Movie News

Saturday, March 30, 2013

BEST OF 2000-NOW: SWEET 16



We started a Tournament to determine the Best Film of 2000-Now.
The above photo (click to enlarge) has all the Round 1 and 2 Winners.

64 Films were cut to 32.

You can read Part I of the Round 1 Recap here.
You can read Part II of the Round 1 Recap here.


Now, 32 films have been cut to 16.

Vote on Round 3 in the Comments Section.

Dan (The North) is writing in italics.

Chris (The South) is writing in normal.

The 32 to Sweet 16 Recap:


Aronofsky/Scorsese Region:



#1. THE DEPARTED said, "Avada Kedavra!" to #8. HARRY POTTER I (Sorcerer's Stone).
For me, Scorsese really came back with THE DEPARTED. It's not like his previous films were bad by any means, but I definitely don't love BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, GANGS OF NEW YORK or THE AVIATOR. I've got no beef with KUNDUN, but DEPARTED was Scorsese's best work since CASINO, 11 years earlier. HARRY was great, but top-level Marty is hard to beat.

#4. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN stumped the Chai Wallah, #12. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.
I had SLUMDOG moving on in another upset, but the votes and The South's deep love for all things Coen Brothers carried OLD MEN.  Next, is a big Crime Drama Showdown in the Sweet 16: North/South Mount Rushmore Member, Martin Scorsese, versus The Coen Brothers. 
The South's head might explode.

In a tough match for me personally, #3 Requiem for a Dream defeated  #6 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (best movie title winner though, no doubt). I really love both films. But despite me giving a slight edge to Jesse James, Requiem came out on top in a close fight. However, I still cannot look at Jennifer Connelly the same after it.

In the most hotly debated match of the Tournament to date:

#2. IRON MAN gave Spock and #7. STAR TREK the walk-away, arm-missile.
BRUTAL! 
JUST BRUTAL! 
STAR TREK is so great. 
If you've got 12 minutes and don't mind crying you're eyes out, go ahead and watch this:



That's how you start a fucking Major Motion Picture!
In my mind, TREK was a Final Four Film.
I guess if you come at Tony Stark, you best not miss.
Bon Voyage STAR TREK. We Hardly Knew Ye.

Click Read More for the Rest of the 32 to 16 Recap


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Two New ‘The Wolverine’ Trailers Go Berserker on the Internet Today


Hugh Jackman is back as Logan aka Wolverine from the X-Men series. This will mark Jackman’s sixth film appearance as everyone’s favorite mutant (X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and a cameo in X-Men: First Class (see video below) – he will also pop up again next year in that film’s sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past).

That is pretty impressive staying power for an actor recurring one role, especially in the superhero genre (most tap out at 2 or 3). But it is not like Jackman is a one tricky pony, the man has got major talent and has appeared in a wide variety of films over the years (he really got his break in Hollywood thanks to Wolverine and the first X-Men).

Now, for the most part I have enjoyed the X-Men film series (minus perhaps The Last Stand and the first Wolverine movie). Some even say that the first X-Men – released back in 2000 before Spider-Man, Batman Begins, or Iron Man – helped kick off this recent flood of superhero/comic book movies of the last decade-plus. And the X-Men universe is interesting and expansive enough that I largely welcome new film entries from it. In fact, I really, really enjoyed First Class and thought it a great way to break away from the original trilogy, so I am looking forward to its sequel next year which apparently will attempt to blend both storylines.

But before that movie has even really begun production, we have another standalone entry for Wolverine. Despite being the most recognizable and beloved X-Men character, X-Men Origins: Wolverine has been roundly bashed and lampooned (and rightfully so). Our boy Roger Ebert gave it 2 stars and called the film "assemblies of events," so take that as you want (shoutout to Will Gottfried for reminding us of this wonderfully condescending review). Check out that trailer here if you must.

That film notwithstanding, most are eager see a sequel hit the big screen, especially by adapting a classic, fan-favorite storyline from the comic books that sends Logan all the way to modern-day Japan.

Storyline: In modern day Japan, Wolverine is out of his depth in an unknown world as he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.
 And when the fantastic Darren Aronofsky came on board as a director, fans went it to a fevered frenzy (I admit, it quickly got me interested too). Unfortunately, Aronofsky bowed out before production (to work on his Bible epic Noah - cannot wait for that one) and was replaced by James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma), a hopefully pretty good replacement.

Now I don’t know if the film will turn out to be any good, but it at least has my interest and the TWO! new trailers that hit today certainly didn’t hurt. They are pretty different, so check them both out here:

Domestic Trailer:  

International Trailer:


Monday, March 25, 2013

Dan's Discs/Past Ebert 3/26/13--THE SANDLOT!

For the second consecutive week Dan's Discs and Past Ebert share a post.
I don't want to compromise the weekly Holiday that is New Release Day.
So if you want to buy LINCOLN or 'Paul Anka: Live in Switzerland' the links are to Amazon.
(You know Anka can still bring it. Old school cat. Gives you everything he's got, every time.)

However, a Beast-Sized Blu-Ray being released today, is why we are here:



Yes, my friends:  The Jet, Ham, Yeah-Yeah, "FOR-E-VER" and Wendy Peffercorn in 1080p.
This movie is HUGE with the 35-Under crowd.
 I've heard people drop, "You're killin' me Smalls."  hundreds of times.
The line has over 500,000 views between all the copies:



I saw THE SANDLOT in a special free preview. 
There was a Team-Photo Postcard that acted as a ticket to the screening.
I was 8 years old and it was possibly the coolest thing ever. 
I would estimate I've seen THE SANDLOT . . . 35-40 times.
It played on a loop at my friend's houses from 1993 to 1998.
Loved it then and love it now.



Our boy, Roger Ebert, liked it too.
Read his entire 3-Star Review here.
He opens his review with this gem:

"If you have ever been lucky enough to see 'A Christmas Story,' you will understand what I mean when I say 'The Sandlot' is a summertime version of the same vision. Both movies are about gawky young adolescents trapped in a world they never made and doing their best to fit in while beset with the most amazing vicissitudes.

I mean, that opening, is why I started Past Ebert. That's how you wish you wrote. 
Ebert just writes two sentences, nails a perfect analogy and drops truth-bombs. The dude kicks ass.

Okay, so I'm sure you've got THE SANDLOT in the collection. I think I've got a VHS and a DVD.
But I noticed something in the Amazon listing that made this a must-buy:

A Special Set of 10 Trading Cards! 
I don't want a Benny "The Jet" Rookie Card.
I NEED IT!


Legends never die, kid.

MOVIE MADNESS BRACKET: From 64 to 32 Part II


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.
Vote on Round 2 in the Comments Section.

We have recapped all the Round 1 games for you.
You can read Part I of the Recap here.

Dan (The North) is writing in italics.

Chris (The South) is writing in normal.

Recap Part II:

Nolan/Fincher Region:






#1. THE DARK KNIGHT over #16. WALL-E. This was over before it began. KNIGHT was one of the first four in the Tournament. WALL-E was one of the last four in the Tournament. #1 moves on.

Lots of people love #9. Cast Away, I just do not get it. On the other hand, not many like, or have even seen #8. Zodiac, but I love it. So I was glad to see Fincher's moody, serial killer mystery-drama advance over Tom Hanks on the beach for two hours talking to volleyball.

It was a Cruise vs. Gosling battle for the ages. And the younger man got it done.
#5. DRIVE defeats #12. COLLATERAL in a vote that was basically a split decision.
I like Michael Mann, but I like 1980s/90s Mann over 2000 and beyond. DRIVE was such a breathe of fresh air. It had all the pieces to the puzzle and was strong enough to pass one of Mann's lesser flicks.

#4. ALMOST FAMOUS easily defeated #13. ZOMBIELAND. Both movies are about young men on their first road trips. This adventure will determine much of the rest of their lives and we get to watch it happen. Respect to the Bill Murray cameo, but FAMOUS keeps on truckin.

Everybody liked #6. THE SOCIAL NETWORK more than #11. ATONEMENT. 
The vote wasn't close and David Fincher gets both of his films through to Round 2.
Also, Justin Timberlake was great in SOCIAL NETWORK. It's not a debate. It's a fact.

#3. GLADIATOR got the thumbs up from the crowd and beat #14. THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, convincingly. Good to see that GLADIATOR is not completely forgotten. When that movie came out on DVD I probably watched it 15 times. Ridley Scott at his best.

In one of the closest matches of the tourney so far, #10. Memento just edged #7. Snatch. Christopher Nolan's breakout film versus Guy Ritchie's breakout film. Memento's twisty, unique structure and gritty noir atmosphere tops Ritchie's fast-paced, Tarantino-lite crime flick in a close and heated vote.

Christopher Nolan sees all three of his films go through: #2 INCEPTION over #15. HIGH FIDELITY. HI-FI may be my favorite Romantic Comedy ever, but INCEPTION was one of the best in-theater experiences of recent memory. This win, sets up an Epic Nolan Battle of INCEPTION and MEMENTO in Round 2.



Anderson/Coppola Region:







#16. Little Miss Sunshine snuck its way into the tournament as one of the final seeds. But did it ever really stand a chance against #1. The Royal Tenenbaums, in the bracket named for Wes Anderson? In a battle of dysfunctional families, the Tenenbaums easily overtake the Hoovers (I admit, I had to look up the Sunshine's family name too).

I absolutely love #8. Winter's Bone, and I do not care what of you say (Dan's Note: I care!). So it advances over #9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Don't get me wrong, Pirates is a fun flick, but it doesn't match Bone. Are you really going to question the movie the launched the career of the lovely Jennifer Lawrence? (Dan's Note: J-Law is amazing. And yes, start calling her J-Law)

Upset Alert: #5. LOST IN TRANSLATION goes down versus #12. SIDEWAYS. Sofia Coppola's smart, haunting film was trounced by the wine-guzzlers from Santa Ynez Valley. Alexander Payne works his way into Round 2, in a vote that was not even close.

Wes Anderson saw his second entry advance when #4. THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU defeated #13. JUNO. Jason Reitman was 1 of 9 directors with more than one entry in the contest. Sadly, neither of his entries made it out of Round 1. JUNO has the same comedy and heart formula as LIFE AQUATIC , but the setting and epic direction of AQUATIC take it to another level. Remember, it's the Steve Zissou show, not the Ellen Page show.

In the Michael Cera Showdown, #6. SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD bested #11. SUPERBAD.
The vote was basically split and in the end Edgar Wright's PILGRIM won the battle of the bands.
McLovin cannot be forgotten, but PILGRIM just has more of everything we like in film.

Wes Anderson had three films in this section of the bracket - two advanced, one didn't. Tenenbaums and Zissou moved on easily, but #14. The Fantastic Mr. Fox couldn't overcome Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning ensemble #3. Traffic, about the war on drugs. (Dan's Note: Like GLADIATOR, I feel some people have forgotten the hyperbolic, crazy-positive reaction when TRAFFIC came out. It won 4 Oscars for a reason.)

Another director we are big fans of here at North/South is Spielberg (I mean, who isn't?), but we both agree the great Spielbergo is more hit-and-miss these days. But one of his last unquestioned great films is #10. Catch Me if You Can, but #7. Pan' Labyrinth clearly has a lot of fans. As one of the few foreign films to make the cut of 64, it is great to see Guillermo Del Toro's epic fantasy survive.

Sofia Coppola was completely eliminated from her own Region, when #15. MARIE ANTOINETTE was cut down by #2. THERE WILL BE BLOOD. The Region is co-named for Wes Anderson, but Paul Thomas Anderson's oil epic is looming large in this part of the bracket.


We are now down to 32 Films.

Here is the full bracket with the Round 1 winners and Round 2 Match-Ups:





Round 2 Voting is Open!

The Comment Section of the Part I or Part II posts are the best places to make your picks.

Follow us on Twitter: @NorthSouthFilm

Sunday, March 24, 2013

MOVIE MADNESS BRACKET: From 64 to 32 Part I



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.

#8 HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE ousted #9 THE WRESTLER.
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.

In a close battle, #7 STAR TREK bested #11 ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.
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 movie...me 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:
#11. ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY wins out over #6. BRIDESMAIDS.
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:

#1. THE DEPARTED vs. #8. HARYY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE

#2. IRON MAN vs. #7. STAR TREK

#4. KILL BILL VOL. 1 vs. #5. TRANSFORMERS

Round 2 Voting is Now Open! 
Democracy In Action:



Friday, March 22, 2013

Chris's Review: Bullets and clichés fly widly in ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

Chris (South) here with a review of the new action film I was able to check out last week before it hit theaters:

Riddled with as many clichés as bullet holes, Olympus Has Fallen tries its hardest to be a worthy throwback to the action films of the '80s and early '90s. Pitched as a “Die Hard in the White House,” there is perhaps no better description for this new movie than that exact tagline. In fact, it is more than easy to imagine this film as a rejected idea from the already well-in-decline Die Hard series.

But to be honest, moviegoers have not been this excited for director Roland Emmerich to blow up the White House since Independence Day in 1996 . . . Oh wait, he did not direct Olympus Has Fallen, Antoine Fuqua did. Emmerich helmed that other “White House is under attack and a Secret Service Agent must save the day” movie set to hit theaters later this year (and the one with the similar, yet much more obvious title of White House Down).

The movie has everything you would expect from the bygone golden era of action movies – one-dimensional bad guys, over-the-top action, cheesy quips and one-liners – yet it was made almost two decades after the fact, so there is a healthy dose of CGI thrown in for good measure. It also has those persistent, negative elements that so often crumble stereotypical action films, like poorly underwritten characters (especially female ones), painfully obvious bad guy reveals, and an unnecessarily saccharine ending.

But you pretty much expect those things from this type of movie. What really makes or breaks films like this are the action sequences – how many there are and how well they are made. For the most part, the action in Olympus Has Fallen is fairly paint-by-numbers: a few gunfights here, some hand-to-hand combat there, throw in the occasional explosion, and boom – you have got a movie. Though Fuqua paces the film briskly and stuffs it with enough action so there is rarely a lull. A rather surprising element of the film is the violence, not just that is has violence of course, but its highly graphic nature as the film more than earns it R-rating with broken necks and bullet-riddled bodies.


One sequence in particular does warrant mentioning: the actual siege of the White House. Attacked from multiple points (including a terrifyingly effective and well equipped transport plane), 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. falls rather easily in a tense, chaotic, and action-packed 15-minute sequence filled with some rather haunting imagery. But after that scene, it is same old, same old from Olympus Has Fallen.

Thankfully, despite being set in D.C., politics managed to stay out of the picture even with ample opportunities to do so (drones, N. Korea, etc.). Even the villains are largely apolitical and just stick to hating America for being America.


To match all that fire power, Olympus Has Fallen also packs a whole lot of star power. Butler returns to action films after unsuccessful forays into rom-coms and family films - and is clearly more comfortable in this genre. As expected, Eckhart and Morgan Freeman are both very fitting of their Presidential roles (as the President and acting President, respectively), Melissa Leo and Angela Bassett are both all but wasted in their minor roles, and American born-Korean actor Ricky Yune is, as usual, the bad guy. Dylan McDermott, Ashley Judd, Cole Hauser, Radha Mitchell, and Robert Forrester also appear in the film.

The final bit of info worth mentioning about Olympus Has Fallen is that it was filmed in Shreveport-Bossier City, even all the D.C. bits. Sound stages and green screens sure can accomplish a great deal in movies these days.

Olympus Has Fallen opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, March 22.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Internet Item of the Week 3/21/13


NERDS! NERDS! NERDS!
I saw this print for sale on Twitter and instantly purchased one.
It's an 11 x 17, signed print, for $20. For sale here.

Also, I wanna talk about REVENGE OF THE NERDS for a second.
Great 80's flick. 
It's super campy and has all the montages and non p.c. jokes you can take.
But there is one scene in NERDS I always think of as the epitome of an absurd 80's movie joke:

(Fast Forward to the 1:45 mark of the video for the scene )


Okay:
So, the Nerds are basically having a party to audition for a National Chapter of a fraternity.
When it's not going well, what do they do?
Pull out 30 huge joints and smoke them!
And that is not only is that perfectly acceptable, they get in the frat!


REVENGE OF THE NERDS is a classic in it's genre:  Ridiculous 
1980's 
Comedies.
I can't wait for my poster. I also can't write a ROTN post without this:

(Fast Forward to the 2:55 mark)


Love that bassline kick-in and the lineup of dudes.

Later Ogres and Nerds,
Dan (The North)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dan's Discs/Past Ebert 3/19/13--BADLANDS

Tuesdays mean one thing at North/South:
New Blu-Rays!
There are a bunch of 2012 films hitting shelves today.
Most notably: THE HOBBIT, ZERO DARK THIRTY and LES MISERABLES.
I missed THE HOBBIT and was def. underwhelmed by the other two.
So this week, we only have one, must-buy disc to talk about:


I first read about BADLANDS in Roger Ebert's book, 'The Great Movies'.
This column will also serve as another edition of Past Ebert.
His beautiful essay appears, here.

I had never seen a Terrence Malick film, and I figured this was a good place to start.
I was right.
I bought a VHS copy of BADLANDS on Ebay for like $2.50.
When you watch this film, you get why people revere Malick.
He takes a super complex story and makes it so simple: 
Girl falls in love with boy, boy is a psycho killer.
We never get sanctimonious judgments about what is taking place, but instead we simply observe.

It's a chilling film with a great score (TRUE ROMANCE re-used the theme, Carl Orff's 'Schulwerk').
It's shot beautifully, especially in the wide open spaces of South Dakota.
It was preserved by the Library of Congress and is a must-watch piece of film history.
The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray will really give you the whole, Malick experience.
Better than Pan and Scan VHS will anyway . . .

UPDATE: Criterion Put the First Four Minutes on Youtube! So Dope!

You gotta use the link here.




Sunday, March 17, 2013

MOVIE MADNESS BRACKET: Best of 2000-NOW



It's March Madness time everywhere else, but at North/South it's MOVIE MADNESS time!


Chris and I have come up with a tournament to determine what is the best film of the last 13 years.
It's been a long and difficult process, but we do have a field of 64 set.
We will take your votes everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, The Comments Section, etc..
Those votes and our battles will determine the winners.

Before we unveil the Bracket, here is how the Bracket was made:

1. This 64 Film Bracket is made up of films from 2000 to Today, 3/17/13.

So, THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE was eligible, but did not make the field.

2. We compiled a list of over 200 films

3. We separately starred films that we felt had to be included in the field.

4. We had 22 mutually agreed upon films. Those films became overall seeds #1-22.

5. Lastly, we each selected and ordered 21 more films. 

6. Those films became seeds #23-64.

So basically, my first choice from the 21 is a #6 seed. My last of the 21 is a #16 seed.

7. In the end, we had four directors with 3 films each and 5 directors with 2 films each.

We paired up a 3-film-director and a 2-film-director and named the Regions after them.


So without further ado, here are the Regions:

The Aronofsky/Scorsese Region
*#6= The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford

The Tarantino/Jackson Region

*#15= Syencdoche, New York

The Nolan/Fincher Region


The Anderson/Coppola Region




We have got amazing match-ups, everywhere:

Michael Cera Showdown: #6 Scott Pilgrim vs. #11. Superbad

The Crazy Families Fight: #1. Royal Tenenbaums vs. #16. Little Miss Sunshine

The Crazy Murderers Battle: #5. Drive vs. #12. Collateral 

Funny Guys vs. Funny Gals: #6. Bridesmaids vs. #11. Anchorman

The Billionaires Club: #.5 Transformers vs. #12. The Avengers

Tarantino War: #1. Inglourious Basterds vs. #16. Kill Bill Vol. 2

Robert Downey Jr. versus Himself: #2. Iron Man vs. #15. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

And that's just some of the First Round.

We are working on a legit voting option, but for now I think the Comment Section works fine.




Check Back for Updates.
Good Luck and May the Best Film Win!

MOVIE MADNESS BRACKET: Harry Potter Films


Dan here . . . 

There is a big, BIG surprise at the end, so read thoroughly.


The Harry Potter series is solid.
There are 8 films and all of them are watchable.
That doesn't happen in a film series. Ever.
Most series are considerably smaller, 3 to 5 films at most.
And 90% of those series are junk after movie #2.
GODFATHER I and II? Sure. GODFATHER III? Yikes.
SAW I and II? Like 'em both. SAW VI? No thanks.
Sometimes it goes bad and then gets good again.
Like, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT:



It is awesome, but the series as a whole, is a mess.
They can't even name them correctly.

Anyway, the Harry series is as legit as they come.

The next question is, which Harry Potter Film is the best?

There is only one way to find out, especially on Selection Sunday:

MOVIE MADNESS BRACKET: Harry Potter Films

Round 1  

#1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
#8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1       

Winner:  #1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

#4. Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part II
#5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix          

Winner: #4. Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part II     

#3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire      
#6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince                  

Winner:  #3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire     

#7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
#2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Winner: #2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

All the higher seeds advance in this round.
The only questionable match-up was the #4 vs. #5.
ORDER OF THE PHOENIX is good, but the Series-Ender was very satisfying.         

Semi-Finals

 #1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
#4. Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part II         

Winner:  #1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

#3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire   
#2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban                 

Winner: #3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


We have "the Beginning versus the End" and like in most series, the original was better. 
GOBLET OF FIRE bests AZKABAN due to the re-wacthability factor.
The Time-Turner sequence in AZKABAN was cool, once or twice.
But re-watching a duplicate segment, multiple times, makes it lose it's charm.



Finals

#1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
                             vs.
#3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Ah, a final duel that would make Dumbledore himself, proud.
GOBLET had enough to get to this point:
Mad-Eye Moody, Viktor Krum, the Beauxbatons and the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
It was a great adventure story with all the extra characters and magic sequences we love from HP.
Plus I love Cedric Diggory's "Take my body back to my father.". 
Kills me, every time. 
But, GOBLET has a fatal flaw: The Quidditch World Cup.
Or should I say, The NON-EXISTENT Quidditch World Cup.
The flying sequences in HP are awesome, they feel real and translate perfectly from the books.
Not showing any of The Quidditch World Cup game was criminal.
If you're going to dethrone a transcendent movie, like SORCERER'S STONE, you better be perfect.

The winner of The Harry Potter Film Bracket and title of Best in Series is:




HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE:
The original film of the series and also the most original film in the series.
The work it must have taken to bring the entire HP universe to life is staggering.
Great stuff from Chris Columbus. HP is probably his 2nd Best Movie.
Obviously, the casting was perfect. Great actors everywhere.
There is so much to hear and look-at that it got better the second and third time I saw it.
It started a movie phenomenon and rightfully so.

Well this bracket stuff was fun.


Maybe we should do it ag . . . wait, what's this?!?!
You Were Promised a Big Surprise?


A new game?!?!



I give you:

MOVIE MADNESS BRACKET: Best of 2000-Now


The Harry Tournament was only a Play-In!

Full Bracket Coming VERY soon!

Get Ready To Vote!


Oh, follow us on Twitter too:



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Colin Trevorrow Directing JURASSIC PARK 4!


Dan here, with HUGE News from the North:

Universal has just announced that Colin Trevorrow, who directed the smart, indie
'Safety Not Guaranteed', will helm JURASSIC PARK 4!
This is big news here in the North because he lives in our co-home-base, Burlington, Vermont! 
Mr. Trevorrow has been in the film news a lot lately.
When Disney acquired the STAR WARS franchise, his name was floated as a possible director for Episode VII. 

Once that rumor was ultimately dispelled, he did announce that he had a project in the works: 


Well, I guess this story is somewhat bitter sweet because the NAVIGATOR will have to wait.
However, that is quite a petty loss considering he will be taking over one of the great franchises.
The big JURASSIC PARK 3-D release on April 5th just got bigger with this well-timed news.
Congrats to Mr. Trevorrow! 

This news also has ties to the South of this site: 
Universal has rented studio space in Louisiana recently. Parts of OBLIVION were filmed there.
Filming some of JP4 there would have to be a possibility.

You can be sure North/South will be on this like a Dilophosaurus on Dennis Nedry!

To See or Not to See: 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'



It's the North:

Should you go to a theater or should you wait for the DVD?

If you love film, it's a question you often ask yourself.
Sometimes the answer is easy: THE AVENGERS is something you want to see on the big screen.
Sometimes it's really easy: you probably don't want to sit in a theater for 270 min. to watch CHE.
However, every week, I get that urge to go see a new movie. Not watch a new movie, go see one.
The problem with that, is simple: sometimes there is nothing "worth" seeing. 

That brings us to: THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE
Should you go see this in the theater?
Or do you wait for the $1.28 Red Box DVD rental?

Here's the breakdown:

The Pros: 

1. Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey .--- That's a quality Big 3. 
2. I enjoy Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini and Alan Arkin. --- Nice Support Staff.
3. Don Scardino. --- He's from TV, but that TV was Directing/Producing '30 Rock'. 

On paper, we have a good movie. 
Carell always delivers.
Jim Carrey is making his comeback this year, with this and KICK-ASS 2.
So we "go to there" , right?
Not yet. 

The Con:

1. The reviews are not good.  Not Good At All. 

A 38% on Rotten Tomatoes pretty much means one thing: it's not funny.
The score is not because reviewers dislike Steve Carell.
In fact, they love him. 
Good comedy, usually gets recognized.
That's because a funny comedy makes for a great theater experience.
I had a bootleg DVD of SUPERBAD with the audience laughing and it was awesome.
I always preferred to watch it with the laugh-track because it was like being in the theater again.
Conversely, sitting through an unfunny comedy is one of the worst times in a theater.
You get fidgety, and hope that it ends as soon as possible.
I hate bad comedies and really hate wasting a bunch of money on them.

Final Judgement:

THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE has enough to make me see it . . . when it hits DVD.
The number and nature of the bad reviews means no opening day trip to the picture shows. 
Sorry Jim and Steve, but I'm in comedy-waiting for ADMISSION on 3/22.
Is it possible I catch a BURT matinee in a few weeks?
Maybe . . . if it's still out then. 



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Power Rankings: Anchorman 2 Flies Up The Board!

Well, it was only a matter of time.
In the first POWER RANKINGS, I awarded STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS the #1 spot.
I thought this was an obvious choice with everything else far behind it.
Boy, was I wrong. 
The South took umbrage with me speaking for him. 
He stopped short of slapping me with a white glove and challenging me to a duel with pistols, but the message was crystal clear: 2 Separate Power Rankings. 
I guess secession is just in his blood.
So, on the right hand side of the homepage, under the previous posts, you now see this:



We will be able to debate the lists all year, but firstly:
You can go ahead and disregard my list as pictured because there has been movement my friends.

ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND CONTINUES has jumped from the #10 spot to #4!

How does a movie that doesn't open for 9 months do something like that?



Here's Your Answer:

Yup. Apparently, Champ Kind now owns a fried chicken joint! 
I absolutely loved Champ Kind in ANCHORMAN and could not have possibly come up with a better or more logical "where are they now" story-line than: Champ now owns a fried chicken joint. 
It's just too perfect!
This picture from AICN is more than enough to catapult ANCHORMAN 2 up the list, but we also have been getting tons of stories about who will appear in the much anticipated sequel. 
With all of the principals back, plus Kristen Wiig and Harrison Ford, plus a dozen or so other cameos (Luke Wilson? Meryl Streep? Hulk?), you know this movie is going to be all kinds of awesome. 
It's taken 9 years (wow, I am getting old), but Ron Burgundy will again ride in mustached-glory!



Here is my new Top 5:

1. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
2. IRON MAN 3
3. MAN OF STEEL
4. ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
5. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

And here is that sick, new STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS trailer:




--Dan, over and out.