TIFF18 REVIEW: If Beale Street Could Talk [2018]

Flesh of each other’s flesh. Fonny Hunt (Stephan James) puts out his arms for a hug upon seeing an old friend in Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) after too much time and too many men their age have passed. Smiles and laughter enter the scene before they are soon replaced by beers and reminiscing. And then comes the hard truth of absence—the explanation of his disappearance. Daniel had been in jail two years for a crime he didn’t commit and Fonny feels for his plight. Despite anything he could possibly say…

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REVIEW: They Came Together [2014]

“I admire your spirit” It’s one thing to satirize the romantic comedy genre and a whole other to literally break it down into its myriad tropes to build a story around them without transforming their generic designations into fully formed characters. But that’s exactly what David Wain (co-writer/director) and Michael Showalter (co-writer) did with They Came Together. It’s so transparent in its commentary that I was surprised they gave leading male Joel’s (Paul Rudd) brother (Max Greenfield‘s Jake) a name. The two men are so invested in calling each other…

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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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REVIEW: Chi-Raq [2015]

“Land of pain, misery and strife” I can comfortably forget Da Sweet Blood of Jesus happened—Spike Lee‘s ambitious yet disappointing Kickstarted vampire flick—now that it appears the director’s back on track with Chi-Raq‘s musical satire. I don’t get around to every Lee “joint” but it’s probably not far-fetched to say this is his best since 25th Hour. Unsurprisingly the two share a common political bent, speaking on a shift in perception as chaos reigns in America. That 2002 film was a post-9/11 comment while this 2015 release puts the “Black…

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