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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: 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 […]

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REVIEW: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues [2013]

“You knocked him back to the fifth grade” When you couple my dislike of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy with my obvious indifference to the announcement of its long-awaited sequel, watching Harrison Ford on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in August proved a hilariously spot-on validation of my sheer inability to understand what everyone sees in […]

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REVIEW: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box [2014]

“Faithfulness will be your shield” There will never be a lack of literary fantasy adventures for ages 12 and up to transfer from page to screen. The question becomes whether the property is given access to a wealthy studio’s clout or one more reliant on word-of-mouth and existing fanbase to ease the transition. For Entertainment […]

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REVIEW: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy [2004]

“Rule number 1: No touching of the hair or face… AND THAT’S IT!” People have been telling me for almost a decade that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy needs a second viewing to fully appreciate its genius. I’m happy to say they were correct. I watched it again last night and increased its score […]

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REVIEW: Greg’s Guardian Angel [2013]

“Get the Cookies! Cookies!” It wears its comedy on its sleeve with an intentionally broad performance from its titular savior along a pretty obvious plot trajectory, but Greg’s Guardian Angel finds a way to entertain nonetheless. Whether it’s the office setting or the relatable gags embellished for effect sprinkled throughout Greg’s (Greg Vorob) unremarkable life’s […]

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REVIEW: The Wolf of Wall Street [2013]

“Into the donuts, my boy?” This is the story of an American antihero: a guy born in the Bronx to working class parents who set off for Wall Street to make a name for himself as a stockbroker and rule the world. Jordan Belfort got a good five years or so of the limelight as […]

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REVIEW: L’inconnu du lac [Stranger by the Lake] [2013]

“I won’t get tired so fast” Lust is a powerful drug that makes us do stupid things. We mistake it for love, brainwashing ourselves into thinking truths about the object of our affection don’t matter because what you have together is special. Did he treat his ex badly? Is he a jerk unwilling to see […]

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REVIEW: 天注定 [A Touch of Sin] [2013]

“Hunting animals” Winner of Best Screenplay at the 2013 Festival de Cannes, Chinese writer/director Zhangke Jia‘s latest work 天注定 [A Touch of Sin] is a sprawling drama depicting his country’s contemporary struggles amidst its ever-growing economy. While we’d love to say how more money and financial success is crucial to finding increased peace and harmony […]

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REVIEW: 47 Ronin [2013]

“Now know the depth of my lord’s honor” There have been numerous iterations of Japan’s unofficial, national legend about forty-seven ronin who avenged their master’s death at the start of the eighteenth century spanning movies, ballets, television productions, operas, bunraku, and kabuki plays. Known as Chūshingura, the true story has been embellished over the centuries […]

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REVIEW: American Hustle [2013]

“Don’t put metal in the science box” Director David O. Russell has said I Heart Huckabees was a transitional film for him wherein he took a break, took stock, and came back with the drive and enthusiasm for making movies that got him into the business in the first place. And even though the film […]

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REVIEW: The Kings of Summer [2013]

“That’s something my great grandfather would say. He’s a racist.” We’ve all had that urge to runaway when our parents prove too overbearing or too indifferent, but those thoughts disappear quickly once the allure of freedom evolves into a nightmare of self-sufficiency. So we stay at home; deal with the push and pull of personality […]

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REVIEW: Christmas Vacation [1989]

“Look around you, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell.” While I enjoy A Christmas Story‘s 1940s holiday aesthetic like the rest—when it’s not on 24-hour TBS repeat—I prefer my dysfunctional yuletide spirit to hit a little closer to home. This is where Christmas Vacation comes in, National Lampoon’s 1989 classic continuation of the Griswold […]

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REVIEW: Bad Santa [2003]

“Fraggle-stick car?” I tried to put a decade behind it and me, but not even that could turn my opinion on Bad Santa around. It’s just a mean-spirited, way-too-random account of a stereotypical alcoholic populated with other characters as ruthless as him or worse. The only role with a modicum of humanity is a borderline […]

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REVIEW: Nebraska [2013]

“Two goddamn days … from Billings?” I didn’t like About Schmidt. I remember very little about why or the film itself, but I do remember that. It should therefore be no surprise I didn’t necessarily love director Alexander Payne‘s latest Nebraska either since in my estimation they’re very similar works. He was actually approached with […]

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REVIEW: Out of the Furnace [2013]

“Let me make this right” I think Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace has been given a bad rap by the critical world. It’s slow, laborious, and perhaps not possessed with the freshest of plots, but there is still a palpable power driving it forward courtesy of fantastic performances and a starkly authentic depiction of […]