Me and Orson Welles (2009) -vs- My Favorite Year (1982)

November 30, 2009 Bryce Zabel

Given the long odds against success, everybody in show biz could use a mentor, somebody to teach them the ropes and send them on their way. In a perfect world those lessons are delivered with loving care and remembered fondly for a lifetime.

In the real world, they tend to be delivered in a way that leaves the mentee as dazed and confused by his/her collision with the mentor as you can imagine.

Either way, you learn, and we have two coming-of-age stories to drive the point home: 2009′s “Me and Orson Welles” versus 1982′s “My Favorite Year.”
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The Road (2009) -vs- Testament (1983)

November 28, 2009 Bryce Zabel

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, “The Road” doesn’t even bother to really tell you what happened. All we know is that at 1:17am one morning, the sky lights up (bombs, asteroids?) and that’s all she wrote. This is the telling of two characters really, The Man (Viggo Mortenson) and the Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who are trying to walk their way to the coast, close to a decade after that Minute When Everything Changed. Things are bad all over. Most everyone is dead now, food is all but gone, the animals have died, too, same with the plants. The closest thing to civilization are bands of brutal survivalists and the most common form of human nature being expressed is cannibalism. Why distributors decided to release this film on Thanksgiving Day may go down as one of the most inexplicable calls in movie history. The book has legions of fans and I first experienced it as an audiobook which I listened to on a daily walk through our local green belt. I think of this film in the rhythm of walking but it gets in your head and the day after Thanksgiving Day I simply had to see it at the only local theater playing it.
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The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) -vs- Twilight (2008)

November 25, 2009 Rodney Twelftree

In the battle of the varied mythological creations, Vampires have for centuries captured the imagination of people around the world. Novels, films, theatrical productions and poorly-decorated costume shops have enjoyed success based upon their existence, proven or not. Likewise the Werewolf, natural enemy of the Vampire, whose moonlit howl still sends a tremor down the back of even the most hardened myth-lover. Bringing these two epic creatures together in one film franchise has most of the female population of our planet all in a tizz. Why? Are the men they encounter in the real world really that bad?
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The Blind Side (2009) -vs- Hoosiers (1986)

November 21, 2009 Mark Sanchez

We cheer as Eliza Doolittle becomes My Fair Lady and when The Soloist Nathaniel Ayers recovers himself through music. Along the way the facts blur that one movie is based on a true story, the other is fiction since both say something meaningful about beating the odds and personal redemption. Sometimes the distinctions don’t matter and sometimes they do.
Few people beat longer odds than Michael Oher, whose life story (the biggest parts) is the heart of The Blind Side. The marketing promos emphasize Sandra Bullock as a comedic southern fried Pollyanna, but not the throwaway kid whose real life – off the football field, and on – gives this material its backbone. It’s a story where the distinctions matter.
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Pirate Radio (2009) -vs- Love Actually (2003)

November 13, 2009 Rodney Twelftree

Love, or something like it, is in the air. And British director Richard Curtis seems to want us all to know about it. His penchant for films featuring multiple story-lines and a vast array of characters is well documented, especially with the two films featured today. So with the release this week of “Pirate Radio” across US cinema screens, we thought we’d put Curtis’s latest up against one of his classics.
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