The Possession (2012) -vs- Boogeyman (2005)

August 30, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

The Possession: From the writing team and producer who brought you Boogeyman! No, not that Boogeyman, the other one. Yeah, okay, there’ve been a few, so we can understand your confusion. The 2005 Boogeyman! You know, the one with the kid from Seventh Heaven and Zooey Deschanel’s less annoyingly quirky sister? Yeah, that’s the one! Same folks!

And so ends my brief career of writing movie poster copy. But the point is, as you can see, The Possession, the new horror release from the producing shingle of the extremely busy and formerly cool Sam Raimi, comes with quite the pedigree. After Boogeyman (on which they share writing credit with Eric Kripke), screenwriting team Stiles White and Juliet Snowden would go on to pen such immortal classics as Knowing (2005) and The Proud Family Movie (2009). With The Possession, though, they return to their domestic horror roots, so what better way* to celebrate the closing of this vicious circle than with a good old-fashioned Smackdown? […]

Premium Rush (2012) -vs- Quicksilver (1986)

August 23, 2012 Eric Volkman

In honor of the recently completed Olympics, the Smack has expanded its competition facilities. That’s because today’s contest is better suited to the track than the ring; the two opposing films feature professional bicycle riders as lead characters.

In Lane 1 we have Premium Rush, an action/thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an intense bike messenger racing through Manhattan to thwart the machinations of a corrupt cop. In Lane 2 is Quicksilver, starring Kevin Bacon as an intense bike messenger racing through San Francisco in a drama that sees him get mixed up with a troubled young female colleague, a fellow messenger with financial problems, and a homicidal customer.

These bikes look awfully similar at first glance, so watch our contestants closely. Racers, take your marks… […]

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012) -vs- Foster (2011)

August 13, 2012 Sarah Harding

When I first saw the trailer for The Odd Life of Timothy Green, it seemed so quirky and original that I was surprised to learn it had a perfect Smackdown opponent waiting in semi-obscurity to face off against it. Foster, released in 2011 but only seen by a handful of people — most of them probably in London art houses — is so similar to Timothy Green in concept that I began to question the latter’s provenance. (As it turns out, Timothy is not a recast Yank version of Foster but an original script by director Peter Hedges, from a story by Ahmet Zappa, one of Frank’s kids.) Both films are gentle fairy tales that examine family relationships. Both involve children, who magically appear when they are most needed and manage to teach their troubled adoptive parents a thing or two about love and parenting. Both fathers are in jeopardy of losing their jobs, which the magical children in their lives are also able to help them address. And both are full of hokey life lessons, yet surprisingly are able to touch audiences in a genuinely heartfelt way. […]

The Bourne Legacy (2012) -vs- The Bourne Identity (2002)

August 9, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

Rumpled bureaucrats stand around a cramped room, surrounded by state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, barking orders at the underlings and whispering tensely among themselves as they watch a muscular super-agent and his female companion out-gun, out-run, out-fight and out-think them at every turn.

Where else could we be but Bourne again? (Sorry.)

Yes, that’s right, the lucrative franchise, loosely adapted from Robert Ludlum’s novels, that closed out its initial trilogy with (the now inappropriately titled) Bourne Ultimatum (2006) is back. The hooks for The Bourne Legacy are a mostly new cast, including lead actor, the screenwriter of all four taking over directing chores as well, and that other than the occasional photo, there’s not an actual Bourne in sight. […]

Hope Springs (2012) -vs- It’s Complicated (2009)

August 6, 2012 Caroline Levich

At my ripe young age of 20, I look to my favorite Hollywood movies to reaffirm my dream of falling in love with a flawless man who will whisk me off my feet, complete with a perfect wedding. We will grow old together, reveling in our joy, and telling the new 20-year-olds all the secrets to our perfect marriage. Sadly, It’s Complicated and Hope Springs are putting a bit of a damper on my life plan.

In David Frankel’s new film, Hope Springs (written by Vanessa Taylor), Meryl Streep plays Kay, a woman who finds herself 31 years into something that doesn’t quite resemble a marriage anymore. Back in 2009, Meryl co-starred as Jane Adler, a divorcee who tumbles into an affair with her ex-husband in Nancy Meyer’s It’s Complicated. After fully investing in these two films, I feel like my only options are to be an unhappy divorcee or an unhappy wife. Either way I’m unhappy — yet, either way I’m Meryl Streep, so I suppose I’ll be alright.
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Total Recall (2012) -vs- Total Recall (1990)

August 2, 2012 Eric Volkman

Welcome! Sit yourself in this chair and don’t worry when we strap your limbs down securely and tape electrodes to your head. There’s nothing to be worried about!

In the both of the Total Recalls we’ll be comparing in this review, a visit to such a patient’s seat launches a mind-bending sci-fi espionage adventure for the seemingly ordinary Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1990 original, Colin Farrell in the just-released update). Both big-budget movies unspool roughly the same story and feature plenty of slam-bang action, a nightmare vision of a bleak future, and not a little violence. They also play with the idea of implanted memory. Can we really be sure we’re truly experiencing the here and now? […]