REVIEW: Richard Jewell [2019]

I’m me. There’s a major difference between fact (Richard Jewell is currently being investigated as a potential suspect) and editorial conjecture meant to carry your byline and publication into the national spotlight (Richard Jewell epitomizes the lone bomber profile and the FBI are nearing an arrest). Some journalists can’t unfortunately spot the difference. Why? Because sensationalized speculation sells. Once the 24-hour news cycle generated for-profit entities more worried about ratings than transparently calling a spade a spade, our ability to discern truth from opinion became eroded to the point where…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: The Report [2019]

It’s based on science. It matters that Diane Feinstein and other Senators (John McCain included) fought to make the Intelligence Committee’s report on “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” public because it held information the American people needed to know about how the CIA conducted itself after 9/11. While many would say the fact nobody has been prosecuted or held accountable since for what was laid out is the most important takeaway, however, I’d disagree. To me writer/director Scott Z. Burns distilled it in one line of dialogue during his cinematic adaptation of…

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REVIEW: Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

Why even have a bell? Writer/director Drew Goddard‘s affinity for voyeuristic set-ups continues with Bad Times at the El Royale‘s “pervert hotel” aesthetic. His first feature-length screenplay (Cloverfield) was found footage, his directorial debut (The Cabin in the Woods) had a two-way mirror as well as a science fiction surveillance conceit, and now we get a hidden corridor of nefarious delights on the border of California and Nevada with windows spying upon every guest who so chooses the titular accommodations to rest his/her head. You can’t blame him for returning…

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REVIEW: Tag [2018]

Our friend is a psychopath and this is scary. The most memorable moment throughout Jeff Tomsic‘s Tag is the introduction of one of the five grown men engaged in a thirty-year game of trading who’s “it.” The player is “Chilli” (Jake Johnson) and he’s loudly smoking a bong while talking to his father, an aging man covered in tattoos readying for a turn. It’s not about what, but whom: Brian Dennehy. The venerable Brian Dennehy inexplicably came onboard a zany high concept comedy for less than five minutes of screen…

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REVIEW: Baby Driver [2017]

“They call. I go.” I’ll admit that writer/director Edgar Wright‘s departure from Ant-Man was met with mixed feelings on my part. On one hand I was disappointed that we’d never see what he could have done with the material—something I had anticipated for many years. On the other, however, was the realization that I’d rather only see work devoid of outside interference when his name was attached. If the rumors were true about Marvel wanting to rewrite the script he and Joe Cornish crafted to make changes they saw as…

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REVIEW: Million Dollar Arm [2014]

“That better have been filtered water” The seventh and final season of “Mad Men” has begun yet star Jon Hamm is only now getting his first leading man role in a feature film. So why does what should be an auspicious event considering his obvious talent seem less than noteworthy? As good at comedy as drama, no one can deny he owns chauvinistic smarm on TV or has the chops to play a business-first sports agent who exclusively dates models while scheming to earn his next buck. The problem lies…

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Posterized Propaganda March 2012: Gimmicks and Blurs

“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. We’ve come to March and still no posters to really write home about. The season of blockbuster tent poles and their litany of character posters begins, proving once more that…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Friends with Kids [2012]

“Death by shark or alligator?” This has been the year of romantic comedies doing their best to overcome the genre and crossover to succeed with men and women alike. An unintentional reunion for four members of the Bridesmaids cast, the world premiere of Friends with Kids at the Toronto International Film Festival tries to equal its success in those regards. As star Jennifer Westfeldt’s directorial debut, she gives us some R-rated vulgarity, doesn’t pull punches, and finds a way to tug at the heartstrings too. Built upon the idea that…

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REVIEW: Bridesmaids [2011]

“Hold on for one more day” The best things a comedy can do are to exceed expectations and prove you don’t need to show all the funny parts in the trailer to con people into coming. Kristen Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo achieve both with their ‘stone-cold pack of weirdoes’ gearing up for the bride-to-be’s wedding day. Following in Tina Fey’s footsteps as SNLer turned feature film comedy scribe, Wiig branches out from the tv sketch show with help from Judd Apatow and his gang, including director Paul Feig, to…

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REVIEW: Sucker Punch [2011]

“It will be a deep sacrifice and a perfect victory” If you’re going to make an R-rated film, you better well do so. Zack Snyder is a director who has been given the green-light to go for broke on all his adult-fare, (I exclude Legend of the Guardians from his oeuvre here), towards box office glory. So, when the time came for his passion project, you’d believe the studios would sit back and let him weave his magic. But then came Watchmen’s fiscal failure and questions about the man’s true…

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10/12/10 … Talking Movies with Nick Mendola on WECK 1230AM

On the air with Nick Mendola at Buffalo’s own WECK 1230AM radio. 10/12/10 – Talking about, but not limited to, 127 Hours; The Social Network; Catfish; The Town; Jackass 3D; and A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop. Audio player appears once link is pressed: CLICK TO LISTEN [editor’s note: please excuse the constant interrupting of Nick as the connection constantly cut out to the point where I heard dead air and thought I needed to talk—hopefully rectified in the future.]

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