Cloud Atlas (2012) vs. The Tree of Life (2011)

October 25, 2012 Eric Volkman

We at the Smack like a sprawling, epic movie about Big Themes as much as anyone else. So in this edition we’re throwing two big, brainy behemoths against each other in a ring-shaking Sumo contest.

In the challenger’s corner, weighing in at a few thousand pounds and nearly three hours in length, is a film so big it needed three credited directors: Cloud Atlas, essentially six movies in one, covering a range of genres, time periods and motifs. Our reigning champ is The Tree of Life, a thick, mood piece by Terrence Malick about a middle-aged man’s reflections on his upbringing and relationship with a tough, unhappy father. And, oh yeah, the origins of life and nature while we’re at it. […]

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011) -vs- I Love You, Man (2009)

March 12, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

You found him oddly endearing and admirably willing to completely embarrass himself on Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. You didn’t even recognize him as the sleazy lothario Jason in Knocked Up. You thought he was just fine in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, though the movie was kind of flabby. You haven’t seen The Muppets yet, and you just plain don’t watch How I Met Your Mother. […]