Month: March 2014

Arnold/Ayer Shoot ‘Em Up Fails

Welcome to the latest round of A Dose of Buffa At The Movies. Let me start things out with a new release in theaters, Sabotage.

Let me first say that I walked into this film with a certain level of expectations. David Ayer, the co-writer/director had just put out the amazing cop film End Of Watch and hit a personalhow-michael-jackson-got-me-vip-tickets-to-the-sabotage-premiere career high mark. When he sought out Arnold Schwarzenegger for this role in this deadly DEA agent corruption saga, I got a good vibe. This wasn’t going to be your typical Arnold action film. There was a chance it could be something more. Good cast and a fine looking trailer came around and the expectations were built. I wanted something special. What I got was a letdown and a film that relied too heavily on gory action and not enough on its story. Here is a more detailed reason why Sabotage isn’t worth your hard earned money in the theater.

PLOT-Arnold leads a DEA task force of mercenary like killers into this seize of a drug cartel’s cash and when 10 million goes missing, the team tries to seek out the mole responsible and begin getting killed off one at a time.

REVIEW-Sabotage isn’t a total mess but it is definitely a disappointing film from Ayer, who is white hot right now off the success of his gritty brilliant cop film End of Watch. Whether he likes it or not, the bar was raised for any film involving him, especially one with him behind the director’s chair again. This isn’t a blue balls bonanza where you get really high on the film before a monstrous letdown but the wheels do slowly come off in the second half of the film after the beginning is strongly built on intensity.

When I thought it could be something more the film turned out to be a brainless action film. The action scenes are tactical and realistic. In your face bloody and well executed. They are a true highlight of the film in the beginning until they become an exercise in overkill as the wrap up begins and the reveal of the source of the betrayal is made.

The film falls apart in the end due to a series of twists that just don’t add up. That’s too bad because the action sequences are shot with a visceral abandon and amp up the tension. Ayer takes a page from Michael Mann’s book here and allows every bullet fired and explosive set off to feel like its happening right next to us. Its a shame the story couldn’t pack the same punch.

When you do find out who the mastermind behind the corruption is, it’s a head shake and not amazement. Something seems tacked on in the end and it kills the whole film.  The story when viewed as a whole doesn’t sit well. Ayer and Skip Woods fumbled it. While they were impressive in their sales pitch, they seem to lose touch of it all as they tried to figure out a way to complete the plot. In the end, it was…wait for it…sabotage.


Support Film-Addict: A Homegrown Website

Whenever I hand out a business card to someone or tell them I have a movie website, I get a number of looks. One response is complete bewilderment followed by a seriesGetAttachment of facial expressions that make it look like I am trying to show off. Another common response is, “That’s cool. What’s on the site?” Everybody else just hands over the fake care expression, where they take it, look interested and then start scanning the block for trash cans to chuck it into. I am sure my website has a huge following in the trash can colonies. The reason people want that blunt reaction to this card you have just handed them is simple. Where is the need? They want to know what you have, what it can do for them and how it is different from the other websites.

People, this is a world that is run on red bull, smart phones, and likes on Facebook. There is no time for old fashioned movie reviews, showtimes and commentary on film. I literally have to sell the site every time I hand someone a stylish piece of printed paper. This isn’t 1989 where a three button suit became awesome and having your name on a business card was as wild as carrying around a cellphone the size of a brick. This is 2014, and the world is constantly on the move.

I am here to tell you why you should not only help support Film-Addict but why you should care about it as well. The best way I can do that is by telling you a story.

In the early days of 2012, Eric Moore came to Chris McHugh and myself about starting a website. Eric and I had thought about it several times since we had become friends 8 years earlier. It was a dream. A grand idea. The three of us loved the movies and allowed our bodies and minds to be wrapped up inside their world. We didn’t just see a movie, leave, and burp out the expression, “that was alright”. We wanted to know the budget of the film, the director’s last 5 films and why the hell the movie stars did the damn thing. We wanted everything and needed to download it. We were true film-addicts. The most lovely question I can get these days is, “Why do you want so many movies?” I am a film-addict and here is why. Boom!! The conversation has begun. We wanted to put our love for film out there to the masses. Connecting with fellow addicts along the way.

We picked up a few addicts the past 2 years. Leigh Ann Jones, Landon Burris and Alana Hammonds all write reviews and individual articles for our site. Like us, they get paid nothing. Like us, they work full time and do this for the love of the game. Jones watched a 100 films in 100 days. Alana watched Blackfish on Netflix and decided to write a review because that’s what serious movie lovers do. We see something that moves us and the only way to move on is to write about it. Landon has reviewed all kinds of films for the site. A dialogue less visual pleasure to a Japanese animation film to a film about sex maniacs. We bleed for the site because we believe people need this information.

Next weekend, Wizard World comes to St. Louis. It’s the Comic Con of the Midwest. While it’s not as crazy popular as the one held in San Diego every year, they do our city proud and host a great show. The horror buffs dress up like Chucky, Jason, Michael and Freddy. The comic book faithful come out in full gear. Over 100,000 people show up downtown looking for a taste of the action. Last year, The true HULK Lou Ferrigno showed up. This year, Nathan Fillion, Firefly alum and Castle star, will be in attendance along with other stars. The reason I am telling you this is Film-Addict has a booth/table at the event. We will be handing out posters, shirts and other cool memorabilia to the people who stop by and fire up conversation. On one of the days, we will direct our attention to The Amazing Spider Man 2 that comes out this summer.

Since we are a proud mom and pop shop variety website, we need help raising money to put on the best possible show at this event. We are looking for donations from anyone looking to put their money into something meaningful. Something with a pulse. We throw away money every day. Coffee in a cup, gas in our cars, a bag of chips or a bad Subway sandwich. I don’t ask you to donate any more than you think our website deserves. If it’s a couple dollars, it helps.

While we do offer actor and cinema spotlights, I’d like to think Film-Addict offers you honesty. A blunt take on film delivered by a group of people who provide you with something authentic and fun. We didn’t have to start a website. We are probably 10-12 years late and while we are joined at the hip by a hundred thousand other sites dedicated to film, we like to think we do something special with ours.

If you wish to know more about this particular mission and enterprise, head over to our page at Go Fund Me. Eric has all you need to know about why you are donating and how you can do it. You can see others who have donated and get an idea of what we are going after. See for yourself before you hand over your own dollars.

Thanks for giving us the time of day. In this modern world of 24/7 rush hour, that is something no one should take for granted.


10 Things I Am Doing When I Get To NYC

People ask me where I want to go when I have the time and money, and every time it’s an easy answer. New York City. The land of maniac life and beautiful soul. Where so many things have happened and will happen again. A place of heroic energy and everlasting grace. I don’t need to step outside my country(you are next Italy) to have a good vacation or basically escape. I want to go to New York and that’s as clean cut as it gets. I can’t answer many questions faster than I can this one. What kind of things will I do when I get there? A shit load of tasks and activities. Here are the 10 things I am doing right off the plane.

1. Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Freedom Tower. Newly named one of the tallest buildings in the world, the tower is a given but I want to go walk along the fountains.Freedom-Tower-at-sunset-Courtsey-of-Port-Authority-of-New-York-and-New-Jersey I want to stop and look at as many names as I can on the engraved markings around the fountains. I want to think about what that person would be doing if they were alive today.As you can tell from reading my 12 years later post on that horrible day, it rocked the shit out of me and I was thousands of miles away in the Midwest at college when it happened. The event was so catastrophic and powerful at the same time that it stretched across the world to effect many people. I still can’t shake it to this day. I don’t have to go into detail about it to tell you why. When I am walking around those fountains and see people there, I want to talk to them about that day. If it doesn’t tear open wounds, I would love to hear about the individual strength people showed and how it changed their life. In this world, you learn by asking and listening. I want to soak up the experiences of that day and what followed afterwards. I want to take my kid there and tell him what happened, who got back up off the ground and became a more united front ever since that horrible Tuesday 12 years ago. One of the most important things a parent has to do is teach his kid about the history of where they walk. Tell them what happened and why. Preach to them a little about remembering these kind of things. It’s makes the next generation that much stronger.

2. Times Square. I want to walk towards the middle of it and just let it suck me in. Stand there. Arms stretched out and just exist. Bucket list check off.

3. Find and talk to 10 strangers on the street. Get them to tell me a story about the city and how tough it is and the true nature of the beast. Have them tell me fuck off. Give me directions to a great restaurant which will include a story about proposing to their wife. Sure, I will be turned away by a few people but I am sure I will learn a lot from a few others. This is what the world revolves around. Human interaction. Shared stories. I am as social and energetic as anyone around, so this is basically me investigating the idea that strangers carry the best stories. I may not understand a word they are saying at times but I am going to listen. I want stories and I want them now.

4. Get a slice. Quite simple. I want a slice of pizza and I don’t want a New York style slice. I want a slice of pizza from a New York joint. I want that skinny weak paper plate that can immediately turn into a taco as you fold the pizza up to eat it too. Grease in the goatee and a pizza so good that you taste it on your breath 4 hours later.

5. SEEK OUT STRONG BLACK COFFEE. This man will surely find a Starbucks. That isn’t a new thing. I could find the Starbucks in a small town with no sign, 10 planted bombs and no sense of smell. I want a cup of strong joe from a NYC mom and pop shop. I want some place to sit me down and pour me a cup of coffee where the spoon stands straight up. I want a man with a old vest, button up shirt and pocket watch with disheveled hair to serve me a cup that I won’t forget and sell me a pound to take back home that comes in a wrinkled brown paper bag.


Stop Poking My Gums, Lady

Going to the dentist sucks. There are few experiences that rank beside it as far as a lack of pleasure is concerned. Sure, it’s important but so is eating your vegetables. Putting your seatbelt on is important but it doesn’t involve your gums getting thoroughly abused.

I take care of my teeth and gums. I floss frequently and brush the teeth. So when the wife and I joined a lovely new dentist up the street from our house in November, things seems to be pointing towards the bright side. I walked in and warm smiles that didn’t show a hint of fakeness greeted me as well as a fine Keurig machine that had fresh coffee waiting at my command. I was nearly in love when I sat down to be examined by the sweet dental hygienist. She asked me questions about my life and actually seemed to be downloading my answers.  She readied her weapons. Imagine if Dexter were a dentist and you have a clear picture. She told me open wide and I obliged. She poked around a tad and looked up a lot. You can never read these people. They could be expert poker players. They could be serious looking because they don’t want to jab a hole in your mouth or screw up your teeth. If they are too smiley, that could be due to a lack of conviction or they may be hiding something. I was patient. She called in the head dentist and he did nothing but smile. What the fuck? Stop this. Someone shoot me straight and turn off the laughing gas.

After they stepped away and did a quick chat, I got fantastic news. I had plague built up on my gums. Down between the teeth. They used a few words I couldn’t understand and I sort of zoned out for a minute. I came back and they weren’t smiling. They looked like concerned parents. WHAT? It turns out I needed deep gum cleaning. Four quadrants. Upper right and left followed by the lower right and left. Afterwards, if I survived and I had any wit about my soul, they would polish the teeth. The horror film had started production and I only got a teaser.

In my eyes, all the dentists before had disregarded this condition. That shithole out in Florissant. The place a few blocks away. They had screwed me over and told me I was good to go for a long time. Thanks a lot. They should be lucky I don’t know any arms dealers so I could buy a grenade launcher and send a fucking bomb through their window.

The fun would begin in February. Four sessions. An hour apiece. Every time a dentist or their assistants say it’s not that bad, that means its very bad. They are as trustworthy as lawyers in the ghetto. Believe the first word and the last. I prepared for an event that may as well been the end of my existence. I kissed my wife goodbye and gave my son a good hug. I got in my car and drove for approximately 3 minutes up the street. It was time.

I didn’t want their coffee. I wanted to get this finished. I almost wore Rambo style face paint. I sat down in their chair and got ready for D-Day.



Matthew Rauch: The Man Behind Banshee’s Scary Guy

“I love the work. I love the people I work with. I hope other people like it. It’s a nice way to make a living.”-Matthew Rauch

One of the perks of my job is talking to actors, directors and the minds behind the creative process of television shows and movies. There are good interviews andtn-500_rauchwm101104713395 then there are ones where something is missing and you just get through it. Two days after the finale of Cinemax’s Banshee, I had a chance to talk to Matthew Rauch, a hard working NYC actor who just so happens to be on our televisions this month on two different shows.  NBC’s Believe and Banshee. He plays the scary Clay Burton on Banshee, the right hand man to the Amish gangster in town, Kai Procter. It must be mentioned that I scored this interview simply by talking to Rauch on Twitter. The entire cast of the show is on the social media site, mixing it up with fans and truly connecting. Rauch got on Twitter and quickly coined the nickname, “Bowtie Guy”, something that comes from the outfits Burton wears on the show.

Sometimes, an aspiring writer has to take chances and reach out to actors to get chances. I can count myself lucky because Rauch turned out to be a true first class individual and an actor who is passionate about what he does and wants to connect with his fans while scaring the shit out of them on Friday nights. We talked about the glasses coming off, Ulrich Thomsen’s European star power, Martin Scorsese, training in the theater and getting to play somebody as fearless as Burton.

Me-With the least amount of dialogue on the show out of anybody, you sure do make an impact as Burton.

RAUCH-He’s a scary guy. I have good material to work with and it’s great to watch him grow. It’s been a lot of fun. A funny story is when I got there I didn’t have much to go on with this character. So I talked to anyone I could about who he was and what it meant when suddenly Jonathan Tropper[Writer, Executive Producer] told me, “Look, think about it this way, Burton is the scariest guy on the show. This a scary world and he is the scariest guy.” From there on out I was good.

Where did the taking the glasses off thing with Burton come from?

A combination of a lot of things and I am not sure where it originated from exactly. It was in the script that I auditioned with and Jonathan and Greg[Yaitanes, Showrunner, Executive Producer, Director] had a thing with Burton having this dual nature. Burton is efficient and assistant like when the glasses were on and when the glasses were off he is the scariest guy in the world. I have had some fun with that. I have a feeling we are going to get to see more versions of him in the upcoming season.

I have this scenario in my head where Lucas Hood[Antony Starr] punches Burton, breaks his glasses, and Burton suddenly turns into the Incredible Hulk.

I do remember one of my first days of shooting and Antony and I were working together, which is rare since I usually only get to work with Ulrich[Thomsen} and Lili[Simmons]. I think he was going to arrest Proctor and sort of stepped toward Ulrich and as a natural response I stepped towards him. I think he was taken aback because someone wasn’t afraid him. I thought, man if this show goes long enough him and I are going to go round and round.

Have you gotten noticed around New York now that Banshee has gotten more popular?

Yes. There is this great bagel store around the corner from my house. I walked in and I ordered, and the guy said “Are you on Banshee? Man I love that show”. This guy had a full on tickled moment that he saw this guy who was on Banshee.


The Buffa Bullet Round

A true round of random material. I come here often with one topic doses or one team prescriptions, I let it rip. Uncork the filter and let it all stream through. There are times when you have to just let it rip and forget about rules. I wouldn’t coin it driving with a blindfold on but letting your knees steer the wheel for a few streets would be appropriate. So let’s hit it. Wednesday stream of consciousness begins now.

  • Jason Motte is known to the baseball world as a pretty good reliever. The kind that comes in and finishes things. Last year, he got hurt and went to work. While his right elbow healed from Tommy John surgery, Motte started a bold cancer awareness foundation, K Cancer. It grew into something huge and gave Motte and his family a chance to connect with many young victims. I think this is pretty cool and worth mentioning often. A baseball player taking the time away from the field to take part in a fight against a deadly beast. I own one of the K Cancer t-shirts and you should do. They are located right here and a portion of the proceeds go to the cancer foundation. Motte isn’t messing around. The reason I bring this back up today is that every team in Major League baseball will now carry the backwards K on their shirts and give each team’s fanbase a chance to get in on the act. Well done Motte. That’s called using your down time well.
  • The duality of father and husband roles is a tricky plank to walk. On one hand, you think you are doing enough to keep your wife happy but at the same time you wonder if you are helping the kid as well. There are days where the balance is so bad you think about it all night. Did  I do enough for each? I bring this up because my wife and I can have some terrible fights that pit us against the wall of stress and anger. Those fights are a result of me trying to figure out the balance in my daily responsibilities. A man can’t be too hard on his son yet also has to remember the wife is there too. Being a good parent is hard enough.  Adding the good husband part to the equation is the true test.  This was kind of  hot air section. Moving on.
  • Which QB should NFL teams draft this year? Take the guy who makes your team better. Avoid the flashy talent and examine the one who may be good on paper yet can’t adjust to the rigors of the more aggressive game. In my mind Blake Bortles could be better for The Texans than Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel because he can be put into any offense right now and function very well. The other two need some work.
  • The St. Louis Rams have two picks in the first round. Head coach Jeff Fisher has never taken an offensive lineman in the first round. I doubt he will take a safety in the first round. Fisher likes to set his targets on wide receivers. I think there is a good chance the team uses one of the two picks on Sammy Watkins, a potential game changer for their offense. Sure, we said that last year with Tavon Austin but Watkins is a bigger body with more bruising ability. If he is there and rated high on your board, take him. Don’t worry about what mock drafts say or what others try to tell you. The Rams need to pick their guy. I trust Fisher and Les Snead. Jake Matthews, a lineman, doesn’t look too bad either and could really strengthen the line and provide some security. There are lots of options. I’ll evaluate afterwards.


Sizing Up The Cardinals in The Spring

Good morning folks,

Fresh off work and a hit and run with the gym, I wanted to take the chance to talk about the Cards today. While I officially cover the Cards for Sports Rants and do most of workCardinals_Spring_Base_inev_________t607 there, I wanted to take a detour and present to you a bullet round that covers the recent actions of the team. Things to remember, a fresh take on certain players and maybe a few surprises.

  • Stop worrying about Oscar Taveras’ health. Sure, the kid can’t stay healthy and is showing more signs of becoming the next J.D. Drew than the second coming of Albert Pujols but it’s still early. He hasn’t played a major league game yet and deep down, the Cards aren’t counting on him to contribute a ton this season.  They didn’t trade Matt Adams for a reason and traded for Bourjos. Insurance for the plight of Oscar. Luckily, the Cards aren’t in dire need of a young outfielder right now. We have him in the arsenal and set for a future impact. Oscar’s body is running behind his potential.  He had an ankle injury in 2013 and was rushed back only to go down for the season. This spring, eager to please a Cards staff and management team, he pulled a hamstring. Slow the train down folks. Let Oscar get healthy and play some games at Memphis. There is NO need to rush the kid. Last time I checked we weren’t in Chicago or San Diego.
  • It has been talked about and rehashed over and over, but let me say I am very happy with the Matt Carpenter extension. It’s a quality deal that springs optimism on both sides of the ball and provides the team with a versatile player with the potential to be a top flight leadoff man for a long time. Carpenter’s winning attitude, steady defense and ability to consistently get on base the past 2 years gave the Card a hint of locking him in. Then he went off and put together one of the best years by a second baseman ever, smashing 55 doubles, scoring over 110 runs and putting together an on base percentage around .400.  The kid can play and 6 years at 52 million dollars is a bargain for this kind of talent. Allen Craig got less, but Carpenter provides more stable health and gives you more options in the field. Both deals keep these two vital pieces of the Cards offense intact.


Shut Down “The Cardinal Way” Title

First, let me adamantly remind you folks that I am a die hard St. Louis Cardinals fan. I live and die by this team. I allow my mood to be handed over to them for roughly 7CardinalsWay months out of every year. They find a way into my nervous system every summer. So when I say I am fucking tired of the Cardinal Way and the Best Fans in Baseball titles, trust me, they come from a sophisticated yet firmly planted point of view. I am simply tired of them.

St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Bill McClellan is a Cubs fan and he has made that known in several columns. Last week, he had some fun with Cards fans when he wrote a piece about being worn down by this Cardinal Way and idea that the Cardinals were perfect knights. I usually don’t like McClellan. He is known to troll topics, slide his take in and run away from the scene. This time, however, I couldn’t agree more. Enough with these fictitious labels.  The Cards are a good enough baseball team that they don’t need these tromped up mantras.


Clean Addictions

On Monday, I found out that a friend of mine from high school had overdosed on heroin. I had just talked to this woman two weeks ago. We talked about a variety of things. We talked about our kids and ancient memories that included me asking her out so long ago. It’s something that we laughed about and made light of. She didn’t seem lost and didn’t seem on the verge of leaving this rock. This week, I found out she did and it hit me like a bad of bricks to the side of the head. What happened to this single mother inside the past 14 days that made her dip so far into drugs and make a quick departure? Addictions are a serious and very deadly game to participate in, so the outcome here wasn’t surprising. It was the fact that I was friends with this person once, followed her on Facebook, talked with her and never once sensed a person dealing with addiction. It’s horrible and something you can’t blame yourself for but also find sitting up for hours wondering how it all went wrong.

The way humans are wired leaves us with these feelings. Whether we like it or not or even care to admit, our emotions play a heavy part in our everyday lives. It connects all the hours and minutes together. Sometimes, they get the best of us.  Other times, they provide us with our best moments. We can’t escape feeling something for a person we barely know yet felt a connection long ago. I felt like an ally to this person recently and someone to talk to, but now that they are gone, I can’t help but wonder what addictions could befall my son Vin in the future.

When you have kids and wish to be a good parent, every waking second is attached to their well being. Party all night, sleep all day and dance the night away if you want. Your kid is waiting for you to come home and hang. I know this because I walk through the door in the morning after an overnight shift and see a pair of eyes focused on me. The Cardinals don’t wait for me. Movies don’t give me big hugs. My son Vincent does and it’s something I can’t live without. When a parent I know meets their end like this, it makes me reexamine myself and how I operate. When you become a parent, your life is dedicated to your child and you must set the right example and do the right thing. Sometimes, that shit is hard and bad things happen.


Thank You, Oscars

That was easily the best show in years. Sure, you didn’t have Hugh Jackman dancing around the stage or James Franco looking stoned throughout his hosting duties, photobut you had a nice pace, a great host and a crowd of performers that loosened up as the telecast went on. There aren’t many hosts that can get Meryl Streep to shake her tail feather at Pharrell Williams as he dances out by the seats during his musical performance. There hasn’t been a host that gets pizza delivered to a starving audience who have jammed themselves into tight fitting dresses for the allure of a camera. Other hosts won’t break Twitter with a selfie shot including at least 6 Oscar winning actors. I am talking about Ellen DeGeneres and her fabulous hosting work last night at the Kodiak Theater.  Let’s talk about that and more here.

  • Ellen knocked it out of the park and did so by delivering a funny and biting opening monologue that didn’t make her crowd uneasy yet made them laugh and set them up for a good night. She did things differently, refusing to be a skeleton on stage or get too insulting. She didn’t try as hard as Seth McFarlane did last year to generate laughs and wasn’t afraid to ask Harvey Weinstein and Brad Pitt for pizza delivery money. She got the crowd to loosen up and that’s not easy. These stars and filmmakers are sitting in theater styled seats hoping to be noticed on camera or win an award for their craft so to see Ellen get Lupita Nyong’o shake it and Amy Adams dance with Pharrell was refreshing. She didn’t do that herself but had the audience so relaxed that those kind of spontaneous things just come around. I tip my tip to the lady who was hosting the awards for the second time yet seemed like she was ready to do it again next Sunday. I was skeptical about her going in last night and she made the show inviting for non movie buffs.
  • The right people won the major awards. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto each delivering rousing speeches after they took the prize for Dallas Buyers Club(currently on Redbox, Blu Ray, and DVD for your viewing pleasure).  McConaughey talked about letting GOD define his path but did so in a laid back cool and not Tim Tebow like. He didn’t paint his eye lids with her favorite Biblical verse.  McConaughey said something really cool and that was his hero is himself but 10 years from now. Ever since he was young, he always said his hero was himself but 10 years down the road, because it gave him something to live for and strive towards. He looked grateful, stunned and honored. And he deserved that trophy. No actor in Hollywood has had a hotter streak these past few years and no one had a better 2013. Leto was more personal and reflective. His single mom raised him and his siblings early on and he pointed to his mother in the crowd. Leto talked about giving all those sexually insecure souls a voice and never forgot about the film’s message. Great work gents.