REVIEW: Being Charlie [2016]

“Most end up chasing it to the grave” After a string of hits in the 80s and 90s, director Rob Reiner has struggled to achieve the same success. Some of his projects post-2000 have made money and some have provided laughs, but none found staying power. It’s not all his fault. The best film during this period didn’t even garner a wide release and it was a real shame because Flipped held a worthwhile kinship to the likes of Stand By Me. So it comes as no shock to discover…

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REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. To say I was intrigued in Jorge R. Gutierrez‘s The Book of Life would therefore be an understatement. The colors, detail, subject matter, and music he infused seemed a perfect coalescence of style and substance…

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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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VIDEO: Aaron David Gleason’s “Mastermind”

Director Jeremiah Kipp—who sent me his impressive short film The Days God Slept (review) last year—has just released a music video he created for Aaron David Gleason‘s new song “Mastermind”. A mood piece of aggression with a cast that includes The Princess Bride‘s Chris Sarandon and the musician’s mother—of Boogie Nights fame—Joanna Gleason, Kipp gives us multiple characters in rhythmic cross-cuts and split screen as the music plays. Check it out below:

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TIFF13 REVIEW: The F Word [2014]

“Love is stupid monkeys dancing in a slapstick hurricane” I’m officially a sucker for romantic comedies where guy meets girl by engaging in sarcastically cynical conversation consisting more of glib quips than substantive information. It’s more than likely because that’s exactly what my girlfriend and I do even to this day and most definitely because I’m a hopeless romantic just like the male leads generally are. There is something absolutely relatable to the awkwardly genuine smiles of two introverts connecting with an acquired humor made funnier by the fact everyone…

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REVIEW: The Magic of Belle Isle [2012]

“You don’t have to leave this planet to tell a good story” As the years progress and his workload diminishes, director Rob Reiner has chosen to spend his time bringing what he calls “life-affirming material” to the big screen. Despite the surprising success of The Bucket List in 2007, however, such a decision carries smaller budgets, fewer screens, and less exposure while allowing more creative control on work appearing to possess a very personal hold. After the underrated coming-of-age story Flipped proved he had a bit of Princess Bride era…

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REVIEW: Flipped [2010]

“Something in those dazzling eyes” Not until a few hours before checking out a screening of Rob Reiner’s new film Flipped did I know it was based on an award-winning young adult novel by celebrated author Wendelin Van Draanen. The title has double meaning with both the idea of ‘flipping’ over someone the way young lovers tend to do and the structural format of alternating between the complicated duo at its center, Juli Baker and Bryce Loski. Reiner, never subtle, transitions each segment with a top to bottom flip of…

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REVIEW: Clash of the Titans [1981]

“Light has conquered darkness” Would a film like being called charming? How about a fantasy action/adventure? Unfortunately, while watching the 1981 edition of Clash of the Titans, that word is what kept popping into my head. I can’t say the movie was great, it was way too laborious and the ‘please explain to me because I never knew Greek mythology existed’ exposition turned me off. However, I also can’t call it bad because there are multiple instances of enjoyment and craftsmanship, serving only to make me more excited for 2010’s…

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REVIEW: Inkheart [2009]

“You are not my God” I must say that I am always pleasantly surprised to watch a film without expectations, or the tiniest shred of knowledge, and be completely immersed in its world. With the new fantasy adventure film Inkheart, I experienced just that. Iain Softley’s cinematic adaptation of the best-selling novel by Cornelia Funke is a fun and endearing trip. Rather than going for a whole “otherworld” feel that most fantasies have since LOTR, this one stays in our world. Whether that makes this commercially more viable than the…

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REVIEW: The Bucket List [2007]

“My main man Ray” With absolutely no interest in seeing The Bucket List, the opportunity presented itself to check it out. I enjoy most Rob Reiner films—I mean come on, he did The Princess Bride and This is Spinal Tap, he gets a reprieve for every other bad movie he makes—and love both Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, so I thought, what the hell? It ends up that the film was actually pretty good. The trailer does not do it very much justice, though. Sure all the sappy sentimentality is…

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REVIEW: Stardust [2007]

“Mind you don’t wear out the wench” A magical adventure is just what the summer needed to usher the season into its closing months, leading up to the award contenders’ fall/winter releases. With all the sequels and over-the-top action and special effects heavy drivel, an intelligent story steeped in originality couldn’t come at a better time. Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’s fantasy story Stardust is a tale ripe for cinematic translation. With the adventure, the surreal, the action, the romance, and the comedy, this film is a direct descendant of…

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