Everyone knows, when you want something done right, you hire some unsuspecting schmuck to do it for you. Wait, thatâ€™s not how it goes. The bad guys in these two films are doing it all wrong, which is why this Smackdown includes, among other things, a competition for the title of undisputed laziest criminal in movie history. In one corner we have Dwayne, played by Danny McBride in the new comedy 30 Minutes or Less. In the other corner, Mr. Smith — no not that Mr. Smith; the one played by Christopher Walken in the 1995 thriller Nick of Time. These villains donâ€™t want to get their hands dirty, so each one scopes out his surroundings and picks out someone randomly to act on his behalf. […]
Maybe humanity won’t be #1 on Earth forever…
We’ve been used to being at the top of the heap pretty much since we picked up some stones and started making tools. But what’s going to happen if another species — real (like apes) or artificial (like robots) — gets the same idea? Fortunately, we have a couple of cautionary tales to consider that should give us pause before we get too cavalier.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the prequel to the re-boot of the ’60s-’70s franchise that started it all and sets out to answer the question that has always undermined the franchise: how would apes really pull this switcheroo with humankind off? With genomes being mapped and wonder drugs being tested at record speed these days, this is a film that was just begging to be made.
Back in the mid ’00s, however, I, Robot asked a different kind of question. Sparked by the breathtaking increase in computing power keeping pace with Moore’s Law or even Ray Kurzweil’s invocation of The Singularity, that question was: how much longer before these machines we built can think faster than us and what if they become conscious? […]
Everybody’s favorite high-concept film is back! The exclusive club for such cinematic touchstones as Vice Versa, 18 Again!, and Like Father, Like Son has a new member.
Is the notion of two likable 30-something guys who really aren’t that different switching bodies as lame as it sounds, or does the movie itself pull the ol’ switcheroo and actually work? Is the R-rated The Change-Up worthy of this respected family of films â€” most of which, in fact, are family films? […]
In Hollywood, America’s most beloved shark tank, nothing is more important than staying relevant. Singers can’t just sing; actors can’t just act. You’ve got to quickly become some sort of triple-threat, world-sensation or watch Hollywood unleash the sharks, which will do to you what they did to Aaron Carter (remember him?) or the Jonas Brothers (who?) as soon as their record sales started to fade. You know what they say: What goes up must come down, and all that matters is how entertaining the crash will be. […]
Two very funny men â€“ the co-creator/show-runner of one of the best sitcoms of the last two decades, and the writer/director/star of some of the best movie comedies of the previous two decades â€“ are sent to seemingly unfunny countries on the other side of the globe, both in hopes that their humor is universal enough to withstand translation and jump cultural boundaries, and both in for a series of surprises, disappointments, and comic adventures.
Phil Rosenthal’s documentary Exporting Raymond, a wise-ass chronicle of his consulting gig on the Russian version of his iconic, long-running show â€œEverybody Loves Raymond,â€ is now out on video (as of Aug. 2) after a brief theatrical run. Is it the exercise in whiny narcissism it probably sounds like? And more to the point, does it cover the same sort of gefilte-fish-out-of-water territory that Albert Brooks covered in his (fictional) Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2005)? Is this deja vu all over again?
Grab a bowl of borscht and a dish of saag paneer, and sit back and enjoy an international Smackdown about the wonderful universality of comedy. Or lack thereof. […]