The Smackdown. Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers. Three of Americaâ€™s very Coolest filmmakersÂ have traded in their hip cachet for projects so unhip they might just be coolerÂ than cool. The Coen Brothers go-go back to […]
Given the long odds against success, everybody in show biz could use a mentor, somebody to teach them the ropes and send them on their way. In a perfect world those lessons are delivered with loving care and remembered fondly for a lifetime.
In the real world, they tend to be delivered in a way that leaves the mentee as dazed and confused by his/her collision with the mentor as you can imagine.
Either way, you learn, and we have two coming-of-age stories to drive the point home: 2009â€²s â€œMe and Orson Wellesâ€ versus 1982â€²s â€œMy Favorite Year.â€
In the battle of the varied mythological creations, Vampires have for centuries captured the imagination of people around the world. Novels, films, theatrical productions and poorly-decorated costume shops have enjoyed success based upon their existence, proven or not. Likewise the Werewolf, natural enemy of the Vampire, whose moonlit howl still sends a tremor down the back of even the most hardened myth-lover. Bringing these two epic creatures together in one film franchise has most of the female population of our planet all in a tizz. Why? Are the men they encounter in the real world really that bad?
Both films adapt difficult and brilliant works of childrenâ€™s literature and manage to exceed any expectations, evoking and exploring themes only hinted at in the original texts. Both films achieve a technical excellence and rare beauty that thrills and ignites our passion for storytelling on the silver screen. Both films accurately capture the complicated and often overlooked dark sides of childhood; adults see what they want to see and recall what they want to recall. Children can seem to them simplified little people, easy to control. Children feel their feelings deeply and powerfully though; the less they are seen, the more powerfully they ache to be seen clearly. Attention deficit is the usual diagnosis when children misbehave; children want to be seen and heard and attended.
Roller derby is just one level up from the fake world of professional wrestling, but it’s still a real world. “Kansas City Bomber” isn’t as slick as its competition here, but it feels more real. Do teams really exist in Austin, Texas the way “Whip It” says? Probably not. Ellen Page is good as always, but she feels slight and miscast, seeming like someone who wouldn’t make it five minutes in the world of Raquel’s sport. And, speaking of Raquel, it’s the role of her career. She’s athletic, sexy, aggressive. Before you dismiss it, the uniforms in “Whip It” are far more teasing than anything in “Kansas City Bomber.” When it comes to physical action, it’s done better in “Kansas City Bomber.” Actresses in both films learned to skate, but it was Raquel who played it hard and rough, doing most of her own stunts and breaking her wrist in the process. On the other hand, “Whip It” has Kristen Wiig playing the Raquel single-mom role and she’s awesome.
The Senior Year Do-Over Movie has been done, if not to death, definitely to the point of critical exhaustion. Clearly, itâ€™s an idea that attracts actors and studios and screenwriters and even audiences, and apparently it needs updating every couple of years. â€œ17 Againâ€ is in theaters filled with wide-eyed eleven year old girls and their moms, teenagers in cliques, all pining/lusting for the lead, and it seems only fitting that once again, a Zac Efron vehicle goes toe to toe with cinema giant Francis Ford Coppola who conveniently for our purposes directed the little 1986 chestnut â€œPeggy Sue Got Married.â€ Countless other do-over films deserve a critical once-over, but symmetry demands this particular smackdown rematch. Efron vs. Coppola – The Do-Over. Let the smacking begin.
Childhood friendships can last a lifetime and have profound consequences. Both Slumdog Millionaire and The Kite Runner tell sweeping stories in the lives of two boys — a set of brothers in the former and a set of friends who act like brothers in the latter. They use narratives that cut back-and-forth across time, forcing them to use multiple sets of actors to portray their characters as boys turn to men. The contemporary story lines are deepened by the children’s experiences we see in flashback. Both films started as novels, force viewers (English-speaking ones anyway) to read a few subtitles and share settings — India and Afghanistan — that have been scarred by terrorism as deeply as the United States. And even though Slumdog Millionaire is assured of a “Best Picture” Oscar nomination this year (and currently, is the odds-on favorite to win), it’s still going to have to hold off The Kite Runner to win this Smackdown… […]
The Smackdown I love Australia. I love their cute marsupials and their adorable accents. I especially love Australian films so you can just imagine how fast I ran down to the nearest multiplex to see […]
The Smackdown Teenaged girls are a force to be reckoned with. Like tsunamis and hurricanes. Oh sure, industry wisdom has it that teenaged boys go to the movies; they’re the prime target audience. Anyone who […]