REVIEW: 2001: A Space Odyssey [1968]

This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye. The opening chapter of Stanley Kubrick‘s seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey is entitled “The Dawn of Man” and depicts the evolution of apes from animal to wielder of tools—a transition marked by the mysterious appearance of a black monolith standing upright to frame the moon at its tip. We watch this scene as metaphor, seeing this otherworldly structure as a symbol of God or science ushering in a new age of machine and therefore weaponry. It’s simultaneously enlightenment and destruction, technology providing…

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REVIEW: Interstellar [2014]

“Who’s they?” Say what you will about Christopher Nolan, the man knows how to make resonate blockbusters. He knows movies—plain and simple. There has always been a power in cinema that hits us at an emotionally deep level, a window into our souls through the characters onscreen we have learned to cherish as though extensions of ourselves. Nolan appreciates this truth and has proven to possess an uncanny ability to tap into that universal consciousness despite using inherently obtuse stories rooted in scientific fantasy and actual theoretical physics the layperson…

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Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition preview

TIFF may be known for the film festival that makes up its name’s acronym, but they offer so much more ever since the TIFF Bell Lightbox opened a few years back. Along with an extensive screening schedule of new releases we in Buffalo may never see on the big screen, the organization has set itself apart as an East Coast venue for cinema-centric exhibits we had to previously enjoy from afar via internet recaps and photo galleries. Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition was the latest of these, debuting at LACMA last…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Room 237 [2013]

“Author intent is only part story in all forms of art” What happens to a film—or any work of art for that matter—when its artist has unleashed it to the world? Does it only exist to be what its creator intended or can it hold the potential for infinite possibilities as the disparate minds and interpretations of its viewers dissect and theorize? Art is above all else subjective and has always been at the mercy of a select few self-proclaimed or anointed experts who place a value—monetarily or intellectually—that then…

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REVIEW: Alien [1979]

“What is Special Order 937?” When you hear the title Alien, images are conjured up of Bill Paxton having a mental breakdown, Lance Henriksen rapidly stabbing a knife through his fingers, and Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley inside a mechanical forklift suit engaging a slobbering, hulking monster. The most fascinating thing about this comes not from how iconic the franchise has become, but instead the realization that none of these moments occurred in the original film. Somehow James Cameron‘s action-packed sequel has usurped its predecessor’s slow, cerebral horror in our consciousness to…

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REVIEW: Tin Can [2011]

“Like a corpse in a coffin” After settling her family in Vermont, I doubt actress Logan Howe ever expected to convert a one-car garage into a spaceship headed for Mars like she did with her directorial debut Tin Can. A dark science fiction puzzler written by Steve Maas, the micro-budgeted film needed the inspired art direction of reappropriated electronic junk to come to life. Modeled after Robert Zubrin’s hypothetical design from The Case for Mars, the practicality of this ship’s centrifugal force physics are glossed over in lieu of watching…

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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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REVIEW: WALL•E [2008]

“Define dancing” Robots falling in love. There is a lot to like about the new Pixar film WALL•E. The animation goes without saying—better than anything out there. The glares, the environments, everything is rendered spectacularly, right down to the flame of a Zippo lighter. As for the story, leave it to these wizards for creating a tale that hits on a gut level, letting our simplest emotions come to the surface in order speak to our hearts and souls. With fewer words than Arnold Schwarzenegger had to speak in Terminator…

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REVIEW: Be Kind Rewind [2008]

“To all the films with heart, and soul” Thankfully, Michel Gondry has once again taken his warped mind and melded together a piece of work that is personal and touching, without ever going too far into sentimentality. For all of you who saw the trailer and think that either it will take a one-note joke and beat it to the ground or be out-loud funny at all turns, don’t bother watching because it is neither. I only wish I could have told the four 16-year old girls in front of…

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Top Ten Films of 2007: The Year of the Adaptation

It was a year of many genres. We had some musicals, a few dramas, comedies galore, a little sci-fi, and a couple bio-pics sprinkled in to satiate the kiddies and Oscar voters. If anything, I guess one trend seemed to rise above, that being the adaptation, whether from plays (Sweeney Todd), novels (Zodiac), or comics (Stardust). I always try to read first, but the shear amount this year prevented me from doing so, therefore I can’t quite say if they were all successes or not. In the end, after seeing…

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REVIEW: Sunshine [2007]

“When he chooses for us to die, it is not our place to challenge God” I love Danny Boyle’s work. Sure I haven’t seen The Beach or Shallow Grave, but I can’t see myself thinking they will be anything less than fantastic because he has never let me down. The man has spanned genres and never shied away from doing something different than before. Between his visual flair—aesthetically and kinetically—and his brilliant choices in screenwriters to collaborate with, Boyle astounds at every turn. His newest film Sunshine just enhances his…

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