Awake (NBC) -vs- Fringe (Fox)

April 30, 2012 Mark Sanchez

It’s the lucky ones among us who get the luxury of a “do over,” a chance to take the road less traveled. Poet Robert Frost isn’t the first person to actively wonder what lies on the other side of the life we’ve made. A pair of admired TV programs work that street of possibilities, although maybe not for long.

Let’s touch on the newer and more endangered series first. NBC announced Awake as a mid-season replacement for 2012. This is a cop show with a twist that marks it as a fresh entry in a tired, overplayed genre. Propelled by advance hosannas at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards, the series premiered on March 1 to more than six million viewers, but despite the healthy start, low ratings may put Awake to sleep before it gets a shot at Season 2. […]

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012) -vs- Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

April 27, 2012 Eric Volkman

Who needs humans for a Smackdown? In this bout, our contenders will be lumps of plasticine. England’s Aardman Animation has been entertaining audiences for years with its claymation shorts and feature films showcasing the studio’s fresh, imaginative brand of stop-motion animated comedy. Its most recent offering Pirates! Band of Misfits is a typically off-kilter, spoofish take on pirate movies, featuring an underachieving crew of buccaneers caught up in adventures at sea and onshore. […]

The Five-Year Engagement (2012) -vs- Runaway Bride (1999)

April 26, 2012 Ben Silverio

Spring is a time of rebirth and new life, and what institution better embodies a new life than marriage? Well, probably divorce. Either way, spring is in the air here at Movie Smackdown, and we’ve got a major matrimony matchup to do battle—without even the benefit of a pre-nup.

The Challenger in this rom-com rampage is The Five-Year Engagement, premiering this weekend, with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt as the leads. […]

Behind the Velvet Curtain at the Newport Beach Film Festival

April 26, 2012 Adam Gentry

The wide world of film festivals isn’t something a lot of people really know about unless they’ve gotten an up-close and personal introduction. I got mine during my last year of film school. See, I was background talent for a friend’s studio shoot when I met this guy who worked with the Newport Beach Film Festival and swore he could get us internships there. Taking him at his word, I drove out to the festival office, put in an application and was thrust into a world which has been a huge part of my life ever since.
[…]

The Three Stooges (2012) -vs- Dumb & Dumber (1994)

April 12, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

As a couple of neophyte writer-directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly began their careers with a broad slapstick comedy about two morons. Now, almost two decades later, the hugely successful sibling filmmakers have gone on to make a broad slapstick comedy about three morons. Thus, one can view their latest offering, The Three Stooges, as a return to their roots, a loving tribute to the immortal trio and the classic shorts that shaped their comedic sensibilities and served as inspiration for their Dumb & Dumber (1994) and practically everything that followed it.
[…]

American Reunion (2012) -vs- American Pie (1999)

April 5, 2012 Ben Silverio

In this matchup, the Movie Smackdown Arena has been converted into something that resembles the Iron Chefs’ Kitchen Stadium because we’re comparing an American culinary classic: Apple pie. Everyone loves a slice of warm, homemade apple pie, but which one is the best piece: the first or the last? If you ask Jim Levenstein, I think he’d say to just jump in headfirst and enjoy, but I wouldn’t recommend using the head that he did. […]

Title Fight, July 2012: Batman versus Spider-Man @ The Smack

April 4, 2012 Bryce Zabel

You know it’s coming — a super heavyweight championship — and it’s on for this summer.

Make your bets now in the mega-Smackdown between the SONY 3D re-boot of The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3) and the third and final installment of Warner Bros. The Dark Knight Rises (July 20).

These two awesome franchises — both successful at the box office as well as critically — mean to fight it out in the cool air-conditioned theaters of our globally warmed summer. Expectations for each are as high as they can get, particularly for the new Batman film but, increasingly, for the new take on Spider-Man thanks to some impressive trailers. Note that both are reboots. The Dark Knight Rises wraps up one three-film arc and The Amazing Spider-Man kick-starts another.
[…]