REVIEW: The Trial of the Chicago 7 [2020]

You don’t know what to do with the egg now, do you? It’s a project tailor-made for Aaron Sorkin. So much so that I’m surprised The Trial of the Chicago 7 didn’t somehow worm its way into becoming his directorial debut rather than Molly’s Game three years prior. There’s the courtroom drama aspect recalling his play and screenplay for A Few Good Men, the government inner-workings a la his television show “The West Wing”, and the notion of a youth-led counter culture of bickering geniuses similar to the fast-paced insults…

Read More

REVIEW: Waiting for the Barbarians [2020]

It’s the consequence of too much ease. The phrase “the calm before the storm” has always been an interesting one to me because it posits that storms are inevitable and periods of calm nothing but illusion. It doesn’t matter how much work you’ve put into a situation to create peace if the other shoe is destined to drop. And the more you live in that nihilistic headspace, the more you render the storm a self-fulfilling prophecy. You become driven by fear in the unknown until you become the very thing…

Read More

REVIEW: Ready Player One [2018]

Ninjas don’t hug. You can’t help but drown within the pop culture vacuum of Ernest Cline‘s Ready Player One while reading. He throws references left and right—most often for no other reason than to namedrop as though he’s racking up geek-cred points within a nonexistent game. There becomes such an influx of information that you begin to see just how flimsy and redundant the plot behind the superficial artifice is in its reworking of common dystopian tropes utilized to bestselling success in the YA world. It’s a thin veil similar…

Read More

REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

“He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties just as they provided a newfound and tangible hope for victory. It’s glory or despair that’s highlighted depending on whose perspective the story adheres because we want to witness the emotional gray areas of melancholy…

Read More

REVIEW: Prospero’s Books [1991]

“And yet I needs must curse” I have a hard enough time with William Shakespeare when the characters onscreen are speaking his words with relevant visual cues to cut through the iambic pentameter and present the stories for my eyes. Don’t ask me to comprehend anything while reading his plays because my mind is constantly at a loss as to what the words mean. Laugh if you will or empathize with my similar plight to your own, but that’s my struggle with the Bard despite loving most of his works…

Read More

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…

Read More

The 88th Oscars recap through tweets …

  The Oscars are today! You know, the awards show where Leonardo DiCaprio is “overdue” but black people can “wait till next year.” — Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) February 28, 2016 Bette Midler‘s tweet hours before the 88th Annual Academy Awards started says it all above. #OscarsSoWhite would and to a point should be the focus of the show because all the chaos that ensued once the nominations revealed a second consecutive year without a non-white acting nod deemed it so. However, the uproar was directed towards the Academy hastily and…

Read More

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…

Read More

Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1 Inside Out . #2 Carol . #3 Spotlight . #4 Ex Machina . #5 Mad Max Fury Road #6 Brooklyn #7 The Revenant #8 Room #9 The Martian #10 Sicario Best Animated Film #1 Inside Out . #2 Shaun the Sheep Movie #3 Anomalisa . #4 The Peanuts Movie #5 The Good Dinosaur…

Read More

REVIEW: Bridge of Spies [2015]

“So everyone will hate me, but at least I’ll lose” I’m sure it was a foregone conclusion that Steven Spielberg would choose to direct Matt Charman‘s Bridge of Spies himself the instant it crossed his Dreamworks desk. The story possesses all the earmarks the director has gravitated towards for years, namely an unlikely hero finding himself in the position to do something historically extraordinary to save those who aren’t. “Unlikely hero” because who would peg an insurance lawyer—reveling in smooth talk about his firm’s willingness to cover one collision despite…

Read More

REVIEW: Blitz [2011]

“Do I look like I carry a pencil?” With a name like Blitz and the surly visage of Jason Statham on its poster, one would expect this British flick to be an action-packed romp with little plausibility. Surprisingly, however, Elliott Lester’s film is a straightforward criminal thriller using its star’s penchant for brutality as merely a character trait rather than a lifestyle. Hotheaded, temperamental, and never one to follow authority too closely, Statham is on the right side of the law this time. A Detective Sergeant going by the name…

Read More