Picking Winners at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards hits airwaves Sunday, February 9th, 2020 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: Let’s face it. The Oscars have been irrelevant from a creative standpoint since … probably forever. The whole thing is a marketing ploy to boost box office numbers and give trailer makers something to put next to names of creative. That’s why theaters re-release nominees. That’s why boutique studios hold wide rollouts until foreign…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are labeled in red.

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TIFF19 REVIEW: Knives Out [2019]

The cow and the shotgun. No stranger to a good mystery—noir (Brick) or comedy (The Brothers Bloom)—Knives Out sees Rian Johnson getting back to a wholly original property before returning to the world of Star Wars. From the stellar cast to its Clue-esque estate (even he couldn’t resist that joke), this whodunit has looked impeccably positioned to deliver exactly what the genre demands while also dissecting and subverting it for good measure. That the final result might go even further than that only makes it more intriguing. Why? Well the…

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi [2017]

No one is ever really gone. If you ever saw a kids show during the Aughts you’ll be familiar with the educational tactic of repeating a message over and over again throughout an episode before repeating that episode each day of the entire week. This was a huge component of “Blue’s Clues” because it was proven to work. There’s no better way to ingrain a theme than by hammering it in until the viewer can no longer ignore it if he/she tried. But while this is an appropriate technique for…

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Top Ten Films of 2012: Ensembles upon ensembles

Many have been saying 2012 was a great year for movies. I’m not sure I fully agree. There were a ton of solid 7/10s and 8/10s, yes, but how does that compare with previous years when the amount of 10/10s were also drastically reduced? It took until September for me to give a film four stars and the two I did laud with such a distinction that month were the only ones. Rather than a showcase of masterpiece cinema, 2012 was instead a year of the performance. And I mean…

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Top 25 Films of 2012

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching ~140 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: End of Watch directed by David Ayer #24: Amour directed by Michael Haneke #23: Moonrise Kingdom directed by Wes Anderson #22: How to Survive a Plague directed by David France. #21: Prometheus directed by Ridley Scott. #20: Antiviral directed byBrandon Cronenberg #19: Skyfall directed by Sam Mendes. #18: Wreck-It Ralph directed by Rich Moore. #17: The Best ExoticMarigold Hotel directed by…

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Picking Winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards

Supporting Actress:Amy Adams: The MasterSally Field: LincolnAnne Hathaway: Les MisérablesHelen Hunt: The SessionsJacki Weaver: Silver Linings Playbook William Altreuter: It often seems to me that the Best Supporting categories are where the most interesting things are to be found in the Academy Award nominations, and this year is proving me right. What we often get—especially with Best Actress in a Supporting Role—are performances that really carry the movie, even though we tend not to notice. We also get actresses showing us what they can do against type, and that display of craft and professionalism is frequently rewarded. The…

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REVIEW: Looper [2012]

“I gave you something that was yours” Like he did film noir (Brick) and the grift (The Brothers Bloom), writer/director Rian Johnson has infused his uniquely personal touch into the science fiction genre with Looper. Time travel as a concept isn’t new, but how it’s handled will provide varying degrees of success. Generally utilized by the rich or hubristic scientists stumbling upon it, the technology has become a fantasy tool for adventure, discovery, and the righting of personal wrongs. It’s this third form that Johnson tinkers with inside a 2042…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2012: White Space Rules the Month

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. When not distracted by the more offbeat, artistically inclined one-sheets for the amazing line-up gracing Toronto screens at TIFF this month, I was surprised to see a few good ones…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: The Odds [2011]

“You wanna see a card trick?” The Toronto International Film Festival media blurb for Simon Davidson’s debut feature, The Odds, likens it to a combination of Rounders and Brick. While this statement is true to a point, the comparisons remain solely on the surface. Poker plays a very small role—as gambling in general looms large—and while the plot concerns teenagers who are way over their heads in adult matters and murder, the hyper-reality of Rian Johnson’s contemporary classic is nowhere to be seen. Such broad generalizations end up doing the…

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REVIEW: The Maltese Falcon [1941]

“You’re a good man, sister” Based on pure coincidence from a conversation that had nothing to do with John Huston’s classic debut The Maltese Falcon, watching Rian Johnson’s Brick later in the same night couldn’t have been more perfect. The latter a modern noir described as Dashiell Hammett in high school, the parallels were hitting me left and right without my realizing that the scribe who inspired it actually wrote the novel the former was based upon. Exchanges are mirrored in Brick—like the lead detectives confronting the law in a…

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