Tag: Dose of Buffa

‘Rogue One’: A soulful addition to ‘Star Wars’ universe

Jyn Erso(Felicity Jones) learned at a very young age what it feels like to lose everything you love. When her father Galen(Mads Mikkelson), one of the architects behind the Death Star, is taken in to finish plans for construction of the evil empire vessel, she is forced to grow up the hard way. Without parents to guide her upbringing, life leads her on a path towards criminality, and into the hands of the rebellion, led by Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor.

Welcome to a prequel that works and aides the following films instead of feeling tacked on for good measure and money clip tightening.

Image result for rogue one chirrut

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story skips the usual opening quirks and exerts itself quickly. It is director Gareth Edwards’ attempt to make his own Star Wars saga and also properly introduce new exciting characters like Jyn, Cassian, Donnie Yen’s Chirrut, Riz Ahmed’s Bodhi Rook, and Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera. While lacking the slam bang spectacle of 2015’s Star Wars: A Force Awakens, this prequel to the very first film, A New Hope, is an exciting addition to the family that will quench the thirst of Star Wars addicts needing something before the next sequel that is set to arrive next December. (more…)

Blues, Jon Snow, Paajarvi, and more

Good morning people,

Welcome to the early morning hours of Whatever the hell I want to talk about. No politics or religion. Just random surges of consciousness followed by ridiculous stretches of ineptitude. I like to think of these whatever blogs as my chance to unwind and not play by the rules. Here’s what I mean.

When I do radio hits on 96.7 River Country in Arkansas or CBS 920 in St. Louis, I can’t say FUCK or really truly unleash. I have to calm it down. Sponsors don’t like the four letter word that says it all. I also can’t whip that out for most of the websites I write for and contribute to. Enter the dose.

After a last minute podcast with Carly Schaber Sunday night on the ever slowly growing DOB pod hub at Blogtalk Radio, I wanted to come here and address the flurry of questions sent in by another fine Dan. That is Dan Reilly, STL resident Blues addict and drummer extraordinaire. We met and correspond via Twitter. He asked me a few things and we couldn’t get to them on the pod(30 minutes goes by quick when you are making threats to managers with long hair), so I wanted to come here for a DOB Overtime Session. Let’s get right to it before you click out of this to check your email or text.

Easy question. It’s because we write so much BS that we have an answer for everything. I married my wife 11 years ago and still think it’s the best move ever. Removing the maple syrup from that comment, let’s just say a wise writer doesn’t let a good lady go. As far as picking up multiple hot chicks, I have no clue. My game was retired years ago.

Yes, but that doesn’t mean shit in make believe land. In a land of sorcerers who like to get naked(the red haired chick to be precise), Snow can come right back and go back to being the imperfect yet well meaning heroic son we all know him to be. Kit was on set and is in the trailers. For the story, it would be best if he stayed dead because it’s better for the story and other characters, but once Agent Caulson came back anything was possible.

Montpelier(I looked it up).

Sports are painful brother. Bad. They exist to raise our blood pressures and anxiety levels. It’s not easy being a real fan. I grew up next to my dad being a halfway passionate sports fan. He’d watch, get fed up, and easily cut off from it. I watched, got sucked in, and was shattered. That’s the buy in at this table of sports. You sit down, push your heart into the middle of the table and dare to see it crushed. EVERY YEAR! The Blues will prevail over the Hawks. In seven games. Book it.

It has to be good evidence. I am not sure if it is Pete Kozma 2013 on Mike Matheny and John Mozeliak good but it’s good. Magnus Paajarvi didn’t just get ice time in too many games in 2015-16. He got premium ice time next to Vladimir Tarasenko. That’s like letting a shitty cover band step on stage with the Stones in the 60’s. Bullshit. #56 sucks hairy monkey balls.

Easiest question yet. We are a large army of balded or bearded or simple minded romantic bastards with a need to impose our will. You can’t deny us or resist us. We may not do a lot of drugs, drive fast cars or look like James Dean but we can fight and are passionate about things.

Sometime soon. It’s been over a year and every time I come into town I am so fucking busy. I’ve visited around 5-6 times and it’s always go here, then there, and back to here. Eventually, I can just come back to the Lou and stay. Next time I come in, Reilly, we are drinking. Hopefully toasting a Stanley Cup or a Blues team that had a pulse in mid April after Game 2.

That’s all. Check out the latest DOB podcast for some extended answers and in order to hear the voice of the talented young lady, Carly ScHABer.

Dose of Buffa 2

Thank you for the questions Dan Reilly. Keep drumming pal.

BLOOD TIES/JOE Movie Reviews

With all the big loud superhero flicks at the cinema right now, it seems a bit old fashioned to sit at home and watch a couple quiet indie dramas. That’s what I did this weekend, resisting the summer sizzle and instead reaching for something with a little more subtlety and grace. Here are fresh takes on Blood Ties and Joe, both currently available on demand and possibly on Redbox.

Blood Ties

28037The first effort from director/actor Guillaume Canet is a dark gritty crime drama set in the 1970’s and pitting two brothers(Clive Owen and Billy Crudup) standing on opposite sides of the law. Owen is Chris, a ex-con who just stepped out of jail after a 12 year stint for murder. Crudup is Frank, a noble cop who desperately wants to keep his brother out of jail and trouble. The women lurking around their lives, Marion Cotillard and Zoe Saldana, begin to play pivotal roles in their future. James Caan nearly steals the film as the two men’s father and Matthias Schoenaerts(Rust and Bone) turns in solid work as the worst kind of men. All the pieces come together in an unpredictable fashion in Canet’s film, which makes for a powerful experience. One can see why it didn’t get a wide release but the story was made for a home setting. Owen and Crudup are at the top of their game here, sparring off as siblings who have walked completely different lives while remaining close to home.

Owen puts a coat of Brooklyn on his well traveled British accent and Cotillard does her best with a role that many will call different but I call challenging and fresh. She is an actress that can easily go to dark places but here touches new ground. Caan shows that he still has the power to take over a film at his old age, playing an old lion staring at his two sons battling over psychological turf. The movie isn’t great and runs a little long. A big shootout occurs just over halfway in and throws the film into a completely new story that never sits right. Things happen that don’t make any sense while others come together too cozy. All is made right in the end when a delicious little twist sets(remember to knock) the film up for a final clash at a train station that is deft and perfect. Canet co-wrote the script with long time crime film artist James Gray(The Yards, We Own the Night) and you can smell Gray’s strokes all over the film, from the loud and brutally realistic gunfire to the romantic moments of the film. Blood Ties is solid cinema worth checking out at home.


joe-movie-posterThe film starts out conveniently as we are introduced to Nic Cage’s Joe, the leader of a landscaping crew wiping out trees for a new housing development. His men respect him and they have a good working relationship. We are also introduced to a kid who has an abusive dad and his ongoing misery. Joe and the Kid will merge together in a way that is at once predictable, unique and deadly. There is more to Joe than a simple life and the kid is going to stir things up inside him that the older man thought he had buried. I won’t spoil any more of David Gordon Green’s latest film, a down and dirty drama about redemption, choices and the devil in all of us.

Cage reminds you once again that he is an Oscar worthy talent when he decides to be. He easily inhabits the cold tragic skin of Joe and injects his quirky wildness into a well rounded performance that resonates.  Tye Sheridan played this sort of role well in Mud and takes it up a notch here with his character, Gary. Gary and Joe become friends and things start to happen. One thing that is constant in every Green film(except for the hilarious Pineapple Express) is a sense of dread that sits with every scene. The idea that something bad is going to happen floats through this film. The entire film as a whole doesn’t work completely work but there are fair portions of it that are beautifully filmed and acted. One of the highlights is Gary Ponlter, a homeless man Green hired off the street(the director does this a lot) to play Gary’s despicable father, Wade. He steals every scene he is in and does it with barely any dialogue. Poulter’s broken trash face sums up the type of world Green’s films live in. Poulter died a few weeks after filming concluded and his role in the film is powerful, disgusting and bittersweet at the same time.  Joe isn’t a great film and the plot will drift from your memory, but the lingering morals of its characters and the struggle we all endure every single day will stick with you for a little while. The acting in it alone warrants it a viewing.

Thanks for digesting this latest dose. Come back for another.

Top 10 Films of 2013 + Extras

In 2013, I saw 86 films.  Picking out my top ten can feel like selecting the 10 kids from that monstrous pack of creation that stuck with me the longest or were just superbly produced. As the months go by, the list grows and sometimes an early hit wonder of mine (Quartet) can fall off the list due to a wonderful Hollywood finish.  Once again, my top film of 2013 probably won’t be nominated for any main Oscar categories.  That’s not the point when a critic selects his list.  The most important thing is to pick a film that hit you the hardest, made you reflect on it the longest and had you holding every other film against it.   Without further delay, let me unveil my top 10 list of movies in 2013.   Agree or not, this is my list and I am sticking to it.

Dan Buffa’s Top 10 Films of 2013


10.) Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks anchored this true story of the Maersk Alabama freighter being taken over by Somali Pirates.  Director Paul Greengrass laced this film with an unusual tension that kept you hidden from the details of how this story unfolded.  Hats off to Hanks for blowing me away again with a final scene that saw his character finally come undone and the brilliant thespian bared every ounce of emotion a performer could inside one scene.


9.) Gravity

Credit Alfonso Cuaron and his son Jonas with redefining the horrors of space with their nail biting masterpiece.  Sandra Bullock proves The Blind Side was only a warm-up round for her skill set as she anchored this 90 minute pulse pounding story of a pair of astronauts being stranded in the worst possible place.  George Clooney offered assured support but this movie belonged to Bullock.


8.) The Place Beyond The Pines

The first film of 2013 to officially knock me on my ass was Derek Cianfrance’s powerful ode to fathers and sons.   Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper split up the running time and a powerful supporting cast including Ray Liotta, Eva Mendes and Dana Dehaan made every bit of detail sting our nerves as this epic drama drew to its conclusion.  If there is a dark horse for directing this year in the Oscars, it’s writer/director Cianfrance, a filmmaker who makes movies that move him and aim to floor us.  Well done, sir.


7.) The Spectacular Now

Director James Ponsoldt rightfully let his two stars, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, take control of Scott Neustadter’s script and the result was a coming of age wallop akin to the effect left by last year’s Perks of Being A Wallflower.   Teller and Woodley were soulfully vulnerable and made us crawl into the large funnel tube that is teenage angst.  The quiet moments in this film were its best, where it dared to step outside the bounds of a usual young romance film. Keep an eye on Teller.


6.) The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s intoxicating and detailed riff on Wall Street gangsters in the 1990’s was given the proper jolt of swagger by leading man/Marty muse Leonardo DiCaprio(no actor dominated a film more so this year) and a solid supporting cast.   Terrence Winter’s script spared little in Jordan Belfort’s drug fueled sex packed rage endowed fall from grace and DiCaprio was like a bull rider, dragging us through the final few moments of this 3 hour epic dance through the devil’s lobby of temptation.  Stop complaining about Scorsese giving the stage to this real life mad man and just bow at his ability to make you care about him in the end. imageedit_11_9839680481

5.) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The most involved and relatable film of 2013 and probably the past few years, Ben Stiller’s adaptation of James Thurber’s short story was just about perfectly rendered.  A regular man who escapes via daydreaming finally gets to live one of those wild tales out in real life.  Sean Penn, Shirley Maclaine, and Kristen Wiig offered occasional grace, but Stiller is the virtuoso at work here, warming out hearts with this unlikely hero and making us laugh at the same time.  This film had a heart of gold.


4.) 12 Years A Slave

We all know about the horrors of slavery, but director Steve McQueen and leading star and sure fire Best Actor candidate Chiwetel Ejiofor tell you the whole story here and it feels like a band aide being ripped off your skin about one of the darkest spot’s in this nations history.  Michael Fassbender astounds as a pure evil slave owner and Lupita Nyong’o(like Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips) opened our eyes on a brand new talent.  This film will win a lot of Oscars and deserves just about every one of them.


3.) Prisoners

This film just beat me up in the same manner Zero Dark Thirty did, in a good way of course.  Intense, powerful, thought provoking and overly personal for this father.  If Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal aren’t nominated for their career best work here, something is wrong with the academy.  You will never see the final third coming, at least not all the details.  Director Denis Villeneuve immerses us in the process of a missing child’s case and stages things perfectly while screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski doesn’t pull any punches with these painfully real characters.  Prisoners rocked me.


2.) Fruitvale Station

The best film I didn’t see coming was Ryan Coogler’s take on the sad story of Oscar Grant, played with award worthy authority by Michael B. Jordan.   Together, these two brave men present us with the raw angry good hearted man with a criminal past and violent tendency who had the encounter of a lifetime on New Year’s Eve in 2008.  This movie made me take a long walk after seeing it before I could get in my car and go home.  Tightly wound and brilliantly conceived.


1.) Lone Survivor

Peter Berg was born to direct this brutally heroic true story of a Navy Seal mission gone wrong that led to a David VS. Goliath styled shootout in the mountains of Afghanistan.  Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch are the four man crew sent to gather intelligence on a Taliban that are ambushed and find themselves in a one sided battle.  Berg makes sure you feel every bone crunch and skin tear, and the actors(especially Wahlberg) give a fearless heart to these real life heroes.  This movie demands your attention even though it won’t win any major awards because of its relentless display of violence that actually happened.  The best war movie since Saving Private Ryan; this movie hits you like a bullet to the chest.


Random Categories-

Best Sequel-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Man of Steel was heavy and thick.  Iron Man 3 was very light at times.  Wolverine was better than the last Logan mission but not great.  Catching Fire, anchored by the hottest actress in Hollywood Jennifer Lawrence and an excellent supporting cast, was equal parts action packed, dramatically involved and all together thrilling.   I saw it twice and would see it again.  There wasn’t a minute wasted there.

Most Fun At The Movies-Fast & Furious 6

Bittersweet entertainment in a way with the death of co-star Paul Walker in November, the sixth entry in the street racing family saga had a special kind of flavor to it with The Rock joining forces with Diesel and company.  Everything was perfectly over the top and the stunts were amazing and once again underrated throughout Hollywood who dismissed the action film as stupidity.   Well, it’s called a summer blockbuster for a reason.   Popcorn blast!  The Rock and Diesel tag teaming a monstrous Russian or the ultimate girlfight between Gina Carano and Michelle Rodriguez or the plane/runaway car chase.  Name a scene in this flick and it gets the blood flowing quick.  Please don’t confuse furious with Oscar here folks.  It’s all cool in the gang.  And we can’t forget the greatest use of a post credits sequence, with the arrival of the one and only British badass Jason Statham to the mix in round 7 as the bad guy.  2015 can’t come soon enough if you ask me.

Biggest Disappointment-Inside Llewyn Davis

This looked like a wonderful combination of music, drama, and acting but in the end only the performance of Oscar Isaac stuck with me.  Easy and smooth.  The Coen Brothers will be adored for their work again but to me it was an uneven film with a nagging storytelling method and a result that felt incomplete.   The filmmakers always make films that are called magnificent that fail to register with me as anything other than good or decent.  I thought the infusion of folk songs would push this one further up but in the end the murky directing and storytelling left me filling unfulfilled.

Best Overall Performer-Matthew McConaughey

There isn’t a hotter actor in the game right now than the Texan who redefined our expectations when seeing him headline a film.   On a roll in more ways than one, McConaughey gave three Oscar worthy performances in 2013.  In Dallas Buyers Club, he was a renegade electrician who used the AIDS disease to regenerate his hunger to live.  In Mud, he was a wanted man living in the woods pining for his lost love who connects with a pair of kids instead.  In The Wolf of Wall Street, he had three scenes and owned every one of them as Mark Hanna, the original wolf who teaches Belfort how to hunt.  McConaughey’s story continues in 2014 with HBO’s True Detective and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

Best Acting in a Single Scene-Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips

With barely any dialogue and a load of internal combustion, nerves showing and all, Hanks reminds you why he is one of the best in the business and constantly surprising us.


That’s all I got.  Come back for Doses of Buffa this month as the reviews and analysis continue.


Dan Buffa is the co-creator, administrator and writer for the movie website, film-addict.com. He also contributes to United Cardinal Bloggers, Arch City Sports, Aaron Miles Fastball, Voicesfilm.com and writes for his personal blog, www.doseofbuffa.com.  He is also a published writer for the Yahoo Contributor Network.   Dan is a St. Louis, Missouri born and raised writer with a need to inform and the ability to pound out 1,000-1,500 word pieces with ease.  When he isn’t writing or drinking coffee, he is spending time with his wife and son in South City.  Follow him at @buffa82 on Twitter and reach him for thoughts, comments and general feedback at buffa82@gmail.com.