Month: April 2016

American Hustle: An actors showcase

When you walk into a film that screams Oscar bait, your expectations are automatically shifted.  Ask a critic and he or she can deny it until they die, but it’s hard to judge a film destined for Academy Award treatment in the same manner as others.   If anything, one can be harder on these films because they are loaded with so much talent and ambition.

Columbia Pictures

While imperfect and a little long winded, David O. Russell’s follow up to Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, is a wildly funny look back at the Helter Skelter days of the 1970’s and how a great con could topple not just the law but organized crime as well.  The moment the credits roll, the sound of the era and the looks swell your lenses and take you right back to that period of time where looks traveled farther than your words or integrity did.  The film opens on a potbellied Bale arranging his elaborate hairpiece/comb-over special and it’s a sight that sets you up for the entire film.   The confidence of Russell and his cast guide you through the more uneven and glossy parts of the film.  (more…)

Grudge Match: Sly and DeNiro create laughs

Watching Stallone and DeNiro trade the oldest jokes in movie history for a couple hours is like watching two old pros handling a customer at a car sales lot.  It’s engaging at first but after a while, a tiring experience and one that needs to be retired soon.

Don’t get me wrong here, there were times in this comedy that I laughed and enjoyed myself.  I would be lying though if I said it was worth paying full admission for at a movie theater.  There is simply too much fine entertainment at the movies right now to send you to this A.A.R.P. boxing party.

Warner Brothers

The experience isn’t dreadful and could make some easygoing movie couple’s night.  Alda makes a fine comic replacement for Mickey.   Basinger returns to the big screen to the play the flame that got away.  Hart brings a few laughs and energy but wears you down by the halfway mark.  Stallone and DeNiro are fine comic actors but they seem to be going through the motions and are bored by the material.   (more…)

Cards fans & writer Andrew Weaver joins The Dose

Another week and another random guest on the DOB podcast. This week, Andrew Weaver joined the pod to talk St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Weaver dished on how he came into the sport and fell in love with it. How his allegiance to the Texas Rangers switched after the 2011 World Series to the Cards and why he hasn’t turned back.

Among the topics discussed:

*Should fans really be worried about Adam Wainwright? He had another rough outing.

*Can fans trust the breakout of Aledmys Diaz?

*Should fans get the head of Mike Matheny and John Mabry on a stick?

*Are graham crackers really good?(Not kidding)

There’s more where that dialogue came from. Here’s a taste of what Weaver has to offer on Twitter:

And this:

You can follow Andrew right here.

Coming soon(possibly). DOB on Itunes! Submitted and we shall see. Once they realize this is a halfass unprofessional podcast, they will deny me but one can hope.

I want to have more random guests on. Broaden it up. Hope you are liking the guest list.

Dose of Buffa 2



Draft Day: Kevin Costner conquers football

Attention all football fans and casual observers alike, get ready to love Ivan Reitman’s new movie about the fanaticism that surrounds NFL National Draft Day.  Reitman, along with screenwriters Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph, have crafted a perfect spring blast of cinematic entertainment and also pay a fine salute to the millions of NFL maniacs out there who drop everything and watch the pro teams select the college elite.  And for all the people who don’t care for football but love a good story, no worries because this is simply a very good movie that may teach you a few things about the most popular game in the United States.

Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate 

Reitman made a perfect choice when he casted the white hot Kevin Costner, who deserves a lifetime achievement award for being awesome in any sports related film.   Playing Sonny Weaver Jr., Costner dials up the charm and carries a perfect blend of cynicism and pride in showing us a guy driven to live up to the legacy of his legendary coaching father and bring this team back from the dead.   (more…)

Brick Mansions: Paul Walker misfire

Film addicts, it’s important to walk into Brick Mansions with the right mindset. It can’t be stressed enough that this movie is a glorified version of cinematic frozen pizza. As a critic, my job was to also separate the film from the bittersweet paradox that came with the tag of Paul Walker’s last completed film. The minute I saw the twinkle in Walker’s blue eyes and the youthful vulnerability in his performance in this brainless action exercise, there was a small moment of nostalgia.

Warner Brothers/Relativity Media

Seeing him drive a sports car furiously around a parking lot was plain eerie.  The action star died tragically in a car accident in November and seeing his confident energy on screen kicking, punching and sprinting for justice, it’s rather difficult at first to separate real life and cinema. With his death coming 2 fast 2 furious only months ago, the effort was on to properly critique his last film.

The movie starts, and David Belle starts jumping through windows and off buildings, and right away the IQ level of Brick Mansions is revealed. 1980’s throwaway action candy.  Take it for what it is, and the film can be enjoyed at a modest level. Take it for anything more, and disappointment will settle in. (more…)

Wildcard: Diet Statham

(older movie reviews with a new coat of paint)

Here’s one way that tells you the movie that just consumed 90 minutes of your life was a bad idea. When you can’t seem to come up with a coherent way to explain the plot to someone. The latest Jason Statham vehicle is bland, pointless and goes nowhere in its brisk running time. He plays a tough guy “fixer” who helps people in a variety of ways. He could help a man land a beautiful woman by letting the man knock him out. He could help a brutally beaten friend get revenge on a gangster. You name it and Statham’s Nicky will do it. I wish I could have asked for a better movie with such talent involved.

Say what you want about the British action star, but Statham is a fun man to watch. He is truly something unique and is a reliable guy when it comes to producing a good old fashioned dose of kickass therapy. Here, he is joined by a fine cast including Jason Alexander, Stanley Tucci, Hope Davis along with a few worthy B-list stars and the script is from William Goldman, who wrote the book the film is based on as well. That novel was called “Heat” and the name switch just makes the film look more laughable. (more…)

Blues talk: Adjust or go home Hitch

After blowing a 3-1 lead in Game 6 and thus losing a grip on a 3-1 series lead, the St. Louis Blues find themselves playing for the season tonight at Scottrade Center.

In my latest solo podcast, I break down the reasons the Blues coughed it up.

*Why it’s very wrong Patrick Kane played 22 minutes in Game 6 and Vladimir Tarasenko played 17 minutes.

*Why can’t Ken Hitchcock make adjustments like Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville?

*If Blues choke, will the offseason feature some surprise departures and deals?

Also, what the fuck happened to Kevin Shattenkirk’s defense in the second period?

All and more right here.

A few tweets to set the mood up for the podcast:

That’s all folks. Enjoy the listen and send me thoughts to my Twitter page. GUARANTEED response. Book it.

Dose of Buffa 2

“Fitzgerald’s Christmas”: Ed Burns’ best in years

No one does heartfelt family dramas like Edward Burns.  His stories bleed into real life. Watching his movies, one feels like a distant cousin or relative of the 44 year old writer/director/producer/actor who serves up his finest creation since She’s The One.   A heartfelt ode to family commitment and loyalty through the brush fire of a painful past.

Burns is the family patriarch Gerry, who finds out that his long gone father(the invaluable Lauter) suddenly wants to come back for Christmas. His mother, Rosie(the wonderful Gillette) wants no part of him and is sticking to her guns.  Watching Burns and Gillette quarrel over issues and discuss matters of the heart, you get the feeling they are related in real life.   (more…)

Talking Cards-Cubs with Kevin Mattingly

What if you were a St. Louis Cardinals fan growing up in Illinois in a Cubs household? Guest Kevin Mattingly, a trusted and fierce Twitter follower of mine, joined the DOB Pod to discuss rough childhoods supporting the Cards, who he roots for today, and whether he wants the Blues or Hawks to prevail on Monday in Game 7.

Kevin and I also discussed:

*Aledmys Diaz’s breakout season

*Jeremy Hazelbaker’s need to play

*Matt Adams potential castoff

Here’s a couple tweets of Kev’s to get a taste of his delivery:

And this:

Follow Kevin right here.

Click for the podcast here.

Have a good Sunday folks and go Cards and Blues.

I love having new guests, known and unknown on my podcast. If you are interested, email me with a

Dose of Buffa 2

Parker: Diet Jason Statham

(older movie reviews with a fresh coat of paint)

Let me break down this troubling film as best as a critic with bias towards its star can. Jason Statham was born to be an action star.  Let me get that straight.    The man elicits coolness and command like few men of action in cinema today.   He isn’t a monstrous beast like The Rock or calculatingly grumpy like Jeremy Renner, but he gets the job done and is utterly convincing.

Walking out of Parker, Statham’s latest action junkie lovefest session, I was disappointed because the film he was in dragged down the usual delight of this action hero’s work.  Playing a modern Robin Hood thief who gets betrayed and left for dead only to rise and exact revenge, Statham is in his comfort zone while adding a little extra as usual, but the plot, supporting cast and length of the film do him no justice. (more…)