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…

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REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 [2017]

“It’s not ripe” The world of Guardians of the Galaxy proved a necessary shot of comic and action adrenaline for the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2014. It gave a breather from the Tony Stark crew, allowed the voice of an outsider in James Gunn to permeate the Hollywood machine, and introduced a level of sky’s-the-limit promise and potential as far as aliens, planets, and scope (Thanos isn’t Earth’s random enemy, we’re just standing in his way of much bigger goals beyond our comprehension). Its success came via its characters,…

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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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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…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1 Inside Out . #2 Carol . #3 Spotlight . #4 Ex Machina . #5 Mad Max Fury Road #6 Brooklyn #7 The Revenant #8 Room #9 The Martian #10 Sicario Best Animated Film #1 Inside Out . #2 Shaun the Sheep Movie #3 Anomalisa . #4 The Peanuts Movie #5 The Good Dinosaur…

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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…

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REVIEW: Beverly Hills Cop [1984]

“We got cocaine and coffee here. We’re gonna get wired and have a big party.” It isn’t difficult to believe why Beverly Hills Cop received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The laughs are huge, the characters more complex than simply facilitators of plot progression, and the central mystery a solid criminal investigation despite being relegated to the background as a MacGuffin used to evolve relationships and build trust between Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) and the cops he messes with along the way. The surprise comes from reading about…

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REVIEW: Grudge Match [2013]

“This is not the behavior of old men, man” Someone had the brilliant idea of putting Rocky Balboa and Jake La Motta in the ring together at the ripe old comedic age of seventy and their Hollywood surrogates agreed to no one’s surprise. Not only that, but the actors also found added pleasure in playing these latest roles as somewhat of a parody on themselves with Robert De Niro‘s Billy “The Kid” McDonnen being all about the easy financial score (see the two-time Oscar-winner’s trajectory the past two decades) and…

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Posterized Propaganda December 2013: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Her,’ ‘American Hustle’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Is the industry overcompensating a bit with almost every film in December having character sheets? And I’m not even talking about Fox’s Walking with Dinosaurs (open December 20)—the one that…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2012: White Space Rules the Month

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. When not distracted by the more offbeat, artistically inclined one-sheets for the amazing line-up gracing Toronto screens at TIFF this month, I was surprised to see a few good ones…

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REVIEW: The Expendables 2 [2012]

“Can’t beat a classic” And here I thought the buzz was about how much The Expendables 2 made good on the promise set forth and not quite attained by The Expendables. It was going to be chock-full of humorous banter, over-the-top antics, bloody pulpy carnage, and as much fun as one berserker action flick can contain. There would be story, a worthy villain, and a reason for guys like Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jean-Claude Van Damme to come back from the shadows of obscurity. It wasn’t like these guys…

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