TIFF REVIEW: The Predator [2018]

Did I say that out loud? Writer Shane Black had a good year in 1987. He burst onto the action screenwriting scene with Lethal Weapon. Co-wrote the cult classic children versus Universal monsters fantasy The Monster Squad with Fred Dekker. And landed a supporting role in the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Predator as an exfil team member unwittingly embroiled in a fight against an alien hunter of unfathomable power. It’s therefore only fitting that he’d reunite with Dekker three decades later to direct a new installment in the latter’s oft-returned to franchise.…

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REVIEW: The Book of Henry [2017]

“I want to see the sky” There’s a lot of backlash against director Colin Trevorrow for reasons he didn’t necessarily earn. Most of the vitriol stems from his being scooped up by the Hollywood studio machine after helming just one indie film. That debut was the Sundance award-winning Safety Not Guaranteed, a small-scale sci-fi written by Derek Connolly. Suddenly Trevorrow was vaulted to A-list status—again something he didn’t quite earn—to helm Jurassic World and to takeover Star Wars: Episode IX from another festival darling turned tent-pole director Josh Trank (whose…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Burn Your Maps [2017]

“The kid in the strange clothes said he gave birth to two goats” Many films deal with the aftermath of a family death by becoming about how their characters live with the pain—changing them into different people. Some distinctly show them living despite it instead. Rather than depict Connor (Marton Csokas) and Alise (Vera Farmiga) as the death of their baby girl just ten months prior consumes them, Jordan Roberts‘ Burn Your Maps portrays their desire to move on after their transformations are complete. They’re searching for a future they…

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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…

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The 88th Oscars recap through tweets …

  The Oscars are today! You know, the awards show where Leonardo DiCaprio is “overdue” but black people can “wait till next year.” — Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) February 28, 2016 Bette Midler‘s tweet hours before the 88th Annual Academy Awards started says it all above. #OscarsSoWhite would and to a point should be the focus of the show because all the chaos that ensued once the nominations revealed a second consecutive year without a non-white acting nod deemed it so. However, the uproar was directed towards the Academy hastily and…

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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…

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REVIEW: Room [2015]

“There’s Room then outer space with the TV planets then Heaven.” ***POTENTIAL SPOILERS*** I’m not sure a more intensely emotional film than Lenny Abrahamson‘s Room has been released in the past decade let alone this year. Nothing hits home deeper than the bond of a mother and child, but the situation novelist/screenwriter Emma Donoghue constructs for Joy Newsome (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) increase it exponentially. Inspired to write her book after hearing about the Fritzl case in Austria where a man held his daughter captive for twenty-four years…

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