REVIEW: Babyteeth [2020]

I’m not ready to be functional. No matter how prepared we think we are to confront our own mortality, we aren’t even close. This goes for those lucky enough to spend close to a century on Earth, but especially for those who aren’t. And with our own impending mortality comes that of loved ones around us. How do we cope with knowing there’s nothing to do but wait? How do we numb the pain we feel as bystanders in order to help the dying deal with theirs? Ignoring it makes…

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REVIEW: Driveways [2020]

Who has more fun than us, huh? Taking care of her estranged sister’s estate was supposed to be a means to an end for Kathy (Hong Chau). Drive down to a house she never visited (April was twelve years her senior and the two had a falling out when she refused to help care for their mother), clean things out with her eight-year old son Cody (Lucas Jaye), put it on the market, and use the money to help get things back on track and perhaps pay for nursing school.…

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REVIEW: Never Rarely Sometimes Always [2020]

A positive is always a positive. The title to Eliza Hittman‘s Never Rarely Sometimes Always has a specific meaning in that those are the choices a Planned Parenthood counselor (Kelly Chapman) provides seventeen-year old Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) as answers to a difficult yet crucial line of questioning about her psychological and physical wellbeing. Hittman films the scene as a continuous take with the camera never leaving this teen girl’s face as each query hits home for us to interpret her tears as the unspoken truth of life experiences too many…

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Top 100 Albums of 2019

Honorable Mention Tinlicker – This is Not Our Universe; Cold War Kids – New Age Norms 1; Sara Bareilles – Amidst the Chaos; Sleater-Kinney – The Center Won’t Hold; Elbow – Giants of All Sizes; Coldplay – Everyday Life; Chance the Rapper – The Big Day; Yeasayer – Erotic Reruns; The Chainsmokers – World War Joy; Ghostface Killah – Ghostface Killahs; Chromatics – Closer to Grey; Free Nationals – Free Nationals; Matt Maeson – Bank on the Funeral; Tove Lo – Sunshine Kitty; The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger; Jimmy…

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REVIEW: The Other Lamb [2020]

Do you accept my grace? To be born into a world with set doctrines is to have no choice—often because you don’t realize one exists. That’s the power systemic modes of oppression hold over their victims. We’re told that fighting back makes things worse. Fighting for survival makes those in positions to help facilitate that survival less interested in helping. So we’re asked to remain quiet. Accept our fate and be grateful for what we have and grateful to those who give it with “grace” and not as a salve…

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INTERVIEW: Benh Zeitlin, co-writer/director of Wendy

Beasts of the Southern Wild was the indie darling of 2012 having racked up prestigious festival wins en route to four Oscar nominations. Despite being credited to “Court 13” as a collective at the beginning of the end credits, the driving force behind the film was New York native and current Louisiana resident Benh Zeitlin. He earned two of those nods as director and co-writer while also serving as co-composer alongside Dan Romer. It was the type of whirlwind ride that propels many filmmakers straight to Hollywood and yet Zeitlin…

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The 92nd Oscars recap through tweets …

What a weird, wild night. After the debacle that was Kevin Hart’s appointment as Oscar host last year and the straight-up refusal by everyone else to dare take the baton in the wake of his dismissal, The Academy chose right from the start to not have a host for their 92nd annual event. So what do they do after Janelle Monáe’s opening number (itself strange for representing more films that weren’t nominated than those that were)? They ask Steve Martin and Chris Rock—two former hosts—to go on-stage and deliver an…

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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…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are labeled in red.

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REVIEW: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu [Portrait of a Lady on Fire] [2019]

Don’t regret. Remember. An eighteenth century Italian countess (Valeria Golino) still residing at the French estate of her late husband has decided she’d like to return home. The best way to accomplish this is marrying off one of her daughters to an affluent Milanese suitor since doing so would secure both their futures while also providing an excuse to travel east along the Mediterranean. Rather than hear what the young woman has to say about this fate set before her, however, it’s discovered through her actions instead. One untimely death…

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REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

We lived above the clouds. With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments (including partisan blindness in the United States), a rarely told story like that of conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter becomes more important than ever. While it might have been lost in 2016’s shuffle, seeing it now…

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