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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: Mr. Hublot [2013]

“Hey, Hublot. I think you forgot to turn the key once more.” For OCD-ridden Mr. Hublot, life is a steady series of mundane tasks to ensure everything is in working order around the house and exactly where his mind needs them to be. He wakes up, flicks his light switches off and on, adjusts the […]

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REVIEW: Tsukumo [Possessions] [2013]

“Here and there, use and dispose” The title of Shuhei Morita‘s Oscar nominated short Tsukumo [Possessions] on first blush conjures thoughts of two separate meanings. One is the idea of spirits possessing objects or people to do their bidding and the second is a grouping of things someone owns. If not for an opening textual […]

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REVIEW: The Beauty Strip [2014]

“I think individuality is a very complex thing” There’s no better description for Marshmallow Press Productions than “cinema for the obscure viewer”—at least where their newest on-demand offering The Beauty Strip is concerned. Is its sixty-minutes a series of erotica music videos for electronica bands like Zigo Rayonpineal, Occurrences in Rain, Names, and Bob Orum? […]

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REVIEW: Vic + Flo ont vu un ours [Vic + Flo Saw a Bear] [2013]

“I cried so much while waiting for you” Writer/director Denis Côté‘s latest, Alfred Bauer Prize-winning (Berlin International Film Festival) Vic + Flo ont vu un ours [Vic + Flo Saw a Bear] is a mysteriously captivating creature. Looking from afar, you realize you know almost nothing about the circumstances thrusting his characters together. Yes, titular […]

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REVIEW: Dead Ringers [1988]

“Don’t make me dream that again” The last line of David Cronenberg‘s Dead Ringers is on the nose and yet still disturbingly surreal. Jeremy Irons (playing twin gynecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle) phones his lover Claire (Geneviève Bujold) only to hear the telling reply, “Who is this?” While we too find ourselves uncertain which is […]

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REVIEW: August: Osage County [2013]

“I’ll be sickly sweet” I’m drawn to dysfunction—especially when it’s of the familial persuasion. It’s probably because I didn’t really get exposed to much as a kid growing up with a family most would give anything to have. When you see the looks others who know dysfunction’s definition like the back of their hands telling […]

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REVIEW: Inside Llewyn Davis [2013]

“Llewyn is the cat” Can I chalk my ambivalence to the Coen Brothers‘ newest film Inside Llewyn Davis up to knowing nothing about the Greenwich Village folk music scene of 1961? It is after all loosely inspired by the life of Dave Van Ronk, containing aspects of his autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street for […]

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REVIEW: Short Term 12 [2013]

“Oh. That’s the piece of avocado in your beard.” Other films cropping up into your memory while watching something new can either be a sign that originality in cinema is officially dead or the realization you’re about to experience greatness. The latter happened to me during Short Term 12 and I’m talking like ten minutes […]

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REVIEW: Ride Along [2014]

“Congratulations. They know we have a dirty household.” Are you a fan of Kevin Hart? Saying yes means you’ll probably be satisfied with Ride Along if only to enjoy the antics he’s saturated Hollywood with these past couple years. It’s a run-of-the-mill buddy cop comedy that hits every note in the formula book thanks to […]

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REVIEW: Her [2013]

“Hey, do you want to have a Sunday adventure with me?” The first thing I wondered upon hearing Spike Jonze‘s new film concerned a man who falls in love with his computer’s intuitive operating system was how he’d thematically comment on the lack of physical connectivity inherent to such a pairing. What didn’t cross my […]

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REVIEW: You’re Next [2013]

“Will you just die already? This is hard enough for me!” Disappointment that the hype surrounding director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett’s film You’re Next was proving impossible to achieve set in about halfway through. I expected what many called an entertainingly fresh horror thriller with comedic flourishes, but all I saw was the […]

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REVIEW: Lee Daniel’s The Butler [2013]

“To serving our country” I’d like to say it’s surprising how an Oscar nominated director like Lee Daniels can find trouble financing a film with the type of sprawling depiction of the civil rights movement The Butler (sorry Warner Bros., I’m ignoring your lawsuit) possesses, but one doesn’t have to look past the fact everything […]

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REVIEW: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty [2013]

“I always save your knick-knacks” What began as a 1939 short story by James Thurber debuting in The New Yorker, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty found its way to the big screen in 1947 led by Danny Kaye. The tale of a daydreamer losing himself in excitingly heroic fantasies while sleepwalking through a daytrip […]

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REVIEW: Prince Avalanche [2013]

“Sometimes I feel like I’m digging in my own ashes” The film Prince Avalanche proves to be the perfect segue for writer/director David Gordon Green to circle back to the independent scene after three studio comedies with varying degrees of success took him on a polar opposite route. I was glad to see his trademark […]

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REVIEW: Redlands [2014]

“I want to push beyond reality and become immortal through art” As an art-house piece, AMOK Books founder/owner John Brian King‘s debut feature film Redlands is pretty much what you’d expect from someone who’s curated an exhibit of John Wayne Gacy‘s “clown” paintings, produced an S&M performance entitled “Nailed!”, and interviewed Charles Manson at San […]