Picking Winners at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 9th, 2020 at 8:00pm on ABC. For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself. Jared Mobarak: Let’s face it. The Oscars have been irrelevant from a creative standpoint since … probably forever. The whole thing is a marketing ploy to boost box office numbers and give trailer makers something to put next to names of creative. That’s why theaters re-release nominees. That’s why boutique studios hold wide rollouts until foreign…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are labeled in red.

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REVIEW: Marriage Story [2019]

The pie was just a pie. It’s crazy how love changes the way we see things. Ambition can look like genius when we’re there as a supportive cheerleader and narcissism when we begin to recognize our sacrifices in seeing it get fulfilled. Success can be construed as a mutually beneficial byproduct of a union when one is strong and fertile, but also evidence of what we personally brought to the equation despite the other when we’re picking through the past to dissect what went wrong and who’s to blame. We…

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REVIEW: De Palma [2016]

“I’m driven by unrealistic ideas” I’ve seen twelve Brian De Palma films in my lifetime—a seemingly healthy number when you consider the industry. A guy like Terrence Malick began his career just five years after Brian and it’s only his seventh film that hit DVD this week. Unfortunately for me, twelve doesn’t come close to equaling half of De Palma’s filmography. It’s a problem I always say I’ll rectify considering I’ve missed biggies like Blow Out and Carlito’s Way, but not one that would prevent me from checking out Noah…

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REVIEW: Mistress America [2015]

“Five feet to the left and unhappy” I’ve considered myself a sociopath for a while now, but Noah Baumbach‘s Mistress America has confirmed it. Maybe this is why I have such a love hate relationship with the writer/director’s work—it’s full of them. I guess it’s the light in which the one I align myself with most is shone that determines my reaction. Or maybe it’s whether or not he makes a concerted effort to portray the film in which they’re depicted as purposefully satirical or authentic. But even then it’s…

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REVIEW: While We’re Young [2015]

“She is a mess. And an ugly eater.” I hated While We’re Young—a fact that actually increases my already healthy dose of respect for writer/director Noah Baumbach. He’s a filmmaker with the type of style, tone, and air of not quite tongue-in-cheek pretension you could pick out from across the room as his and his alone. Sometimes it’s good (Greenberg) or downright perfection (The Squid and the Whale and Frances Ha). Other times it makes me so mad I could scream (Margot at the Wedding). Here’s the thing, though: they…

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REVIEW: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [2004]

“Esteban was eaten!” It’s ambitious, hilarious, visually complex, and kind of … boring. I hoped that last adjective was merely the distant memory of a twenty-two year old expecting more out of Wes Anderson‘s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou when first released in theaters due to his infinite love for The Royal Tenenbaums two years previous. I thought perhaps that its failure—a relative term since it being my least favorite of the auteur’s films doesn’t mean it’s not still a three-star entry within a brilliantly quirky oeuvre—was courtesy of…

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Top 25 Films of 2013

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 220+ releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Mud directed by Jeff Nichols #24: Pacific Rim directed by Guillermo del Toro #23: The Conjuring directed by James Wan #22: Satellite of Love directed by Will James Moore #21: Una noche [One Night] directed by Lucy Mulloy #20: The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrmann #19: The Spectacular Now directed by James Ponsoldt #18: Blue Jasmine directed by Woody Allen…

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Top Ten Films of 2013: A year in cinema to write home about

2013 has been a banner year for cinema with a slew of quality pictures that makes you wonder how only nine got enough first place votes to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Most of my favorites could have filled that elusive tenth spot for some added acclaim—whether having a chance to win or not. I hadn’t even seen a good chunk of these until the calendar flipped to 2014, the sheer amount of winners was too vast. And after only awarding three films a 10/10 rating last year,…

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Top Ten Films of 2012: Ensembles upon ensembles

Many have been saying 2012 was a great year for movies. I’m not sure I fully agree. There were a ton of solid 7/10s and 8/10s, yes, but how does that compare with previous years when the amount of 10/10s were also drastically reduced? It took until September for me to give a film four stars and the two I did laud with such a distinction that month were the only ones. Rather than a showcase of masterpiece cinema, 2012 was instead a year of the performance. And I mean…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Frances Ha [2013]

“Ahoy, sexy” A Noah Baumbach film through and through, I can’t help but praise lead actress and co-writer Greta Gerwig‘s influence in making Frances Ha the quirky, subtly hilarious portrait of a twentysomething refusing to accept she is overdue for adulthood that it is. When her titular Frances unabashedly apologizes for “not being a real person”, the hyperbolic exclamation isn’t far off the mark. Living to have fun while hoping life will ultimately fall into place, the realization it’s only passing her by leads to a quarter-life crisis of identity…

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