REVIEW: The Mitchells vs the Machines [2021]

Be bold and never play it safe. So many familial conflicts can be solved by a simple conversation laying out wants and desires since passive aggressive ultimatums will always prove insufficient as a means for compromise. Should Rick Mitchell (Danny McBride) need Katie (Abbi Jacobson) to overtly tell him she’s desperate for his support? No. It’s what every child wants from his/her parents. Should Katie need Rick to explain the reasons he lets his own insecurities and failures dictate his attitude towards the light years’ worth of cultural distance separating…

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REVIEW: Ron’s Gone Wrong [2021]

Let’s make friends. The CEO of tech giant Bubble (Justice Smith‘s Marc) had good intentions when creating the Bubble-bot. His goal was to eradicate childhood loneliness by supplying boys and girls the world over a personal SEO-equipped “Smart” device that doubles as a best friend and geo-locator of other like-minded real friends. The toy’s launch proves a huge success as Marc randomly selects an audience member to electronically imprint on the first unboxed Bubble-bot before then having it wirelessly connect to the app-aggregated meta data cataloged on every child’s phone…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Mothering Sunday [2021]

I just wanted everyone to keep playing. Mother’s Day, 1924: a day for servant girls to ride the train home to their mothers and wealthy mothers to have brunch with their children. Except that a post-WWI England could no longer guarantee such things. Even those who still had the opportunity to forget wouldn’t quite be able to shake the generally sense of sorrow permeating the memory of all those sons who died. Marriage announcements hold the bittersweet truths that the groom should have been someone else. Breakfasts carry a quiet…

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REVIEW: The Father [2021]

I don’t need anyone. The first scene transition in Florian Zeller‘s The Father (adapted from his play “Le Père” with help from Christopher Hampton) is exactly the type of system shock we need to find our footing within an environment that more or less is devoid of ground. We meet Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) soon after he’s forced yet another caretaker from his home. Despite suffering from dementia and prone to the temperamental flare-ups the condition fosters, he staunchly believes he can take care of himself. So his daughter Anne (Olivia…

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The 91st Oscars recap through tweets …

What a wild ride this Oscars season has been. After so much recent talk about inclusivity and a changing of the guard, it was bound to happen that we’d receive an awkward period of flux. There’s the young crowd cheering a Marvel Cinematic Universe chapter to the franchise’s first Best Picture nominee and the older sect feeling warm and gooey about a story pretending to talk about racism despite really just glossing over the struggle to say most racists are simply misunderstood until sharing a bucket of KFC with the…

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Picking Winners at the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The 91st Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 24th, 2019 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: It’s the type of year where hashtags rhetoric simply won’t work. There’s just not one all encapsulating buzzword to touch upon the myriad problems these nominations face. What do you do when you have a film up for Best Picture that was directed by a known presumed sexual predator who was fired for not…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2018

Below is my December 27th ballot for the 22nd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2018 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners are labeled in red. (No option to abstain was supplied this year.)

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REVIEW: The Favourite [2018]

We’ve been laying very different games. This isn’t your parents’ period piece. If the name Yorgos Lanthimos under the header of director didn’t already give you that impression, there it is. The Favourite has everything you’d expect from one, though: real-life characters, powdered faces and wigs, wars discussed from perches miles away from the battlefield, and political jockeying for power. The difference is what Deborah Davis discovered in a corner of British royal history, namely the love and affection shared between Queen Anne, Lady Sarah Churchill (yes, a descendant of…

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REVIEW: London Road [2015]

“It was a complete nightmare” For anyone who believes cinema currently languishes in a rut of remakes, rehashes, sequels, and been-there-done-thats: you aren’t looking hard enough. Those works are what the media force-feeds because they’re the ones making big money come opening weekend, but there’s more out there if you’re willing. Some financiers like BBC Films still gravitate towards unique visions that may or may not end up successes but definitely will spark conversation and in turn possibly advance the medium into places it has yet seen. This is what…

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REVIEW: The Lobster [2015]

“That is none of your concern” Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos‘ English language debut The Lobster is a dystopian sci-fi romance depicting a world where Paula Abdul doesn’t exist. If these mechanical creatures devoid of emotion heard her 1988 single “Opposites Attract” their woes of the heart might be eased. I say this because while life is hazardous to your health without someone to share it, Lanthimos’ non-descript City strictly inhabited by couples is impossible to traverse without that someone also sharing your “defining characteristic”. To be a match is to be…

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REVIEW: Locke [2014]

**POSSIBLE SPOILERS** “So am I on a list?” There’s symmetry between the production of Steven Knight‘s Locke and its plot. Like the insane job everyone’s imploding over that its lead bails on while driving an hour away to be present at the birth of a child conceived with someone who’s not his wife, getting this film made was no walk in the park. For Knight it was an idea to strip down filmmaking sparked by the experience directing his debut Hummingbird and falling in love with the colorful reflections created…

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