Movie News

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Last Sunday, we started a Tournament to determine the Best Film of 2000-Now.
We took votes, argued among ourselves and stopped being friends for a few hours.
Well the dust has settled and Round 1 is officially over.

64 Films have been cut to 32.
The above photo (click to enlarge) has all the Round 1 winners and Round 2 match-ups.

There were a lot of chalk moving on, some large upsets and one, very weird coincidence.

Part I is a Recap of the Round 1 action from the Aronofsky/Scorsese and Tarantino/Jackson Regions.

For Part II  of the Recap click here.

Dan is writing in italics. 

Chris is writing in normal font.

Part I Recap:

The Aronofsky/Scorsese Region:

In the first match-up of the Tournament, #1 THE DEPARTED, moved on unanimously.
#16 OLD BOY was the South's last of pick of his 21 entries and it played like it.

If you remember, HARRY had to fight hard to get in the Tournament. Nice to see him advance.

In the Tournament's first upset, #12 SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE crushed #5 BLACK SWAN.
SLUMDOG is brilliant and deserved the win. I think it's Danny Boyle's Masterpiece.
I don't know how Chris didn't include it in his Locks. Well the people spoke and righted the wrong.

#4. No Country For Old Men was able to hold off #13. In Bruges.
I really like In Bruges, its a smart, funny buddy-gangster film chock full of philosophical and religious symbolism. But it had a very tough draw in the 1st round against a great Coen Bros' film.

Though not many people have seen it (Dan included), I think #6. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is absolutely one of the best films of the past 25 years or so. A revisionist western, this film is a beautifully photographed visual poem and a thoughtful examination on celebrity and legend. Now of course, here at North/South we are fervent followers of Scorsese, and while we like #11. Gangs of New York (me more than Dan), but it is still probably only mid-level Scorsese (do not read that as a insult, his "worst" is still better than many's best). So Jesse James advances, but do not worry, we have not heard the last from Mr. Scorsese.

#3. Requiem for a Dream and #14. Brick proved to be a difficult match-up. Brick is modern twist on the classic noir films of the '40s and '50s set in high school and starring an (at the time) up-and-coming Joseph Gordon Levitt. Requiem has gained a strong cult following for its daring visuals and gut-wrenching portrayal of drug addiction/the fading myth of the American dream. In the end, the criminally under-seen Brick was just not able to hold off Darren Aronofsky's breakthrough film. Aronofsky's other two entries (#5. Black Swan and #9. The Wrestler) were denied advancement, so it is nice to see one of his works make it through.

I truly think TREK is one of the Best Films in recent memory.
I watched ETERNAL SUNSHINE two or three times and I think it's good, but definitely not a classic. It reminds me of when kids in college said DONNIE DARKO was the greatest movie of all-time. I like Michel Gondry, Kate Winslet and I love Jim Carrey. SUNSHINE is a nice film, but it can't take down J.J. Abrams at the top of his game.

In the last game of this Region, #2. IRON MAN blew away #15. KISS KISS BANG BANG.
Yes, 'The Robert Downey Jr. versus Himself' match goes to the blockbuster. IRON MAN really got the Marvel world up and moving again and deservedly so, Jon Favreau made a phenomenal film. 

Tarantino/Jackson Region:

In the first game of this bracket, the 'Tarantino War' had a clear winner.
#1 INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS easily defeated #16 KILL BILL VOL. 2.
KB2 was my last pick of my 21 solo entries and never really stood a chance. BASTERDS is better on every level and wasn't hindered by being split into two films. BASTERDS vs. KILL BILL 1+2? Glad I didn't have to make that choice.

Whether Dan wants to officially admit it or not, he not only loves #8. Avatar, but thinks its one of best movies in recent years (Dan's Note: Lies!). And I will concede that its visual effects and viewing experience cannot be matched, but as for everything else (plot, characters, dialogue - you  know, everything that makes it a real movie) is just awful. Whereas #9. Brokeback Mountain, despite being robbed of a Best Picture Oscar by Crash (remember that neither), is a beautiful love story with amazing performances and skillful (from the fantastic Ang Lee). Admittedly, voting was close on this one, but thankfully and rightfully so, Brokeback advanced.

In  the 'Billionaire's Club' match-up, there was a big upset:

 #12. THE AVENGERS took down #5. TRANSFORMERS.
This was a crushing blow to the North. If you read my Michael Bay List, you know that I love TRANSFORMERS, deeply. The votes said otherwise. Both were Box-Office juggernauts and in the end, having a Hulk was the difference.

#4. Kill Bill Vol. 1 over #13. BEST IN SHOW was an easy one. 
Tarantino's Assassin/Kung-Fu/Samurai/Revenge flick cuts through SHOW like Beatrix with her Hatori Hanzo Sword. This blonde isn't from Norse Land.

The 'Funny Guys vs. Funny Gals' game was a hard fought contest, but the boys from the Channel 4 News know how to handle a back-alley brawl and prevailed:
Things escalated quickly and Brick killed a guy, but the result stands.

#3. Adaptation. and #14. Road to Perdition are both great, but somebody has to win here. Charlie Kauffman and Spike Jonze's wacky, self-referential deconstruction of screenwriting is brilliant and hilarious, while Sam Mendes took an acclaimed graphic novel and turned it into a beautifully shot throwback to classic gangster films with a lot of heart and heartbreak. I think Dan and I were both happy to see Adaptation. advance having bonded over it in film class one semester way back when, plus it is probably Nicolas Cage's best performance to date - proving he can still turn it on when needed.

#7. Children of Men scraped by and defeated #10. LOTR: The Two Towers.
The entire Lord of the Rings series garners a whole lot of respect, and rightfully so. As a complete series, the films are almost unmatched. But like every trilogy there are weak spots. The Two Towers is good (not as good as the first, but still high quality), especially the epic Battle of Helm's Deep, but the rest of the film sags a bit in places. On the other hand, Alfonso Cuarón's Men is arguably one of the best sci-fi films in a long time. There probably was not enough room for two LOTR films anyway, so Children of Men takes it.

Finally, with a unanimous victory, #2. LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING destroyed #15. SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK. The LOTR will not end up going head to head to determine which is better. THE TWO TOWERS goes out in Round 1 and RETURN OF THE KING/HOBBIT didn't make the field. Let it be know that FELLOWSHIP is the one LOTR film to rule them all. (But TWO TOWERS is still my favorite!)

You now have the recaps for the Aronofsky/Scorsese and Tarantino/Jackson Regions.
The recap for the Nolan/Fincher and Anderson/Coppola Regions will go up soon.

The top photo has all the winners for Round 1 listed.
You can vote in the comments section, facebook, twitter, or smoke signal.
Please vote on Round 2 only.

As for the weird coincidence mentioned in the opening:
The Aronofsky/Scorsese Region played out identically to the Midwest Region of the NCAA tourney.
The brackets were both located in the upper left hand corner and had the exact same outcome.
Yup, it was all chalk except for #12 SLUMDOG over #5 BLACK SWAN, just like Oregon/OK State.

Here Are Some of The Big Round 2 Match-Ups:


#2. IRON MAN vs. #7. STAR TREK


Round 2 Voting is Now Open! 
Democracy In Action:

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