Captain Phillips (2013) vs. United 93 (2006)

October 10, 2013 Lynda Karr

What does Paul Greengrass have against public transportation anyway? In both United 93 and his new film, Captain Phillips, Greengrass puts the fear of God into anyone about to take a flight or sail on a cargo ship. And that’s not to mention the vehicles that come under assault in his Jason Bourne movies.

Greengrass got his start in horror and then documentaries, and those early skills are in ample evidence here. In the celluloid world of Paul Greengrass, clench your fists and swallow hard, because good guy or bad, the characters are very human, and you’re about to go through hell with them. As they make preparations for the day ahead, maybe planning a trip, going to work or saying a prayer, the scenes build on one another, and the ordinary grows more and more ominous. […]

The Drop: What’s New in Theaters, Disc and Digital? 10-4-13

October 4, 2013 Lynda Karr

Check The Drop to see what’s new in theaters, disc and digital each week. Click below for theater showtimes. If you’d rather stay home, check out Armchair Smack, where we suggest alternatives to each week’s theatrical releases. Choose one or see both, and then Smack us in the comments section below and let us know how they compare. […]

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) vs. Finding Neverland (2004)

October 1, 2013 Sarah Harding

Ah, the holiday season. What better time to take in a couple of films brimming with magic, wonder and childlike innocence? Especially when one whitewashes the story of a Machiavellian anti-Semite who played a role in the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s, and the other glosses over some nasty allegations of pedophilia?

Of course, our two Smack opponents have more in common than just some behind-the-scenes ugliness. Both the newly released Saving Mr. Banks and Finding Neverland, a holiday offering from 2004, are also lovingly crafted odes to the transformative power of the imagination. Each sheds light on the creation of a brilliant and enduring children’s story, illustrating how the authors’ unhappy personal lives ignite their work. And both succeed so well on their own terms that they can be forgiven for their historical oversights. […]

Don Jon (2013) vs. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

September 26, 2013 Arthur Tiersky

So adorable little Tommy Solomon from 3rd Rock from the Sun is all grown up and is now not only a major movie star but a writing/directing/acting triple threat! This can mean only one thing:

I’m very, very old.

Okay, it can mean more than one thing, such as that the intrepid Joseph Gordon-Levitt is once again stretching his boundaries, bringing him yet another step closer to being King of the Universe. I’ve been a fan of his film work from early on, after he delivered one fearless, commanding and utterly diverse performance after another in the likes of Mysterious Skin (2004), Brick (2005) and The Lookout (2007). Terrific films all, incidentally, which reflects another aspect of JGL that can’t be overstated: The guy has good taste in scripts. Even his more mainstream, bigger-budget projects are a cut above average: He lent valuable support to Inception (2009) and Lincoln (2012), held the center of Looper, one of last year’s highlights, and even his goofy bike-messenger thriller Premium Rush (2012) was way more fun than it had any right to be. […]

Rush (2013) vs. Grand Prix (1966)

September 26, 2013 Bob Nowotny

If there’s anything more viscerally exciting than watching Formula 1 auto racing, it’s got to be seeing a great movie about Formula 1 auto racing. The thrill of victory, the agony of premature hearing loss – it’s all there, along with the life-threatening danger, the prestige, and the beautiful women lurking like speed-bumps behind every hairpin turn.

Trouble is, making a great film on this subject is an extremely challenging enterprise. For one thing, F1 is relatively unknown in the United States. There have been very few American drivers, and all of the exotic, outrageously expensive cars are made overseas. For decades, the gold standard for auto racing films was set by visionary director John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix, which follows a fictional set of characters during the 1967 F1 season and which thrust James Garner’s impressive early career to an even higher level.

With the maturation of computer graphics and the changing economics of the movie business, which depends more and more on overseas box office, director Ron Howard’s Rush is poised to challenge Grand Prix’s 45-year lead on the Smackdown track. Can Howard’s brand new, true story Rush score the victory? Or does James Garner’s fictional battle for the F1 Championship still have the winning formula?
[…]

The Drop: What’s New in Theaters, Disc and Digital? 9-20-13

September 19, 2013 Lynda Karr

Check The Drop to see what’s new in theaters, disc and digital each week. Click below for theater showtimes. If you’d rather stay home, check out Armchair Smack, where we suggest alternatives to each week’s theatrical releases. Choose one or see both, and then Smack us in the comments section below and let us know how they compare. And don’t forget about the Emmy Awards on Sunday night.

New in Theaters:

Click for showtimes in your area. […]

The Drop: What’s New in Theaters, Disc and Digital? 9-13-13

September 13, 2013 Lynda Karr

Check into The Drop for your Friday the 13th viewing. Here’s what’s new in theaters, disc and digital each week. Click below for theater showtimes. If you’d rather stay home, check out Armchair Smack, where we suggest alternatives to each week’s theatrical releases. Choose one or see both, and then Smack us in the comments section below and let us know how they compare.

What will you view this weekend? […]

The Drop: What’s New in Theaters, Disc and Digital?

September 6, 2013 Lynda Karr

Make The Drop your one stop to plan your weekend. See what’s new in theaters, disc and digital each week, and click below to get showtimes. Want to stay home? Check out Armchair Smack, where we suggest alternatives to each week’s theatrical releases. Choose one or see both, and then Smack us in the comments section below and let us know how they compare.

What will you view this weekend? […]

The Drop: What’s New in Theaters, Disc and Digital?

August 30, 2013 Movie Smackdown

Don’t plan your weekend until you’ve visited The Drop! See what’s new in theaters, disc and digital each week. Not excited by the new releases or don’t want to get out of your pajamas? Armchair Smack is for you. We suggest alternatives to each week’s theatrical releases. Choose one or see both and then Smack us in the comments section below and let us know how they compare.

What will you view this weekend? […]

Lovelace (2013) vs. The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)

August 8, 2013 Arthur Tiersky

Did you know that some of the top sex symbols of our time started out as ordinary, innocent girls with perfectly wholesome upbringings?

You did?

Oh, well, did you know 1940s and ’50s fashions were really smokin’, and ’70s fashions were utterly hideous?

Yeah, of course you did.

Okay, but did you know how good Gretchen Mol and Amanda Seyfried look naked?

Aha! Now I’ve got your attent— […]

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