Easy A (2010) -vs- Election (1999)

September 19, 2010 Sherry Coben

Smart women are as rare on film as they are in life. Rarer even. Smart high school girls might be the rarest cinematic species of all. You can count them on your two hands. Cooler and wittier than any real girl in any real high school, they’re who we wish we could have been. The girls who say what we wish we had said. Smart girls who use their smart mouths to get into (and out of) considerable trouble. The adults in these films are unspeakably cool too; perhaps this whole smart high school girl genre is for us grown-up girls (and guys) who revisit our high school hallways every night in our dreams and nightmares, still trying to dot those old i’s and cross those uncrossed t’s, to redress grievances and beat down those bullies that haunt us still.
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The Town (2010) -vs- Gone Baby Gone (2007)

September 17, 2010 Mark Sanchez

It rained this week in my hometown, Portland. Cooler now, leaves reddening, a change in the air. And a change in the movie-house. Summer’s over: The kids are back in school, the screen parade of teenagers with attitude and those tedious comedies about losers outta control have let up, for now. Good. As adults our fantasies are different, perhaps more character-driven. Mine are. That’s why it’s great seeing The Town arrive. It marks the follow up to Ben Affleck’s remarkable directorial debut in “Gone Baby Gone.” Flawed people, extreme actions and Boston seen with an eye for the small, telling details. Here we have vivid stories, similiar in texture if not in details, and the writing / directing touch of Ben Affleck. That’s our Smack. Is it enough to forgive and forget Gigli? […]

Going the Distance (2010) -vs- Swing Time (1936)

September 4, 2010 Sherry Coben

Money’s tight. Jobs are hard to find. Relationships disappoint. Such is the world as we know it. You say recession, I say depression. Let’s call the whole thing off. We go to the movies to forget our troubles, to drown our sorrows, to watch others make sense of this whole sorry mess. Romantic comedy provides a welcome refuge, a few hours in the welcoming darkness where we can rest pretty well assured that no one will die and nothing untoward will befall our hero and heroine, safe in the knowledge that they’ll wind up together at the end no matter how tangled the web of misunderstandings, regardless how high they stack the hurdles. We sit and wait for our happy ending and return again to our little lives at the end, sated and ready for the mundane and the stress life hands us. […]

The Last Exorcism (2010) -vs- The Exorcist (1973)

September 3, 2010 Mark Sanchez

Sometimes nothing is more than something. That truth is writ large this summer on the walls at the cineplex. So, Bryce searches the skies for UFOs, Sherry waits for something romantic, and I have time on my hands heading into the holiday weekend. Yikes. The Last Exorcism (I only wish) promises a scary ride about demonic possession and failed faith. It comes freighted with anticipation from producer Eli Roth (Hostel I & II) but this train comes in light, especially for audiences expecting to have their pants scared off. Or a less obvious touch. Nobody said this would be simple, or pretty. That’s why this Smack smells like a mismatch: Does The Last Exorcism stand a puncher’s chance against a double Oscar winning flick that really delivers the goods, The Exorcist? Swing away. […]