• babel_header

    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: Leviathan [2013]

“It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud.” To no one’s surprise, the end of Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel‘s documentary Leviathan does not contain the usual “no animals were harmed during the making of this film” since the piece itself is literally the harrowingly horrific depiction […]

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REVIEW: Paradise [2013]

“Why twitter with Satan when you can friend with God?” My first trip to the Toronto International Film Festival had me arriving at the box office with vouchers and no clue about what to see. Ready for anything, my friend and I took a chance on Juno based solely on our enjoying Thank You for […]

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REVIEW: Don Jon [2013]

“I lose myself” I will say this: Don Jon is not quite what I expected. While the trailers do a good job showing off the surface objectification first-time writer/director Joseph Gordon-Levitt infuses into the comedy, it doesn’t speak to the film’s heart. Rather than simply a 90-minute romp of Jersey accents and pretty people arguing […]

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REVIEW: In a World … [2013]

“The whole thing’s based on the Prussian War” I remember seeing Lake Bell for the first time on the criminally underrated HBO show “How to Make It in America” and thinking, “this is a real person.” She was slightly awkward, somewhat unconventionally attractive, and far from the ditzy, interchangeably dull girls mainstream entertainment loves to […]

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REVIEW: Eroticide [2013]

“I’m the woman of his dreams. And you? You’re the silver medal.” With a title like Eroticide, it isn’t hard to imagine at least one character dying by the time the credits roll. Who of Matthew Saliba’s sexually warped love triangle will it be, though: the doormat, the predator, or the prey? Love, sex, and […]

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REVIEW: Computer Chess [2013]

“War is death. Hell is pain. Chess is Victory.” Writer/director Andrew Bujalaski‘s lo-fi Computer Chess is an intriguing period piece curio depicting a programming convention of brilliant minds engaging in a five-round competition that pits their artificial intelligences against each other’s at the titular, strategic board game. Although we see tournament organizer Pat Henderson (Gerald […]

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REVIEW: Rush [2013]

“You fat little inbred beauty” The story of James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) is one we can all relate too. It’s a tale of two extremes: the easygoing partier with ideas of immortality and the calculating taskmaster who knows the odds and understands the consequences. In keeping with the Formula One […]

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Falastine Stereo [Palestine Stereo] [??]

“We all should sing and dance and live and allow nothing to break us” No matter how much Stereo (Mahmud Abu-Jazi) loves his country, living in the warzone that is occupied Palestine has to prove hollow at some point. A wedding singer with what many say is a sweet voice—hence the nickname—that moment comes via […]

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REVIEW: Brazil [1985]

“Care for a little necrophilia?” Although Terry Gilliam had already established the highly imaginative filmic style we now associate him with above his Monty Python animations, no one could have imagined the scale of what would become his unequivocal masterpiece, Brazil. There were shades of its escapism in Time Bandits and its bureaucratic satire in […]

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Faroeste caboclo [Brazilian Western] [2013]

“A real man always pays his debts” Composed by Renato Russo in 1979 and finally released in 1987 on his band Legião Urbana’s album Que País É Este, “Faroeste Caboclo” became a folk song hit in Brazil. It was Russo’s family —Renato died in 1996 due to complications from AIDS—who began the process of finding […]

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REVIEW: The Spectacular Now [2013]

“You’ll always be my favorite ex-boyfriend” Some of us are lucky—a lot luckier than most. The thing about luck, though, is that it may look nothing like it should. Sometimes luck means having your father leave. Sometimes it’s being an eighteen-year old alcoholic everyone at school loves for epitomizing fun despite ultimately acknowledging you’re a […]

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TIFF13 REVIEW: iNumber Number [??]

“Hurry. This place got more crooks than government.” The South African director behind cinematic adaptations of John van de Ruit’s comedic, teen-lit Spud series about life at boarding school starring John Cleese hits the Toronto International Film Festival with his latest work: a violent heist flick with a rogue undercover cop at its center. I’m […]

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REVIEW: A Single Shot [2013]

“He’s got a hard bark on him” It’s a shame most people need an incident that risks taking their life to finally acknowledge they have one left to live. For John Moon (Sam Rockwell), this moment comes on a morning hunt like many others. Already with three arrests for poaching deer, this specific excursion finds […]

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REVIEW: Prisoners [2013]

“Pretty soon all that stands between you and being dead is you” The question is simple: How far would you go to save your child? The dynamics, however, are more complex when the man reconciling his soul to those ends is one who’s held God’s love as a beckon of security close to his heart. […]

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Soullam ila Dimashq [Ladder to Damascus] [??]

“I love you with nothing at all” A non-violent, secular movement began in Syria in early 2011 led by young protestors calling for democratic freedoms and the fall of president Bashar al-Assad’s Ba’ath regime. It evolved into a civil war that rages on today with mounting chemical attacks by Assad’s government raising the threat of […]