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: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood [2019]

Give me sexy, evil Hamlet. It was around midnight between August 8th and 9th, 1969 that Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel arrived at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles on a mission from their cult leader Charles Manson. They were told to go to that house (a former renter named Terry Melcher once rebuked Manson) and kill everyone inside as gruesomely as possible. By morning five people were dead including a pregnant Sharon Tate (whose husband, director Roman Polanski, was in Europe working on a new film) with…

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REVIEW: 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn] [1967]

“You still want noodles?” When I told a friend I was going to be watching King Hu‘s 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn], she surprisingly told me she’d already seen it. I wondered where considering the Janus Films restoration had just released this year and her response was, “El Rey.” Yes, Robert Rodriguez‘s television channel known for grindhouse content. I was taken aback. I had seen A Touch of Zen last month and found myself mesmerized by the artistry and scope, it’s epic tale the type of austere cinema for…

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REVIEW: Lake Nowhere [2016]

“My blood is liquid offering” Directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy take a page from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez‘s book by delving into slasher fare of old for their own grindhouse-type homage of Italian blood-letting, maliciously Evil Dead-esque vines, and a murderer in the vein of Leatherface and Jason Voorhees protecting a lake of perished souls. The film is Lake Nowhere, titled after the final 45-minute or so “feature” that follows trailers for the unmade When the River Runs Red and Harvest Man alongside a commercial for fictional…

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Top Ten Films of 2015: Where emotions run high

I have no problem saying 2015 was a great year for cinema. Putting together a Top Ten was difficult at every turn—both because each time I had to do so meant I had seen more films and as a result of my preferences constantly changing. There are more than a few from 11-20 that easily could be Top Ten candidates on a different day. Sadly for them that day isn’t today. Happily for us: the art’s level of quality was good enough to cause such problems. Rules: eligible feature-length films…

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REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

“Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come sooner with its predecessor Django Unchained, despite earning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, proving to me his weakest work. Not only was it pretty much a watered-down rehash of Inglourious Basterds, it was also…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Baskin [2015]

“Open the eyes of your heart” It starts off with a late night dinner scene between a quintet of cops telling crazy stories and losing their temper with the help straight out of a Tarantino movie and continues on its descent to Hell with a writhing, mashing, sexual bloodletting orgy calling to mind E. Elias Merhige‘s Begotten. This is Can Evrenol‘s debut feature Baskin (adapted from his own short of the same name), a journey to the depths of despair that’s at once nightmare, memory, and horrific present of unimaginable…

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REVIEW: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night [2014]

“Are you a good boy or not?” The comparisons are so spot-on that I knew critics before me had made the same parallels before even looking. Ana Lily Amirpour‘s debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is Jim Jarmusch cool with Quentin Tarantino swagger—an Iranian Vampire Western calling to mind Dead Man and Ghost Dog remixed through a Pulp Fiction lens. It’s a wonder no one had done it before with the way in which her titular creature of the night glides across Bad City in her pitch-black…

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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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REVIEW: Tusk [2014]

“I believe we’re all tea people” I want to dismiss Kevin Smith‘s second foray into horror as total bullshit. I really do. Not only was Tusk created on a lark because one of his and Scott Mosier‘s internet Smodcasts recorded them discussing a crazy Gumtree ad offering a room for rent if the lodger agreed to wear a walrus suit, but because the “ad” in question was itself a fictitious prank by poet Chris Parkinson. Smith’s listeners voted to have a film made out of the restructured, warped version of…

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