The Road (2009) -vs- Testament (1983)

November 28, 2009 Bryce Zabel

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, “The Road” doesn’t even bother to really tell you what happened. All we know is that at 1:17am one morning, the sky lights up (bombs, asteroids?) and that’s all she wrote. This is the telling of two characters really, The Man (Viggo Mortenson) and the Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who are trying to walk their way to the coast, close to a decade after that Minute When Everything Changed. Things are bad all over. Most everyone is dead now, food is all but gone, the animals have died, too, same with the plants. The closest thing to civilization are bands of brutal survivalists and the most common form of human nature being expressed is cannibalism. Why distributors decided to release this film on Thanksgiving Day may go down as one of the most inexplicable calls in movie history. The book has legions of fans and I first experienced it as an audiobook which I listened to on a daily walk through our local green belt. I think of this film in the rhythm of walking but it gets in your head and the day after Thanksgiving Day I simply had to see it at the only local theater playing it.
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Public Enemies (2009) -vs- Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

July 7, 2009 Sherry Coben

Gangsters have occupied a rather over-elevated rung on the movie subject matter ladder since the first hand-cranked silents unspooled for the hungry hordes a century ago. Criminals lead such dramatic lives, so full of danger and tragedy and excitement that we naturally look to them for our movie myths and anti-heroes. We fantasize and fetishize these quintessential losers so dutifully that they continue to exude glamour and power some seventy-odd years past their reign of terror. Their Depression seemed more romantic, more photo-ready than our own, their poverty and hard times made picturesque by the passage of time. Criminal desperation and anarchic violence gets rendered literary and archetypal. So which film featuring the fall of which ill-fated bankrobber/lover makes the grade? Depp’s dapper Dillinger faces off squarely with Beatty’s Barrow.
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