Posterized Propaganda August 2014: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Sin City,’ ‘Starred Up,’ and 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. 2014 soldiers on and the poster selection just gets worse. Luckily the films themselves haven’t been as uninspired. Or maybe they have. After all, this summer is down almost 19%…

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BNFF14 PREVIEW: The 8th Annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival

It’s eight years later and The Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival is still going strong April 24th through May 3rd. I personally missed organizer and filmmaker Bill Cowell‘s inaugural season, but have been attending off and on as both a ticket holder and member of the press since. My first experience was in 2008 at the Riviera Theatre in Tonawanda. I drove over mostly because that night’s feature had a cast consisting of Bruce Dern and Kristen Stewart (pre-Twilight). While director Mary Stewart Masterson‘s The Cake Eaters proved worthy of…

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REVIEW: Grudge Match [2013]

“This is not the behavior of old men, man” Someone had the brilliant idea of putting Rocky Balboa and Jake La Motta in the ring together at the ripe old comedic age of seventy and their Hollywood surrogates agreed to no one’s surprise. Not only that, but the actors also found added pleasure in playing these latest roles as somewhat of a parody on themselves with Robert De Niro‘s Billy “The Kid” McDonnen being all about the easy financial score (see the two-time Oscar-winner’s trajectory the past two decades) and…

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REVIEW: Java Heat [2013]

“So, you just hit on her?” It’s taken director Conor Allyn five years and two movies to finally have the actioner Java Heat put him at the helm of a movie with English as its first language. His previous two films closed out the Indonesian box office hit trilogy Merah Putih [Red & White] he wrote against the backdrop of the country’s war for independence from the Dutch. An intriguing location for an American filmmaker to debut, the connection becomes easier to understand after learning his father and co-writer Rob…

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REVIEW: Immortals [2011]

“Witness hell!” With the most recent forays into mythology coming in the form of a boring Troy and misguided Clash of the Titans, seeing the name Tarsem Singh attached to Immortals brought a smile to my face. Originally titled Dawn of War and War of the Gods before settling on its current name, the director sought to deliver a bloody epic in the style of a Renaissance painting—the flowing light of the Gods’ capes and fluid motion of action a real treat. And if you’ve seen his previous work The…

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REVIEW: Stake Land [2011]

“And God smote the world asunder” While Hollywood continues to give us vampire flicks that are wrapped up tidily by their conclusion, independent cinema still lives to save us from contrivance and idyllic happy ends. Jim Mickle’s Stake Land is one such venture, combining the styles of 28 Days Later with The Road, his post-apocalyptic world populated by creatures of the night looking for blood. They can’t talk, think, or work together, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Whereas most entries to the genre let a simple prick…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2011

While Jon Favreau may say that 2011 looks to have a bloodbath summer on its hands with blockbusters galore taking 3D screens from each other, I’ll say right now that those aren’t the movies most intriguing me. Next year sees a return for Jack Sparrow, Lightning McQueen, Holmes and Watson, the Witwickys, Ethan Hunt, and, of course, everyone’s favorite Ghostface. Superheroes are king once more with Avengers, Mutants, and a delayed and beleaguered Black Beauty coming as well as our once beloved comedian Adam Sandler not only starring in a…

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REVIEW: The Expendables [2010]

“I woulda win” When a summer movie season can be described as disappointing and have it be an understatement, nothing says popcorn blockbuster better than a big budget action flick. 2010 never quite had anything to fit the bill, but that wasn’t going to stop Sylvester Stallone from attempting to bring the masses something close. The hype has been huge as Sly compiled a who’s who cast of action stars (relevant and not), fringe athletes, and badass character folk like Eric Roberts and Mickey Rourke to literally blow up anything…

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REVIEW: Iron Man 2 [2010]

“We don’t all run on batteries, Tony” The first Iron Man was a breath of fresh air when it came out in 2008. That was the year The Dark Knight showed audiences how morosely ambitious a comic book story could be, as well as arriving after the more serious tales of humanity X-Men and Spider-Man, amongst others, had. Sure there were the couple blips on the radar called Fantastic Four, but those were merely campy and pulpy because the story wasn’t strong enough to be anything else. It was the…

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REVIEW: The Hire [2001-2002]

“BMW recommends that you always wear your seatbelt” After watching the Parallel Lines series, my desire to revisit BMW’s The Hire was too much to contain. This thing was a cultural phenomenon, doing what no one had ever done, with a medium still untested at the time. Back in 2001, households across America were still learning about the internet; installing their dial-up connections to surf for mostly news articles and sites without too many images for quick access. Looking to tap into a market that could target its demographic of…

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