REVIEW: Ordinary Love [2019]

How do you say to someone, ‘Don’t die’? Cancer is so often equated with death that it’s no wonder most films work towards that result when dealing with the subject matter. Not everyone dies, though. Many discover it early enough to have it removed without the need for additional operations. Some are a bit further along and must therefore confront the prospect of chemotherapy as a deterrent from complications. It’s different for everyone and the pain endured will always be there, but cancer stories can also be about life and…

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Picking Winners at the 90th Annual Academy Awards

The 90th Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, March 4th, 2018 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: This new look Academy is really starting to pay dividends. The fight for representation might have begun with a focus on the acting categories (there are four POC actors nominated this year out of twenty slots), but it’s expanded much further in a very short period of time. This 90th year of Oscar becomes…

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REVIEW: Phantom Thread [2017]

You found me. I’m not sure there’s a better director working today than Paul Thomas Anderson. I don’t say this as a long-time fan that calls Magnolia his favorite film of all-time. I say it as someone who’s watched his career expand and evolve in orchestration, aesthetic, tone, and performance. There’s an air about his art that demands revisiting for introspective ruminations and profound revelations. It’s almost as though he creates these works for them to be dissected into their hybridized genres, dramatic gravitas, and historical eccentricities. But just as…

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REVIEW: Rupture [2017]

“You will feel it soon” It’s taken ten years, but Secretary director Steven Shainberg has finally followed-up Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. The result is Rupture, a body horror-lite tale about a woman held captive as part of an experiment meant to unlock humanity’s hidden potential to evolve beyond our current state. Written by Brian Nelson (the two share story credit), its script seeks to mess with our expectations as it does its prisoner Renee (Noomi Rapace). We’re to cultivate a sense of paranoia with surveillance dominating the…

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REVIEW: Mr. Turner [2014]

“Nothing comes from nothing, Madam” I was not aware of J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall) before hearing about Mike Leigh‘s latest film depicting the final quarter century of his life, Mr. Turner. I’ve tried recalling glimpses of his paintings during college, but find myself blank each time. As it appears he’s presently considered a master, perhaps we simply didn’t learn much about the British Romantics? It’s therefore surprising to discover in researching his early works how realistic each shipwreck and squall was in comparison to the later canvases of unbridled color…

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REVIEW: Maleficent [2014]

“Goodbye, Beastie” Let’s be honest, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is a bit of a bore. I remember my sister often wanting to watch when we were kids and me having none of it until the end’s fire and brimstone and menacing dragon spawned from the tale’s creepy, wide-smiling villain. Did I understand the fairy’s reason for cursing the princess? No. I’m not quite sure I realized the political ramifications of her baby shower invite getting lost in the mail until it was explained to me last night after watching Maleficent—the Mouse…

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Top Ten Films of 2010: Dark Fantasy Cinema

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all—141 seen is this year’s number—the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I remember thinking around April that there hadn’t been a truly great film released yet. After summer came and went with little to cheer about, I feared 2010 would be a gigantic bust containing a ton of decent to good films, but only a handful of great ones. And then—like it seems…

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REVIEW: Another Year [2010]

“The bonding of the jilted” Four seasons of love, laughs, and family for the Hepples is a year of angst, tragedy, and depression for those surrounding them. As such, Mike Leigh’s new film is aptly titled Another Year, showing us a day or two from each quarter spanning Spring to Winter. Tom and Gerri—yes, they see the joke in the pairing—are the exception to prove the rule, a happily married couple who do everything together, have a wonderful relationship with their son Joe, and truly enjoy their jobs as a…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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