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    Babel’s Abraham Verghese teaches Buffalo the difference between curing and healing

    It is interesting to see how Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Babel series has evolved over the years. Beyond locale (now residing at Kleinhans Music Hall after its origins in Asbury Hall at Babeville), artistic director (Barbara Cole seamlessly transitioning on from Michael Kelleher), and audience (last night’s crowd had to be the largest since Salman […]

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    You are the ambassador of your race: the human race … Babel’s Suzan-Lori Parks

    It wasn’t until Just Buffalo Literary Center‘s Artistic Director Barbara Cole took the stage that I noticed something out-of-place: a microphone stand. I’m not entirely sure when its last appearance was, but I distinctly remember the vehemence of the audience when whoever used it couldn’t be heard. Everyone else seemed cognizant of the problem too […]

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    REVIEW: Enemy [2014]

    “Chaos is order yet undeciphered” When you read a synopsis for the late Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago’s The Double you’ll find a very straightforward tale of doppelgangers. There’s the alpha, the pushover, and the innocent victims caught between; the insanity of seeing an exact replica in the flesh paired with the infinite possibilities such […]

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    The 86th Oscars recap through tweets …

    Welcome to the 86th Annual Academy Awards everyone! If you didn’t watch the festivities that occurred Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre you are probably a lot better off than most of us because it was a very lackluster affair. We all hoped Ellen DeGeneres would bring a fun, smart, witty return to her success […]

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    Top Ten Films of 2013: A year in cinema to write home about

    2013 has been a banner year for cinema with a slew of quality pictures that makes you wonder how only nine got enough first place votes to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Most of my favorites could have filled that elusive tenth spot for some added acclaim—whether having a chance to win or […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Transcendence [2014]

“They say there’s power in Boston” With a trailer digitizing Johnny Depp and electronic machinery created out of thin air, it’s an understatement to say I was surprised the beginning of Transcendence introduced a world without power. I thought the film was about new technology and the advancement of artificial intelligence harboring a potential for […]

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REVIEW: The Grand Budapest Hotel [2014]

“Who’s got the throat-slitter?” The films of Wes Anderson have always resided in some sort of parallel universe full of stylistic flights of fancy, but never has one been so completely defined by its fantasy than The Grand Budapest Hotel. His previous work exists to pay homage with stories filled to the brim by aesthetic […]

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REVIEW: Draft Day [2014]

“Who’s the most desperate guy you know?” You’ve gotta love a prerelease screening Buffalo audience applauding for a skyline aerial of their beloved city and Ralph Wilson Stadium, oblivious to the fact Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph originally composed their Draft Day screenplay to actually take place here before costs initiated a move to Cleveland. […]

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BIJFF14 REVIEW: Blue Tattoo [2014]

“Religion is a big deal with her, but she has a problem with God” Despite acknowledging it’s a well-made film, I was disappointed by Oscar-winning short The Lady in Number 6 because of its subject’s attitude towards surviving the Holocaust. Her unique concentration camp circumstances inexplicably allowed her to let the experience wash away so […]

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REVIEW: Captain America: The Winter Soldier [2014]

“I thought you were more than just a shield?” Despite what’s been said the past couple weeks, Marvel still hasn’t released that “A” film quite yet. Don’t get me wrong: the universe they have created is unparalleled and possessed by a consistency of success on par with Disney’s other child Pixar, but has there been […]

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REVIEW: Bottle Rocket [1996]

“You know there’s nothing to steal from my mom and Craig” Released two years after writer/director Wes Anderson brought its eponymous short film to Sundance, Bottle Rocket improves upon its predecessor’s shortcomings, makes good on its potential, and provides a prototype for the more commercial successes that would follow. A character-driven piece full of deflection […]

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REVIEW: Noah [2014]

“Maybe we’ll learn to be kind” Religion likes to talk about mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance as though such grace was instilled in humanity before we decided to ignore it for carnal pleasure, bloodlust, and greed. This is why most films depicting Biblical stories go heavy on angels and enlightenment, giving pithy parables with “a-ha” lessons […]

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FILM MARATHON: 2014 Schrembs Movie Showcase #2: The Abyss [1989]

The 2014 Schrembs Movie Showcase: Film #2: If you have been around me for any a length of time, chances are you became immediately irritated for a number of reasons, especially if the topic of movies came up. It’s worth noting that I have seen less than 10 science fiction movies in my lifetime, that […]

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FILM MARATHON: 2014 Schrembs Movie Showcase #1: Canadian Bacon [1995]

The 2014 Schrembs Movie Showcase: Film #1: In keeping with tradition, I’ve opened up the 2014 Schrembs Movie Showcase with another John Candy film. While I personally believe this film trumps Armed and Dangerous in a variety of ways, Canadian Bacon‘s most interesting attribute is that it was written, directed and produced by Michael Moore. […]

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REVIEW: Mr. Peabody & Sherman [2014]

“But that’s not fair! All my friends are fighting the Trojan War!” It’s been a decade in the making but director Rob Minkoff has finally brought Mr. Peabody and Sherman to theaters. He tried with Sony in 2003, got the ball rolling again with Dreamworks in 2006, and saw the latter studio’s purchase of the […]

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REVIEW: Almost Home [2014]

“Next!” I’m not really sure what Dreamworks is doing, but the existence of Almost Home rubs me the wrong way. A four-minute short shown before Mr. Peabody and Sherman—replacing the Gary Trousdale helmed Rocky and Bullwinkle piece that was inexplicably removed—I thought it was mildly humorous in a charmingly prolonged gag sort of way. But […]

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REVIEW: Divergent [2014]

“Faction before blood” Like it or not, the twenty-first century has brought cultural alterations. For instance, the conversation about futuristic dystopias and/or social upheaval no longer includes 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451. Our contemporary equivalents are now The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent. They may not be at the same reading […]

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REVIEW: Bottle Rocket [1994]

“It has the logic of a dream” The career of writer/director Wes Anderson begins with his University of Texas at Austin buddy Owen Wilson and their 13-minute short film Bottle Rocket. Screened at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, it tells the story of two friends and their aspiration towards crime. Dignan (Owen) and Anthony (Luke […]

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REVIEW: Camp Takota [2014]

“It’s like they’re being murdered by their own happiness” If you decide to take a shot on Camp Takota you must remember that few if anyone involved has true feature film experience. Executive producers/stars Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, and Mamrie Hart may be recognizable faces and hot YouTube commodities bringing a built-in fan base with […]

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REVIEW: Muppets Most Wanted [2014]

“It’s not easy being … mean” Is it a coincidence the Muppet renaissance follows the same trajectory as its subjects’ original cinematic saga? 2011′s The Muppets was enjoyable if not a tad overrated due to its story mirroring many of the beats that made 1979′s The Muppet Movie a classic. Revamping its road movie trope […]