Takers (2010) -vs- The Expendables (2010)

August 27, 2010 Mark Sanchez

Coming back to the Smack is always a pleasure — sometimes eye opening, often inspiring. So what do I get now upon my latest return match? The summer rot. Juvenile comedies, more people biting my neck, or killing me some other way. In a way, it’s like I never left. Two summer action releases prove my point. Takers just opened, showing there’s no honor among thieves but yes, a sense of fashion. And very messy. It’s bound to do strong business in this summer’s soft box office. The Expendables arrived earlier with lots of advance word about its well-known, if not well-acting, cast of movie tough guys. Both films are what they are, without apology or distinction. It presents a different kind of Smackdown: Are these movie retreads worth leaving the house? […]

The Switch (2010) -vs- The Kids Are All Right (2010)

August 23, 2010 Sherry Coben

It had to happen. Sperm Donor Dads: The Film Genre. Only slightly ahead of the zeitgeist culture curve, two relatively charming comedies duke it out for the hotly contested Smackdown title.

Mark Ruffalo’s shaggy roue blissfully ignorant seed guy of two (that we know of) takes on Jason Bateman’s neurotic and knowing father of one.

Lesbian moms Annette Bening and Julianne Moore up the ante just a bit on the A-List class-project The Kids Are All Right, and rom-com too-regular Jennifer Aniston depreciates indie-spirited The Switch a tad.

Jason Bateman plays Wally. Jennifer Aniston plays Kassie. With a K. That’s just about the most interesting thing about her. Wally loves her. He always has. But he’s her best friend. And her clock is ticking. And it would be too awkward to have a baby with her best friend. So — here comes the movie logic — hold onto your hats. She finds a married, too-good-to-be-true stranger and coaxes him into donating a cup of his best stuff. Not awkward at all. Are you with me so far? Because I know this sounds awful. But it’s not. Stuff happens to the stuff and paternity hijinks ensue. Here’s the thing though. You care. […]

Piranha 3D (2010) -vs- Jaws (1975)

August 20, 2010 Sherry Coben

It’s summer time. Moviemakers bring out the big scary guns, intent on keeping us onshore and nervous, haunted and thrilled by the wonders of the deep. Monsters keep us coming back to the movies, real and imagined. Aliens from outer space, vampires from Transylvania, toxically enhanced city stompers from Japan. But ah, every summer we turn to the wicked wonders of the briny deep. Jaws started the trend and revisited the franchise until it ran out of teeth. This summer, in a slight, vulgar, and goofy variation on the go-to deep-sea exploitation template, French scaremeister Alexandre High Tension Aja brings us hordes of CGI Piranha. In 3D no less. Thousands of them. Time to break out the big bucks for the funny glasses or catch the 35-year old classic on DVD again? Secure that teeny bikini top. Suck it in for that Speedo. We’re going to the Beach.

In the first few minutes, thousands of prehistoric piranhas are loosed from their prehistoric underworld by a seismic event. Scientists and lawmakers are dispatched. Chaos ensues. In their relentless search for blood and food, these hideous predators terrorize scores of silicone-enhanced Spring Breakers and the pinheads and lunks who writhe with them. Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue plays single mom Sheriff of Lake Victoria. (Lake Victoria’s Secret? A prehistoric lake underneath and not much clothing above water.) Ving Rhames plays her giant deputy. Jerry O’Connell has way more fun than we do playing a super-creepy, tweaking version of Girls Gone Wild’s perpetrator/creator Joe Francis. It’s a whole lot of fun seeing Christopher Lloyd and Richard Dreyfuss up on the big screen; one wishes they had some better material to sink their teeth into.
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Eat Pray Love (2010) -vs- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

August 14, 2010 Sherry Coben

I am not a thirteen year old boy. I do not read comics. Sorry. Graphic novels. I do not play video games. I am a dinosaur. Still, faced on Friday with a couple of hours to kill and choice of watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World or Eat Pray Love, I reflexively embraced my inner middle-schooler and turned my back on Oprah’s minions, setting the estrogen fest aside for a Saturday matinee.

Summer strikes me as the perfect time for stylish twaddle, and I enjoy defying expectations. (Not enough that I’d entertain the thought of seeing the meathead offering The Expendables.) I know that I’m the target for a movie about a middle-aged woman on a quest. Hell, I’m the effing bullseye on the target. Plus Julia Roberts is a bona fide movie star, and I love looking at that divine face on the big screen every chance I get.

On the other hand, Michael Cera is a guy who gets to star in movies, lots and lots of them, for reasons that don’t quite resonate for me. A little of Cera goes a mighty long way, and a lot of him wears super duper thin. One-trick ponies amuse and even delight the first few times they go through their paces, but eventually, the audience clamors for more. […]