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. […]

Premium Rush (2012) -vs- Quicksilver (1986)

August 23, 2012 Eric Volkman

In honor of the recently completed Olympics, the Smack has expanded its competition facilities. That’s because today’s contest is better suited to the track than the ring; the two opposing films feature professional bicycle riders as lead characters.

In Lane 1 we have Premium Rush, an action/thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an intense bike messenger racing through Manhattan to thwart the machinations of a corrupt cop. In Lane 2 is Quicksilver, starring Kevin Bacon as an intense bike messenger racing through San Francisco in a drama that sees him get mixed up with a troubled young female colleague, a fellow messenger with financial problems, and a homicidal customer.

These bikes look awfully similar at first glance, so watch our contestants closely. Racers, take your marks… […]

The Watch (2012) -vs- Ghostbusters (1984)

July 26, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

Four buddies fend off an invasion of slimy, other-worldly creatures!

Yes, it’s been quite a while since Ghostbusters (1984) invented that recipe, so it’s about time that someone finally upda—

Wait… seriously? 1984? Twenty-eight years ago? Holy crap, I’m old.

Well, in any case, for those with fond memories of that great-granddaddy of big-budget, sci-fi comedies, and for all you teens and twenty-something youngsters out there who probably don’t even know what I’m talking about, we now have The Watch as an update on the formula, albeit with aliens instead of ghosts. That’s right, it’s our own little Monsters vs. Aliens Smackdown, and all we’re missing is Reese Witherspoon. (Seriously, I miss Reese Witherspoon. What the hell happened to her?) […]

The Dictator (2012) -vs- You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008)

May 14, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

Some movies take place in a world that we’ll call “comedy reality.” This is clearly not the real world, nor is it quite the anarchic spoof world of, say, Airplane! or Scary Movie, but it’s an unabashedly silly alternate reality — one in which a man can kick someone with both feet simultaneously, a fire can be doused with a hose full of hummus, and a cell phone can get left in a woman’s womb as she gives birth.

We come to you today from a different world, one of competitive film criticism, where two vaguely similar movies can wrestle each other for Smackdown supremacy! In today’s matchup, our opponents both feature beloved comedy stars playing arrogant and/or ruthless Middle Easterners who come to New York and are humbled and redeemed by hard work and a star-crossed romance. As everyone knows, you don’t mess with Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, but Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator is gonna give it a shot anyway… […]

Mad Men (2009-2007) -vs- Revolutionary Road (2008)

June 13, 2009 Mark Sanchez

In the age of instant communication, instant gratification looking back 50 years seems like a trip in the way-back machine. Many of us remember this as the time our parents scrambled to attain a level of security described by the catchall American Dream.
We tie this period before the Cuban Missile Crisis to hula hoops, fallout shelters, drive-in movies, TV dinners and American Bandstand. This was a time when people in the background –mostly men– worked overtime branding these cultural signposts as passports to the good life. This period matters. It directed the shape of many of our lives.
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