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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REVIEW: Bohemian Rhapsody [2018]

Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds. There’s the story of Freddie Mercury and the story of his band Queen. One deals with complicated topics spanning fractured identity, the excess of fame, and AIDS while the other is apparently straightforward with little conflict besides creative squabbles that get ironed out before the argument is even finished. Is it weird then that Hollywood would deliver the latter? The sad truth is unfortunately no. Going the safe route to make sure all parties involved are happy about their depiction is exactly what Hollywood…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Papillon [2018]

“I have trouble seeing hope in hopelessness” It’s amazing how some tweaking can turn a decent film showing its age into a worthwhile project that earns its upgrade four decades later. To watch Franklin J. Schaffner‘s original Papillon adaptation is to see an arduous series of harrowing ordeals strung together for no reason other than the thrill of adventure. It introduces the titular tough guy safecracker Henri “Papillon” Charrière and scrawny forger Louis Dega as two men caught in a horrible place with little hope. They team-up in order to…

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REVIEW: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus [2015]

“You have not because you ask not” I backed Spike Lee‘s Kickstarted Da Sweet Blood of Jesus because I was intrigued by an auteur of his stature being left to his own devices on a project as captivating as what he’d set forth. He said it was “a new kind of love story”—one about human beings addicted to blood that’s funny, sexy, and bloody. It was therefore disappointing when the adjective “new” altered into “1973 remake”. Since I haven’t seen Bill Gunn‘s Ganja & Hess, however, I kept an open…

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REVIEW: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb [2014]

“They’ll burn up like tiny scarabs in Sinai” It appears director Shawn Levy and new screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman have thrown the jokey nature of Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant‘s Battle of the Smithsonian away to bring the Night at the Museum series back to what first made it a success. Secret of the Tomb reminded me a lot of the original installment with a thinly veiled metaphor once again providing the dramatic arc for Larry Daley’s (Ben Stiller) adventure, this time showing a need to say…

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REVIEW: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian [2009]

“Like a Golden Fleece” While Night at the Museum is by no means a great film above family friendly theatrics, it did have heart. There was a story at its back—one steeped in magic that dealt with redemption and self-worth against insurmountable odds. A cool premise too wherein the exhibits at the Natural Museum of History come to life each night thanks to the golden tablet of Egyptian Akmenrah (Rami Malek), there was enough to entertain viewers of all ages with an eccentric stable of characters engaged in an exciting…

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REVIEW: Night at the Museum [2006]

“Keep a lid on it, Butterscotch” While based on a 1993 children’s book by Milan Trenc portraying a museum security guard discovering how he must protect the people outside from the dinosaur skeletons that come to life inside, Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon‘s cinematic adaptation of Night at the Museum bears more of a resemblance to another family friendly fantasy franchise ending its trilogy the same year as theirs began. I’m talking about The Santa Clause, an enjoyable holiday journey of the heart wherein a divorced dad hoping to…

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REVIEW: Short Term 12 [2013]

“Oh. That’s the piece of avocado in your beard.” Other films cropping up into your memory while watching something new can either be a sign that originality in cinema is officially dead or the realization you’re about to experience greatness. The latter happened to me during Short Term 12 and I’m talking like ten minutes in after affable veteran Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) finishes telling newbie Nate (Rami Malek) about his second day as a line staff employee at the group home for at-risk teenagers behind them before having to…

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REVIEW: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 [2012]

“Should I start calling you Dad?” **contains spoilers as far as its major difference from the book** I’m going to applaud The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 for two reasons. One, it signals what we can hope and pray will be the last adventure inside Stephenie Meyer‘s angst-ridden, melodramatic world of supernaturals—until the planned off-shoots/reboots being bandied about, of course. Two, it rather unsurprisingly proves to be the best of the series after three bloated, over-wrought filler films ruined the tiny bit of promise the original Twilight provided. But…

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REVIEW: The Master [2012]

“You’ll be my guinea pig and protégée” There really is no one making movies quite like Paul Thomas Anderson these days. Between cultivating an environment to conjure some of the best performances we’ve seen the past fifteen years, the challenging subject matter delving into the human soul, and the starkly beautiful cinematography able to transport us back in time or into a fairy tale world just on the other side of reality, his film releases have become major events with both arthouse and mainstream theatre patrons clamoring for tickets. The…

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