REVIEW: Mank [2020]

Sixty days and a noodle. Who wrote Citizen Kane? It’s a question that should have a definitive answer considering it’s hailed as the greatest film of all-time after winning a single Oscar out of nine nominations: for original screenplay. Yet the debate rages on. Or maybe it’s better to say that those who believe there is a debate continue declaring that one exists. Pauline Kael wrote a 1971 New Yorker article that posited how director/producer/star Orson Welles added nothing of value to Herman J. Mankiewicz’s original draft. Many others refuted…

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REVIEW: The Laundromat [2019]

Bad is such a big word … for being such a small word. The first time writer Scott Z. Burns paired up with director Steven Soderbergh proved to be a rousing success. The Informant! had real life intrigue, absurd comedy, and an inspired cast to pull everything together in a way that simultaneously educated and entertained. After teaming for two thrillers in the years since, this cinematic duo has now returned to that lighter side of dark subject matter courtesy of The Laundromat—an adaptation of Jake Bernstein‘s book Secrecy World:…

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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: Darkest Hour [2017]

It’s not a gift. It’s revenge. Did you know Winston Churchill was given the Prime Minister position during World War II as a means to appease the opposition party before quickly removing him (once he failed like he always did) for the Conservatives’ actual choice to replace Neville Chamberlain? It’s quite the bit of intrigue considering we all know of his rising to the occasion with back against the wall to rally his nation together for the fight to reclaim Europe against all odds that laid ahead. The great orator…

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REVIEW: The Space Between Us [2017]

“Just add water” It’s difficult not to think about The Martian when it comes to new film The Space Between Us. Both center around a human stranded on Mars—albeit in drastically different circumstances—and both attempt to exist in a “real world” despite our actual ability for interplanetary travel being non-existent. What made the former’s science fiction so good was its decision to stay rooted in science rather than allow the fiction to completely takeover. It grounded us in how someone would survive and how complicated it would be to communicate…

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REVIEW: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014]

“Ape no kill ape” The hype is spot-on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A more focused film than Rise of the Planet of the Apes—which served as an emotive origin tale possessing little unique conflict beyond a fight scene showing off computer effects more than propelling storyline—you should still acknowledge that predecessor allows it to be so. This doesn’t mean you must view it to understand the sequel, however, as a concisely informative prologue is delivered to explain the key plot point of mankind simultaneously giving apes…

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REVIEW: Lawless [2012]

“You still have the price tag on your coat” After The Proposition‘s grit and The Road‘s nightmarish post-apocalyptic vision, watching the trailer for John Hillcoat‘s newest film Lawless left a little something to be desired. Looking like an action flick about bootleggers standing against the law in a blaze of glory, all nuance from its showcase of familial strength and honor was missing. Based on an historical novel written by its subject’s grandson Matt Bondurant—The Wettest County in the World—this is the heroic legend of three indestructible brothers refusing to…

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REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises [2012]

“Sometimes the pit sends something back” **Potential thematic spoilers** The trailer for the aptly coined ‘epic’ conclusion to director Christopher Nolan‘s caped crusader trilogy—The Dark Knight Rises—says it all through an emotional exchange between Batman (Christian Bale) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Lamenting in her trademarked selfishness that he doesn’t “owe these people any more” and he’s “given them everything,” she begs to run away from the anarchy ravaging their once great city of Gotham. He did his best, admirably failing. Having none of it, though, the billionaire playboy who molded…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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