Sunday, June 28, 2009

Not to be Confused With, Day 2

... wherein car crash sex ain’t getting no Academy Award, you can’t tell the difference between fetid cave dwelling beasts and Rosario Dawson, two street fighting legends square off, and both Angelina Jolie and George C. Scott lose their children but take very different methods in finding them … wanna bet who has the better luck?

Crash (1996/2004)

Crash (1996)
Dir: David Cronenberg
Synopsis: “Take a psycho-sexual journey into oblivion with James Spader and Holly Hunter in this controversial film from acclaimed director David Cronenberg. Spader stars as James Ballard, a bored film director who explores new realms after a near fatal car accident introduces him to a world of sexually obsessed car crash enthusiasts. Unsatisfied by his marriage, Ballard joins Dr. Helen Remington and begins to explore the eroticism of the car the sexual violence of auto accidents. His quest eventually leads him to Vaughan, a renegade scientist overcome by the erotic power of the crash. CRASH is shocking, controversial and eerily possible.”

Crash (2004)
Dir: Paul Haggis
Synopsis: “This compelling urban thriller tracks the volatile intersection of a multiethnic cast of characters struggling to overcome their fears as they careen in and out of one another's lives. In the gray area between black and white, victim and aggressor, during the next 36 hours, the will all collide.”

Advantage: Crash (1996)

There’s nothing in the 2004 film that you can’t find in, say, “American Beauty” or “Magnolia.” Yeah, Crash 2004 won the 2005 Academy Award, but did it have Rosanna Arquette sporting an ersatz vagina in her gaping thigh wound? Nope, and maybe it should have.

Descent (2005/2007)

Descent (2005)
Dir: Neil Marshall
Synopsis: “On an annual extreme outdoor adventure, six women meet in a remote part of the Appalachians to explore a cave hidden deep in the woods. Far below the surface of the earth, disaster strikes when a rock fall blocks their exit and there's no way out. The women push on, praying for another exit, but there is something else lurking under the earth. The friends are now prey, forced to unleash their most primal instincts in an all-out war against an unspeakable horror - one that attacks without warning, again and again and again.”

Descent (2007)
Dir: Talia Lugacy
Synopsis: “Maya (Rosario Dawson) is like many other college coeds, booksmart yet shy, curious about sex, yet scared to let herself go. One night she meets Jared (Chad Faust). When their courtship turns from romantic to horrific in a single violent act, Maya's world is ripped inside out. Shutting out everyone in her life, Maya loses herself to a dark throbbing underworld of experimentation. Lured by club DJ Adrian (Marcus Patrick), she awakes to a cold and vicious new strength. Will she be saved by its power or will Maya's desire for revenge consume and destroy her?”

Advantage: Descent (2005)

The 2007 film is too much of that whole independent scene, “coming of age,” woman-thou-art-loosed style of film, for me. Interesting, then, that the theme is still generally the same as the 2005 film, only with hairless little cave-ape monsters. Yeah, I’ll take cave-ape monsters over the film that’s responsible for introducing butterface Rosario Dawson to the world. Can we put her in a fight to the death with Eva Mendes, and just shoot the surviving winner?

Street Fighter (1974/1994)

Street Fighter (1974)
Dir: Shigehiro Ozawa
Synopsis: “A tough mercenary martial artist (Sonny Chiba) is hired by the mob to spring a convicted killer from prison. But after he succeeds, his criminal employers renege on their payment. He becomes a one-man army as he takes on the mob to reclaim what is his.” (Courtesy of HK Flix.)

Street Fighter (1994)
Dir: Steven de Souza
Synopsis: “Based on the best selling video game, this film hurtles beyond imagination with explosive action, humor and amazing special effects. (Jean-Claude) Van Damme is Colonel Guile, the Allied Nations commando who leads an elite team of street fighters against the forces of the mad General M. Bison. Bison, who has hatched an evil plan for world domination, takes dozens of relief workers hostage and gives the world only 72 hours to respond to his twisted demands. In that time, Guile must find the captives and confront Bison in an electrifying battle fate the fate of the free world.”

Advantage: Street Fighter (1974)

Jean-Claude went on the personal redemption route with the recent “JCVD” (which does NOT stand for “Just Caught Venereal Disease,” in case you’re wondering. And while both films offer enough off-beat martial arts goodness for the average fan, the fact that this was Raul Julia’s last film is somewhat disconcerting. Besides, Sonny Chiba punches fracture some thug’s skull in the 1974 version, and in case you’re left in doubt, you see the punch in x-ray vision. I think the actor playing the thug died after that; true story, swear to god.

Changeling (1980/2008)

Changeling (1980)
Dir: Peter Medak
Synopsis: “George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere star in a thriller that challenges the viewer to solve its mystery. It’s a haunted-house adventure complete with séances, nocturnal grave-diggings, ghostly spirits, and an ancient puzzle jealously guarded by a devious man (Academy Award winner Melvyn Douglas). Scott is splendid as the man who becomes an unwilling instrument of a ghost’s revenge and learns to trust no one. Eerily entwining a detective story with the mystery of the supernatural, The Changeling delivers solid entertainment and a frightening good time.”

Changeling (2008)
Dir: Clint Eastwood
Synopsis: “Los Angeles, 1928. When single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) leaves for work, her son vanishes without a trace. Five months later, the police reunite mother and son; but he isn’t her boy. Driven by one woman’s relentless quest for the truth, the case exposes a world of corruption, captivates the public and changes Los Angeles forever.”

Advantage: Changeling (1980)

Angelina Jolie and her fugly innertube lips can take her adopted United Colours of Benetton ad and go straight the fuck to hell. If the 2008 film were a true story … if it were a true story, Jolie would just go to whatever Orphans R Us she frequents and get some Honduran boy named Paco to replace the son she lost. That’s probably why she didn’t win the Oscar this last time, because she couldn’t act disappointed in losing something disposable; after all, you don’t take a hamster to the vet, and you don’t take a lighter that you bought off the counter at a gas station to the repair shop. 1980, for the win.

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