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: Marriage Story [2019]

The pie was just a pie. It’s crazy how love changes the way we see things. Ambition can look like genius when we’re there as a supportive cheerleader and narcissism when we begin to recognize our sacrifices in seeing it get fulfilled. Success can be construed as a mutually beneficial byproduct of a union when one is strong and fertile, but also evidence of what we personally brought to the equation despite the other when we’re picking through the past to dissect what went wrong and who’s to blame. We…

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REVIEW: Jojo Rabbit [2019]

Where are all the goddamn knives? Seeing how skittish little Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) appears, a group of older Hitler Youths under an injured Nazi captain’s (Sam Rockwell‘s Klenzendorf) command decide to test his resolve. Since the boy enjoys talking the talk when it comes to killing Jewish people due to believing his father is a war hero doing the same on the frontlines (others wonder if Mr. Betzler turned deserter considering nobody has heard from him, alive or dead, for months), they hand him a bunny and order…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame [2019]

I love you three thousand. The best thing Marvel ever did was split their Avengers 1.0 saga’s final chapter in two since it allowed Infinity War to deliver what no other entry could: stakes. Despite knowing they were always false due to the giant gauntlet in the room that literally bends time and space to its whims, they hurt nonetheless simply because we were forced to sit with those results for a full year before discovering how things might be put right. Had Anthony and Joe Russo conversely fixed everything…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War [2018]

“He’s never fought me twice” It’s been ten years since we met Tony Stark on the big screen. Ten years of serial storytelling with massive budgets, character crossovers, television offshoots, and Stan Lee cameos that took Hollywood and the box office by storm. Not even steward Kevin Feige could have predicted that type of longevity with twenty films by 2018’s completion, but here he and we are at the culmination of all those carefully laid plans. It’s been an enjoyable journey with origin tales, rights swapping, tonal shifts, and more…

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REVIEW: Rough Night [2017]

“Our kids are going to play together” I wasn’t expecting much out of “Broad City” co-writer/director Lucia Aniello‘s feature length debut Rough Night, but even low expectations run into the possibility of not quite being met. A big part of this stemmed from my anticipation of a dark comedy, one that might have the chops to rival a personal favorite with a similar plot device in Very Bad Things. I wanted to see these bachelorette revelers go to pitch-black places in order to mine uncomfortable laughs rather than lazy gags…

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REVIEW: Ghost in the Shell [2017]

“I give my consent” **Spoilers included** The backlash against Rupert Sanders‘ Ghost in the Shell remake has been fierce and constant—for good reason considering it’s inarguably racist. Is that racism intentional? Not necessarily, but it exists just the same due to choices made. While hyperbolic declarations about it being “the reverse Get Out” are exaggerated on an intellectual scale, they aren’t on an emotional one. You cannot decry people of color for getting incensed when a property very specifically connected to a race other than white is usurped by white…

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REVIEW: Sing [2016]

“Don’t let fear stop you from doing the thing you love” After helming The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow, it’s easy to forget writer/director Garth Jennings started his career as one half of music video masters Hammer & Tongs. Pair his knowledge of music with some great past examples of family-friendly aesthetics (Supergrass‘ “Pumping on Your Stereo” puppets, Blur‘s “Coffee & TV” stop-motion) and the notion he’d eventually gravitate towards a feature-length animated children’s film doesn’t seem far-fetched. In fact, the only thing about his third…

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REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War [2016]

“Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all” We’ve officially approached the apex of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wherein films cannot be about one single character anymore. The Infinity Wars being just around the corner means that time has been regulated. There’s an endgame as there always has been and the pieces must be put into position now. What made The Avengers so great was that its endgame was merely to put Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and…

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REVIEW: The Jungle Book [2016]

“You did not respond to reason so now you will know fear” Looking back at Disney’s 1967 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling‘s The Jungle Book objectively may surprise you as it’s little more than a sing-a-long loosely tied into a low-stakes adventure of escape from the big bad jungle that’s ultimately portrayed as sympathetic if still dangerous. Anyone over eight will be bored by its lack of substance and tired of its silly humor—Shere Khan’s menace providing the sole bit of resonant impact beyond its frivolity. So it’s not difficult to…

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