REVIEW: Creed II [2018]

“Gimme back my keys” There’s no better way to recognize what a filmmaker brings to the table than a sequel without him/her. This isn’t to say Ryan Coogler wasn’t involved in the making of Creed II—he is a producer on the project after all. No, it’s simply to point out how different Creed was to the Rocky films that came before it. Yes it was pretty much a redux of the original installment that put Sylvester Stallone on Hollywood’s map as both a leading actor and screenwriter, but it relived…

Read More

REVIEW: Black Panther [2018]

“We had to maintain the lie” It’s easy to forget how important Creed was to getting this specific Black Panther made. From Wesley Snipes wanting to get something off the ground in the 1990s to Kevin Feige courting Ava DuVernay as director post-Selma success, things could have been very different. Hiring Ryan Coogler before his Rocky sequel took the box office by storm with almost universal critical acclaim would have made it very different too. Suddenly the man who made his name off the fantastic indie Fruitvale Station was a…

Read More

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…

Read More

Picking Winners at the 88th Annual Academy Awards

For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself. Jared Mobarak: Here’s hoping Chris Rock does his best Ricky Gervais as far as not caring about political correctness or duty to kissing up to the celebrities all dressed-up nice because having him host the 2016 Oscars ceremony amidst the whole #OscarsSoWhite controversy is an opportunity not to be squandered. Two years in a row with no black actor/actress up for gold? That’s a major problem with The Academy and the…

Read More

REVIEW: Creed [2015]

“Now that we’re family, who won that third fight?” The question on everyone’s mind gets answered immediately in Ryan Coogler‘s Creed: How can Michael B. Jordan be Apollo Creed’s son if he was already born throughout Carl Weather‘s run of four Rocky films? Well, Adonis Johnson (Jordan) isn’t that boy. Instead he’s a child out of wedlock whose mother was pregnant at the time of the boxer’s death. Sadly she also passed away leaving young Adonis in and out of foster homes and juvenile detention centers until Mary Anne Creed…

Read More

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

REVIEW: Fruitvale Station [2013]

“Undefeated! 100-0.” If even half of what first time writer/director Ryan Coogler depicts happened on Oscar Grant III’s (Michael B. Jordan) last day is true, you better not be leaving the theatre without red eyes and dried tears. We love to depict fate and destiny as the things which bring us towards true love and happiness, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes we’re destined for tragedy no matter what we do; sometimes a series of coincidences and events simply occur with no rhyme or reason besides putting us into…

Read More