Interstellar (2014) – An Outstanding Epic

by Bill Tucker

The day after screening Interstellar, I found myself staring out of my office window. Rain sprayed down in a fine mist. Construction on the new JW Marriott across the street had stopped for the day. Umbrellas and boots walked back and forth on the sidewalk below. A rare gray day in the capitol of Texas…[CONTINUE READING]

Mood Indigo (2014) – Expect The Unexpected

by Bill Tucker

Michel’s Gondry’s seventh feature looks like a soaring love story full of high contrast visuals and clever imagination. It all seems light and airy, perfect for couples who like their date night a little more Amélie than What Women Want. If that was your first impression, you’re not exactly wrong but you’re not exactly right either…[CONTINUE READING]

Boyhood (2014) – A Cinematic Scrapbook

by Bill Tucker

Wherever we go, we leave something behind. Whether it’s a t-shirt left at a friend’s house, a set of initials carved into an old oak tree or a first impression left on an ex-girlfriend’s parents, we’re constantly dropping a breadcrumb trail of moments and memories. The latest film from Hollywood auteur Richard Linklater (Dazed and ConfusedBefore Sunrise) follows the arc of childhood growth and experience through the maturation of a young boy and his family….[CONTINUE READING]

Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) – Cruise Regains His Rock Star Form

by Bill Tucker

As of late, Tom Cruise’s career has been treading water. Despite a fantastic cameo in Tropic Thunder and solid work in 2011’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,he hasn’t had a proper hit in about a decade. While he works consistently, the output quality has been average at best, usually at no fault of his own. Compared to his A list nemesis Brad Pitt, Cruise’s films have been pulling less than stellar reviews…[CONTINUE READING]

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) – Swinging Into Mediocrity

by Bill Tucker

Spider-Man has had a rocky cinematic history.  The early 2000’s trilogy was a mixed bag of high flying action, upside down kisses and “emo Peter”.  Not exceptional but serviceable escapist entertainment.  After the disastrous Spider-Man 3, the series took a five year break and re-launched itself in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man[CONTINUE READING]

Under The Skin (2014) – Beautifully Unsettling

by Bill Tucker

The name Jonathan Glazer may not mean much to 95% of the viewing public and to be honest, you can’t blame them.  With two independent features, a few shorts, and a slew of commercials under his belt (including the incredible Sony Bravia “Paint” advert), he’s less than a household name…[CONTINUE READING]

Bad Words (2014) – Terrible. T…E…R…R…

by Bill Tucker

I like offensive.  Offensive can be fine.  Cringe comedy, touchy subjects and off color remarks hit places usually protected by polite society.  If they annoy you, that’s a good thing.  At least they made you think and sometimes, change your perspective.  In a sanitized, tidy world, it’s nice to have something new to churn our brain mush, even if it hits an unpleasant nerve[CONTINUE READING]

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – The King Of Quirk Strikes Again

by Bill Tucker

Two days after my screening, I was having dinner with my girlfriend at a rundown brew pub. One of the three TV’s above the bar was playing 1984’s Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Even with the sound off, the terrible dialogue and groan worthy story was masked by bright neon costumes and high kicking dance choreography…[CONTINUE READING]

300 Rise Of An Empire (2014) – THIS…IS…STUPID!!

by Bill Tucker

When Zach Synder’s 300 hit theaters in 2007, the movie was a technical revelation.  A visual epic of bloody violence, computer aided abdominals and heroic grunting, the simple story of a group of Spartans defending their realm from an invading horde was a testosterone fantasy.  Long shot scenes of Gerard Butler lopping off limbs in fluid slow motion were entrancing and highly stimulating.  It was like a bloody ballet, a technical marvel that masked stereotypical characters and a “whatever” plot…[CONTINUE READING]

2013 Oscar Superlatives

by Bill Tucker

With the Oscars right around the corner, popular press will be awash with predictions and picks.  This is critical crunch time, a period where every film buff gets assaulted with questions from people who’ll never see the nominated films.  The expectation is to get it right, nail the answer.  Fail and you lose your movie lovers card.  My solution?  Avoid picks altogether…[CONTINUE READING]

The Lego Movie (2014) – Endlessly Inventive

by Bill Tucker

No matter your age, gender or upbringing, most everyone had their first Lego set.  From giant Duplo blocks to advanced Technics, we all spent time piecing together multi colored bricks.  My building approach was OCD level left brain.  The instructions were king and I carefully recreated every nook and cranny to match the box photos.  My obsessive attention to detail clashed with friends who did the opposite, developing wonderfully random works of juvenile art…[CONTINUE READING]

Top 10 Films of 2013 

by Bill Tucker

Whew.  Talk to anybody who’s spent more than a minute in theaters and they’ll tell you the same.  2013 may have stunk for music, but it was great for movies.  With a strong mix of emotional dramas, subtle comedy and fascinating characters, there was literally something for everybody.  Prepare to debate, good readers.  It’s time for Pantheon Magazine’s Top 10 Flicks of 2013…[CONTINUE READING]

The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) – The Corporate Goodfellas

by Bill Tucker

After a month of tinsel, holiday traveling and Jesus’ birthday, I’m exhausted.  With at least four more nomination movies left to see and a Top 10 list looming, these are tense times for film critics.  I felt as though I needed a boost, a John Travolta adrenaline shot right to the heart, Pulp Fiction style.  Lucky for me,Wolf of Wall Street is filmmaking cocaine…[CONTINUE READING]

American Hustle (2013) – A Stylish And Wonderful Swindler Story

by Bill Tucker

There’s something so sweet about the art of the con. About a decade ago, I was a tourist in post Katrina New Orleans.  The Big Easy was still getting to its feet and it showed.  The buildings in the French Quarter were pock marked from weather.  Homeless people lined the streets.  There was a vibe of defiant stagnation in the air.  They weren’t going to let go of what made the city great, but they had precious little resources to truly rebuild.  And there, I got taken…[CONTINUE READING]

Nebraska (2013) – An Outstanding Work of Art

by Blair C. Dingwall

Not in fact words taken from Alexander Payne’s monochrome father-son road movie, but the words of Samuel Fuller’s brash, loud-mouthed cinematographer Joe in Wim Wenders’ dark, existential drama, “The State of Things”, a film about the arduous, often cold-blooded world of movie-making…[CONTINUE READING]

The Top 5 Holiday TV Specials You’ve Probably Never Seen

by Bill Tucker

Growing up, my family didn’t have Christmas movies.  We had TV specials.  The recollection of my dad sitting by the VCR, painstakingly taping The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is still one of my fondest holiday memories. And man, was he an expert at skipping commercials.  Everyone has seen the classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas, but my dad taped anything with a holiday theme…[CONTINUE READING]

12 Years A Slave (2013) – Powerfully Brutal

by Bill Tucker

There’s nothing more satisfying than when indie directors hit it big.  Previously known in art circles as an experimental filmmaker, McQueen first hit the feature scene with Hunger and made his second appearance with 2011’s Shame.  Although I had some harsh criticisms of the later, there was something unmistakable about McQueen’s skill and technique…[CONTINUE READING]

The Counselor (2013) – McCarthy + Scott = A Mishmash of Convoluted Nonsense

by Bill Tucker

When the trailer for The Counselor first hit the Internet, I was stoked.  All the ingredients were there:  a top Hollywood director in Ridley Scott, a script penned by the challenging Cormac McCarthy and a strong cast put it near the top of my “most anticipated” list.  But then the reviews came flooding in a barrage of hate. ….[CONTINUE READING]

Captain Phillips (2013) – Tom Hanks Delivers In This Harrowing Ocean Adventure

by Bill Tucker

When you think of pirates, it’s usually of the “yo ho ho” variety.  Skulls, crossbones, and shoulder hugging parrots spring to mind.  Feats of swashbuckling and adventure all in the name of elusive treasure.  Long the domain of Robert Louis Stevenson and Disney, most forget piracy is a serious threat in today’s economic climate.  Instead of sabres and flint lock pistols, the bad guys tote AK-47’s. …[CONTINUE READING]

Prisoners (2013) – A Solid Yet Uninspiring Emotional Thriller

by Bill Tucker

Personal confession time: I am not a fan of scary movies.  While some enjoy the jump scares of modern horror, I can’t mentally take it.  Creepy atmosphere?  Love it.  Knuckle biting tension?  Bring it on.  But if a bloody creature jumps out from behind a gravestone screaming “boogety, boogety”, I tune out.  I’ll tell my friends it’s more about the cheapness of the device and how it masks the difficulty inherent in creating genuine tension but that’s all fluff.  Truth be told, I’m a bit of a sissy Mary…[CONTINUE READING]

The Butler (2013) – An Uneven But Effective Reminder Of America’s Racial Past

by Bill Tucker

When you walk down the street, what do you see?  Cell phones and stop lights.  A Starbucks on every corner.  Maybe a bus.  Does it ever cross your mind that a half century ago, African Americans wouldn’t be welcome in that coffee shop?  Could be harassed and persecuted if they tried to vote in this month’s primaries?  Would have to sit in the back of the M72?…[CONTINUE READING]

The World Ends (2013) – A Boozy Bit Of Comedic Brilliance

by Bill Tucker

Remember a small indie flick entitled Shaun of the Dead?  If you don’t, stop reading this review, run to your streaming service of choice and give it a watch.  Yes, even if you’re at work right now.  The Weekly Rollup Report can wait.…[CONTINUE READING]

The Hunt (2013) – Mikkelsen Reigns Supreme

by Bill Tucker

In most mainstream movies, the line between hero and villain is clearly drawn. But what about the real world? In everyday life, the divide is blurrier. Aside from the occasional Al Queda crazy or gun totting Batman fan, there aren’t many mustache twirlers walking around. Despite the best efforts of Hollywood to keep things tidy for the summer blockbuster crowd, occasionally a foreign effort shines through. Cut to The Hunt, the latest film from Dogma 95 graduate Thomas Vinterberg. With a chilling story and a heart wrenching main character, The Hunt is not only the most emotionally striking film I’ve seen all year, it’s a lock for one of my Top 10 films of 2013.…[CONTINUE READING]

The Way Way Back (2013) – A Charming Carbon Copy Of A Modern Indie Classic

by Bill Tucker

In Fight Club, Edward Norton said, “With insomnia, nothing is real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.”  What he’s really talking about is the law of diminishing returns.  Whenever you create a duplicate of something, the result always degrades slightly.  The same goes for film.  Bela Legosi was terrifying in 1931’s Dracula.  A thousand vampire flicks later, not so much.  With shared actors, a similar “everyone grows” story arc and the same production team from 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine, The Way Way Back doesn’t have the fresh feel of its indie predecessor but still provides laughs and heartbreak in equal measure…[CONTINUE READING]

Man Of Steel (2013) – The “S” Stands For Stupid

by Bill Tucker

When faced with my first review for Pantheon Magazine, I was presented with a quandary.  What do I do for my first article?  Common sense would dictate something cool and arty, a film an audience of “godly good” fiction would react to and possibly want to go see.  So what do I review?  A comic book movie directed by the hack who made Sucker Punch.  Smooth move….[CONTINUE READING]

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