REVIEW: Becoming Jane [2007]

Are there no other women in Hampshire? I had never seen Julian Jarrold‘s Becoming Jane before today and yet my constantly being hit with a sense of familiarity while watching made me question that truth. The reason stems from the fact that screenwriters Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams crafted their tale of young Jane Austen fifteen years before her first novel (Sense and Sensibility) was published to unfold as though it was Pride and Prejudice. They’ve based this reading of Austen’s life on letters written to her sister Cassandra about…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [2018]

They’re alive. Like me. Anyone who read/watched Jurassic Park in the 1990s should have known the product of John Hammond’s hubris: a marriage between mankind’s extinction and evolution into something more. This is what the themes of control and the lack thereof portend. To play God is to risk losing everything we have built in the past 300,000 years. Because whether we bring back that which nature destroyed (dinosaurs) or create something wholly new (through genetic manipulation and cloning), we breathe life into a being not meant for the present…

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BIFF17 REVIEW: Marshall [2017]

No one will even remember you were here. It’s hard to believe America’s first black Supreme Court Justice hadn’t yet earned the big screen cinematic treatment until now. Besides Thurgood Marshall appearing as a character in a few TV productions (including HBO’s Emmy-nominated one-man play Thurgood starring Lawrence Fishburne) and two movies (The People vs. Larry Flynt possessing the highest profile), this iconic hero who successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education in front of that same Supreme Court was all but invisible. And that ubiquitous 1954 moment interestingly isn’t…

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REVIEW: Big Hero 6 [2014]

“One a scale of 1 to 10: how would you rate your pain?” Many parents aren’t going to allow their young children to watch Marvel Cinematic Universe films—they skew older with dark underlying themes and comic book violence that leaves beloved characters dead. So while Disney’s purchase of Marvel gave them boundless raw material to use in order to capture the attention of teens and everyone older, the question remained whether Mickey and friends could find something in the extensive catalog that would be suitable for their target audience. On…

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BNFF12 REVIEW: 2 Kings [2011]

“You Left Me” After reading the letter that came with my screener for Jon Alex‘s 2 Kings, I was excited to see what magic was wrought by this young creative who wrote, directed, starred, and did everything but write the song. The praise was high and the name-dropping intriguing—both Norman Mailer and James Cromwell made the cut to recommend the budding auteur through proxy either knowingly or not. Even the premise of identical twins dealing with one’s descent into insanity begged to be treated with an open mind and I…

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REVIEW: The Artist [2011]

“Farewell Norma. I never loved you.” It all starts with a kiss for the cameras and the dot of an eyeliner pen. From there a star is born in the form of Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) while her accidental impetus to become an actress ends up an industry dinosaur of a bygone era overnight. Silent Hollywood’s finest actor from Kinograph Pictures, George Valetin (Jean Dujardin), wakes one day to find himself at a crossroads of cinematic history with the transition to Talkies forcing him into the background where once only…

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BNFF11 REVIEW: A Lonely Place for Dying [2012]

“Which do you fear more—to be exposed or to be killed?” It begins with a KGB turncoat radioing for assistance from his CIA handler, desperate to make his way to America so he can leave behind the Socialist nation now on his tail. Justin Eugene Evans’s A Lonely Place for Dying, hitting the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival on its two year plus tour, puts all its cards on the table early as Agent Greenglass (Michael Wincott) tells Nikolai (Ross Marquand) no just before the Russian picks up another receiver with…

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BNFF11 PREVIEW: The 5th Annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival

The Buffalo Niagara Film Festival (April 8-17) has hit year number five—not a small feat when you consider the amount of work that goes into pulling such an event off. I’ve attended the past three years and have to say that it’s gotten better each and every time. From the level of cinema, the recognition of filmmakers in attendance, and the overall day-to-day handling of the festival itself, the experience is pretty great when you consider the $10 ticket price (cheaper if you partake in a Multi Pass) per movie.…

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REVIEW: Surrogates [2009]

“Honey, I don’t know what you are” The first thing that came to my mind while watching Surrogates is how rushed it felt using technology that wasn’t quite ready to pull off what it was the filmmakers desired. Whereas James Cameron waited years to hone his computer systems to achieve the realism Avatar needed to succeed, the Hollywood machine appeared to say “screw it, we have to finish this thing now”. I don’t want to fault director Jonathan Mostow as he most certainly was just a hired hand here, but…

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REVIEW: W. [2008]

“Bushington” I’m going to start this review by saying I have no idea why Oliver Stone thought his new film W. would have any effect on the upcoming elections. The guy gave himself almost no time to edit his footage so that it could be released two weeks before Election Day. Don’t get me wrong, the film is constructed very nicely, he did a great job in that short time, all I’m saying is that he didn’t need to rush. I mean if he was trying to show the world…

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REVIEW: Spider-Man 3 [2007]

“I’d give my life for them” So here it is, the final piece to the Raimi/Maguire trilogy of superheroes and love conquering all. The first two installments in the franchise helped rejuvenate the comic book movie, making them be taken seriously and showing that a little imagination surrounded by the real world could create suspense, action, and heart. Spider-Man 3 had a lot of expectations to live up to, and not just to be cohesive and complete with three villains and a couple new faces on the side. I know…

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