REVIEW: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot [2019]

“I’ll thank you to look after the dog” A title like The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot is making very specific promises and writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski doesn’t disappoint. Calvin Barr (Aidan Turner in flashback) did kill Adolf Hitler and Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott in present day) will be recruited to hunt down and eventually kill The Bigfoot. These imperatives are present and plain as day with the type of verbosity that gets you smiling before you even see how crazy this hero’s life proves to accomplish…

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REVIEW: Tully [2018]

“You’re empty” After loving their first collaboration (Juno) and disliking their second (Young Adult), I didn’t know what to expect with director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody‘s third pairing behind the camera. The best I could do was enter the theater unprejudiced and hopeful for the best since I do like most of their work regardless of that mutual misstep. I can’t say Tully initially made it easy, though. Just because Marlo (Charlize Theron) and Drew (Ron Livingston) aren’t the generic rich, white, suburban couple able to afford a…

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REVIEW: James White [2015]

“It’s okay to be sad” It begins and ends with a face of pain—the titular James White‘s (Christopher Abbott). We see that something is eating away at him, trapping him inside himself so imbibing drugs, alcohol, and sex is his only reprieve. We also know he’ll eventually recover even before family friend Ben (Ron Livingston) says so aloud. James isn’t okay now and won’t be by the conclusion of Josh Mond‘s semi-autobiographical work, but he’ll at least be in a better position to begin the healing process. It’s ultimately something…

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REVIEW: Drinking Buddies [2013]

“I am a bourgeois pig” I really liked Drinking Buddies and I’ll admit I wasn’t sure that would be the case. The Mumblecore movement has always been one that has eluded me—well, the early stuff at least since I have found myself enjoying what the Duplass Brothers have done post success—and the prolific Joe Swanberg comes off as a “love him or hate him” kind of auteur. But how could this thing go wrong with a cast of Olivia Wilde (Kate), Jake Johnson (Luke), Anna Kendrick (Jill), and Ron Livingston…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Parkland [2013]

“It’s my story too” We all know the story of President John F Kennedy’s assassination. It’s an event that has been ingrained into our culture, spawned a myriad of conspiracy theories, and remains a hotly contested moment in time that changed the fabric of an entire nation. But what about the people this tragedy affected on a personal level beyond victim and perpetrator? What about the trauma surgeons and nurses who watched as the president’s heartbeat flat-lined? What about the giddy business owner excitedly filming the motorcade on his lunch…

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REVIEW: The Conjuring [2013]

“There’s usually always some rational explanation” After watching the cinematic account of the Perron family’s plight in 1971 during James Wan‘s The Conjuring—alongside a brief view at Annabelle, the creepiest little possessed doll ever—it’s hard to believe paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most infamous case of demonic insanity was Amityville. Described as the story that couldn’t be told until now via an opening text-based screen crawl reminiscent of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the events that occurred in Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn’s (Lili Taylor) Rhode Island home are…

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REVIEW: Going the Distance [2010]

“Dan, take me to Berlin” Acclaimed director—and Buffalo, NY native—Nanette Burstein has finally made her way to the world of fictional film. After helming the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture about producer Robert Evans, one could say she took a step towards narrative with American Teen, a real-life look into today’s high schools and just how close John Hughes got The Breakfast Club. I remember some talk about staging and scripting reactions to make it all more cinematically interesting, but whether true or not, the film was a…

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REVIEW: The Time Traveler’s Wife [2009]

“I really wish she could hear you sing” When I discuss Audrey Niffenegger’s debut novel The Time Traveler’s Wife with people, I tell them, besides it being a top five book of all-time for me, that it is a romance/love story. There are fantastic elements of science fiction, (one of the best use of time travel I’ve ever experienced), as well as moments of true suspense with the thrilling adventures of our titular traveler too, but they only help bolster the tale of true love at its core. I’ll admit…

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BNFF09 REVIEW: Boppin’ at the Glue Factory [Junkie Nurse] [2009]

“I locked myself out of my bathroom” I should have known from the moment I sat down for my second screening at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival that I was in for a good time. Three of the filmmakers were seated behind me, conducting an impromptu interview about the creative process that drove them to make Boppin’ at the Glue Factory [Junkie Nurse]. With good-natured quips, funny jabs at each other, and an overall jovial demeanor—at one point it was asked how the title was decided on and Hector Maldonado…

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REVIEW: Swingers [1996]

“Mikey’s all grows’d up” The early to mid-90s brought the world an insurgence of little indie films that could. Sure Clerks is looked upon as the movie that gave everyone the opportunity to say to himself, “Yes, I can do it”, but it is really Swingers that showed what an indie film could do. Kevin Smith’s debut was one made very much on the cheap with friends and non-actors waxing pop-culture philosophical. These guys were hilarious yes, but talented no. It was the witty banter, scripted by Smith, which gave…

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