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Entries in Justin Tucker (50)

Friday
Jul152016

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters
Directed by: Paul Feig
Release Date: July 16th, 2016
Grade: 2 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

For the love of all that is great and wonderful in the universe, if you are going to remake a beloved movie, please make it better than the original. Otherwise what’s the point? For example, another version of Ben-Hur is set to be released next month. The 1959 version starring Charleton Heston and directed by William Wyler, itself a remake, still stands among the best films ever and certainly head and shoulders over the crap the studios pump out today. Why, Hollywood? Why?

You can ask the same question for the new Ghostbusters film. While it does have its funny moments and some decent special effects, there’s no real reason for its existence other than to make Sony money. Hell, even Columbia Pictures made a whole new division called Ghost Corps as a way to broaden the appeal of the Ghostbusters brand. This franchise isn’t going to die anytime soon.

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Friday
Oct162015

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon
Directed by: Douglas Tirola
Released on: September 25th, 2015 [Limited]
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

My introduction to the National Lampoon brand was as a wee lad watching the Vacation movies with my family, and by the time I became aware of the seminal humor magazine which the films were spun-off from, it was in decline and unavailable to me growing up. Though National Lampoon ceases to exist as a periodical, its impact on American comedy is still being felt today.

The history of National Lampoon is explored in this funny and fascinating documentary by director Douglas Tirola (All In: The Poker Movie). He effectively combines magazine highlights, clips, photos and meaningful interviews with a very large array of people associated with National Lampoon, examining a subversive brood of talented writers, artists and performers whose contributions changed the comedy landscape.

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Tuesday
Oct062015

The Walk

The Walk
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Released on: September 30th, 2015 [IMAX 3D]
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Maestro Robert Zemeckishas always been on the vanguard of cinematic technical wizardry. Since many of the films he has directed are part of the American cinematic canon — such as Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Forrest Gump, to name a few — would anyone really have any doubt that The Walk, his latest 3D spectacle, would be an unremarkable movie? Hell fucking no, they wouldn’t.

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Thursday
Sep172015

Pixels

Pixels
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Released on DVD/Blu-Ray: October 27th, 2015
Grade: 3 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Given that this year is the 20th anniversary of the comedy classic Billy Madison, a lot has been recently written or said about not only about the legacy of that film, but also of the career of Adam Sandler. The general consensus, at least among my peers, is that his first few films — namely the aforementioned Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore — stand among the best comedies of its time, but his output has since become uninspired and unfunny.

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Thursday
Sep172015

Beyond the Mask

Beyond the Mask
Director: Chad Burns
Released on DVD/Blu-Ray: September 8th, 2015
Grade: 1 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

For the past decade or so, producers and studios have been trying with varying degrees of success to appeal to church-going families for their movie-going dollars by producing Christian-themed movies. The trend started with Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which proved there was an untapped market by bringing in over a half billion at the box office and going on to be the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. It continued with Fireproof, the Kirk Cameron-starring drama that made Sherwood Pictures, a Christian film ministry, a major player in Hollywood after it became the highest-grossing independent film of 2008. It reached an apex last year when films like Noah, Son of God, God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is For Real and Exodus: Gods and Kings gave Christians plenty to choose from at the cineplex.

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Wednesday
Jul152015

Self/less

Self/less
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Release Date: July 10th, 2015
Grade: 2.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Tarsem Singh first caught my eye as the director of the dazzling music video of REM’s “Losing My Religion” and I was excited to see him break into Hollywood with his 2000 sci-fi debut, The Cell. That film’s plot, about a psychologist who uses advanced technology to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer, wasn't as good as it must have sounded on paper, but the movie was watchable because of Tarsem’s spectacular and disturbing visuals.

His latest film, Self/less, covers similar territory in terms of exploring man’s psyche and its relationship to the body. It concerns Damian Hale, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, a ruthless New York tycoon who is close to dying from terminal cancer. Of course a filthy rich son-of-a-bitch would want to live forever, so he decides to try a new procedure called “shedding,” where his mind will be transplanted from his dying body into a younger body (Ryan Reynolds) grown fresh in a lab.

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Wednesday
Jul152015

Black Sea

Black Sea
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Released on DVD/Blu-Ray: May 5th, 2015
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Black Sea stars the always impeccable Jude Law as Captain Robinson, a salvager who has spent most of his life working on a sub away from home, losing his wife and son as a result. When he is let go by his employers, he feels betrayed. Desperate for a payday and hoping to reclaim what he surrendered in his life, he takes a risky job commanding a submarine to the bottom of the Black Sea.

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Wednesday
Jul152015

Dope

Dope
Directed by: Rick Famuyiwa
Released on: June 19th, 2015
Grade: 3.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Dope is a vibrant coming-of-age story about Malcolm (Shamiek Moore) and his pals Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and Jib (Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel) set in the Bottoms, a rough section of Inglewood, California. They find escape by immersing themselves in the hip-hop of the 1990s and by playing in a punk rock band called Awreeoh. Within their neighborhood, they are outcasts. They are looked at suspiciously because of their lack of gang affiliation and are bullied for doing “white shit” like applying for college. Malcolm hopes that getting into Harvard University will be his way out of the Bottoms.

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Thursday
Jul022015

A Little Chaos

A Little Chaos
Directed by: Alan Rickman
Release Date: June 26th, 2015
Grade: 2.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Actor/director Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos stars Kate Winslet as the widowed Sabine De Barra, who makes her living as a landscaper in 1682 Paris. Unorthodox and bold, she is carving out her own distinct style. She is interviewed by court landscape architect of King Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre (Matthias Schoenaerts), who needs help after being tasked by the King (Rickman also pulling directing duty) to create an outdoor ballroom for the Gardens of Versailles, complete with a cascade fountain.

Though reluctant at first, André is charmed by Sabine’s free-spiritedness and engineering prowess and brings her on board the project. Though she is met with some resistance because of her gender, she overcomes and finds favor with the royalty court, including the flamboyant Duke Philippe of Orleans (the amusing Stanley Tucci) and the King himself.

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Thursday
Jul022015

The Gunman

The Gunman
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Released on DVD/Blu-Ray: June 30th, 2015
Grade: 1.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

A good action movie works because the fun and thrills can suspend the audience’s disbelief of the genre’s inherent shortcomings. A good action movie can be intelligent without clubbing you over the head with a ham-handed message. A good action movie has an amiable tough-guy hero protagonist who saves the day.

The problem with The Gunman is that it’s tired and bland instead of fun and thrilling, with its impact also blunted by the presence of its hero and producer Sean Penn. The two-time Academy Award winner (Milk, Mystic River) is without a doubt a fine dramatic actor who chooses his roles very carefully for maximum intensity. That’s why it’s rather peculiar for him to step outside his usual template to do such an unspectacular action film.

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