American Hustle (2013) vs. The Informant (2009)

December 12, 2013 Arthur Tiersky

Who doesn’t love Matt Damon and Christian Bale?

(Okay, probably this guy doesn’t love Bale so much, and Minnie Driver still might be holding a grudge against Damon…But just go with me on this…)

And who doesn’t love when big stars like Matt Damon and Christian Bale ugly themselves up with bad hairpieces and weight gains and cheesy facial hair for a scruffy little indie role?

And who doesn’t love period offbeat indie comedies based on true stories in which the aforementioned uglied-up big stars like Matt Damon and Christian Bale play real-life dudes who started working undercover with the Feds to catch criminals, only to turn out to be unreliable and devious and driven by their own agendas?

And who doesn’t love when original mavericks of low-budget filmmaking like Steven Soderbergh and David O. Russell return to their indie roots and make…what I just said above? […]

Now You See Me (2013) vs. The Prestige (2006)

May 30, 2013 Arthur Tiersky

Magic. Now there’s a subject that, over the years, hasn’t gotten a great deal of cinematic attention. Reason being, one surmises, that magic acts need the immediacy of live (or at least taped live) performance to preserve their thrill… and if we’re being honest here, most of them don’t have that much thrill to preserve in the first place. So wouldn’t you know it, after humming along for so many years all but magic-free, in 2006, Hollywood not only coughs up two magic-themed movies within weeks of each other but two turn-of-the-century Europe magic-themed movies. (Now that’s a Smackdown!) […]

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) -vs- The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

July 19, 2012 Bryce Zabel

We’ve know it’s coming all year — a super heavyweight championship — and now it’s finally here in the beat-down heat of summer.

Fresh off the super-fan orgy at San Diego Comic-Con, we have the Sony 3D reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man against the third and final installment of Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises (July 20).

It’s Ali and Frazier. Well, technically, it’s DC and Marvel and Sony and Warner Bros. Oh, and Batman and Spider-Man.

These two awesome franchises — both successful with critics and hugely so at the box office — mean to fight it out in the cool, air-conditioned movie palaces of our globally warmed summer. […]

Title Fight Preview >> July 2012 >> Batman versus Spider-Man

February 27, 2012 Bryce Zabel

Initially, fans seem to be anxiously anticipating every frame of The Dark Knight Rises while lamenting the need for such a fast re-boot of The Amazing Spider-Man. But with every new trailer tease for Spidey it seems less-and-less like the Sam Raimi version, no matter how well-regarded, from 2002. Andrew Garfield, we think, will eventually be seen as a more faithful version of Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire ever was and that may make a big difference.

It’s probably a good bet that both films are going to be seen by almost everyone eventually but it may turn out that The Dark Knight Rises will be the one that gets the most “must-see-now” box office. […]

Terminator Salvation (2009) -vs- The Terminator (1984)

May 22, 2009 Mark Sanchez

The basic idea of mechanized death traveling through time to alter the future carried three feature films and a now-canceled TV series. All rework the storyline to emphasize different aspects of a familiar fable. They succeed to varying degrees and set a high bar for whatever follows.
“Terminator Salvation” faces tall tasks in this Smackdown!: Does it succeed as a film on its own merits, while advancing the memorable elements set forth in “The Terminator?” Will you hear “I’ll be back” and wonder why?
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