TIFF20 REVIEW: Joe Bell [2021]

The truth is all I have. The first event at which we see Joe Bell (Mark Wahlberg) speak his anti-bullying message can’t help but make you laugh. He’s standing on-stage with a disheveled look cultivated by a weeks-long journey on foot, spouting more nervous “ums” then concrete dialogue as his son Jadin (Reid Miller) watches at the back of the auditorium. The scene lasts less than two minutes before Bell asks the audience of teenagers if they have any questions as though his awkward presence was enough to spark conversation…

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REVIEW: She Dies Tomorrow [2020]

I want to be useful in death. Do you feel that? The despair in and anxiety for a future as uncertain as it has ever been with civil unrest, genocide, climate disasters, global pandemics, and the ability to inject each of those horrors into our veins via technological progress that’s systematically hijacked by propagandists, charlatans, and malicious operators with no ambition other than sowing animosity and confusion? The futility in a present torn asunder by rich white men screaming at each other across a political divide while leveraging the lives…

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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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