REVIEW: Cold Brook [2019]

He needs to go home. I did a lengthy retrospective interview with William Fichtner back in 2015 as part of a local Buffalo, New York publication’s “film issue” due to his being raised in the suburb of Cheektowaga and forever holding a special place in his heart for the city wherever he goes. When talking about the area’s rejuvenation and increased appeal for the film industry, he relayed his dream of one day soon shooting a script he finished co-writing with Cain DeVore in his hometown’s backyard of Upstate New…

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REVIEW: New Money [2019]

You gotta look nice for bankers. The prize at the center of Jason B. Kohl‘s New Money is fifty thousand dollars. While the characters like to label it an inheritance, their descriptions prove otherwise. It’s more a promise made by a father (Chelcie Ross‘ Boyd Tisdale) to his troubled daughter (Louisa Krause‘s Debbie). If she works hard and avoids getting pregnant, the money is hers at thirty. Because of extenuating circumstances (she’s addicted to Oxycodone after a short stint in nursing school), however, Boyd has every right to renege. His…

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REVIEW: Take Me To the River [2016]

“The beans have to come out of the oven” First-time feature writer/director Matt Sobel set out to create a film that allowed its viewers to become active participants in the story process and he’s succeeded. Take Me to the River is nothing if not ambiguous in a way that forces us to give meaning to unanswered questions and oddly truncated scenarios. It’s claustrophobically emotional with intense discomfort both for the characters and audience. How you interpret what’s happening beneath the surface of knowing looks, fierce provocations, and devastating guilt says…

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REVIEW: Pawn Sacrifice [2015]

“I’m searching for the truth” I’ve always been fascinated by Bobby Fischer due to his vanishing rather than anything he accomplished at a chessboard. I’ve never been good at the game, yet I respect its complexity. The greats literally memorize past matches and maneuvers, so in-tune with the playing field that they can play out loud with nothing more than words. Fischer was a great—the youngest Grandmaster in history and the first American-born World Champion. Like most geniuses, however, the strain of intellect, pressure, and success brought with it a…

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REVIEW: Mississippi Grind [2015]

“It’s Machu Picchu time” Filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s latest Mississippi Grind is an interesting creature. It has no ulterior motives whatsoever and that’s a unique attribute for a movie about gambling. You can’t watch loudmouth storyteller Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) happen upon the same poker table as down on his luck sad sack Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) without knowing he’s in the midst of a con. We don’t know what he could want from a guy who is joining sixty-dollar buy-in tournaments to pray he’ll be able to pay-off…

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REVIEW: The Sessions [2012]

“Cleansed and victorious” Already the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary short depicting his journalistic career entitled Breathing Lessions: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien, it appears the now deceased polio survivor had a salacious moment in his life yet to be told. Author of the 1990 magazine article “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate”, O’Brien had done just that. Saddled with feelings of embarrassment whenever thoughts about his sexuality or inability to control his body cropped up, there came an opportunity to do what he never dreamed possible. Propositioned to…

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