REVIEW: Widows [2018]

“This isn’t your world” When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate my perception of what this thing was behind its marketing push. Would there be more than just revenge and heist-based thrills? Would this be a slower burn a la co-writer Gillian Flynn‘s novels augmented by…

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The 89th Oscars recap through tweets …

  pic.twitter.com/oGJkXytnQ2 — PwC LLP (@PwC_LLP) February 27, 2017 So that actually happened. Warren Beatty opened the Best Picture envelope, furrowed his brow, and looked for another card. He’s thinking, “This is wrong.” He stalls—his body language coming off as a joke in the moment, the audience and his co-presenter Faye Dunaway laughing at what appears to be an old man who forgot his glasses. And since no one came running onto the stage to say something actually was wrong, he silently turned to Faye with the card. And the…

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Picking Winners at the 89th Annual Academy Awards

The 89th Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 26th, 2017 at 8:30pm on ABC. Buffalonians can watch it from the comfort of their home or take a trip down to these local destinations: • The Screening Room, The Boulevard MallFree (doors open at 7:00pm)• Buffalo State College, Campbell Student UnionFree with Student ID, $10 general public (doors open at 8:00pm)• Q, 44 Allen StreetFree (Red Carpet party begins at 6:00pm) For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself.…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2016

Below is my December 31st ballot for the 20th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2016 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Moonlight. #2Manchesterby the Sea #3Arrival. #4Jackie. #5The Witch. #6Hell orHigh Water #7La La Land. #8O.J.: Madein America #9The Handmaiden. #10Paterson. Best Animated Film #1Kubo and theTwo Strings #2Moana. #3Finding Dory. #4Zootopia. DIDN’T WATCHThe Red Turtle. Best Film Not in the English Language #1The Salesman #2The Handmaiden #3Neruda ABSTAINEDElle DIDN’T WATCHToni Erdmann Best Documentary #1I…

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REVIEW: Fences [2016]

“A fastball on the outside corner” It seems that many people have been docking points from Denzel Washington‘s latest directorial effort Fences by labeling it as “too theatrical.” Well, that’s somewhat hard to avoid when you’re dealing with August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and its wall-to-wall dialogue touching upon love, responsibility, race, and politics on an emotionally resonate level beyond much of what Hollywood delivers “cinematically.” I’ve personally never held a stagey aesthetic against a film as long as the performances prop up the script’s location shortcomings…

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REVIEW: Suicide Squad [2016]

“Let’s just say I put him in a hole and threw away the hole” I feel for David Ayer. He seems super jazzed about his work on Suicide Squad with good reason and I’m ecstatic Warner Bros. chose him to lead this ragtag bunch of miscreants with some great outside the box hiring, but the film can’t help feeling like a commodity rather than art. Sadly I think most of DC’s early installments will have their hands tied in much the same way because they’re being asked to do way…

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REVIEW: Far From Heaven [2002]

“Here’s to being the only one” While Todd Haynes‘ Far From Heaven wears its “inspired by All That Heaven Allows” on its sleeves from aesthetic to subject matter to blatant homage, it’s so much more. He takes what Douglas Sirk brought to life and injects it with a healthy dose of complexity and jeopardy wherein the melodrama can’t simply be defused by laughter as true love conquers a town of self-centered lemmings slaving to adhere to the homogeneity of wealthy comfort. It’s not about the guilt of one woman swaying…

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REVIEW: Lila & Eve [2015]

“Talk is meaningless” A movie isn’t necessarily ruined because its so-called twist is easily deciphered, especially when the reveal is less for shock value than depicting the psychological struggle of grief. For Lila Walcott (Viola Davis), the loss of her son Stephon (Aml Ameen) as an innocent bystander to a drive-by shooting has drowned her in exactly that emotion. It’s pushed her to the brink of sanity, acceptance, and quite possibly redemption right into the arms of a like-minded individual languishing in almost identical circumstances. Lila befriends Eve (Jennifer Lopez)…

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REVIEW: Blackhat [2015]

“How badly do you need this guy?” Is there a way for a village to get wiped out—buildings and people—and still ensure the dogs are safe? No. So why do Michael Mann and Morgan Davis Foehl write Blackhat in a way that forces its lead to speak unnecessary truths intrinsic to his initial declarations? Talk about a surefire way to alienate your audience by treating them like imbeciles who need to be reminded that a city’s annihilation entails all its contents being destroyed too. And don’t think I’m being nitpicky…

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REVIEW: Ender’s Game [2013]

“The enemy’s gate is down” While speaking during a Q&A at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April, author Orson Scott Card stated that Gavin Hood‘s adaptation of his seminal novel Ender’s Game was “the best that good people could do with a story they really cared about and believed in.” He also went on to say it was “damn good,” a sentiment with which I can’t wholly agree. The first quote, however, is a pretty spot-on description when you consider the amount of detail and political unrest…

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REVIEW: Prisoners [2013]

“Pretty soon all that stands between you and being dead is you” The question is simple: How far would you go to save your child? The dynamics, however, are more complex when the man reconciling his soul to those ends is one who’s held God’s love as a beckon of security close to his heart. Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners opens with Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) saying an “Our Father” as his son Ralph (Dylan Minnette) readies to kill his first deer. The words have a calming effect, one that’s helped this…

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