TIFF17 REVIEW: Chappaquiddick [2018]

“Sometimes the path you’re on isn’t always the path you choose” It was always funny to think of Ted Kennedy as “the other Kennedy.” How could you not? Despite his long tenure as Massachusetts Senator, he wasn’t “anointed” like Jack or Bobby. He tried and failed to secure a presidential nomination, but even if he won there’d always be that one incident tainting his legacy and integrity. The place was Chappaquiddick and the reality was he killed someone. He became the butt of a joke—a tasteless joke. Nothing he’d ever…

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REVIEW: Welcome to Happiness [2016]

“But then …” When you think of short stories like W.W. Jacobs‘ “The Monkey’s Paw” or Richard Matheson‘s “Button, Button” (adapted to the small screen for “The Twilight Zone” and big for Richard Kelly‘s underrated The Box), dark images of death are conjured. The consequences of earning personal reward come at great cost to those you may or may not know. They concern selfish acts that will incite chaos and a purveyor of their too-good-to-be-true opportunities who relishes in watching the destructive path cut by fate’s unyielding need to balance…

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REVIEW: The Wedding Ringer [2014]

“Sock on put” The writing team behind The Break-Up is back nine years later with their latest comedy The Wedding Ringer. While not a slog like their first feature—I found it painful at times—Jeremy Garelick (who also directs) and Jay Lavender‘s increased entertainment value unfortunately comes at the price of the whole being a complete mess. Jamming in as many comedy tropes as possible to create this genre Frankenstein’s monster, you’ll find yourself laughing at Wedding Crashers-level raunch one moment, wading through a flipped The Wedding Planner-esque plot full of…

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REVIEW: Dredd [2012]

“All we do is turn the handle” Whether Gareth Evans admitted Dredd 3D went into production while he was still filming The Raid or not, the similarities can’t be dismissed. I’m not saying this to imply theft—just that comparison is unavoidable. Liking one will probably mean the other disappoints, but the one you see first won’t necessarily be your favorite. No, I stand by the fact that this futuristic, crime-riddled world is objectively less effective than its Indonesian rival. It drags in multiple places, finds unintentional laughs through coldly stern…

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REVIEW: Solitary Man [2010]

“Out there is nothing but possibilities” Have films embraced the ambiguous ‘does he or doesn’t he’ ending too often recently? I feel bad beginning with that question since I did actually like Solitary Man very much, but liking the whole doesn’t discount the fact that a contrived ‘conversational’ fade to black has gone from bold to clichéd in a short period of time. An easy device to end stories containing a central figure who reaches an epiphany on life, the viewer can contemplate what they saw and choose where they…

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BNFF09 REVIEW: What Goes Up [2009]

“He was choking on Mars” Buffalo, New York hosted its first ever World Premiere showing of a film to be released theatrically in America. The Buffalo Niagara Film Festival’s gold ticket event for 2009 was for the film What Goes Up, a story set in the week leading up to the Challenger disaster in New Hampshire, home of teacher and astronaut Christa McAuliffe. Writers Robert Lawson and Jonathan Glatzer, (who also directed), were in attendance to introduce their work and explain their hope to get audiences thinking about what it…

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REVIEW: Snow Angels [2008]

“There are good people” Finally I have seen a David Gordon Green film. After all the praise I’ve heard based on his previous efforts, it almost came to the point where my first experience might have been his forthcoming Seth Rogen stoner comedy Pineapple Express rather than the indie dramas he is acclaimed for. Luckily Buffalo was able to secure his latest work, Snow Angels, for limited release so that I could see him in his element. This film is quite fantastic; a character study of a small town and…

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