Christopher Schobert
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Christopher Schobert

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The most egregious mistake of Oscar night was not the incorrect-envelope Best Picture catastrophe -- although that was pretty bad. Happily, the deserving film (“Moonlight”) won in that instance. No, the biggest disappointment of Oscar night was the result in the Best Animated Feature category, as Disney’s clever but wildly overrated “Zootopia” won over the bea…

Some films about the complexities of teenage friendship and romance are shouts -- think the unjustly ignored 2016 comedy “The Edge of Seventeen” or 2015’s godawful “Me & Earl & the Dying Girl.” The 1993 Japanese animated film “Ocean Waves,” on the other hand, is a whisper. Director Tomomi Mochizuki’s story of two high school friends whose relatio…

“XX” is a horror anthology stunner in which each story is memorable. How often does that happen? Even strong anthologies like “XX” antecedents “V/H/S” and “V/H/S 2” had lesser segments. In “XX,” however, every tale is smart, visually stunning and surprisingly moving. This is the result of bringing together five extraordinary artists, all of whom, in …

“The Lego Batman Movie” is a meta cannon blast of frenetic energy and visual insanity, a film that tiptoes on the edge of being utterly exhausting but just manages to stay satisfying. It throws everything — and I mean everything — but a Lego kitchen sink onscreen, and does so with a wink. Above all else, it makes Batman fun again, and boy, was that needed. Follo…

One of this year’s more memorable Super Bowl commercials was a teaser for “Ghost in the Shell,” starring Scarlett Johansson in a remake of the Japanese anime classic . The remake looks intriguing, but you can catch the original at 9:30 p.m. Feb. 7 (the subtitled version) and Feb. 8 (an English language version) at the North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave.). “Ghos…

When it comes to successful horror films, setting is very, very important. Think about the grimy backwoods locales from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” or the empty forest landscapes of “The Blair Witch Project.” “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a slightly above-average film with a delightfully creepy setting: a small-town morgue. That setting, combined with soli…

It would not be a new year without the Buffalo Film Seminars, the long-running movie series hosted by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian. As usual, the series starts with a silent classic: Buster Keaton’s delightful Civil War-set silent comedy “The General.” It screens at 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre (3500 Main St.). The rest of the spring lineup in…

Buffalo is a horror movie town, the successful first season of screening series “Thursday Night Terrors” confirmed this fact. The second season begins with John Carpenter’s wild cult classic “They Live” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre (3500 Main St.). Here's the full schedule, which also features greats from the likes of Tobe Hooper and Stua…

The best series of 2016 debuted in full on Dec. 16, just one week after it was announced. Since then, Netflix’s “The OA” has enraptured, overwhelmed, and frustrated viewers nationwide. A highly spiritual, quasi-sci-fi drama told in eight parts, “The OA” is the brainchild of two stunningly talented individuals. The series is the latest creation from actress Bri…

There was no more vital, insightful, or important documentary in 2016 than Av DuVernay’s “13th.” The Netflix-produced film has led to a national conversation about mass incarceration, and that conversation will continue locally following a free screening at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library at 1324 Jefferson Ave. DuVernay’s follow-up to…

“Silence” might be the most spiritually probing film of the last decade. That’s no surprise considering its director. Martin Scorsese has spent 30 years pondering his shattering adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel, and the result is an extraordinarily moving, purposely tortured meditation on the limits of faith. It is difficult to imagine another living fi…

The Harry Potter saga has proved to be hotter than ever with the recent blockbuster “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” It’s a fine time, then, to relive all eight original Potter films at the Riviera Theatre and Performing Arts Center in North Tonawanda (67 Webster St., North Tonawanda) starting Jan. 8. Here’s the schedule: Jan. 8: “Harry Potter and th…

By the time my son and I discovered the animated series “Phineas and Ferb” in 2015, it was on the verge of ending its lengthy run. And that was OK, since each of the show’s episodes and its spin-off movie were streaming on Netflix. Now that the series is complete, the story of two stepbrothers on summer vacation can be enjoyed in full. While it qualifies as a kids’…

If you have questions about taking the family to see the new animated film "Sing," you can relax. As I wrote in my review, the film is  "vibrant, fresh and deliriously fun for kids, parents, and anyone who understands the passions that drive us to, well, sing." Here is a look at the film from a parent's perspective. What’s the ideal viewing age? “Sing” checks …

“Sing” is one of 2016’s most pleasant -- and most unexpected -- surprises. It’s an animated film that feels vibrant, fresh and deliriously fun for kids, parents, and anyone who understands the passions that drive us to, well, sing. Why is that so surprising? For months, a rather annoying trailer has run before other animated films, a series of quick cuts featuri…