REVIEW: Cold Brook [2019]

He needs to go home. I did a lengthy retrospective interview with William Fichtner back in 2015 as part of a local Buffalo, New York publication’s “film issue” due to his being raised in the suburb of Cheektowaga and forever holding a special place in his heart for the city wherever he goes. When talking about the area’s rejuvenation and increased appeal for the film industry, he relayed his dream of one day soon shooting a script he finished co-writing with Cain DeVore in his hometown’s backyard of Upstate New…

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REVIEW: Finding Steve McQueen [2019]

It’s like an alphabet soup enema. The Dinsio Brothers and their accomplices stole around nine million dollars from four hundred-plus safety deposit boxes inside the United California Bank of Laguna Niguel. To read Amil Dinsio’s website is to learn of his self-proclaimed “master” exploits and how the FBI sought to frame him for the job before discovering the evidence necessary to prove he did it. Maybe there’s a movie there, but probably not. The world simply doesn’t need another self-serious drama projecting the smarts it takes to pull off the…

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REVIEW: 12 Strong [2018]

“There are no right choices here” War films generally come in two varieties: a gray introspective look at its emotional and psychological cost and black and white jingoistic propaganda. The former is generally acclaimed as award worthy while the latter is dumped during winter months so its target audience of NRA-loving Republicans in American flag tees has something to watch during a drama-heavy, liberally slanted awards season. (I jest.) This doesn’t, however, inherently mean one route is “better” despite valid arguments to the contrary. And for those who vehemently disagree,…

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REVIEW: Mr. & Mrs. Smith [2005]

“Right. Five or six years.” It was the aggressive nature of the stories told to screenwriter Simon Kinberg by friends in couples therapy that inspired Mr. & Mrs. Smith—his MFA thesis turned half billion dollar moneymaker at the box office. The leap from the tit for tat dynamic between bickering spouses to secret lives is hardly unique, but making those hidden existences equally successful assassin careers instead of extramarital affairs certainly was. Killers need to work through issues too, especially when the question of whether they married out of love…

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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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REVIEW: The Homesman [2014]

“God will strike you down” I didn’t necessarily love The Homesman, but it’s hard not to respect it. This is a dark story in the desolate Mid-West with outlaw justice and remorseless murder surrounding the charitably selfless journey of Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) and the three crazed women she’s taking across the Missouri into Iowa so they can be cared for under reasonable conditions. It can’t have been an easy adaptation of Glendon Swarthout‘s novel for director Tommy Lee Jones and his co-writers Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley A. Oliver…

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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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REVIEW: Elysium [2013]

“The hippo wanted a friend” It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a guy like writer/director Neill Blomkamp would find his sophomore effort lacking in intelligently original storytelling despite an infusion of studio money to help elevate what was already a stellar visual aesthetic. His Academy Award nominated District 9 shocked the world via its biting political message in recreating his home country’s darkest days of Apartheid with amazing alien effects by Image Engine. If anything he was too good his first time out and as a result found his new high…

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REVIEW: The Lone Ranger [2013]

“A fairly sinister jar of pickles at the bar” To sum up Disney’s big budget reboot of Fran Striker and George W. Trendle’s radio show turned television hit The Lone Ranger in one word conjures “silly”. It’s silly to read how Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio’s original script involved werewolves—John Reid’s outlaw does use silver bullets after all. It’s silly—and offensive—that the producers cast a movie star like Johnny Depp in the role of Tonto when so many Native American actors could have performed the role effectively. (And yes, the…

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REVIEW: Wrong [2012]

“The palm tree is no longer a palm tree” I’m not sure there has ever been a more apt name for a film than the one musician turned filmmaker Quentin Dupieux chose for his newest existentialist romp through suburbia—. Everything about this movie is just that—wrong. From the transposing of inside and out to the metaphysical impossibilities of objects changing shape and identity to the completely absurd juxtapositions of life and death or present, past, and future, nothing that occurs to the unassuming Dolph Springer () can be explained. Whether…

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REVIEW: Drive Angry 3D [2011]

“Please … aim fer their tires” You have to respect a man who seems to love his work. Why else would Nicolas Cage, an actor so full of talent and skill at his craft—see Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation.—continuously partake in endeavors that are for all intents and purposes unworthy of an audience? It has to be because he finds pleasure in greasing up whatever obscene hairdo he currently has and appropriating that redneck drawl he so loves. There is something to becoming caricatures and wreaking havoc onscreen, being evil…

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