Picking Winners at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 9th, 2020 at 8:00pm on ABC. For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself. Jared Mobarak: Let’s face it. The Oscars have been irrelevant from a creative standpoint since … probably forever. The whole thing is a marketing ploy to boost box office numbers and give trailer makers something to put next to names of creative. That’s why theaters re-release nominees. That’s why boutique studios hold wide rollouts until foreign…

Read More

REVIEW: Joker [2019]

Don’t forget to smile. I would have bought writer/director Todd Phillips‘ line about bringing his gritty origin film Joker to the 1970s as a way of removing it from the existing DC Extended Universe (more than he already did by recasting the titular character after Jared Leto played him in Suicide Squad) if not for new comments made on this recent press tour. Trying to drum up sympathy for the plight of the mistreated “underdog,” the man behind The Hangover‘s billion-dollar trilogy has lamented that you can’t do comedy in…

Read More

REVIEW: War Dogs [2016]

“What would a bad man do?” Of course director Todd Phillips would gravitate towards a Rolling Stone article titled “The Stoner Arms Dealers.” If the man behind The Hangover trilogy was ever going to delve into more dramatic territory a la contemporary Adam McKay and last year’s The Big Short, Guy Lawson‘s piece on two twenty-somethings who landed huge military contracts with the US government before federal indictments was the perfect segue. It’s as though the characters from his Old School decided to make connections with black market arms organizations…

Read More

REVIEW: The Hangover Part III [2013]

“Can you take Stu instead?” Love them or hate them, you can’t deny The Hangover and The Hangover Part II pushed the envelope to an extreme. No one anticipated Todd Phillips’ hard-R buddy romp would turn into the phenomenon it did—a hit before its release—and his idea to pretty much remake it in Bangkok for the sequel was an inspired choice for no other reason than it being so uninspired. I loved the first and thought the second’s ability to increase our discomfort level further was just as funny if…

Read More

REVIEW: Project X [2012]

“He’s like a little fat Rain Man tweeting away” I guess I just don’t get it. Being the kid that would rather pick up an extra shift at my hourly job than attend an epic rager the likes no one has ever seen means the insanity that ensues in Project X only cements the fact I made the decision staying away. Directed by Nima Nourizadeh and the brainchild of Michael Bacall, Matt Drake and producer Todd Phillips, the idea that what we’re seeing is real has been squashed way before…

Read More

REVIEW: The Hangover Part II [2011]

“I don’t get it. Is this a magic show?” It’s very weird to go into two films with completely different feelings despite them having almost identical plots and comedic upside. Two years ago, I couldn’t wait to check out The Hangover and see if the hype was real. My contact at Warner Brothers was even compelled to confirm my RSVP for the screening by saying it’s the funniest thing she had seen in years. Somehow—and this is rare—Todd Phillips’s self-proclaimed Star Wars, due to the amount of money he earned…

Read More

REVIEW: Due Date [2010]

“What are you, a girl or something?” In a coincidental stroke of fate, following my own cross country trip from Buffalo to Denver amidst a constant barrage of quotes from Planes, Trains & Automobiles on behalf of my co-pilot cousin, I arrived back home on the east coast in time for a screening of Todd Phillips’s follow-up to The Hangover, Due Date. Trying its best to recreate the magic of Steve Martin and John Candy’s memorable Thanksgiving jaunt, this new film pits a father-to-be against the clock and the mileage…

Read More

REVIEW: The Hangover [2009]

“Couldn’t find a meter, but here’s four bucks” The success of Old School pretty much vaulted Todd Phillips onto the A-list for comedy directors. We waited and waited for his second hit, (I didn’t forget about Road Trip which was good as a precursor to Old School), but only got the mediocre Starsky and Hutch and—what I can only imagine as disappointing—School for Scoundrels. Maybe what Phillips needed was a script from the guys that brought us Four Christmases and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past … wow, this is sounding worse…

Read More