Kick-Ass (2010) -vs- Mystery Men (1999)

April 21, 2010 Sherry Coben

“Kick-Ass” features winning and well-drawn characters engrossed in a complicated narrative full of revenge schemes, garden-variety venality, and grandiose dreams. The suspense gets punctuated with bursts of shocking violence and world-class movie-action, and somehow the high school domestic story somehow remains center stage. Kick-Ass keeps his high-school-nobody day job, and his friends, colleagues, and even his burgeoning romance all ring blissfully true. It’s a subtle mix set in a not-altogether convincing metropolis.
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Date Night (2010) -vs- The Joneses (2010)

April 14, 2010 Sherry Coben

“The Joneses” is about something important. I hesitate to explain much more than that, not wanting to spoil your fun. The film hasn’t been hyped, and if you hurry, you just might manage to see it without hearing much about the twists. Suffice it to say it’s super smart, ambitious, and it looks pretty darned good too. The cast is solid, and the ideas are sound. Moore looks absolutely amazing, and Duchovny delivers one of his surest performances ever. Simultaneously confident and vulnerable, they both play middle aged panic beautifully. The younger Joneses are played by fresher faces – the impossibly beautiful and occasionally naked (There. I’ve got your attention.) Amber Heard and heartthrob-in-training Ben Hollingsworth. Picture perfect as can be at first and even second glance, the reality behind the ideal reveals itself slowly and powerfully.
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Clue (1985) -vs- Murder By Death (1976)

April 7, 2010 Rodney Twelftree

Murder – The Ultimate Crime. Comedy – The Ultimate Genre. Therein lies the rub! Can you make a murder mystery into a successful comedy? After all, murder isn’t all that funny. “Murder By Death,” written by Neil Simon and directed by Robert Moore, was an homage to the great detectives of old, such as Charlie Chan, Sam Spade, Miss Marple, and others. “Clue,” directed by Jonathan Lynn and set in the world of the board-game Cluedo, tapped into the psyche of the 80’s and evolved into a slapstick styled comedic farce, driven by a star turn from Tim Curry. One is a sly indictment of detective clichés, the other, an innuendo ridden cliché of the genre itself: together, both these films represent the zenith of mystery comedy of their times. But which one is the better film? Lets turn off the lights, shine a torch up on our faces, and prepare to get utterly scared in this murder mystery showdown!!
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Greenberg (2010) -vs- The Squid and the Whale (2005)

April 3, 2010 Sherry Coben

In Baumbach’s modern day Los Angeles, the disconnect continues and the rift grows wider between people. Love seems somehow outside the realm of possibility. Shambling through the wreckage of these wasted emotional lives, all these lonely people don’t even remember intimacy, don’t even attempt it. Everything is casual here; cruelty and thoughtlessness, abandonment, miscommunication and missed messages the currency of exchange. These characters are unsentimental, unceasingly critical, derisive, detached and deadset on avoiding attachment; sex is so casual and unfulfilling that it loses all meaning and pleasure. These zombie people slide in and out of beds, marriages, town, abortions, without registering anything much but a dull ache where real pain ought to be. Always on the lookout for something better, these narcissists seek pleasure and find only numbing activity; they fill their days somehow, connecting fully only with their dogs. Never far from an answering machine or a computer screen or a cellphone, these lost souls are drowning in their loneliness.
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Clash of the Titans 3D (2010) -vs- Clash of the Titans (1981)

April 3, 2010 Mark Sanchez

This material is elastic, not sacrosanct, so cranking up the popcorn factor is not the worst thing. The new “Clash” serves up a new generation of actors you may not expect: Neeson and Fiennes and Sam Worthington (looking – with his buzz cut – like this flick could have been titled “Clash of the Avatars.” The computer generated effects give special life to the various creatures, the snake-haired Medusa and the world-killing Kraken. Ray Harryhausen is still watching movies at age 90. I think he’d be impressed with that, but not in 3-D. Honestly, the conversion is unsatisfying. It makes the compositions look like those crude cutouts on a 3-D postcard. If you enjoy this type of movie, save a few bucks and catch it in 2-D. James Cameron (“Avatar”) had it right all along: “If you want to make a movie in 3-D, make the movie in 3-D.”
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