REVIEW: Possessor [2020]

Pull me out. We see it all the time in antihero assassin films: the killer with a conscience. How many jobs does it take for the toll to become too much? Where do they draw the line between their professional identity and the private one they share at home with family? Love, companionship, joy—they’re all used as incentives to pull these murderers for hire out of the dark mindset that has consumed them since their days in the military or since the horrible tragedy that marked them during childhood. Hope…

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TIFF REVIEW: White Boy Rick [2018]

We’re goddamn lions. The pitch is as follows: Ricky Wershe Jr. (newcomer Richie Merritt) was a street hustler, drug kingpin, and FBI informant by the age of seventeen. If that doesn’t hook you, the added bonus of it all being real should. Welcome to White Boy Rick, a look at the American Dream that cuts through the bullshit to show what the term truly means outside of false promises. Ricky isn’t some hotshot who worked through the ranks and got too close to the sun. The order of those labels…

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REVIEW: Annihilation [2018]

Sometimes it’s beautiful. Reflections have been the subject of many fantasies whether it’s Through the Looking-Glass or Poltergeist III. The notion that a double exists in a different world conjures an unavoidable eeriness and the possibility of usurpation wherein fiction could become truth. It’s easy to therefore see the inherent duality as a good versus evil scenario with conqueror and conquered fighting for the opportunity to exist. But what happens when you make your mirror less smooth? What if the prism through which your image has been duplicated refracts rather…

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REVIEW: Good Time [2017]

“Cross the room if you’ve ever felt lonely” The first person we meet in Josh and Benny Safdie‘s Good Time isn’t its lead Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson). Before he enters the picture to propel the film towards its kinetic search for ten grand, things begin much slower and much quieter with his brother Nick (played by Benny). He’s sitting opposite his psychiatrist (Peter Verby), engaged in a word association game to help diagnose whatever mental disability has afflicted him for too long without proper care. We catch a glimpse of…

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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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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: The Hateful Eight [2015]

“Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come sooner with its predecessor Django Unchained, despite earning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, proving to me his weakest work. Not only was it pretty much a watered-down rehash of Inglourious Basterds, it was also…

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REVIEW: Anomalisa [2015]

“Nah. That’s British Airways.” Leave it to Charlie Kaufman to write a play about human connection and have it be just three actors who don’t physically interact—two playing single characters and the third everyone else with no discernable attempt to differentiate his voice. Then leave it to Dino Stamatopoulos and Dan Harmon of “Community” and “Moral Orel” fame to think it would make a great stopmotion animated film co-directed by Duke Johnson wherein Tom Noonan‘s stable of characters could literally all have the same face. This is Anomalisa: an adaptation…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2014: ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘The Rover,’ ‘Venus in Fur’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. It’s no surprise a month like June doesn’t possess the best posters for blockbuster releases. No one readying to visit a theater for summer popcorn carnage cares if the advertisement…

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REVIEW: The Spectacular Now [2013]

“You’ll always be my favorite ex-boyfriend” Some of us are lucky—a lot luckier than most. The thing about luck, though, is that it may look nothing like it should. Sometimes luck means having your father leave. Sometimes it’s being an eighteen-year old alcoholic everyone at school loves for epitomizing fun despite ultimately acknowledging you’re a joke. We can’t all hit bottom to pull ourselves back up because the floor isn’t always forgiving enough to allow us to walk away. When it does—when the collision rocks you awake, scares you to…

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REVIEW: Greenberg [2010]

“Can a pool overflow?” There is a saying relayed by Greta Gerwig’s character Florence which perfectly encapsulates what happens during the course of Noah Baumbach’s newest look into the angst of suburbia, Greenberg. She says, “Hurt people hurt people”. The phrase is apt, especially for her being the one a hurt person, Ben Stiller’s titular Roger Greenberg, constantly hurts. However, no matter how much worth there is in the dynamic between these two people separated by fifteen years, the generational gap a much larger chasm, I can’t shake the fact…

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