REVIEW: The Natural [1984]

“The only homer I know has four bases in it” There’s a lot going on in Barry Levinson‘s The Natural and baseball is the least of it. The film had always been a blind spot for me as I’m not a fan of the sport and thus could never bring myself to watch—”classic” status or not. So the opportunity to sit down and experience it on the big screen after enjoying a lengthy interview session between Ben Mankiewicz and Levinson courtesy of Turner Classic Movies became my excuse to drop…

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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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BNFF14 PREVIEW: The 8th Annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival

It’s eight years later and The Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival is still going strong April 24th through May 3rd. I personally missed organizer and filmmaker Bill Cowell‘s inaugural season, but have been attending off and on as both a ticket holder and member of the press since. My first experience was in 2008 at the Riviera Theatre in Tonawanda. I drove over mostly because that night’s feature had a cast consisting of Bruce Dern and Kristen Stewart (pre-Twilight). While director Mary Stewart Masterson‘s The Cake Eaters proved worthy of…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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Buffalo Niagara Film Festival 2008 Recap

I give my experience an A for effort, but a C+ for execution. Sure I only went to one screening, but there was just too much that went astray…hopefully it was a blemish on an otherwise top-notch festival, but if not, at least the workings are there and maybe next year can continue to improve. I understand that The Natural was the big centerpiece and the Buffalo debut of Run, Fatboy, Run was a close second, but one would hope everything else would get the same kind of respect and…

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