Today's movies just ain't what they used to be, writes Stephen Farber. Sure, digital wizardry can be breathtaking, but the old-fashioned art of storytelling has waned. Farber compares 10 of this year's high-profile movies with similar ones from the past. "Even when these new movies are adapted from highbrow literary works, they cry out for better writing," he complains in the Los Angeles Times. "Perhaps today's producers need to cast a wider net in luring more gifted writers."
Take this year's Crazy Heart, staring Jeff Bridges, and 1983's Tender Mercies, with Robert Duvall. They've got similar themes about washed-up country singers and redemption, but the talented Bridges is stuck with a "hackneyed script." Duvall, on the other hand, had Horton Foote's "lean, eloquent screenplay," which was "graced with unpredictable, sharp insights into the fragility of family ties." Click here for the rest of the comparisons, including Nine vs. Chicago and It's Complicated vs. The Philadelphia Story.