INTERVIEW: William Fichtner, actor and Cheektowaga, NY native

Even if the name William Fichtner hasn’t procured a place on your cinematic Rolodex, you definitely know his face. He had a successful run on hit TV series “Prison Break” as complicated FBI Agent Alex Mahone, recently starred opposite the latest incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and found himself standing in the way of Heath Ledger‘s Joker during The Dark Knight‘s opening heist. There’s also his Colonel Willie Sharp sternly uttering my father’s favorite Armageddon quote: “Get off the nuclear warhead … now.” He’s coming into focus now,…

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Summer Fun Film Festivals in WNY

With the dwindling numbers of drive-in theaters across the country, independent theaters finding it difficult to compete with huge chains, and the ever-fluctuating national box office needing too many 3D films to turn a profit, certain cities somehow find a way to keep the medium alive. Buffalo is one of them and always has been since I can remember. My days as a high schooler trying to figure out plans with friends for the weekend always ended up being decided between catch the latest blockbuster or hit up the local…

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REVIEW: X-Men 2 [2003]

“Nature laughs last” This is the one—the superhero movie unequaled in the decade since. The Dark Knight comes close, but it’s hard to hold Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy on par with the rest when it exists as a beast all its own. Only The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier found a way to match its scale and precision, falling ever so short on the emotional depth chart. X-Men 2 is simply a perfect storm of everything you could want in a film let alone one steeped in comic lore.…

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REVIEW: Captain America: The Winter Soldier [2014]

“I thought you were more than just a shield?” Despite what’s been said the past couple weeks, Marvel still hasn’t released that “A” film quite yet. Don’t get me wrong: the universe they have created is unparalleled and possessed by a consistency of success on par with Disney’s other child Pixar, but has there been a The Dark Knight? An X-Men 2 even? Not yet. The closest we’ve come is probably The Avengers for finding a way to integrate the many disparate storylines into the series’ most standalone feature to…

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REVIEW: Man of Steel [2013]

“It wouldn’t be much of a surrender if I resisted” After Bryan Singer’s misguided attempt to stay true to original cinematic canon by having Superman Returns follow Richard Donner’s two Christopher Reeve starrers ultimately failed, a hard reboot was necessary. With DC Comics getting increasingly outplayed by every new expansion of the Marvel universe, it’s no surprise they would hand creative franchise control over to the man who reinvigorated their brand on the big screen in 2008. Producer Christopher Nolan not only found a way to rinse the ugly taste…

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REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises [2012]

“Sometimes the pit sends something back” **Potential thematic spoilers** The trailer for the aptly coined ‘epic’ conclusion to director Christopher Nolan‘s caped crusader trilogy—The Dark Knight Rises—says it all through an emotional exchange between Batman (Christian Bale) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Lamenting in her trademarked selfishness that he doesn’t “owe these people any more” and he’s “given them everything,” she begs to run away from the anarchy ravaging their once great city of Gotham. He did his best, admirably failing. Having none of it, though, the billionaire playboy who molded…

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Posterized Propaganda July 2012: Meet the new poster, same as the old one

“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. Not even superhero heaven can save this summer from continuing its uninspiring dearth of quality posters. But what do you expect when there are four sequels/reboots in the mix? A…

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REVIEW: The Avengers [2012]

“In the end you’ll always kneel” It’s hard to believe the new Marvel cinematic canon began just four years ago—if anything just for the simple fact these actors have been contractually obligated to continuously work in the world for its duration. The new The Incredible Hulk released with much less poetic atmosphere and more action-based aesthetic akin to the universe the studio now wished to portray than Ang Lee‘s foray from 2003 and a comic tone was cemented in arguably the series’ best entry, Iron Man. Subsequently followed by Thor,…

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REVIEW: Green Lantern [2011]

“This is the worst eleventh birthday party I’ve ever been to” And here I thought green was the color of envy. Leave it to the DC Universe to set the record straight on how wrong that is in what could be the most implausibly convoluted mythology of any comic book entity ever—especially for a superhero who lives in the same world as Batman and Superman, two guys heavily steeped in reality, with some artistic flourishes of course. Green Lantern is hindered from an easy transition to the big screen at…

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BNFF11 PREVIEW: The 5th Annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival

The Buffalo Niagara Film Festival (April 8-17) has hit year number five—not a small feat when you consider the amount of work that goes into pulling such an event off. I’ve attended the past three years and have to say that it’s gotten better each and every time. From the level of cinema, the recognition of filmmakers in attendance, and the overall day-to-day handling of the festival itself, the experience is pretty great when you consider the $10 ticket price (cheaper if you partake in a Multi Pass) per movie.…

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REVIEW: Iron Man 2 [2010]

“We don’t all run on batteries, Tony” The first Iron Man was a breath of fresh air when it came out in 2008. That was the year The Dark Knight showed audiences how morosely ambitious a comic book story could be, as well as arriving after the more serious tales of humanity X-Men and Spider-Man, amongst others, had. Sure there were the couple blips on the radar called Fantastic Four, but those were merely campy and pulpy because the story wasn’t strong enough to be anything else. It was the…

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