Archive for the Friday Faceoff Category

Wednesday Faceoff: The Adventures of Tintin vs. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vs. Mission Impossible 4

Posted in Friday Faceoff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by judsonw


The holiday season seems to be becoming another summer when it comes to studios releasing high budget, high expectation vehicles. The only difference this time of the year (besides the freezing weather) is that most of these movies are high quality as well. For whatever reason, most likely the approaching date of the Oscars, Hollywood seems to save all its best films until the end of the year. Christmas this year brings 3 huge movies.

The Adventures of Tintin (76% RT rating) is a little confounding. On paper, it should be a surefire hit. It’s a Steven Spielberg film, it features a world famous character, and it’s Hollywood’s next step in the motion capture craze (following Avatar). However, I can’t help but think this movie is going to bomb hard. Why? Well one, Tintin is a phenomenon everywhere in the world….except America. If you went up to 10 people on the street a few months ago and asked if they knew who Tintin was, 2/10 would say yes. And that would be lucky. Spielberg makes me a little excited to see this, but the motion capture makes me hesitant. Everything I’ve seen so far seems…off. But, still, it’s freaking SPIELBERG! How amazing is it that he’s releasing 2 films in one month?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (84% RT rating) is definitely as popular in America as it is on the rest of the planet. After a critically and financially successful Swedish version a few years ago, David Fincher steps in to follow up his masterpiece The Social Network. Many people have neither seen or heard of the Swedish film of this story, which is a shame. It’s a solid film with one intense performance by Noomi Rapace as the title character. So I keep asking myself…what’s the point of remaking a film that’s already great? If it was any other director, I’d be skeptical. Instead, I’m pumped.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (93% RT rating) has every reason to be great. The first three films are all excellent action flicks backed by talented directors. The new installment is helmed by the critically acclaimed director of such Pixar hits as The Incredibles and Wall-E. So why are expectations so low? It may be that 5 year gap between films. Or maybe Tom Cruise’s demise into one of America’s most despised celebrities. Nonetheless, the buzz on this movie is incredible. And all I hear is to see it in IMAX, IMAX, IMAX. Not the digital LIEMAX at your local AMC, but a real IMAX theater that you’ll probably find at an aquarium or air and space museum. Not since The Dark Knight have I been blown away by an IMAX experience, so fingers crossed for this one.







Friday Faceoff: The Help vs. Final Destination 5

Posted in Friday Faceoff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2011 by judsonw

The ultimate “mom” movie opens today against the ultimate “teen” movie. The Help (73% RT rating) is a literary phenomenon, staying on the bestseller book list for months and months. Its biggest audience has been women of all ages, particuarly middle aged mothers. While movies marketed specifically towards women are few and far between, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of an adapatation from a enormously popular novel. The cast for this movie is very solid with Viola Davis, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer and Allison Janney reportedly giving some career-best performances. And seriously, how can you go wrong with Emma Stone as your lead?

For the first 3 films, the Final Destination series was pretty inventive and acted as the horror genre’s go-to guilty pleasure franchise. However, for the past 2 movies, everything from the story to the acting to the creative deaths has been just plain lazy and tired. Word has it that Final Destination 5 (59% RT rating) is a return to form for the horror/thriller series. Probably not enough for a $12.50 ticket + a (surprise!) $3.50 3D surcharge, though.



Friday Faceoff: Rise of the Planet of the Apes vs. The Change-Up

Posted in Friday Faceoff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2011 by judsonw

The summer movie season is finally coming to a close and that usually means that the studios dump the films they have the least confidence in after months of tent pole movies. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (80% RT rating) has every reason to be awful. It’s a prequel to a movie series that hasn’t had an installment since Tim Burton’s remake in 2001 and just screams cash grab. And that awful, awful title. However, the word of mouth has been surprisingly excellent, with a lot of the praise going to the incredible WETA effects and Andy Serkis’ motion capture performance. Maybe we’re in for one of the summer’s best blockbusters?

The Change-Up (23% RT rating), on the other hand, looks like the most formulaic, unfunny mainstream comedy. Two drastically different people switch bodies and come to terms with the fact that their original life is something to cherish. How many times has this story been told? Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds may be able to make the material fun, but honestly, we’re on the cusp of Ryan Reynolds overexposure.


Rise of the

Planet of

the Apes


Friday Faceoff: The Green Hornet vs. The Dilemma

Posted in Friday Faceoff on January 15, 2011 by judsonw

January marks the dumping month for movie studios, as they release all the shitty movies they have no faith in surviving the summer and autumn months. The Green Hornet (44% RT rating) was originally set for release last fall but was pushed back to January for a post conversion to 3D. Many people haven’t bought that reasoning, however, and there’s a worry that the film may have been pushed back because it simply isn’t up to snuff. The lesser superhero/comic book movie has had many problems making it to the screen, with changes in directors, actors, and scripts. Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) ended up taking the reigns as director and he couldn’t be a more interesting choice for this source material. Gondry is a visually inventive director so I’m pretty excited to see what he can bring to a comic book movie. Seth Rogen literally transformed himself for the role and it’ll be interesting to see whether he can also shed his persona as a funny man to become an action leading man.

The Dilemma (22% RT rating) is pretty much best known for the controversy it sparked by a tasteless gay joke featured in its trailer. Controversy aside, the film simply doesn’t look funny. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James seem to be two comedians you either love or hate. I lean toward the latter on that one. Did Ron Howard really direct this?




Friday (Wednesday) Faceoff: True Grit vs. Little Fockers

Posted in Friday Faceoff on December 22, 2010 by judsonw

True Grit (96% RT rating) marks the Coen Bros’ first attempt at a full on Western after 2007’s brilliant semi-Western No Country for Old Men. Jeff Bridges stars as U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn, who is hired by a feisty young girl named Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) to track down her father’s killer. Matt Damon is the Texas ranger La Beouf and Josh Brolin is Mattie’s father’s killer. If a cast like this doesn’t get you pumped, I don’t know what will. What’s even more intriguing is the fact that newcomer Steinfeld apparantly steals the film right from underneath her more famous co-stars. So if you want to see a star-making turn or if you’re a fan of, you know, fucking fantastic movies then True Grit seems to be a safe bet.

Little Fockers (8% RT rating), on the other hand, screams soulless cash grab. 2000’s Meet the Parents was an enjoyable romp that really showed off the comedic chops of stars Ben Stiller and a surprising Robert De Niro. 2004’s Meet the Fockers went down a few notches in the genuine laugh category but still had some great moments with new stars Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand. Now, 6 years later, we’re getting Little Fockers which is milking that “focker” joke for all it’s worth. What is this movie even about? Babies…aka “little fockers?” It’s sad to see such talented actors involved in a film that’s only purpose is to be unfunny all the way to the bank.



Friday Faceoff: Black Swan vs. Tron Legacy

Posted in Friday Faceoff on December 17, 2010 by judsonw

Black Swan (88% RT rating) is finally expanding to more theaters across the country after being in limited release since December 3rd. The buzz has only been building for both Natalie Portman’s bravura performance and the sheer insanity on display in the story. This ain’t your average ballet tale. Director Darren Aronofsky knows how to get into a character’s mind and take the audience along with him. This can be seen in his previous great character studies The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain. If that track record doesn’t get you excited to see Black Swan, then maybe this will. There is a lesbian love scene between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Yes, you read that right.

Tron Legacy (47% RT rating) kind of dumbfounds me. Why is there a sequel to a financial and critical flop (1982’s original Tron) almost 30 years later? The hype for this film has been building for 3+ years ever since the first test footage premiered at Comic Con. I honestly couldn’t care less about the reasoning behind the production because visually, it just looks plain awesome. However, the story seems to be less than satisfying and the acting may leave some wanting more. Also, what’s up with the digitized young Jeff Bridges? Creeps me out.


Black Swan