Micmacs (2009) -vs- A Very Long Engagement (2004)

June 28, 2010 Sherry Coben

An intensely visual director, Jeunet’s imagery remains consistently fresh and breathtakingly original, his fabulous fabulist’s palette uniquely his. Jeunet films have the urgency and half-remembered quality of dreams as they unfold. These tales exist in a rarefied and occasionally twee universe, timeless and with a winsome sense of fun and tricked-out grown-up child’s play even when the underlying subject matter gets serious. The subject at hand is war, and let’s just state the obvious up front – Jeunet’s against it.
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Surrogates (2009) -vs- Gamer (2009)

June 28, 2010 Rodney Twelftree

Would humanity be better off if we all plugged into an artificial reality where our dreams, nightmares and fantasies can come true? In a strange way, both “Surrogates” and “Gamer” attempt to explore that question. With vague flashes of “Minority Report,” “The Matrix” and “I, Robot,” “Surrogates” plugs us into a bizarre world lived through robotic versions of ourselves, while “Gamer” answers the new-age-old question of what life would be like if we could live inside a video game vicariously, through actual people. Both films question our belief that fantasy would be better than reality, but which one does it more successfully?
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Toy Story 3 (2010) -vs- Toy Story 2 (1999)

June 18, 2010 Sherry Coben

Daring escapes and rescues are the linchpin of the series; the boundless imagination of children inspires the animators and screenwriters to expand the possibilities of play. The organic extension of pretend and our willingness to suspend any disbelief provide endless delights. As a child, I believed my toys shared a completely full and separate life that occurred in my absence or during my sleep. Perhaps the film’s true magic lies not in suspending disbelief but rather in the extending that simple and universal childhood belief that our toys are alive, that the toys we call our own love us back.
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The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009) -vs- The Boondock Saints (1999)

June 17, 2010 Rodney Twelftree

“All Saints Day” is a complete miasma, a disaster of film-making that will surely spell the end of Troy Duffy’s career, which was pretty much over prior to making the second film anyway. Instead of trying to take the MacManus brothers in a new direction, Duffy has rehashed the original film (even finding new ‘characters’ that can replace the old versions and hoping nobody will notice! Duh!) to the point where everything in “All Saints Day” is irrelevant.
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Get Him To The Greek (2010) -vs- Almost Famous (2000)

June 6, 2010 Sherry Coben

The world is getting worse. I realize that my perception is colored by my advancing age and my own inevitable glorification of the halcyon days past, but I think it’s also true. The world is less civilized, less kind, less gentle, and the vulgarization of popular taste is either an unhappy result or partial cause of the precipitous downslide. Judd Apatow’s films capture something in the culture that grates on me; they have heart, but they also try to deliver on a boyish crudeness, an acceptance of careless behavior with little to no consequence. It’s the having it both ways that rankles so much; I would pay no attention to these films at all if they didn’t try so hard to be sweet. But the sweetness is buried in so much profanity and offensiveness; not liking these films makes me feel like a prude, and that’s not a feeling I enjoy. I don’t think I’m being a prude when I object to portraying heroin use and trafficking as a comic convention; there’s nothing funny about forcing an employee to shove a baggie of heroin up his ass while in line at an airport. I’m sorry. That’s not okay with me. The fact that the movie makes that incident not just okay but just another story beat in its salacious, bawdy, saucy naughtiness concerns me. Forcing that same someone to use a cocktail of drugs including meth and heroin strikes me as even more appalling. Making light of such drug abuse is just plain wrong.
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