- Man of Steel (2013) vs. Superman: The Movies (1978/1980)
- After Earth (2013) vs. Oblivion (2013)
- Now You See Me (2013) vs. The Prestige (2006)
- 42 (2013) vs. Remember the Titans (2000)
- Admission (2013) vs. About a Boy (2002)
- Oz the Great and Powerful (2012) vs. The NeverEnding Story (1984)
- Dark Skies (2013) vs. Dark Skies (1996)
- Oscar Wrap-Up 2013
- A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) vs. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
- Oscar Smack-a-thon!
- The Tiersky Top Ten, 2012
- Smackdown Smacks Down the 2013 Oscar Nominees
- Buy D3 Legendary Items on Brave (2012) -vs- Mulan (1998)
- Diablo 3 Inferno on Brave (2012) -vs- Mulan (1998)
- Rodney on Man of Steel (2013) vs. Superman: The Movies (1978/1980)
- Dan Heims on Man of Steel (2013) vs. Superman: The Movies (1978/1980)
- Mariely on Hope Springs (2012) -vs- It’s Complicated (2009)
- Chris Gagen on Deep Impact (1998) -vs- Armageddon (1998)
- phillip_k_skick on The Walking Dead (AMC) -vs- Falling Skies (TNT)
- Michael on Warrior (2011) -vs- The Fighter (2010)
- Arthur on Now You See Me (2013) vs. The Prestige (2006)
- Superman in the age of Disclosure | cika on Lois & Clark: The (Old) New Adventures of Superman
Category Archives: Romance
Even the most intelligent, wealthy, successful adults can be pretty clueless about raising kids. Think about the living hell these folks must endure — all that time, freedom and discretionary income on their hands, but no one for their inner children to play with! Luckily, in the world of producer/director Paul Weitz, there’s always a chance that a kid might unexpectedly enter their lives and rouse them from their self-absorbed, myopic, world view.
Weitz recreates the formula that worked so well in About a Boy in his new romantic comedy, Admission, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. Both movies have appealing stars playing characters who appear polished and competent on the outside, yet who are somewhat damaged and lost on the inside. In both, the protagonist’s world is shaken when a boy comes along to makes them question everything they hold dear. The experiences they go through cause them to change, which in turn causes the people around them to change as well.
Yes, I know, we could have put this operatic soon-to-be blockbuster, Les Miserables, up against any number of period musicals translated to movies, from The King and I to Sound of Music to Moulin Rouge. Or we could have matched it against any of the multitudinous other film adaptations of the Victor Hugo novel or even against the stage musical itself. Someone else with more academic credentials or film school training than we have can dissect those comparisons at another time. (If you can’t wait, there’s always Wikipedia.)
The thing is, as I watched and listened to the sincere musical emoting of the modern Les Miserables at a pre-release screening at the Pacific Design Center theater here in Hollywood, my mind kept trying to focus on the actual story. Namely, the convict Jean Valjean’s flight from the relentless Inspector Javert, who just won’t cut him a break, no matter how many good deeds he’s done or may still do if allowed his freedom. Continue reading
Comedy is a fragile thing, or so say the experts. One of the most delicate components to making someone laugh is the element of surprise. So what happens when the surprise is gone?
That’s the challenge for comedy sequels. The initial setup and the characters living in it have already been exposed to the audience. In order to even generate a sequel, the original had to be pretty widely seen. When the story is set around a family’s home life, filmmakers and audiences have to ask themselves the question that author Thomas Wolfe once famously answered in the negative: Can you go home again? Continue reading
The Smackdown “Two damaged, anti-social people find each other and fall in love” is not exactly an under-utilized premise for movies. The genre is actually pretty extensive, so much so that it would not be entirely inappropriate to wonder how … Continue reading
Life, as they say, is a journey, and that’s never so clear as when watching a life story unfold in the hands of a masterful film director. In Life of Pi, the voyage is both literal and symbolic, as the title character is forced to traverse the high seas under Grimms’ fairy tale-like circumstances that must be seen to be — well, if not believed, then at least experienced at a deep level. At the same time, the young, Indian lead character, a devoted spiritual seeker, undergoes an intense inner journey as well.
Slumdog Millionaire, the multi-Academy Award winning 2008 film, similarly explores a young, Indian’s life journey as he navigates the Dickensian streets of Mumbai, constantly relying on his wiles to survive, while also seeking love and, ultimately, fabulous wealth and the respect he deserves. Continue reading
Earnest young hero struggles to master a sport and is aided by a gruff and/or reluctant mentor. Yeah, we’ve seen it before, again and again, from Rocky to Hoosiers to Karate Kid. But there must be something we love about the formula, right? Something that speaks to the human spirit, embodied in a young athlete trying to rise above his limitations to achieve something greater than anyone thought possible.
Here, the sport is surfing, which means each of these two competing films, Chasing Mavericks, which premieres this weekend, and 1987’s semi-cult-classic North Shore, has the opportunity to inspire and humble us with nature’s awesome beauty. Of course, it’s just as likely that each might drive non-sports fans like me crazy by drowning us in a tidal wave of movie clichés. Continue reading
Just in time for fall, we are reminded, thanks to Hollywood, of everything we loved and hated about high school. Twenty-seven years after The Breakfast Club, the coming-of-age story of ﬁve students locked together in high school detention, The Perks of Being a Wallﬂower introduces us to Charlie, a freshman boy in dire need of friends. Both films use humor to examine the pain of being a high school misfit, an immutable movie (and real-life) trope since before James Dean played chicken in Rebel Without a Cause.
Charlie’s group, like the various Breakfast Club miscreants before them, break through seemingly impossible barriers to get to know each other and themselves, without even having to worry so much about being dateless for prom or being given a “swirly” — having their heads shoved into a flushing toilet — by the school bully. What is this madness! Continue reading
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… Continue reading
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.
Spring is a time of rebirth and new life, and what institution better embodies a new life than marriage? Well, probably divorce. Either way, spring is in the air here at Movie Smackdown, and we’ve got a major matrimony matchup to do battle—without even the benefit of a pre-nup.
The Challenger in this rom-com rampage is The Five-Year Engagement, premiering this weekend, with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt as the leads. Continue reading