Nightcrawler (2014) vs. Zodiac (2007)

October 31, 2014 Arthur Tiersky

If we’ve learned anything over the years from movies about journalists, reporters and TV newspeople, it’s that theirs is a world of ethical and psychological pitfalls. One day, you’re an upstanding citizen doing your job, investigating and helping keep the public apprised of current events, and then, suddenly you’re Kirk Douglas in Ace in the Hole (1951), deliberately manipulating your story to create and prolong the media circus surrounding it. Or you’re Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote (2005), befriending a convicted murderer but privately rooting for his execution. Or you’re Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), ingesting so many intoxicants that you miss the story entirely. Or you’re Hayden Christensen in Shattered Glass (2003) and just flat out making shit up. […]

Broken City (2013) vs. City Hall (1996)

January 17, 2013 Arthur Tiersky

Ah, the ’70s. Now that was the golden era for New York City movies, am I right? (Just nod, youngsters.) You had the likes of Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet and Woody Allen, all at the top of their games, cranking out classics ranging from Taxi Driver to Dog Day Afternoon to Annie Hall to Mean Streets to Serpico to Manhattan, and even to a movie named New York, New York, which actually wasn’t very good, but my point stands, which is that New York’s best cinematic days are long behind us. Woody Allen is now essentially doing a movie for every city he’s ever visited outside of New York, Scorsese basically just does whatever he feels like doing at the moment, and Lumet… is not doing much at all these days, but he has a solid excuse. […]

Haywire (2011) -vs- Salt (2010)

January 19, 2012 Art Tiersky

“All you need for a film is a girl and a gun.”

– Jean-Luc Godard

Well, and film, I reckon, but Jean-Luc’s point is well taken, and this Smackdown brings us two movies that attempt to put it to the test.

In this corner, a comely mixed martial arts champion making her screen acting debut.

And in this corner…Screw it, you know her already.

Ding! […]

J. Edgar (2011) -vs- Hoffa (1992)

November 10, 2011 Sarah Harding

Jimmy Hoffa is arguably the most famous trade unionist in American history and for 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover was one of the most powerful men in the country. Both Hoover and Hoffa were iconic, controversial figures — at once hero and villain, both revered and reviled. […]

30 Minutes or Less (2011) -vs- Nick of Time (1995)

August 13, 2011 Ben Silverio

Everyone knows, when you want something done right, you hire some unsuspecting schmuck to do it for you. Wait, that’s not how it goes. The bad guys in these two films are doing it all wrong, which is why this Smackdown includes, among other things, a competition for the title of undisputed laziest criminal in movie history. In one corner we have Dwayne, played by Danny McBride in the new comedy 30 Minutes or Less. In the other corner, Mr. Smith — no not that Mr. Smith; the one played by Christopher Walken in the 1995 thriller Nick of Time. These villains don’t want to get their hands dirty, so each one scopes out his surroundings and picks out someone randomly to act on his behalf. […]

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009) -vs- The Boondock Saints (1999)

June 17, 2010 Rodney Twelftree

“All Saints Day” is a complete miasma, a disaster of film-making that will surely spell the end of Troy Duffy’s career, which was pretty much over prior to making the second film anyway. Instead of trying to take the MacManus brothers in a new direction, Duffy has rehashed the original film (even finding new ‘characters’ that can replace the old versions and hoping nobody will notice! Duh!) to the point where everything in “All Saints Day” is irrelevant.
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