REVIEW: The Tragedy of Macbeth [2021]

Come what come may. If a crazy person tells you something crazy about your future, you laugh it off. If that thing they said starts coming to fruition, however, you wonder if it might be true. Add ambition and greed to the mix and the impulse to push towards that impossible result grows until you’re acting against character with fear and paranoia working to ensure its truth. Does the prophecy therefore prove correct? Or have you willed it to be so by your own grisly deeds? Is there a difference?…

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REVIEW: The French Dispatch [2021]

Just try to make it sound like you wrote it that way on purpose. I’m not sure you can get a more unadulterated shot to the vein of Wes Anderson than his quasi-anthology film The French Dispatch. Born from his own mind (and that of frequent collaborators Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman) with a healthy dose of inspiration taken from his adoration of The New Yorker, this self-proclaimed love letter to journalism set abroad in France proves to be the perfect venue for the auteur to distill his…

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TIFF20 REVIEW: Nomadland [2020]

Don’t worry about me. I’m okay. The film opens with words too many Americans will understand: “On January 31, 2011, US Gypsum shut down its plant in Empire, Nevada after 88 years.” One night there’s hope in tomorrow because you have a well-paying job and a community to rally around. The next day it’s gone. Literally. Just six months later the town’s zip code was discontinued, its houses abandoned. In a post-capitalist society where the rich get richer and the poor get even poorer, the latter can’t simply stick around…

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Top Ten Films of 2017

We pretty much knew last year’s Best Picture Oscars race was coming down to La La Land and Moonlight right after the completion of the Toronto International Film Festival in September. But while there’s something to be said about the strength of films able to ascend to frontrunner position, I can’t help loving the idea of heading into March without a clue as to who might win. Ask ten different critics what their favorite of 2017 is and I’d estimate hearing at least eight unique titles. There’s a level of excitement to this reality…

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REVIEW: Isle of Dogs [2018]

You’ve heard the rumor, right? I feel like the twee sensibilities of writer/director Wes Anderson might be catching up to him. Moonrise Kingdom was a sort of rejuvenation proving both exactly like his oeuvre and wholly unique as its child’s perspective lent a fresh voice to his usual brand of artificial melodrama. But rather than propel him forward, it seems it may have pulled him back. The auteur’s follow-up was the hilarious The Grand Budapest—perhaps his funniest tale to-date despite ringing hollow in a way that turned endearing artifice into…

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The 90th Oscars recap through tweets …

If you thought this year’s Oscars were going to do something crazy or exciting, you haven’t been paying attention. Between the envelope-gate incident of 2017 and the fact that this was a “multiple of ten” anniversary, the 90th Annual Academy Awards was going to do everything it could to right the ship and ensure nothing overshadowed the winners’ list. And for the most part they succeeded—often at the detriment of the show itself. But that’s their fault for alway trying to make it more than what it is: an awards…

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Picking Winners at the 90th Annual Academy Awards

The 90th Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, March 4th, 2018 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: This new look Academy is really starting to pay dividends. The fight for representation might have begun with a focus on the acting categories (there are four POC actors nominated this year out of twenty slots), but it’s expanded much further in a very short period of time. This 90th year of Oscar becomes…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2017

Below is my December 24th ballot for the 21st annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2017 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners are labeled in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years anyway.)

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REVIEW: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri [2017]

It’s hard to know what to do. It’s no coincidence that the dumbest character in Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri says the most revealing line of dialogue throughout the entire film: “Anger begets more anger.” I guess it’s because Penelope (Samara Weaving) isn’t dumb as much as she’s naïvely innocent and young. She’s still idealistic about a world that has yet to throw any great tragedies her way. She’s still elastic enough to take being laid off from work in stride because there’s always another job out there.…

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REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! [2016]

“It’s all in the hips, the lips, the eyes, and the thighs” You don’t think much when you read the Coen Brothers have been bouncing Hail, Caesar! around since 2004. After all, they’re prolific auteurs that often write scripts for other directors, so a decade-long gestation period is nothing to scoff at. Only when you learn the idea was little more than an idea that you start wondering about the final product. Maybe they loved that initial pitch so much the words simply poured out over the last couple years.…

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REVIEW: The Good Dinosaur [2015]

“Look who got relevated” You constantly hear about movies needing reshoots, but The Good Dinosaur‘s troubles went beyond cosmetic enhancements into full-blown emergency room triage. I’m talking two years of development before a release date announcement, two more before that date and original director Bob Peterson (who came up with the story alongside his directorial replacement Peter Sohn) were scrapped, and another two wherein the plot got completely retooled until the final film would bare little resemblance to the germ of an idea on which it began. Pixar’s cancelled Newt…

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