The Master (2012) -vs Hard Eight (1996)
Crime

The Master (2012) vs. Hard Eight (1996)

September 15, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

A seemingly wise, benevolent middle-aged figure adopts a temperamental loser as a surrogate son of sorts, resulting in a lengthy, complicated and volatile relationship. This is the main basic storyline for at least two of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s six features, including his debut Hard Eight (1996) and his latest release, The Master, not to mention one of the dozen or so plot threads in his cult-classic porn epic, Boogie Nights (1997). Father-son relationships also dominate his one-day-in-the-Valley omnibus, Magnolia (1999), and his previous effort, the one-of-a-kind oil saga, There Will Be Blood (2007).

What we’re getting at here, then, is that however much he’s advanced as a filmmaker over the years, the dude’s evidently still got some daddy issues. But how much has he advanced as a filmmaker? It’s a first-vs.-last Smackdown today as we reach all the way back to the mid-90’s to find a movie brave enough to face down this highly anticipated newcomer. […]

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) vs. Psycho (1960)
Drama

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) -vs- Psycho (1960)

June 25, 2012 Jonathan Freund

The horror, the horror. It’s Hannibal the Cannibal and Not-Yet-Agent Starling from the Oscar-sweeping Silence of the Lambs vs. Norman Bates and the Crane Sisters in the Hitchcock masterpiece that put the word Psycho into the pop vernacular.

In addition to their enduring popularity in film schools and on screens of all sizes, these two classics of high-end terror have an astonishing amount in common. One has creepy taxidermy, while the other has creepy butterflies. Both borrow elements from the crimes of real-life serial killer Ed Gein; both, based on popular novels, were departures of sorts for their directors; both feature female protagonists who become objects of judgmental and voyeuristic males. Both films deal with disturbing memories of a dead parent. Both set their climax in a killer’s cobwebbed basement. And both feature immortal villains played by actors named Anthony ___kins in unforgettable big-screen performances. […]

Tower Heist (2011) -vs- Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Action

Tower Heist (2011) -vs- Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

November 4, 2011 Mark Sanchez

Everyone likes seeing David whip Goliath, especially these days, with people absorbing the emotional toll of a tanking economy, with limited prospects for recovery. At times like these, we all become like Network’s Howard Beale, shouting, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Why else does Occupy [your city here] keep rolling? […]