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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: Spring Breakers [2013]

“He’s going to give you a way out” Writer/director Harmony Korine has created an anthem for the hedonistic American Dream of hustling, fucking, and giving the middle finger to the consequences. It only feels this good when the stakes are high enough to barely make it out alive, after all. This is the balls-to-the-wall atmosphere […]

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REVIEW: Lone Survivor [2013]

“A lot of moving parts” If you’ve read Marcus Luttrell‘s memoir Lone Survivor (co-written by Patrick Robinson), you’d know it was primed for a cinematic adaptation. There’s Navy SEAL boot camp, the infamous “hell week”, the brotherly bond formed between team members, and the courage under fire each has been trained to cultivate and utilize […]

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REVIEW: Stoker [2013]

“We are not responsible for what we have come to be” Despite being a new venture for both screenwriter and director, Stoker is the type of film that sticks with you whether you want it to or not. There’s an unsettling feeling from the first frame with Mia Wasikowska‘s India talking in voiceover as she […]

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REVIEW: Drinking Buddies [2013]

“I am a bourgeois pig” I really liked Drinking Buddies and I’ll admit I wasn’t sure that would be the case. The Mumblecore movement has always been one that has eluded me—well, the early stuff at least since I have found myself enjoying what the Duplass Brothers have done post success—and the prolific Joe Swanberg […]

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REVIEW: Scrooged [1988]

“Cupid’s arrow, right between the eyes” While there have been countless iterations of Charles Dickens‘ seminal novel A Christmas Carol—with the 1951 Alastair Sim starrer proving the best and modernized retreads like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past supplying the worst—one sometimes overlooked comedic gem from 1988 has always been this writer’s personal favorite. Titled Scrooged, screenwriters […]

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REVIEW: Side Effects [2013]

“I killed the wrong person” Some people will go to great lengths to get their lives back and Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects shows how far. It’s a crime thriller written by frequent collaborator Scott Z. Burns about a young woman named Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) and the beginning of what should be a brand new […]

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REVIEW: Grudge Match [2013]

“This is not the behavior of old men, man” Someone had the brilliant idea of putting Rocky Balboa and Jake La Motta in the ring together at the ripe old comedic age of seventy and their Hollywood surrogates agreed to no one’s surprise. Not only that, but the actors also found added pleasure in playing […]

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REVIEW: Jack, Jules, Esther & Me [2013]

“Whoa. Are you undocumented?” I was about twenty minutes into Jack, Jules, Esther & Me when worry struck. Centered around two best friends from disparate neighborhoods/social classes in New York City, Luis (Alexander Flores) and Jack (Aaron Sauter) are introduced putting the final touches on a plan for the former to win the heart of […]

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REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [2013]

“I could have anything down my trousers” There is a certain charm to the middle section of a book where characters met start to come into their own before the big climax. It’s a crucial section, one its bookends need to truly succeed. However, when a single work of fiction is stretched and divided into […]

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REVIEW: Les salauds [Bastards] [2013]

“You think your instinct is proof?” I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but the English translation of Claire Denis‘ newest film Les salauds [Bastards] definitely hits its mark by the end. Who those “bastards” are, however, stays somewhat obscure for most of its duration besides the villain Sandra (Julie Bataille) hopes we’ll focus […]

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REVIEW: Ain’t Them Bodies Saints [2013]

“Everyday I wake up thinking this is the day I’ll see you” Reading how writer/director David Lowery set out to make an action film with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints only increased my appreciation for what he actually created. Trying to move away from what he calls the “nearly silent pastoral portrait” constructed with his previous […]

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REVIEW: The Selfish Giant [2013]

“Did you lose that baby or your dad sell it?” A contemporary fable thematically adapted from Oscar Wilde‘s short story of the same name and inspired by the world writer/director Clio Barnard entered while filming her documentary The Arbor in Bradford, Northern England, The Selfish Giant proves a stark drama wherein emotional growth blossoms through […]

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REVIEW: Saving Mr. Banks [2013]

“A leisurely stroll is a gift” If you thought Mary Poppins couldn’t get more uplifting in its journey towards giving two young children the love they always desired from their downtrodden dad, Saving Mr. Banks will prove you wrong. Utilizing a script by Kelly Marcel (a second credit was later added to Sue Smith) that […]

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REVIEW: Blue Caprice [2013]

“There are some evil people in this world” While it may take liberties with facts, Alexandre Moors‘ Blue Caprice still finds a way to get at the heart of what transpired to put John Muhammad (Isaiah Washington) and Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond) onto their path towards Washington DC and the infamous Beltway Murders of 2002. […]

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REVIEW: +1 [2013]

“I don’t want to stand still anymore” It’s about time someone finally decided to turn the formulaic “huge blow-out” party environment of Project X and 21 & Over on its head by creating something actually worth seeing. One can only watch so many examples of the same run-of-the-mill series of drunken binges and sexual encounters […]