Deja Vu (2006) -vs- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

June 18, 2009 Bryce Zabel

If people from the future could travel back to the past, wouldn’t they have already done it? Would it be better to see into the past or into the future? Do they both exist simultaneously, along with the present, because time is relative to where you are? If you like these kinds of questions, we have a couple of films to really put your through Olympic-sized paces in the Suspension of Disbelief event. We’ve put a couple of major star vechicles in the in our time travel machine, both of them about scooting back through the years in order to change the future, both directed by major directors with reputations for getting the action up there on the screen. “Deja Vu” is the more cerebral — “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is the more literal — but both of them cause your brain to short-circuit if you think too much about twists-and-turns of time travel as they would have you believe it works. But this is an entertainment site, not a physics lecture, so let’s get to it.
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Angels & Demons (2009) -vs- The Da Vinci Code (2006)

May 16, 2009 Mark Sanchez

Both films serve up clues in much the same way those police procedural shows unpeel that onion on TV: One piece exposing another and another. This imposes a certain predictability to the storytelling structure, if not the outcome.
That convention doesn’t help “The Da Vinci Code” very much, although it tries very hard. The story plunges into arcane church history, obscure alliances, shady characters and wide ranging speculation. This movie desperately needed to ratchet back the mystery because it hampered the storytelling pace. Director Howard handles this gamely, even creatively, but his bench lets him down. Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou have their moments, but too often they are wooden together. So is the dialog. In spots the lifeless speechifying makes Hanks, a two time Academy Award winner, sound like he’s in “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”
Winning performances by McKellen, Bettany and Jean Reno as an obsessed police captain raise the interest level. So does the buzz surrounding “The Da Vinci Code” outside the theater.
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) -vs- Forrest Gump (1994)

December 25, 2008 Bryce Zabel

When “Forrest Gump” hit the theaters in 1994, it was a pure original: nothing quite like it had come before. Tom Hanks got the title role and basically hit it out of the park playing a man-child with an IQ of 75 who manages to be involved in every major happening in America between the 1950s and the 1980s. As directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film manages to move forward relentlessly in its narrative scope and, before it’s over, Tom Hanks has taught Elvis, made JFK laugh, been a hero in Vietnam, opened up China with his ping-pong skills, run across America and had a girlfriend die of AIDS. The bases are covered every which way but it’s Hanks’s dignified, down-to-Earth performance that sets it totally apart. It might be a comedy or a drama, I’m not really sure.
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Deep Impact (1998) -vs- Armageddon (1998)

August 22, 2008 Bryce Zabel

It’s the End of the World as We Know It. Back in 1998, during the Year of Lewinsky, Paramount/DreamWorks got into a game of chicken with Touchstone. The result was two disaster films about comets that were about to crash into the Earth and destroy all life. The two films could share a single log-line:

When a “planet-killer” sized comet is discovered to be on an imminent collision course with Earth, an international space effort — led by the United States — sets out to deflect the object by setting off nuclear weapons deep inside its core so that it will miss Earth and, therefore, save humanity.

I won’t tell you how the Earth fared yet, but I can tell you that the point of impact in the theaters was about two months apart. Talk about operational redundancy!

Even though Deep Impact was the first in the theaters, for our purposes, we’re giving the “Defending Champion” designation to Armageddon because it won at the box-office. Armageddon grossed $553-million world-wide to the Deep Impact gross of $349-million. Incredibly, IMDB (the Internet Movie Database) has it as a virtual tie with both films scoring a 5.9 out of ten audience rating. […]

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