Les Miserables (2012) vs. The Fugitive (1993)

December 24, 2012 Bryce Zabel

Yes, I know, we could have put this operatic soon-to-be blockbuster, Les Miserables, up against any number of period musicals translated to movies, from The King and I to Sound of Music to Moulin Rouge. Or we could have matched it against any of the multitudinous other film adaptations of the Victor Hugo novel or even against the stage musical itself. Someone else with more academic credentials or film school training than we have can dissect those comparisons at another time. (If you can’t wait, there’s always Wikipedia.)

The thing is, as I watched and listened to the sincere musical emoting of the modern Les Miserables at a pre-release screening at the Pacific Design Center theater here in Hollywood, my mind kept trying to focus on the actual story. Namely, the convict Jean Valjean’s flight from the relentless Inspector Javert, who just won’t cut him a break, no matter how many good deeds he’s done or may still do if allowed his freedom. […]

Lincoln (2012) vs. Thirteen Days (2000)

November 8, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

You’ve heard about all the Kennedy/Lincoln coincidences by now. Some of them are even true. But did you know that Kennedy and Lincoln both have had movies made about pivotal moments in their presidencies? Yeah, I guess you probably did know that. The long list of movie Lincolns includes such notable stars as Henry Fonda, Walter Huston and now, in Steven Spielberg’s new film, Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis, while Kennedy has been assayed by, among others, Cliff Robertson, James Franciscus and Bruce Greenwood, who played our youngest President in the true-to-life political thriller, Thirteen Days.

But did you know that I just happened to watch both Lincoln and Thirteen Days in the same week? […]

Hope Springs (2012) -vs- It’s Complicated (2009)

August 6, 2012 Caroline Levich

At my ripe young age of 20, I look to my favorite Hollywood movies to reaffirm my dream of falling in love with a flawless man who will whisk me off my feet, complete with a perfect wedding. We will grow old together, reveling in our joy, and telling the new 20-year-olds all the secrets to our perfect marriage. Sadly, It’s Complicated and Hope Springs are putting a bit of a damper on my life plan.

In David Frankel’s new film, Hope Springs (written by Vanessa Taylor), Meryl Streep plays Kay, a woman who finds herself 31 years into something that doesn’t quite resemble a marriage anymore. Back in 2009, Meryl co-starred as Jane Adler, a divorcee who tumbles into an affair with her ex-husband in Nancy Meyer’s It’s Complicated. After fully investing in these two films, I feel like my only options are to be an unhappy divorcee or an unhappy wife. Either way I’m unhappy — yet, either way I’m Meryl Streep, so I suppose I’ll be alright.
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Men in Black 3 (2012) -vs- Mars Attacks! (1996)

May 24, 2012 Eric Volkman

The earth is about to be destroyed! And the devastation will be funny and entertaining to watch, at least by Hollywood standards.

In this winner-take-all battle, we’re pitting two satirical world-on-the-brink-of-destruction films against each other. The new release is Men in Black 3 (or Men in Black III, depending on whether you believe the official Sony Pictures site or IMDB), the latest offering in the popular string of sci-fi comedies. This installment features the franchise’s first time-travel plot, with our protagonist vaulting backwards by several decades in order to save his partner from being murdered and, consequently (of course) earth from being destroyed. Mars Attacks! also harkens to the past. It’s a wild, Tim Burton spoof of cheesy 1950s alien invasion movies, featuring a giant cast trying nearly in vain to defend our planet from interstellar bad guys. […]