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Justin Stewart

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Bad Santa 2 Directed by Mark Waters Opens November 23 Bad Santa materialized like a toxic wind this time of year in 2003, but its genuine transgressiveness and nihilism were medicinal. This was before the Bad/Dirty boom, when it still felt kind of shocking to see an antihero alcoholic racist in a Santa Claus suit having sex with prostitutes in a major motion picture. It helped that it was helmed by something of an arthouse hero in...
Inferno Directed by Ron Howard Opens October 28 One-man conspiracy-spinning bestseller factory Dan Brown is back in theaters, which means the entire world is in danger, and the only man who can stop the destruction is, again, Tom Hanks, or rather his dogged Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon. Indefatigable professional Ron Howard returns to helm, following up The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009) with what has been hinted is the final installment. That...
Keeping Up with the Joneses Directed by Greg Mottola Opens October 21 It’s beginning to look like Greg Mottola may have expended his personal filmmaking ambitions with indie debut The Daytrippers (1996) and then 2009’s sublimely sensitive, witty and poignant Adventureland, from his own screenplay which felt like it plumbed Mottola’s personal nostalgia and heartache. Few movies of its kind have captured so many things so well, from the awkward desperation of bookish 19 year-old flirting, to...
The Sea of Trees Directed by Gus Van Sant Opens August 26 Whether in his maverick (Drugstore Cowboy, Last Days) or journeyman (Good Will Hunting, Milk) mode, Gus Van Sant can be counted on to deliver basic surface pleasures: handsome cinematography, pretty scores with tastefully selected needle drops, lucid storytelling. His unshowy but unmistakable signature elevated his last film, the transparently agenda-driven fracking procedural Promised Land, via such superficial (but not unimportant) touches. Although Mason Bates’s score...

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