Christopher Schobert
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Christopher Schobert

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July 1 marks Canada’s 150th birthday, and as part of the celebration, Reel Canada has marked April 19 as National Canadian Film Day (NCFD 150). To salute the film culture of our neighbor to the north, the North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave.) will hold a free screening of 2011 Oscar nominee “Monsieur Lazhar.” It is hard to pick just one Canadian film to highlight…

With acclaimed series “The OA” and the recent premiere of new film “The Discovery,” Netflix has cornered the market on emotionally involving, strongly spiritual mindbenders. The latter is noteworthy for several reasons. It's probably the most high-profile Netflix-only film to date (Adam Sandler trainwrecks notwithstanding). It features three major stars in Robert R…

It's one of those overused lines in film criticism: “You've never seen anything like NAME OF MOVIE!” But in the case of Polish horror-fantasy musical “The Lure,” it's accurate. Is it ever. A gory, blood-drenched version of “The Little Mermaid” set in 1980s Warsaw, “The Lure,” which plays Screening Room Cinema Cafe in a limited engagement starting April 6…

If you’ve ever seen a film released by the Japanese animation geniuses of Studio Ghibli, then you’re familiar with mascot Totoro, the rotund, cat-like spirit from Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro.” The character was a fitting choice, as “My Neighbor Totoro,” which screens at 11:30 a.m. April 9 at the North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave.), is one of the st…

Considering the unending influence of George Orwell’s dystopian classic “1984,” it’s perhaps surprising that the novel has only been adapted twice as a feature film, in 1956 and, appropriately in 1984. The latter version screens at 7:30 p.m. on April 4 at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (341 Delaware Ave.). “1984” is Orwell’s tale of a totalitarian sta…

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” is a based-on-a-true story World War II drama bursting with feelings that are often in short supply: empathy and compassion. Whatever the flaws in this adaptation of Diane Ackerman’s bestseller — and there are several — the film’s focus on the power of goodness is both refreshing and, for the viewer, quite satisfying. There's another…

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…