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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: Cold Turkey [2013]

“It’s like a Jewish girl’s version of subtle” The lesson to be learned from Will Slocombe’s Cold Turkey is that you should never confide family secrets with the uncontrollable loose cannon of the bunch. Because no matter how many stupid things you’ve done, or how many times Dad saved your bacon by bailing out your […]

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REVIEW: All Is Lost [2013]

“I’m sorry” If writer/director J.C. Chandor‘s goal was to ensure he didn’t get pigeonholed into one type of cinematic style and/or genre, his sophomore effort All Is Lost surely does the job. Hot off a breakout Sundance debut with the expertly written ensemble piece Margin Call—earning an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay—the rising star found […]

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REVIEW: 12 Years a Slave [2013]

“Stay safely” A label such as hero has lost its meaning of late. So ubiquitous today, it’s been rendered empty by being placed upon men and women who—while just, compassionate, and selfless—don’t quite reach the level of endured suffering for the word to earn its full weight. With America’s history possessing so much cowardice and […]

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REVIEW: Enough Said [2013]

“I like your paddles” While many are quick to label it as James Gandolfini‘s final cinematic role, Nicole Holofcener‘s Enough Said shouldn’t be dismissed as mere eulogy. The writer/director’s first foray into the studio world—albeit with indie shingle Fox Searchlight—it retains the voice and sensibility her fans have enjoyed over the past two decades regardless […]

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REVIEW: The Broken Circle Breakdown [2012]

“Things have to change” If there is one universal constant in life, it’s the unavoidable fact that death changes us. It may not be irreversible or immediate, but feeling that loss along with the first-hand experience of our tragic mortality is something we simply can’t ignore. The love we had for the person now gone […]

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REVIEW: Narco Cultura [2013]

“We’re bloodthirsty, crazy, and we like to kill!” It’s truly stunning to see something so horrendously volatile as the Mexican narcotics trade glorified to the point of celebrity by naïve outsiders far removed from the front line assaults it cultivates. While the city of Juárez wasn’t necessarily “safe” back in 2006 with 300+ homicides, it […]

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REVIEW: Choosing Sides [2013]

“No, he hit some stone and water dribbled out” When a film chock-full of cutthroat verbal sparring and an amoral amount of profanity dealing with the perverse idea that one religion is somehow better than the next for no other reason than it being the character’s own affiliation has you thinking it could have gone […]

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REVIEW: The Counselor [2013]

“You are a glory” If I were to compareThe Counselor to any other movie I’ve seen of late it would have to be Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Them Softly. Both possess a darkly violent subject matter tempered by a series of off-putting, somewhat out-of-place comedic sequences with a bunch of familiar faces seemingly happy to go […]

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REVIEW: Captain Phillips [2013]

“A little air might do him some good” Despite my affinity for director Paul Greengrass‘ entries to the Bourne Saga, his cinéma vérité style will always in my opinion be better suited for gritty, true-life tales such as the contemporary classics Bloody Sunday and United 93. (We’ll just forget Green Zone ever squeezed its way […]

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REVIEW: About Time [2013]

“Did you have trouble parking?” It will be a shame if rumors stating About Time is Richard Curtis’ last film as director are true because he’s had fantastic success with the vocation. He’ll remain in the industry either way being that he’s equally proficient with screenplays (War House and Notting Hill) and TV (“Black Adder” […]

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REVIEW: Thor: The Dark World [2013]

“I’ll just stay here and say ‘sea bass’ alone” There was something off with Thor in 2011 besides its horrid post-conversion 3D. While many believe Iron Man 2 was nothing but an evolutionary bridge for its hero to move closer towards what The Avengers needed, it was actually the Norse God of thunder who provided […]

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REVIEW: La vie d’Adèle [Blue Is the Warmest Color] [2013]

“Tragedy is the unavoidable” While you wouldn’t usually believe something could possibly become more controversial than its own distinction of being a three-hour NC-17 film about a fifteen-year old girl searching for her sexuality and the resulting love shaping her trajectory towards adulthood, talk during La vie d’Adèle’s [Blue Is the Warmest Color] festival tour […]

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REVIEW: Ender’s Game [2013]

“The enemy’s gate is down” While speaking during a Q&A at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April, author Orson Scott Card stated that Gavin Hood‘s adaptation of his seminal novel Ender’s Game was “the best that good people could do with a story they really cared about and believed in.” He also […]

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REVIEW: Hocus Pocus [1993]

“Winnie, do you want to hit me? Will that cheer you up?” What began as a script for a made-for-TV Disney Channel movie, Hocus Pocus found its way onto the right desk at the right time for the increased level of support necessary to transition it into a bona fide theatrical release. Sadly for all […]

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REVIEW: Die Wand [The Wall] [2012]

“There is no impulse more reasonable than love” There is something to be said about an allegory that doesn’t feel the need to beat you over the head with one “true” interpretation. Isn’t the point of such veiled metaphorical introspection that we experience it on our own terms and take what we will whether right, […]