy to shake. An Israeli-raised, Canadian-born filmmaker, many at the Toronto International Film Festival were interested to discover why he chose to tell a story about two Palestinian women. Attempting to remain as politically correct and honest as possible, his response was a resounding, “This is a story about people”. To Sagall, his work doesn’t deal with two sides of a never-ending war…

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