Top Ten Films of 2015: Where emotions run high

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I have no problem saying 2015 was a great year for cinema. Putting together a Top Ten was difficult at every turn—both because each time I had to do so meant I had seen more films and as a result of my preferences constantly changing. There are more than a few from 11-20 that easily […]

The 88th Oscars recap through tweets …

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The Oscars are today! You know, the awards show where Leonardo DiCaprio is "overdue" but black people can "wait till next year." — Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) February 28, 2016 Bette Midler‘s tweet hours before the 88th Annual Academy Awards started says it all above. #OscarsSoWhite would and to a point should be the focus of […]

Picking Winners at the 88th Annual Academy Awards

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For those handicapping at home, here are the guesses of Buffalo film fanatics Christopher Schobert, William Altreuter, and myself. Jared Mobarak: Here’s hoping Chris Rock does his best Ricky Gervais as far as not caring about political correctness or duty to kissing up to the celebrities all dressed-up nice because having him host the 2016 […]

Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

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Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Inside Out. #2Carol. #3Spotlight. #4Ex Machina. #5Mad MaxFury Road #6Brooklyn #7The Revenant #8Room #9The Martian #10Sicario Best Animated Film […]

INTERVIEW: Peter Johnson and Victor Marwin of Grain Cycles

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There’s something a-brewing in Studio #212 at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (1201 Pine Ave, Niagara Falls, NY 14301) that many Western New Yorkers will be excited to hear about. The brainchild of Against the Grain Woodworking‘s Victor Marwin and Peter Johnson, Grain Cycles have arrived to give the many cyclists and enthusiasts in […]

Babel’s Patti Smith and her “monastic mess”

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After waxing on about the “Lovecraftian” look of downtown Buffalo—the morning’s fog still hadn’t lifted by 6:45pm during my drive along the 190 to Kleinhans—Patti Smith disarmed the largest crowd in Just Buffalo Literary Center‘s Babel history with the words: “If you get bored or tired just tell me. We can talk about anything.” It’s […]

Overtaken by the story … Babel’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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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 […]

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

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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 […]

The 87th Oscars recap through tweets …

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I’m not sure why I keep filling myself with false hope that the Oscars will one day be an entertaining show to watch. The optimism is almost completely unfounded by this point. Whether they go weird (Anne Hathaway and James Franco), safe (Billy Crystal), hip (Seth MacFarlane), or try and steal another show’s success (Neil […]

Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

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Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing […]

Writing holds a mirror to your inner self … Babel’s David Henry Hwang

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Two plus months and a few snowstorms later, David Henry Hwang finally made it to Buffalo. The second speaker in Just Buffalo Literary Center’s 2014/2015 Babel Season, Hwang probably would have waited even longer if the elements necessitated. He’s that generous a human being. Artistic Director Barbara Cole illustrated such with an anecdote concerning a […]