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Festivals

Carrie Underwood isn't a total stranger to Buffalo. She played the former First Niagara Center twice, in 2013 and 2016, and even played the Erie County Fair back in 2006, the year after she won "American Idol." Reviewer Ben Siegel was on to something 13 years ago, when he wrote: "Still, this young performer shows glimmers of a bright future. Maybe it's a sign of the tim…

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As more filmmakers come to the Buffalo area to make movies, people are naturally curious about when they can see the film on the big screen. For at least five movies shot locally over the past two years, that answer is now. The 13th annual Buffalo International Film Festival, running Oct. 10 to 14 in the North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave.), is showing multiple film…

Columns

I like Marvel Super Hero movies. Not all of them, certainly, or even most. Let's just say quantifying my affections over the years would result in "quite a few." Though those I "love" would be few and far between. At the least, I tend to like it when smart writers smuggle some wit in through the back door. Wit smuggling is one of Hollywood's oldest skills. It's an oc…

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Cheektowaga native William Fichtner's locally made thriller "Cold Brook" is getting its area premiere starting Nov. 8 in the Aurora Theatre (673 Main St., East Aurora). At the same time, the film will get theatrical distribution in 10 of the Top 20 markets in the United States and be available on Video on Demand (details to follow). Actor Kim Coates ("Sons of Anarchy"),…

Erie County

An Erie County beach is the recent beneficiary of the economic windfall generated by the locally filmed movie "A Quiet Place 2." In an unusual arrangement, in exchange for Erie County allowing filmmakers to use Bennett Beach in Angola as a site for movie scenes, Paramount Pictures donated $4,500 to the county's Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for beach impr…

Columns

It was easy to be fooled, but that sure didn't mean I was wrong. Take a look at "Joker" and you'll understand completely. We have never had a movie actor as conspicuously alienated from his own profession as Joaquin Phoenix – one who makes that alienation the content of his movie career. He may be the perfect Hollywood actor for 2019. No, Phoenix didn't literally giv…

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The most eagerly anticipated entry at September’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was not a period piece or foreign-language drama from a master filmmaker. Rather, it was a comic book adaptation from the director of “Old School” and “The Hangover.” “Joker,” however, is not a normal comic book adaptation. It’s a somber, R-rated film starring one of the world’s…

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The Screening Room Cinema Cafe's annual Horrorfest is so big this year it has to go into November. The five-week series of movies includes local premieres, classic horrors, cult favorites and double features. Of special note is the one-week run of local filmmaker Greg Lamberson's taut new ghostly thriller "Widow's Point" starring Craig Sheffer, along with multiple meet-…

The illustration of the great Yiddish word "chutzpah" that most people know is this one: A kid kills his mother and father and pleads to the judge for mercy because he's an orphan. Let's try to offer a new one: A mediocre singing actress makes a biopic where she goes ahead and sings the repertoire of the most intense and idiosyncratic singing powerhouse in Hollywood mov…

Food and Drink

Buffalo has some frivolous events, and there's nothing inherently wrong with them. But when there's a chance to have a good time and support something that matters - such as feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless or encouraging more Buffalonians to register as organ donors - the benefit extends beyond your own enjoyment. When local fundraisers are run well, …

Columns

I love show business - so much so that I've always thought Billy Rose was right when he said "everyone has two businesses - his own and show business." There's almost always something unintentionally merry and infectious about the vulgarity and blatancy of show business' attempts to appeal to a wide audience. I'm not saying that the results of those attempts aren't ofte…

Buffalo

The journey began a little more than a decade ago. In February 2009, Coleman Mellett leaned over in a car and kissed his wife, Jeanie Bryson, just outside Newark Liberty International Airport. He told her he loved her, a moment she holds onto as a gift, then left for a flight toward Buffalo and a performance of unique family meaning. At 34, he was a guitarist for compos…

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It was nine days before the start of the Niagara Falls International Film Festival in 2018, when the world changed forever for event founder and President Bill Cowell. Life was already challenging for Cowell, who had been providing home care for his wife, Karen, after she spent five months in the hospital following a brain hemorrhage. Then, on Sept. 15, they received wo…

Food and Drink

There's a special guest for This Week in Buffalo: Niagara Falls. Our northerly neighbor is not a daunting destination for many Buffalonians; it's no more than an hour away from the farthest reaches of Erie County (even from you, Sardinia!). With thriving alt band Judah & the Lion booked for Rapids, plus celebrities en route to the Niagara Falls International Film…