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Ben Wheatley laughed. We were talking about the excesses and extremist lunacy of his film "Free Fire" in which the final hour is nothing but a long gunfight with 16 gun-toting combatants played out in "real time." I tell him that just before seeing his movie, I'd seen "The Fate of the Furious" in which there was a grandly orchestrated scene of car mayhem in which a r…

With more than 80 films shown during the recent four-day Turner Classic Movie Festival in Hollywood, there are at least double that many things to discuss. My favorite films and moments were not only all surprising to me, but they even taught me something about myself as a film fan. I'm not just a drama queen. As a fan of dramatic movies, I was admittedly disappointe…

For most of the history of cinema, two questions preceded every movie-going decision: What do I want to see? and where is the nearest theater? It was all so very 20th century. But it was a winning formula for Hollywood and the companies that owned the theaters. No more. Now the question many movie lovers ask is: With all the options available on my TV and computer…

Following is a list of the full-time moviehouses in the greater Buffalo area. AMC MAPLE RIDGE 4276 Maple Road, Amherst First-run theater. Number of screens: 8 Type of seating: Recliners. General ticket prices: $12.49 evening; $10.99 matinee and senior evening; $9.49 child and senior matinee. Advance ticket options: Fandango, amctheatres.com with reser…

“Unforgettable” is a movie with parts better than the sum of its parts. Its alchemy went wrong in the beaker somewhere and created a flat fizzle instead of a foamy, heady thriller. It’s not campy enough to enter into “Showgirls” territory, where it’s so bad it’s fabulous. “Unforgettable” is just … meh. Katherine Heigl is the tightly-wound Tessa Conov…

"The Lost City of Z" is a pretty good movie about what would have been an irresistible subject 40 years ago: a stubborn and real British "explorer" named Percy Fawcett repeatedly traveling up the Amazon River because he thinks that somewhere in the darkest and most impenetrable jungle he's going to find "The Lost City of Z." That's what he calls the remains of an ancient a…

"Free Fire" is, at long last, the perfect illustration of the phrase "guilty pleasure." It is, to me and so many others, immensely pleasurable--ridiculous, hilarious, loud absurd, exciting. But because there have always been people in my life since childhood advocating propriety, decency and law and order, I found it hard to have all that enjoyment without feeling a guilt …

With the possible exception of "Seagal vehicle," no two words foreshadow limited cinematic appeal more than "golf movie." It's not that producers don't keep trying, and thank God for that or "Caddyshack" would have remained a National Lampoon–inspired hallucination and not the film that launched a hundred catch phrases, which is nice. But the shanks are far more pl…

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…

How can anyone not love this: In 2015 Helen Mirren told a respectful interviewer that, yes, yes, all her Oscar-caliber roles were very nice but what she really wanted to do is cadge a role in a "Fast and Furious" movie with Vin Diesel. Good for her. And here she is. The new F&F movie -- the eighth -- is called "The Fate of the Furious" and it's hilarious, boisterous…

Whether it’s toddlers playing Chopin on “60 Minutes” or the five-year-old girl on “Ellen” spouting chemical formulas, we are fascinated with prodigies. Filmmakers also find these wunderkinds worthy subjects, with Jodie Foster’s 1991 directorial debut “Little Man Tate” and “Searching for Bobby Fischer” being two of the better results. “Gifted” sha…

The French director Francois Ozon keeps hope on the dimmest of simmers in "Frantz," his monochromatic, monotone and occasionally monotonous film about loss and longing in the wake of World War I. The war has just ended, and Germany is reeling. Anna (the disarming Paula Beer), a young German with a mournful look, clacks her heels across the cobblestone streets of a sm…

“Land of Mine” is a gut-punch of a remarkable film, but anyone with even a little sensitivity may not actually enjoy sitting through it. This fictionalized telling of teenaged German prisoners of war on a Dutch beach, their fingers shaking and their eyes wide with terror as they disarm live landmines, will have you on the edge of your seat but not in a good way. It…

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…

Cornhole Tourney. 1 p.m. Resurgence Brewing Company, 1250 Niagara St. 381-9868. resurgencebrewing.com. $10. Drink some beer and toss some bags as the cornhole tourney returns. Teams will square off and play for a Resurgence prize pack. "Tangled." 3 p.m. Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda. 692-2413. rivieratheatre.org. $3. Disney's modern animated classic t…