REVIEW: Cruella [2021]

There’s lots more bad things coming. I promise. First thing’s first when making a prequel to Dodie Smith‘s One Hundred and One Dalmatians that focuses villain Cruella de Vil as its antihero: ensure that audiences know she doesn’t hate dogs. Better yet, screenwriters Dana Fox and Tony McNamara go one further by making Estella (Emma Stone‘s proto-Cruella’s schizophrenic “good” persona) a lover of dogs. She saves one from the streets (Buddy) and adopts it as her best friend. She subsequently enlists another dog’s services (Wink) upon teaming up with the…

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REVIEW: The Croods: A New Age [2020]

The pack stays together. There’s a montage during 2013’s The Croods wherein a comparison is being made between caveman Grug (Nicolas Cage) and Neanderthal Guy (Ryan Reynolds) concerning intelligence and thought. The point is that the former uses his fists without contemplating a better way while the latter problem solves to find success with the least amount of risk. One of the examples comes during a confrontation with the so-called “punch-monkeys” as Grug readies to fight his way through them before Guy swoops in with a bushel of bananas to…

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Picking Winners at the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The 91st Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 24th, 2019 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: It’s the type of year where hashtags rhetoric simply won’t work. There’s just not one all encapsulating buzzword to touch upon the myriad problems these nominations face. What do you do when you have a film up for Best Picture that was directed by a known presumed sexual predator who was fired for not…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2018

Below is my December 27th ballot for the 22nd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2018 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners are labeled in red. (No option to abstain was supplied this year.)

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REVIEW: The Favourite [2018]

We’ve been laying very different games. This isn’t your parents’ period piece. If the name Yorgos Lanthimos under the header of director didn’t already give you that impression, there it is. The Favourite has everything you’d expect from one, though: real-life characters, powdered faces and wigs, wars discussed from perches miles away from the battlefield, and political jockeying for power. The difference is what Deborah Davis discovered in a corner of British royal history, namely the love and affection shared between Queen Anne, Lady Sarah Churchill (yes, a descendant of…

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REVIEW: Battle of the Sexes [2017]

“Libbers not lobbers” Between the title and trailer, I assumed Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘ Battle of the Sexes would focus strictly on the circus surrounding the event itself. It’s not like there isn’t enough content to make that happen between the political, social, and athletic motivations behind the media frenzy. But screenwriter Simon Beaufoy knew he had to go further back to truly understand the climate that led to former champion and current senior tour member Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) calling up Billie Jean King (Emma Stone)—arguably the best…

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The 89th Oscars recap through tweets …

  pic.twitter.com/oGJkXytnQ2 — PwC LLP (@PwC_LLP) February 27, 2017 So that actually happened. Warren Beatty opened the Best Picture envelope, furrowed his brow, and looked for another card. He’s thinking, “This is wrong.” He stalls—his body language coming off as a joke in the moment, the audience and his co-presenter Faye Dunaway laughing at what appears to be an old man who forgot his glasses. And since no one came running onto the stage to say something actually was wrong, he silently turned to Faye with the card. And the…

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Picking Winners at the 89th Annual Academy Awards

The 89th Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 26th, 2017 at 8:30pm on ABC. Buffalonians can watch it from the comfort of their home or take a trip down to these local destinations: • The Screening Room, The Boulevard MallFree (doors open at 7:00pm)• Buffalo State College, Campbell Student UnionFree with Student ID, $10 general public (doors open at 8:00pm)• Q, 44 Allen StreetFree (Red Carpet party begins at 6:00pm) For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself.…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2016

Below is my December 31st ballot for the 20th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2016 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1 Moonlight . #2 Manchester by the Sea #3 Arrival . #4 Jackie . #5 The Witch . #6 Hell or High Water #7 La La Land . #8 O.J.: Made in America #9 The Handmaiden . #10 Paterson . Best Animated Film #1 Kubo and the Two Strings #2 Moana . #3 Finding…

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REVIEW: La La Land [2016]

“Or one more dream that I cannot make true” Writer/director Damien Chazelle burst onto the scene in 2014 on the back of his Oscar-nominated and critical darling Whiplash. It took this jazz drummer time to finally breakthrough with his sophomore feature, time that saw actors and producers taking a risk on him that would ultimately pay off big creatively and financially. Well the spoils trickled down to the man behind the art too as a long gestating musical project from 2010 became a feasible follow-up. This effort would end up…

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Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing surprises in the second-tier categories like Best Animated Feature (I really hope How to Train Your Dragon 2 loses to one of the other much more aesthetically and conceptually unique nominees) or Short Film Animated…

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