BIFF19 REVIEW: The True Adventures of Wolfboy [2020]

That’s some … kind of beautiful. Denny (Chris Messina) tells his teenage son Paul (Jaeden Martell) to stand tall with dignity and never run away. Meant as inspiration with a sympathetic heart, these words fall flat because he’s trying to solve the wrong problem—his inability to truly understand Paul’s uniquely personal perspective leading him astray. Denny wants to believe the knit mask covering his boy’s face is a means to hide from the world because his goal is to protect his child from the terrible things ignorant people say and…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Lady Bird [2017]

“Love and attention” After a string of critical hits hinging upon her trademarked quirk as self-absorbed twenty-somethings trying to cut a path in life, Greta Gerwig has decided to transpose that template onto a tale of teenage angst with her directorial debut Lady Bird. The first step was finding a kindred spirit in Saoirse Ronan to wear that eccentric brand of character ticks and insecurities masked by inflated self-confidence with expert precision. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Ronan researched the role by watching Frances Ha, Mistress America, et al…

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REVIEW: Fences [2016]

“A fastball on the outside corner” It seems that many people have been docking points from Denzel Washington‘s latest directorial effort Fences by labeling it as “too theatrical.” Well, that’s somewhat hard to avoid when you’re dealing with August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play and its wall-to-wall dialogue touching upon love, responsibility, race, and politics on an emotionally resonate level beyond much of what Hollywood delivers “cinematically.” I’ve personally never held a stagey aesthetic against a film as long as the performances prop up the script’s location shortcomings…

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REVIEW: The American Side [2016]

“Weaving spiders come not here” When a film shot in Buffalo, NY co-written and starring a native of the city comes across you’re desk you look upon it with a certain level of skepticism. I’ve lived here almost my entire life and I’m still guilty of seeing my hometown as a B-level sector in comparison to New York City or Hollywood. This year has changed that thought-process for locals and the industry with two effective genre works exiting the Queen City with aspirations for the big time. Against all odds…

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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: Lincoln [2012]

“This isn’t usual, Mr. Pendleton. This is history.” Images of brother fighting brother, President Lincoln orating the Emancipation Proclamation, and his tragic demise at the end of John Wilkes Booth’s gun are conjured when most think about the Civil War. For many the abolition of slavery was merely one of the resulting terms of surrender on behalf of the Confederates, the goal of the Union and the Republican Party from the start finally becoming reality. But the details of this historic event are never really explained save a couple dates,…

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REVIEW: Tower Heist [2011]

“It seems like there’s a gauntlet of lesbians” Josh Kovacs takes care of his own—it’s his job as the manager of a luxury apartment complex in the heart of New York City. With company policy refusing employees from accepting tips, his workers must treat every resident with the utmost care, compassion, and patience. Josh knows every bellhop, cleaning lady, bankrupt squatter, billionaire Wall Street mogul, and septuagenarian lothario within this glass palace and he treats all as family. Just a guy from Astoria, there is something kind and generous to…

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