REVIEW: Annihilation [2018]

Sometimes it’s beautiful. Reflections have been the subject of many fantasies whether it’s Through the Looking-Glass or Poltergeist III. The notion that a double exists in a different world conjures an unavoidable eeriness and the possibility of usurpation wherein fiction could become truth. It’s easy to therefore see the inherent duality as a good versus evil scenario with conqueror and conquered fighting for the opportunity to exist. But what happens when you make your mirror less smooth? What if the prism through which your image has been duplicated refracts rather…

Read More

Top Ten Films of 2015: Where emotions run high

I have no problem saying 2015 was a great year for cinema. Putting together a Top Ten was difficult at every turn—both because each time I had to do so meant I had seen more films and as a result of my preferences constantly changing. There are more than a few from 11-20 that easily could be Top Ten candidates on a different day. Sadly for them that day isn’t today. Happily for us: the art’s level of quality was good enough to cause such problems. Rules: eligible feature-length films…

Read More

Picking Winners at the 88th Annual Academy Awards

For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself. Jared Mobarak: Here’s hoping Chris Rock does his best Ricky Gervais as far as not caring about political correctness or duty to kissing up to the celebrities all dressed-up nice because having him host the 2016 Oscars ceremony amidst the whole #OscarsSoWhite controversy is an opportunity not to be squandered. Two years in a row with no black actor/actress up for gold? That’s a major problem with The Academy and the…

Read More

REVIEW: Ex Machina [2015]

“The history of man? That’s the history of Gods.” Artificial intelligence isn’t new. It’s in video games, toys, software platforms—most computer systems we interact with daily possess it in some capacity. The idea that one day someone will code a manufactured consciousness capable of becoming sentient, however, is still in the realm of science fiction. Already a well-worn trope, its implementation has seen resurgence of late. Not only is a new installment of Skynet’s war-torn future coming with Terminator Genisys, but “Person of Interest” has been ruling the cyber-thriller forum…

Read More

REVIEW: Dredd [2012]

“All we do is turn the handle” Whether Gareth Evans admitted Dredd 3D went into production while he was still filming The Raid or not, the similarities can’t be dismissed. I’m not saying this to imply theft—just that comparison is unavoidable. Liking one will probably mean the other disappoints, but the one you see first won’t necessarily be your favorite. No, I stand by the fact that this futuristic, crime-riddled world is objectively less effective than its Indonesian rival. It drags in multiple places, finds unintentional laughs through coldly stern…

Read More

TIFF10 REVIEW: Never Let Me Go [2010]

“I didn’t want to be the one left alone” It has been eight years since Mark Romanek last gave us a feature film—the decade since One Hour Photo being filled with a spate of music videos and an ill-fated affair with what would become last winter’s Wolfman. He possesses a certain aesthetic, noticeable throughout his work as a style leaning towards darker subject matter, so when I first watched the trailer for Never Let Me Go, I thought it seemed an odd choice. Screening at the Toronto International Film Festival,…

Read More

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…

Read More