FANTASIA20 REVIEW: Clapboard Jungle [2020]

The reality doesn’t always live up to the dream. If you know anything about the independent film world, it won’t be surprising to discover the project writer/director Justin McConnell is hoping to get off the ground at the start of Clapboard Jungle isn’t going to be much further along in its pre-production process four years later. That’s the nature of the beast. You’re going to have moments of elation when it appears that funds have come through and the inevitable spiral downward when those plans evaporate. You’re going to hit…

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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: First Reformed [2018]

A life without despair is a life without hope. We live in a time of extremism—where our reaction dial is turned up to eleven regardless of our true interest in a cause or its true importance. Somewhere along the line civil and constructive discourse was replaced by screaming fits of unjustified rage, nuanced topics debated as pissing matches between two sides vying to stay incensed the longest. There are no winners with this line of rhetoric because facts become secondary to passion. Suddenly it’s all about who makes the most…

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REVIEW: Dog Eat Dog [2016]

“It’s death or victory” After forty odd years as a career criminal in-and-out of jail, Edward Bunker changed his life by writing fictionalized accounts of his experiences for a lucrative career as novelist, screenwriter, and eventually actor. He got Danny Trejo a part on a project he wrote entitled Runaway Train after spending time with him in prison and eventually found himself playing Mr. Blue in Quentin Tarantino‘s debut Reservoir Dogs. It’s been a while since the last movie based on his writing (2000’s Animal Factory) and almost as long…

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INTERVIEW: Timothy J. Cox, star of Simple Mind, Choosing Sides, and more

Becoming a working actor is hardly an easy career path chosen lightly. For character actor Timothy J. Cox the journey towards independent film began by accident in 8th grade yet became a calling it would seem he was born to follow. Still, it took him almost a decade of living in New York City before making the decision to focus his professional efforts onto the film set above the theatrical stage. Whether performing in student thesis projects, indie shorts, contests, or features, Cox has made a name for himself through…

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TIFF08 REVIEW: Adam Resurrected [2008]

“Everyone likes the circus” Paul Schrader’s film Adam Resurrected truly caught me off guard at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I literally had no clue for what was in store, no knowledge of the plot or anything. The credits unveil Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe, two character actor stalwarts, making me think that this thing could be interesting. And then came the disturbing yet stunning close-up of Goldblum’s eyes, both staring straight at the audience. With voice-over narration, his left eye goes sideways while the right stays static. I…

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