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 […]
The Smackdown It’s a horrible thing to be a horror filmmaker. You face decades of films that have abused and reused every gimmick, surprise, and twist to make audiences scream. Â Many “horror” films today are […]
(500) Days of Summer takes many of its cues from a certain New York filmmaker, making it similar to a pivotal movie in the entire rom-com genre, Woody Allenâ€™s Annie Hall. Maybe that’s what got the screenplay nominated this year by the Writers Guild of America.
What unites both films here is their exploration of male feelings. Yes — guy feelings — and not just lust. Both men have a desire to connect with a woman that goes beyond plugging into a sexual electric socket (although both celebrate first plug-ins, as it were), but really these guys want a relationship based also on meeting emotional needs as well as their romantic visions of love.
Here’s the Smackdown question: Has Annie Hall aged well enough to still hold onto its crown, or is it just an aging fighter, great in its day, but no match for the moves of a younger, better-trained opponent? Let’s go to the movies and find-out… […]
When I first saw it, I thought Little Miss Sunshine was a true original. Three years later, from several of the same producers, came another film shot in New Mexico, with a precocious kid in the center, Alan Arkin as the outspoken grandfather, a dysfunctional family that ultimately rallies around each other no matter how weird or hard it is, and the word “sunshine” in the title.
But Sunshine Cleaning is no clone and certainly no comedy. Still, it’s strong enough to step in the ring with the champion and throw a few hard punches of its own. Both are a breath of fresh air (well, the air in Cleaners can get a little putrid), because the only super-heroics are done by damaged people just trying to get by.
From a Dad’s point-of-view, Alan Arkin’s expert timing provides some of the comic high points for both films, and his soulful screen presence as family patriarch gives them heft. In Little Miss Sunshine, his social inappropriateness is more extreme and, because of that, more hilarious. But he’s funny in Sunshine Cleaning, too and, as in the earlier film, we can see that his comedic missteps are motivated by love for his family. […]
The Smackdown Since Cain and Abel, brothers have been letting things get out of hand. The conflict is biblical and filmmakers just can’t stay away from the chance to tie bad brothers and greed into […]
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 With 2008’s Bottle Shock and 2004’s indie darling Sideways, we have two films that put their respective audiences smack into the middle of the California wine growing scene. One is more about making […]
The Smackdown All over the country, kids savor the last gasp of summer and trudge back to school, looseleaf notebooks and lunch money clutched ever so tightly in their hands. Teachers meet and greet the […]
You gotta love a good ole’ fashioned fairy tale!
Despite centuries of far-fetched stories involving glass shoes that don’t shatter when you run down a flight of stairs and women who can sleep for a hundred years and not age a day (if only!), audiences still love to be swept off their feet with tales of romance, villainy, and happily ever after.
Today’s fairy tales are a twisted version of these Grimm stories, complete with cynicism, satire, sarcasm, and tongue-in-cheek delivery — like the Shrek films but with real actors. Penelope (2006) and Enchanted (2007) duke it out one fairy-tale stereotype at a time. […]