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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: 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 […]

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REVIEW: Some Velvet Morning [2013]

“When has love ever been fair?” It’s official: Neil LaBute is back. I know that’s a horrible thing to say considering he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever talked to in the industry and never actually went anywhere creatively where the theater scene’s concerned, but a decade of watching him direct other people’s scripts […]

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REVIEW: The Purge [2013]

“Release the Beast” Welcome to the new United States of America, complete with booming economy, non-existent crime rates, and the 28th Amendment to the Constitution that ensures its longevity. After decades of extreme violence and poverty overtaking our streets, safety became a pipe dream and freedom a false construct no longer meaningful in the face […]

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REVIEW: Diamond on Vinyl [2013]

“I know you love me so maybe that’s enough” In much the same way J.R. Hughto’s characters interact with one another in made-up dialogue with fictitious personas used to record “rehearsal” conversations or stock situations, the film they inhabit—Diamond on Vinyl—appears to have been built in much the same way itself. Hughto populates his story […]

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REVIEW: Artifact [2013]

“We put everything on black. And we rolled the dice.” Full disclosure on my feelings about Thirty Seconds to Mars: I’m a huge fan. When “Capricorn (A Brand New Name)” hit the radio waves, I was sold—not yet aware Jared Leto was the frontman or that the music wasn’t just another lame attempt by an […]

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REVIEW: Crave [2013]

“Forgive me for the things I’ve done and the things I’ve yet to do” When you take a look at Charles de Lauzirika‘s filmography to see the myriad behind the scenes featurettes and home video productions he’s accomplished for the likes of Ridley Scott, David Lynch, and Mark Romanek, it’s no surprise that his directoral […]

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REVIEW: Shesh peamim [S#x Acts] [2013]

“I think I’ve heard of you already” Director Jonathan Gurfinkel‘s debut feature Shesh peamim [S#x Acts] deals with the important topic of teenage sexual abuse in a way that better make you uncomfortable by its end. Told in six acts with escalating encounters between transfer student Gili (Sivan Levy) and the popular group of boys […]

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REVIEW: Night Train to Lisbon [2013]

“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty” Sometimes a well-written story is all you truly need to make a successful film and I believe author Pascal Mercier‘s novel Night Train to Lisbon provides one. Adapted by Greg Latter and Ulrich Herrmann with Bille August as director, the cinematic version of this look back […]

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REVIEW: Swerve [2012]

“I guess honesty is one of my weak points” After a long journey dating back to 2010, director Craig Lahiff finally has his Australian crime thriller Swerve arriving in American theaters. It took a year to complete before debuting at the Melbourne International Film Festival, another until hitting multiplexes in its native country, and one […]

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REVIEW: The Citizen [2013]

“To reach your dreams, plant your good deeds” I’ll say one thing about The Citizen: writer/director Sam Kadi had his heart in the right place. He along with co-writers Samir Younis and Jazmen Darnell Brown set out to tell a story about what it was like to live in America as a person with brown […]

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REVIEW: Frozen [2013]

“Conceal it. Don’t feel it.” Over half a century in the making, Disney’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen has finally made it to the big screen. It was 1943 when Walt Disney and Samuel Goldwyn decided to co-create a live-action/animation hybridized biography of the Danish author—an idea that stalled due to their […]

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REVIEW: Get a Horse! [2013]

“Give me back my phone!” I guess it might be time for me to revisit some of the old Mickey Mouse cartoons from yesteryear, but I’m not so sure I want to. Especially if Lauren MacMullan‘s animated homage created in part for the iconic character’s 85th anniversary Get a Horse! is truly on point as […]

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REVIEW: The Punk Singer [2013]

“It’s all about screaming what’s unspoken” When Kathleen Hanna is shown sitting at her home discussing her exit from fronting Le Tigre, she says, “I felt I had said everything I wanted to say”. It’s the kind of sentiment that makes you truly respect an artist, knowing they weren’t in it for the money or […]