REVIEW: Pan [2015]

“Is this Canada?” For whatever reason the American public has been fascinated with “origin” stories attempting to give meaning to some of the most iconic adversarial relationships in literary and film history. It’s not enough for the Wicked Witch of the West to hate Glinda or Superman and Lex Luthor to be arch-nemeses—we need to see how those relationships devolved from friendship. Sometimes people just hate each other, though, and there doesn’t need to be an Oz the Great and Powerful or “Smallville” to explain how once-friends turn ugly. Ostensibly…

Read More

REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending [2015]

“The problem with astrology … total bullshit” Sometimes filmgoers simply want to be entertained and often don’t mind when the means of that fun skews towards the headier side of things—no matter how implausible, campy, or convenient that direction proves. Jupiter Ascending isn’t trying to sell itself as some grand magnum opus that cures cancer; it’s merely a new space opera from the blockbuster sci-fi duo Wachowski Starship (Andy and Lana). They were commissioned by the studio to write exactly that in the hopes of franchise viability. Do I see…

Read More

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…

Read More

REVIEW: Blended [2014]

“And the mustache is rattled” When an overused gag showed up for the third of about five times during Blended‘s runtime, the twenty-something college dude chowing down on his mall food court dinner uttered to his buddy the telling phrase, “This movie’s off the hook”. Now while this is a stunning and apt commentary on the state of America’s appetite for easy physical humor, it turns from educational thesis into farce when I tell you it was this gentleman’s second time saying it. He pretty much epitomized the demographic Hollywood…

Read More

Posterized Propaganda March 2014: ‘Noah’, ‘Nymphomaniac,’ ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ ‘Enemy’ & 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. Has summer started early? Big blockbusters like Divergent, Noah, 300: Rise of an Empire, and Need for Speed are releasing in March—I guess they must therefore be the studios’ lesser…

Read More

REVIEW: Oz the Great and Powerful [2013]

“What’s the third up?” I have to reevaluate my distaste for everything Oz not existing inside the mind of Dorothy Gale now that I’ve discovered Victor Fleming’s seminal work The Wizard of Oz wasn’t as faithful to its source material as I once assumed. I could never ignore how the simple attempt to craft a prequel within a fictitious fantasy world was in direct opposition to what made the original so timeless and important to lost children yearning for more than they have. And then I read how L. Frank…

Read More

REVIEW: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters [2013]

“Never enter a house made of candy” The thing that’s so disappointing about Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is the rather ingenious premise at its back. Taking the classic Grimm Brothers tale and expanding on the results of what escaping an evil witch in the woods as children by burning her alive in an oven is so simple and obvious that it’s a wonder no one had thought of it before (not counting The Brothers Grimm). Credit Norwegian writer/director Tommy Wirkola for seeing the potential in transforming these scared kids…

Read More

TIFF12 REVIEW: 2012 Short Cuts Canada Programmes

Programme 1 “So a TV killed your father” What do you get when you mix the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the ancient metallurgical science of alchemy, and the namesake of inventor Philo Farnsworth? The answer is Connor Gaston‘s short film Bardo Light—titled for the bright glow none of us can avoid at the end of our lives. Told via the police interrogation of the younger Farnsworth (Shaan Rahman) after his adopted father (Bill Gaston) was found suffocated to death in their cabin, we quickly learn of successful experiments using…

Read More

REVIEW: Alice in Wonderland [2010]

“Off with your head!” With a knack for creating imaginative worlds that can be both dark and colorful simultaneously, director Tim Burton seems like a natural fit to adapt the Wonderland of Lewis Carroll’s novels. However, for every inventive Big Fish or Edward Scissorhands come the atrocious re-envisionings of Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So, let’s just say I was scared going into Alice in Wonderland because, while the setting and art direction seemed perfect, I couldn’t help remember how bad his work from pre-existing…

Read More

REVIEW: The Fall [2008]

“Googly, googly, go away” The first true masterpiece of 2008 has arrived just as we cross the mid-point of the year. Yes, the film did see its first release in 2006, however, after traveling through festivals, Tarsem Singh’s first feature in over six years debuts stateside to local theatres. The trailer alone shows how spectacular the cinematography and visual style will be, my only question hinged on whether the story and emotional weight would equal the scenery. With a cast of people I have never seen or heard of, besides…

Read More