In a perfect world, Annette Bening would have made three times the number of films that she's actually made. But she didn't. She's been married to Warren Beatty since 1992 and raised a fairly complex family with him, including an extremely prominent trans-gender son. There aren't that many Hollywood actresses about whom it's so widely thought that they should have wo…

With a new stage adaptation of "Frankenstein" by David Oliver for Road Less Traveled Productions, it's a good time to look back at the many variations of the fabled story. In the century since “Frankenstein” was birthed by a teenager on a rainy night at Lake Geneva, Switzerland, the story of “The Modern Prometheus” has been fertile ground for the stage, screen a…

Like countless other baby boomers, my first real job was working at McDonald’s. Even in 1976, the thing ran like a machine. Managers went to Hamburger University to learn the ropes and every employee knew, “if you can lean, you can clean.” In addition to learning how to make Big Macs and Egg McMuffins, every employee learned the company’s history: Ray Kroc opene…

Few subjects are steeped in contradiction as illegal street art. It appears without warning and without permission on public and private property. And yet the best of it is lauded by citizens and critics alike, acquiring a market value derived from its very lawlessness. Few people embody those contradictions better than Banksy, the anonymous British street artist w…

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 Brit M…

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…

The trick when you're standing in line at the supermarket waiting to pay for your tomatoes and paper towels is, by all means, to riffle the supermarket tabloids. Those of us who do just that with no shame whatsoever know all about the instabilities of Ben Affleck's life as seen by the tabloids in the last few years -- the gambling casino that invited him to take his Blackj…

"Patriots Day" is a very good thriller about a horrifying moment of real American trauma -- the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. But it's also proof of what William Blake tells us: enough is too much. However taut, tense and exciting it is, the movie's excesses stop it from being great. What it is, unquestionably, is proof that Boston and its immediate environs have bec…

“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…

Isabelle Huppert is the sole reason to even think about Paul Verhoeven's "Elle," much less see the film. It's an elegantly unpleasant piece of work if ever there was one. But Huppert is so good that the film is very much worth seeing. As I watched her in a film about a woman named Michelle tormented by a rapist she won't report to the cops, it occurred to me that Hupper…

Wanted: A city of movie buffs. Must be rich in history, have Hollywood ties and be worthy of shining in the spotlight. A functioning movie palace of yesteryear is a must. Contact Turner Classic Movies. Found: Buffalo, N.Y. When TCM reached out recently to its Backlot fan club members for recommendations of a city to host a big event, it was exciting to see Buffalo me…

1) Winter Wonderland, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 7 at Adam's Mark Hotel (120 Church St.); 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 8 in Hampton Inn (49 Olean St., East Aurora). Free to attend. Commentary: The premier family event of the weekend runs for two days - Saturday in downtown Buffalo and Sunday in East Aurora. Some of the attractions at the Adam's Mark include costumed characters, fre…

They couldn't use the "white" ladies room down the hall. When nature called, they had to run to the "colored" ladies room almost two blocks away. They couldn't use the "white" drinking fountain either. Or the "white" coffee urn in the office. When a new black female calculator walked into the office of NASA scientists, mathematicians and engineers, she was given a "colo…

What was in that light? The new sci-fi mystery thriller “Beyond” debuted Jan. 2 this week on Freeform network (formerly ABCFamily), but its full first season is already available to binge. A young man wakes after a 12-year coma to discover he has new abilities that make him the target of a mystery group and a beautiful young woman who hints at the life he lived whil…

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…