Tag Archives: Matt Damon

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

American Hustle vs The Informant
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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? Continue reading

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Skyfall (2012) vs. The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Skyfall (2012) vs Bourne Legacy (2012) | Bond and Bourne

Two determined superspies, two venerable movie franchises. The more venerable one, James Bond – by some standards, the longest-running film series in history – fattens its library this weekend with the release of Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, who plays the suave secret agent for only the third time. Fighting in the defending champ’s corner is The Bourne Legacy, featuring a lead character so new, he’s not even named Bourne. Jeremy Renner plays the genetically enhanced secret warrior Aaron Cross, outrunning various government creeps who are trying to assassinate their own man to protect their black-ops program. Continue reading

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The Bourne Legacy (2012) -vs- The Bourne Identity (2002)

Bourne Legacy (2012) -vs- Bourne Identity (2002)

Rumpled bureaucrats stand around a cramped room, surrounded by state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, barking orders at the underlings and whispering tensely among themselves as they watch a muscular super-agent and his female companion out-gun, out-run, out-fight and out-think them at every turn.

Where else could we be but Bourne again? (Sorry.)

Yes, that’s right, the lucrative franchise, loosely adapted from Robert Ludlum’s novels, that closed out its initial trilogy with (the now inappropriately titled) Bourne Ultimatum (2006) is back. The hooks for The Bourne Legacy are a mostly new cast, including lead actor, the screenwriter of all four taking over directing chores as well, and that other than the occasional photo, there’s not an actual Bourne in sight. Continue reading

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Hereafter (2010) -vs- The Sixth Sense (1999)

Hereafter -vs- Sixth Sense

I don’t think about dying as often as, say, Woody Allen, but I think about it often enough. Mostly I think I am not in favor of it. On the other hand, considering the differences of opinion about what happens after this part of life is over, maybe the Big Black Void would be okay.

Our two films both have considerably different takes on the afterlife. To say the least. But, like all films in this genre, it’s not what they’re saying about what comes next that’s the big deal, it’s what they’re saying about the here and now.

Clint Eastwood’s new movie, Hereafter, ventures through that thin membrane separating the living from the dead. Director M. Night Shyamalan staked out a notable career in this territory, most notably with 1999′s well regarded The Sixth Sense. That’s our Smackdown: If dead people can communicate with us, what are they saying about these movies? Continue reading

Posted in Drama, Supernatural, Suspense | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Green Zone (2010) -vs- The Hurt Locker (2009)

Green Zone -vs- The Hurt Locker

It’s not a good time for the American occupation of Iraq. The news from “over there” is that the followers of Moktada al-Sadr, the radical cleric who led the Shia insurgency against the American occupation, have emerged as Iraq’s equivalent of the 1994 Republican Party. Meanwhile, back in the United States, Americans voted about Iraq, too, refusing to give “Green Zone” any mandate whatsoever. And, keep in mind that the other Iraq film that just won the Best Picture Oscar, “The Hurt Locker,” basically was one of the worst-peforming winners in that category ever. Maybe it’s just the hot button political sensitivities, war-weariness, or that it is simply “too soon.” Other critics can decide that, however, because here at the Smack, we simply want to know which film about the Iraq War gets it most right, box-office be damned!
Continue reading

Posted in Action, Awards, Beau DeMayo, Drama, Major Star Vehicle, Oscar, Politics, Thriller, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments