The 92nd Oscars recap through tweets …

What a weird, wild night. After the debacle that was Kevin Hart’s appointment as Oscar host last year and the straight-up refusal by everyone else to dare take the baton in the wake of his dismissal, The Academy chose right from the start to not have a host for their 92nd annual event. So what do they do after Janelle Monáe’s opening number (itself strange for representing more films that weren’t nominated than those that were)? They ask Steve Martin and Chris Rock—two former hosts—to go on-stage and deliver an…

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Picking Winners at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 9th, 2020 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: Let’s face it. The Oscars have been irrelevant from a creative standpoint since … probably forever. The whole thing is a marketing ploy to boost box office numbers and give trailer makers something to put next to names of creative. That’s why theaters re-release nominees. That’s why boutique studios hold wide rollouts until foreign…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are labeled in red.

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REVIEW: Little Women [2019]

Fight to the end and be loud. Despite letting its sordid content embarrass her to the point of pretending to be a writer friend’s messenger, Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) can’t hide the excitement of earning twenty dollars her family desperately needs for a story she composed. With one sister married to a husband of modest means (Emma Watson‘s Meg), another off in Europe with a wealthy suitor yet to propose (Florence Pugh‘s Amy), and a third sick in bed with fever (Eliza Scanlen‘s Beth), her New York City efforts to…

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REVIEW: Marriage Story [2019]

The pie was just a pie. It’s crazy how love changes the way we see things. Ambition can look like genius when we’re there as a supportive cheerleader and narcissism when we begin to recognize our sacrifices in seeing it get fulfilled. Success can be construed as a mutually beneficial byproduct of a union when one is strong and fertile, but also evidence of what we personally brought to the equation despite the other when we’re picking through the past to dissect what went wrong and who’s to blame. We…

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REVIEW: JT LeRoy [2019]

I wouldn’t even exist without her. It really is a wild story. Laura Albert, in need of expressing her pain outside of her own identity, creates a fictional version of herself to write three novels as exorcism under “his” name. Who knows if she anticipated the type of acclaim they and “he” would receive, but Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy necessitated her performing multiple characters out of her San Francisco apartment with fake accents to speak with journalists, fans, and artists over the phone in order to keep the charade alive. Only…

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REVIEW: Jurassic Park III [2001]

No force on Earth or Heaven could get me on that island. It’s almost ironic to discover David Koepp—screenwriter of the franchise’s previous two installments—was the one to think up the “simpler” story concept that Peter Buchman (with revisions by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor) ultimately built upon for Jurassic Park III. The man responsible for adapting The Lost World into an overstuffed cash-grab of a bloated sequel swooped in just weeks before another fully storyboarded and ready-to-go draft went into production with the advice to condense its focus. You…

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi [2017]

No one is ever really gone. If you ever saw a kids show during the Aughts you’ll be familiar with the educational tactic of repeating a message over and over again throughout an episode before repeating that episode each day of the entire week. This was a huge component of “Blue’s Clues” because it was proven to work. There’s no better way to ingrain a theme than by hammering it in until the viewer can no longer ignore it if he/she tried. But while this is an appropriate technique for…

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REVIEW: Certain Women [2016]

“She’s my lawyer. I’ve got reason to kill her.” I didn’t love Wendy and Lucy, the only Kelly Reichardt film I had thus far seen. The slow pacing and stripped-bare plot allowed for Michelle Williams to deliver a magnificent performance, but I found myself undeniably bored by the steady stream of troubles chipping away at her resolve. This reaction dissuaded me from Reichardt’s other features, but the almost universal critical praise—yet again—for her latest Certain Women dragged me back into her orbit to see if it would strike a louder…

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REVIEW: Blue Velvet [1986]

“Now it’s dark” After finding critical and commercial success with The Elephant Man—earning his first Oscar nominations for directing and screenplay—David Lynch became bankable enough to mount what would end up a large-scale disaster in Dune. Whereas many would probably count the latter as a failure across the board, the truth is that the sci-fi epic is much more attuned to the auteur’s sensibilities. Anyone who had seen his debut feature Eraserhead in all its strange surrealistic glory would concur, but by that time there were surely not many (and…

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Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the bone by credits’ end. The best thing I can say about 2014 is that my top ten (heck, maybe my top twenty-five) could be re-organized and re-listed without making me too angry about what is…

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