REVIEW: Furious 7 [2015]

“You never could take a punch” There’s something about this series that’s transcended any intellectual discussion about cinema. How else does a lamely derivative version of Point Break substituting waves with cars spawn six sequels in fifteen years? Think about that. 2 Fast 2 Furious was so bad that star Vin Diesel turned down a […]

REVIEW: Resolution [2013]

“They said they were researching folktales” ***Possible Spoilers*** Films like Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s Resolution can’t help but get under your skin and risk never letting go. Any issues you may have about production quality, plot holes, pacing, and performances fall away because of one genius detail planting the seeds of curiosity. Then, when […]

Overtaken by the story … Babel’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The change was gradual, but 2014-2015 really cements it for Just Buffalo Literary Center‘s Babel series. What began as a venue for renowned writers to read their works and engage the audience in a conversation about story genesis and process has become somewhat of a publicity tour. Is this a natural evolution? Perhaps this year’s […]

REVIEW: What We Do in the Shadows [2014]

“Get up and stand on the ceiling like a man” In great mockumentary fashion, What We Do in the Shadows bears to mind the work of Christopher Guest. It has eccentric characters, constant mugging for the camera, and a perfectly dry delivery ensuring those watching will laugh even harder at each joke—if that’s their cup […]

Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the […]

REVIEW: Fast & Furious [2009]

“He used to date my sister” While only grossing half of its predecessor’s haul to make it seem as though Paul Walker‘s absence was a huge box office hindrance, Tokyo Drift still almost doubled its budget despite no discernible connection to the franchise that spawned it until the very end (minus its drag racing theme). […]

REVIEW: Get Hard [2015]

“Have fun with it” It was only a matter of time before Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart paired up. The former’s fading critical success is in need of an injection of freshness to work alongside his tired shtick and the latter’s firmly planted star atop Hollywood couldn’t hurt from a little face time with a […]

REVIEW: Insurgent [2015]

“You have to forgive yourself” I don’t know which of the three writers credited (Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, and Mark Bomback) on Insurgent is responsible for the complete overhaul of Veronica Roth‘s source novel, but I applaud him. If not for the retention of its characters’ arcs, one could argue the majority of this cinematic […]

REVIEW: World Spins Madly On [2015]

“It’s right in front of you. Just go for it.” The above quote from World Spins Madly On could be the same words writer/director Jeremy Jed Hammel told himself when debating his next film project. In pops the idea of an unlikely romance sparking from thin air due to inexplicably forceful signs and onto the […]

REVIEW: Une Libération [2015]

“The Americans are coming” ***Possible Spoilers*** The sheer number of different stories that have been told out of the atrocities committed during World War II never ceases to amaze me. It shouldn’t—such a large-scale assault on humanity is nothing if not complex. When you think about breadth of the countries, cultures, and languages involved, the […]

REVIEW: Relatos salvajes [Wild Tales] [2014]

“Crime of passion?” Best. Wedding. Ever. And trip to the bureaucratic black hole that is government sanctioned towing. And expertly planned, faux fateful airline flight this side of “Lost”. I mean it. Damián Szifrón‘s Relatos salvejes [Wild Tales] is a twisted cousin of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s The Decalogue, a sextet of darkly comic morality plays where […]