REVIEW: The Northman [2022]

We thirst for vengeance, but we cannot escape our fates. Like the Brothers Grimm were to Disney with so many fairy tales, it appears Saxo Grammaticus was to William Shakespeare where it comes to Hamlet. The Danish historian’s lead character was Amleth—a young boy who witnesses the murder of his father and forced romance of his mother at the hands of his uncle before having to run away from the latter’s kill order so that he may return (if an ambitiously opportunistic soldier lies about watching him die). The parallels…

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REVIEW: Being the Ricardos [2021]

It was a scary goddamn week. The tabloids were running an article about Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) having an extramarital affair. The radio was insinuating Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) was a communist. And the two of them had planned to go into the studio the next morning to let everyone know they were having another baby. Whether all that happened on the same night or not—Aaron Sorkin has never been shy with bending the truth or timelines for additional drama—you cannot deny it’s a lethal combination for a rousing behind-the-scenes…

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REVIEW: Bombshell [2019]

Praise all tangled up in an insult. The downfall of Roger Ailes is a captivating tale because it shows what can be done without glossing over the difficulty of achieving it. The women at Fox News who came forward to put his decades-long pattern of sexual harassment into the public forum had to weigh the truth and their duty to future generations forced into similar positions against the very real fact that doing so could mean career suicide. They had to search within and find the balance between what they…

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REVIEW: The Goldfinch [2019]

I lost something that should have been immortal. Theo Decker (Oakes Fegley) lost a lot one fateful day at The Metropolitan Museum of Art when an unexplained terrorist bombing took his mother, home, stability, and, most importantly, his childhood away. One second he’s stealing a glimpse of the young girl (Aimee Laurence‘s Pippa) beside him in front of a famed Carel Fabritius painting while his mom’s hand leaves his shoulder and the next sees him rising from the ashes of the aftermath, dead bodies everywhere. And if dealing with the…

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REVIEW: Destroyer [2018]

Let’s see if it’s your time. It’s billed as a down and dirty revenge flick with some calling it a redundant variation on a theme “better” films already delivered. That’s not how I see it, though. No, Karyn Kusama‘s latest is about guilt. Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) isn’t drowning herself in alcohol and pushing everyone who loves her away because she’s devoting her life to finding the leader (Toby Kebbell‘s Silas) of the criminal outfit she infiltrated as a green undercover agent over fifteen years ago. That may be her…

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REVIEW: Aquaman [2018]

It’s fish-MAN. Arthur Curry’s Aquaman has been known in mainstream pop culture circles as DC’s whipping boy for a long while since it’s easy to mock an orange spandex-wearing dude who talks to fish when measured against his “cooler” Justice League compatriots. “The Big Bang Theory” made jokes at his expense for a few seasons and “Entourage” decided to use the hero’s lackluster reputation as proof Vinny Chase could turn anything to gold (with James Cameron‘s help). So it was a refreshing surprise when Jason Momoa was cast for Curry’s…

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REVIEW: Boy Erased [2018]

Almighty Dog. I’ll never understand religion’s ability to shield believers from its inherent contradictions. I’ve seen faith help many in my family through its power for hope, healing, and positivity. But never have they been tested as far as making the choice to reject Catholicism’s rigidity where it pertains to subjects they’re simply happy to excuse with empty parroting from afar. They try and play both sides of issues—sticking to what they believe without “finding the need to prevent someone else from thinking the opposite.” They’re allowed to do this…

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REVIEW: Paddington [2014]

Does anyone know where I can find a home? I remember reading Michael Bond‘s Paddington Bear books when I was a kid and might have even had a duffle coat-wearing stuffed animal too. But I couldn’t tell you a thing about those stories if you put a gun to my head and asked. I recall a little more about The Berenstain Bears and a bit more than that about Teddy Ruxpin—apparently bears just didn’t leave a huge impression upon me. Even so, however, I worried about a live action film…

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REVIEW: The Killing of a Sacred Deer [2017]

You’re too young to worry. Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos is an artist who deals with consequences through elaborately skewed and often-uncomfortable scenarios just left of the off-putting spot that’s just left of center. He uses absurdity and humor to provoke us in order for his complex existential and social messages to hit home in a way strict realism never could. His films are thus morality plays of sorts pitting characters against one another in a puzzle that may or may not be of their own choosing. They are presented with a…

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REVIEW: The Beguiled [2017]

“I didn’t want you to be misled” There’s a lot to like about Don Siegel‘s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Cullinan‘s A Painted Devil. Unfortunately, there’s just as much left wanting. It built towards a tense finale of malicious intent, the kind that’s able to turn what was a simple wartime drama into a metaphorical representation of fear and paranoia pitting man against woman in a battle of physical strength opposite will. Where it goes wrong, however, is in the decision to draw its lead character as the unequivocal bad guy.…

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Picking Winners at the 89th Annual Academy Awards

The 89th Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 26th, 2017 at 8:30pm on ABC. Buffalonians can watch it from the comfort of their home or take a trip down to these local destinations: • The Screening Room, The Boulevard MallFree (doors open at 7:00pm)• Buffalo State College, Campbell Student UnionFree with Student ID, $10 general public (doors open at 8:00pm)• Q, 44 Allen StreetFree (Red Carpet party begins at 6:00pm) For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself.…

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