Leave it to Movie Smackdown to throw two mythical film beasts at each other. The Dragons in this tale are the mighty Scandinavian monsters that have dominated the world of fiction for nearly a decade. Metaphors aside, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the first in a series of three mystery novels by the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson. […]
Our contest is strictly confined to the animal kingdom in this edition of Movie Smackdown. The creatures competing in the bout are Joey, the title character of the Steven Spielberg-directed War Horse, and the small dog/cat gang on a wilderness trek in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Despite the vastly different settings of the two (the trenches and no-man’s-land of World War I in the former and the California wilderness in Homeward), the two are both family friendly, featuring epic journeys aimed at reuniting beasts and masters. Hard work indeed, but the hardest is aheadâ€”competing against each other in this Smackdown. […]
This is not only a spy vs. spy, top-secret Smackdown, itâ€™s a battle pitting a storied author against himself. John Le Carreâ€™s compelling, plot-heavy novels have consistently provided raw material for movies since the mid-1960s, and if the budget of the latest adaptation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is any indication, that trend is likely to continue for longer than the duration of the Cold War. […]
Who would ever put the enduringly lovable Muppets in a boxing ring and have them fight their way out? Why, Movie Smackdown, of course. In this bout, the Muppetsâ€™ new, eponymous movie will trade blows with another showbiz-centered movie featuring Jason Segel and some puppet cast members (albeit in cameos), 2008â€™s Forgetting Sarah Marshall. […]
Our contenders here are hardened Los Angeles cops who come to the ring after years of battling gang-bangers, crooked politicians and their own evil instincts. Both these films were inspired by the LAPDâ€™s troubled Rampart division which, during the late 1990s pretty much set the bar for police misconduct, and also inspired the classic cable hit, The Shield. […]
Weâ€™re ditching our usual one-on-one combat for this Smackdown to bring you a tag-team match… actually, itâ€™s more like a Battle Royale â€” both our contenders feature stars playing more than one part. […]
The Smackdown You are advised to read this quickly! Time is running very, very short and we’ll all be dead soon. Thatâ€™s because in the worlds presented by this Smackâ€™s two contenders, all humans are […]
Every once in a while, we have a Smackdown decided purely on brain power and wit rather than muscle. Thatâ€™s the case with this edition, which pits the new baseball drama, Moneyball, against the Facebook origin saga, The Social Network. The heroes of both films, the Oakland Athleticsâ€™ intellectual general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) in the former, and hyper-ambitious computer wonk Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in the latter, are portrayed as iconoclastic eggheads introducing disruptive new concepts to their respective fields. […]
The gloomy 1970s were a good time for dark, bloody, man-against-tall-odds dramas. Two of the more successful movies in this genre were Phil Karlsonâ€™s cult classic Walking Tall and Sam Peckinpahâ€™s controversial (at the time, anyway) Straw Dogs. Now that we live in the Age of the Remake, over the last few years weâ€™ve inevitably gotten shiny new versions of both.
The two films feature loner protagonists, overmatched against hostile forces much better equipped to prevail in a fight. In the case of Walking Tall, Iraqi war vet Chris Vaughn (Dwayne Johnson, or â€œThe Rockâ€ to fans of his pro wrestling career) squares off against an evil casino owner and the minions heâ€™s been able to corrupt with his money. Meanwhile, nerdy Straw Dogs protagonist David Sumner (James Marsden) has to contend with a pack of violent rednecks including both Alexander Skarsgard (Zoolander, TVâ€™s True Blood) and the ever-volatile James Woods, either of whom would be a scary opponent all by himself. […]
Israel’s Mossad is one of the world’s most effective secret intelligence services. Its agents prowl the globe tracking any potential threat to their country, and keep their hands firmly on their triggers should it become necessary to kill in the name of national security. It’s an organization composed of smart and deadly secret operatives ready to give their lives to protect their nation. At least that’s what Mossad would have us believe.
Hollywood takes a more skeptical view. Are Israeli agents really so bloodless, calculating and effective? Possibly not. In both The Debt and Steven Spielberg’s expensive 2005 drama Munich, a Mossad team struggles with the practical and moral aspects of avenging an injustice done to their country and its people. Blood is spilled and punishments are delivered, but ugly complications ensue. […]