REVIEW: Wrath of Man [2021]

We’re all over-qualified for this game. And we all have a history. Fans of Guy Ritchie that wore out Lock Stock and Snatch during the early Aughts will find themselves hard-pressed to take the opening act of Wrath of Man seriously. It’s as though he and co-writers Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies are trying to re-capture the quick-paced slang that made the dialogue in those films so uniquely fun and of the moment despite being two decades removed in age and culture. Because while talking the talk as a thirty-year…

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REVIEW: Silo [2021]

‘They’ say a lot of stupid things. The After School Special vibe at the back of Marshall Burnette‘s Silo isn’t a bug. It’s a feature. Because beyond creating a captivatingly suspenseful premise with which to build a plot, grain entrapment is a significant enough issue to demand a path towards awareness as much as cinematic entertainment. As the text that appears right before the end credits states: one person has been victim to such incidents approximately every fifteen days since the 1960s. That’s a crazy stat and yet those of…

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REVIEW: Cliff Walkers [2021]

Everything will be fine when the sun rises. The mission: parachute into Manchukuo (an area of China under the unofficial control of Japan during the 1930s), find escaped comrade Wang, and escort him to freedom. It’s what Communist party operatives Zhang (Zhang Yi), Yu (Qin Hailu), Chuliang (Zhu Yawen), and Lan (Liu Haocun) have trained to accomplish during years spent in the USSR and they’re willing to give their lives towards that goal. It shouldn’t therefore be surprising when a last-minute order necessitates them splitting up into pairs that in…

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REVIEW: Four Good Days [2021]

All I have left is hope. There’s a moment late in Rodrigo García‘s Four Good Days where Deb (Glenn Close) pounds on her ex-husband’s door to unleash the pent-up rage building within thanks to what appears to be yet another false start on their daughter Molly’s (Mila Kunis) road to recovery from an almost two decades-long battle with opioid addiction. She chastises his ambivalence (justified considering this is the fifteenth time Molly has attempted to detox) by screaming, “We’re doing the work!” But he’s having none of it. He screams…

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The 93rd Oscars recap through tweets …

If you’re going to hire a director like Steven Soderbergh to handle the Oscars … expect the unexpected. And why not after the year the industry just experienced? Movie theaters shuttered for months (some forever) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Productions were canceled, postponed, and scaled-down with new protocols allowing Tom Cruise to scream at people and somehow be the “good guy” in the exchange. And the deadline to qualify for the ceremony shifted from December 31, 2020 to February 28, 2021. Chaos was baked into this show’s…

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Picking Winners at the 93rd Annual Academy Awards

The 93rd Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, April 25th, 2021 at 8:00pm on ABC. For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert and myself (regular contributor William Altreuter was unfortunately unable to particpate this year). Jared Mobarak: This year’s Oscars suddenly feels like the Grammys now that we have titles from multiple years vying against each other due to the COVID-19 voting extension. It’s not as weirdly complex as that ceremony (there’s still an obvious cut-off and movies, unlike albums, don’t have…

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REVIEW: Together Together [2021]

I’m nervous too. It’s not until a conversation about two-thirds of the way through that dissects how problematic the romantic relationships in Woody Allen movies are that I realized writer/director Nikole Beckwith was utilizing the infamous auteur’s signature font Windsor Light Condensed for her title card and chapter interstitials. I should have, though, considering how iconic a typeface it is in the context of cinema and just how impactful Beckwith’s film Together Together is at dismantling the stereotypes inherent to the romantic comedy dichotomy so many male filmmakers inject into…

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REVIEW: Tiny Tim: King for a Day [2021]

It’s all ambiguous with Tiny Tim. Context is everything. That’s the first thought that came to mind at the beginning of Johan von Sydow‘s Tiny Tim: King for a Day (written by Martin Daniel) since I was born in the 1980s and knew the subject only as his “has been” self at the tail end of both his career and life. In my mind the celebrity he won was therefore always of a complicated sort: toeing the line between laughing at the “freak” and laughing with the entertainer. What I…

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REVIEW: Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street [2021]

We simply show it. You always wonder about the behind-the-scenes dynamics on projects in any medium that prove themselves profoundly revolutionary because you hope such great work wasn’t created on the backs of under-appreciated laborers for a totalitarian figure hording all the praise. You don’t want to find out about emotional and psychological warfare masked by smiling faces or a need to toe the company line so as not to get blacklisted from the industry—especially when the topic of discussion is as groundbreakingly inclusive as “Sesame Street” was (it first…

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REVIEW: Trigger Point [2021]

Everybody breaks. Things get off to a pretty rocky start with Brad Turner‘s Trigger Point thanks to a haphazard opening sequence comprised of silencer shots and gun flashes as random bodies fall to the ground. It feels like the cold open to a television show (Turner has worked on the likes of “24”, “Homeland”, and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” amongst many others during his thirty-year career) and thus the precursor to what will ultimately feel like a made-for-TV actioner. That we quickly move to a day in the life of Nicolas…

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REVIEW: Jakob’s Wife [2021]

Good people just don’t leave their families. The opening scene of Jakob’s Wife sets the stage for what’s to come as Reverend Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden) sermonizes about the love a husband should have for his wife. His partner Anne (Barbara Crampton) is in the front pew listening, but never smiling. She’s not hearing his words and nodding her head in agreement. She’s actually staring daggers at the reality of what his words mean. Because Jakob never says anything about that love being for her benefit. He never says men…

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