• 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: 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 […]

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REVIEW: Party Central [2014]

“Operation Party Central is a go” Turning to frat house humor for Monsters University was to me the largest misstep in Pixar Animation’s history. It took one of the studio’s most original worlds and made it into a gag to be blindly consumed by fans of Monsters Inc.‘s heart only to scratch their heads wondering […]

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REVIEW: Veronica Mars [2014]

“And you have what we in the business call a crazy-ass murder wall” Are you Team Piz? Team Logan? Do you have any clue what I’m talking about? Well, if it’s the latter I’m prescribing you rent all three seasons of “Veronica Mars” on DVD now. I didn’t want anything to do with little Kristen […]

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REVIEW: Le Week-End [2013]

“That’s the nicest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth” Children are our legacy—our immortality. We sacrifice everything to raise them in our image, hoping for the best until they’re set free as fully formed adults ready to continue the cycle. And through our rosy-colored glasses of optimism we assume the journey ends happily in […]

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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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REVIEW: Broken [2013]

“Nice shot” A Frenchman who has been working as an assistant director in Hollywood since 2009, Mathieu Turi is leveraging his experiences into a budding career as an original filmmaker too. His second short entitled Broken is a visually arduous movie that takes place almost entirely inside a stuck elevator trapping two strangers together: English-speaking […]

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REVIEW: 300: Rise of an Empire [2014]

“Fear his freedom!” This is what a copy of a copy looks like. It pretends to be equal to the original—and in some aspects proves to be exactly the same—yet arrives seven years after everything its groundbreaking ancestor provided was expanded and evolved upon. I loved 300 and gave it a perfect score despite some […]

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REVIEW: Particle Fever [2014]

“The hype is approximately accurate” Science! You either see it as the backbone to understanding or you don’t and everyone who doesn’t may want to avoid Mark Levinson‘s Particle Fever because it’s first and foremost a document about the subject’s cool factor and importance. If you’re a creationist and everything you hold true about our […]

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REVIEW: L’image manquante [The Missing Picture] [2013]

“Our only belonging was our spoon” How do you tell the story of something as horrific as Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge’s four-year rule over Cambodia after the Kampuchean Revolution when the only footage shot was that distributed by the regime itself? This is the problem director Rithy Panh faced, a teenager when war […]

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REVIEW: Le passé [The Past] [2013]

“Some things can’t be forgiven” If A Separation didn’t cause writer/director Asghar Farhadi to be revered as an auteur who understood domestic strife and illness’ lasting effect on those left to pick up the pieces, you better believe he is now. Switching to France for Le passé [The Past], the filmmaker brings us into an […]

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REVIEW: Dirty Wars [2013]

“We call them the American Taliban” The Oscar-nominated documentary Dirty Wars is a powerful, eye-opening exposé on the covert operations of the United States government abroad in war zones both declared and not. You’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat as it progresses forward; riveted to every word and newly discovered evidence explaining […]

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REVIEW: 一代宗師 [The Grandmaster] [2013]

“Keep the light burning” I think 一代宗師 [The Grandmaster] loses something in its translation for an American who couldn’t spot the differences between Kung Fu and Karate if his life depended on it (besides the former being Chinese and latter Japanese, of course). There’s the significance of the dark rain beating down on multiple fight […]

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REVIEW: Non-Stop [2014]

“Status?” This film could have just as easily been called Deflection as Non-Stop because screenwriters John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, and Ryan Engle (none of whom instill a stellar track record for Hollywood blockbuster success) have a lot of fun making sure to inject as many red herrings into the mix as possible. Even at […]

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REVIEW: The Croods [2013]

“Never not be afraid” One credit has fascinated me since The Croods opened in theaters: story by John Cleese. That John Cleese? Surprisingly, yes. It’s a somewhat convoluted journey from his failed adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s The Twits with Kirk DeMicco catching the eye of Dreamworks and earning them the pick of the litter as […]

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REVIEW: Al-Midan [The Square] [2013]

“We were all present; we were one hand” As the initial sit-in at Tahrir Square taught the Egyptian people the power of protest and revolution in securing freedoms they only dreamed they could have, Jehane Noujaim’s Al-Midan [The Square] shares it on an international scale. I’ll admit I thought everything was okay after Hosni Mubarak […]