Sunday, March 30, 2014

MARCH MOVIE MADNESS CHAMPION REVEALED! CITIZEN KANE VS. STAR WARS


Today is the day we finally reveal the winner of our inaugural March Movie Madness Tournament! Two weeks ago we started off with 64 films, ranging from 1915's The Birth of a Nation all the way up to 2008's The Dark Knight. Now we have only two films left standing, Citizen Kane, from the 1915-1956 era, and Star Wars, representing the 1956-2014 era. It's the critic's darling (Citizen Kane) versus the people's champ (Star Wars)! Let's see how they stack up in our five category challenge...


Historical Significance & Critical Recognition... The winner is Citizen Kane. Both films opened to a lot of fanfare, and both changed the movie industry forever upon their arrival. Citizen Kane, like The Birth of a Nation 26 years earlier, used every trick that had been invented up to that time and threw it all into one picture. It was stifled upon it's first run due to pressure from the William Randolph Hearst syndicate of papers (as the movie was not-so-subtlety about Hearst himself), but after several reissues throughout the forties and fifties the films stature began to grow and grow. England's Sight & Sound Magazine began polling the world's critics in 1952, asking them to name their top films of all-time. They have done the same every ten years. Ever since 1962, Citizen Kane has repeatedly been named atop the list (including the poll of Directors they started in 1992). 



The American Film Institute, Entertainment Weekly and France's Cahiers Du Cinema also named Kane as the top film of all-time in their own polls, and it's #2 according to the meta-analysis critics site Rotten Tomatoes. I asked AwardsDaily.com's Sasha Stone and HitFix.com's Kris Tapley on Twitter which film, Citizen Kane or Star Wars, was a more historically significant film. The answer was swift and clear... KANE! Basically, if you ask the question "what is the greatest film of all-time" to a film scholar or critic, the answer you'll likely here is "Citizen Kane". So it wins these two categories.



Cultural Impact & Popularity Over Time... The winner is Star Wars. While Kane dominates the critical world, and likely has the edge with industry insiders, the general public would vote Star Wars. BY A HUGE MARGIN. A quick search of Google for "Citizen Kane" comes back with 10,100,000 results. Which is a lot, until you realize that a search for "Star Wars" brings back 584,000,000 results.



Let's take those numbers and turn them into people. Star Wars' 584 million people is the the equivalent of ALL of North America (U.S.A., Mexico and Canada), PLUS the whole of the United Kingdom, Ireland AND France. That's a good chunk of real estate. Citizen Kane's 10.1 million people is equivalent to the population of the Caribbean island country of Haiti. Well, actually Haiti only makes up half of the island it occupies. The smaller half.



You could also compare Citizen Kane's web presence to Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's home planet. Well actually that's Tunisia, the small North African country where George Lucas filmed Tatooine's famous "binary sunset" scene, with a population of 10,432,500 people.



There's really no comparing these two films in terms of box office success. Kane fared well during it's day, but Star Wars reached levels only Gone With the Wind had ever come close to. Not only was the first film a massive success, but it launched a series of films that routinely broke records of their own, and each of which land on the list of top blockbusters of all-time. Five of the six films finished their year of release as the top grossing film, with the first four (chronologically) all landing in the top seventeen all-time. It's clear that theater owners and theater goers would place their vote with Star Wars over Citizen Kane.



That leaves Major Awards Won as the deciding category. Here, it's a TIE! Both were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but both lost. Star Wars did win seven other Oscars though, while Kane won just one (Best Screenplay). Back in 1941 when Citizen Kane came out there was only two other major awards, the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle awards. There were no Guild awards, no Golden Globes, no Critics Choice, no National Film Critics Society, no nothing, just the NBR and NYFCC. Kane won BOTH. Star Wars was around during the era of all of these other awards, and was nominated for many of these other awards, but it only won one of them, being named the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Picture. Both films have been named to multiple American Film Institute lists, and both were named to the Library of Congress National Film Registry. So in the end, it's too close to call in this category, so after five rounds we end in a tie.

As we've done with every other match up, the category we use as the tiebreaker is "Historical Significance". If this tournament has set out to do one thing, it has been to shine a light on the most "important" films of all-time. It's always hard to say what film is the "best", or "greatest", or even your "favorite", because each and every film is unique in it's own way. But by looking at all of the categories we've used (Historical significance, cultural impact, popularity over time, critical recognition and major awards won) I think we have safely determined, round after round, what films are overall the most important of all time. After 63 different match ups, spanning the last two weeks, I can say without hesitation that Citizen Kane is in fact the most important film of all-time. It stands the test of time, and it's impact will last until the end of time. It might be seem like the safe choice, but it's also the right choice. 



So there it is... CITIZEN KANE is our inaugural March Movie Madness Champion!

Here's a recap of the Final Four in case you missed the last few days...



Seeing that Citizen Kane is our Champion, I thought I'd end this piece with one of my favorite comics ever...

(CAUTION, major CITIZEN KANE SPOILER ahead.)



What do you think? Is Citizen Kane the rightful champion? Did Star Wars or some other film deserve to take the title? Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

BEST OF THE WEB: Tonight Show, Arnold Schwarzenegger on QVC: "Get to the Chopper!"



From "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" YouTube channel.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

MARCH MOVIE MADNESS FINAL 4: THE GODFATHER VS. STAR WARS RESULTS!


Yesterday we found out the winner of the 1915-1956 era as Citizen Kane beat The Wizard of Oz in the first Final Four Flicks match up and now moves on to tomorrow's March Movie Madness Championship. Today we find out which film from the 1956-2014 era will face Kane in the Championship. The two filmmakers left standing from the modern era, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, were frequent collaborators throughout the early part of their careers, but ended up being known for two completely different types of filmmaking.

Coppola would focus on serious, realistic, dramatic works like The Godfather saga and Apocalypse Now, while Lucas would go on to create crowd pleasing, technically innovative films like American Graffiti and the Star Wars saga. Let's see how their two masterpieces stack up against each other. First, a reminder of what films they beat in the first four rounds to get here in the first place...



The Godfather "Road to the Final Four":

First Round: Beat #16 seed Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Second Round: Beat #8 seed Breathless (1960)
Sweet Sixteen: Beat #5 seed Psycho (1960)
Elite Eight: Beat #3 seed The Searchers (1956)


Star Wars "Road to the Final Four":

First Round: Beat #15 seed Jaws (1975)
Second Round: Beat #7 seed E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Sweet Sixteen: Beat #11 seed Taxi Driver (1976)
Elite Eight: Beat #12 seed Pulp Fiction (1994)


Like we did yesterday, let's see how these two legends of the seventies match up category by category.

Historical Significance & Cultural Impact... The winner is Star Wars. George Lucas had a vision in his mind's eye of an expansive space epic, but he knew he didn't have the tools at his disposal to capture that vision on the screen. So he created the tools himself, assembling a team (which eventually became several different companies) of craftsmen to help make that vision a reality. His companies, Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and others have allowed other filmmakers to capture their own unique visions. When Star Wars came out it was an instant hit with audiences, and due to the huge amount of merchandising that went along with it, it became ingrained in our culture like perhaps no other film ever has. From T-shirts to action figures to lunch boxes, Star Wars and it's five (soon to be six+) sequels have become a cash cow that just keeps mooing as each new generation discovers it all over again with each new release and re-release.

Critical Recognition & Major Awards Won... The winner is The Godfather. When it comes to critical acclaim, The Godfather comes in a close second to Citizen Kane all-time. Entertainment Weekly and the American Film Institute each place it at #2, while Rotten Tomatoes has it at #3 with a perfect score of 100% from 81 different critics. Godfather was also named to Sight and Sound and Cahiers Du Cinema's top lists as well. When it comes to awards, Godfather also edges out Star Wars as it won Best Picture from both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, as well as awards from both the Directors Guild and Writers Guild. Star Wars certainly won a lot of acclaim in it's day, including ten Oscar nominations and seven wins (a lot for an sci-fi/action film), but it just can't compete with The Godfather's awards haul.

Popularity Over Time... It's a Tie! Both films were the highest grossing film of all-time in their heyday. In terms of Box Office, Star Wars surpassed Godfather, but looking at the most expansive "readers poll" out there, the one at IMDB.com, Godfather actually rates higher, sitting at #2 (Godfather II is #3 as well). Whenever the general public is polled, both of these films rate towards the very top. This category is really too close to call, so we'll call it a tie.


Just like yesterday's match up with The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane, after five rounds the two films are all tied up. All five of these categories help reveal the overall quality of a film, but Historical Significance is the most important. Star Wars was the winner of that category. Not because The Godfather isn't an incredibly influential film, because it is, but because Star Wars fundamentally changed the way films are made and marketed in a more significant way. Because of that victory in the tiebreaker, Star Wars moves on to face Citizen Kane in the March Movie Madness Championship tomorrow!



Back in the 1980's when Hulk Hogan faced off against Andre the Giant for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania III they hyped the match as "the irresistible force versus the immovable object". The same hype could be applied to our March Movie Madness Championship match, the irresistible force (pun intended) of Star Wars versus the immovable object that is Citizen Kane.





Which film will win it all? What film is in fact the greatest of All-Time? Come back tomorrow to see who is named the Five Star Flicks' March Movie Madness Champion! Leave your comments below and tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Friday, March 28, 2014

MARCH MOVIE MADNESS FINAL 4: WIZARD OF OZ VS. CITIZEN KANE RESULTS!


We are almost two weeks into March Movie Madness and we have now narrowed down the field of 64 to only 4 landmark films. The first two films facing off are the #3 seed from the 1915-1939 bracket, family favorite The Wizard of Oz, versus the #1 overall seed in the tournament, and the winner of the ultra-competitive 1939-1956 bracket, Citizen Kane. Let's take a look at how we got here...



The Wizard of Oz "Road to the Final Four":

First Round: Beat #14 seed 42nd St. (1933)
Second Round: Beat #6 seed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Sweet Sixteen: Beat #7 seed Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Elite Eight: Beat #1 seed Gone With the Wind (1939)


Citizen Kane "Road to the Final Four":

First Round: Beat #16 seed Rashomon (1950)
Second Round: Beat #9 seed The Third Man (1949)
Sweet Sixteen: Beat #5 seed Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Elite Eight: Beat #3 seed Casablanca (1942)



Who's going on to the championship match? Will it be that little girl (and her little dog too) from Kansas, or that megalomaniac media mogul Charles Foster Kane? As you can imagine, at this stage of the game there are no easy victories. In case you need a reminder, I don't just randomly pick my favorite movie or the film I deem to be the greater of the two films as the winner. Instead I compare the films in five categories: Historical Significance, Cultural Impact, Popularity Over Time, Critical Recognition, Major Awards Won. 

Let's take this category by category.

Historical Significance & Critical Recognition... The winner is Citizen Kane. A few years ago Turner Classic Movies put out a list of the fifteen most influential films of all-time for their fifteenth anniversary. Citizen Kane made the list, The Wizard of Oz didn't. Every ten years since 1992 the British Film Magazine Sight and Sound has polled some of the world's greatest directors and asked them to name their top ten films. In 1992 Citizen Kane was named #1, in 2002 it was named #1, and in 2012 it was #2. In 2012 The Wizard of Oz ranked #322 with those same directors. Kane also reigned for 50 years from 1962 until 2012 as Sight and Sounds #1 film with critics, "falling" to #2 in 2012. Kane also was named number one by Entertainment Weekly and Cahiers Du Cinema. Throw in it's perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and you have a true powerhouse. Oz is a fantastic film, but simply hasn't had the same influence on filmmakers as Kane has.

Cultural Impact & Popularity Over Time... The winner is The Wizard of Oz. While Kane has the edge within the film community, Oz is the people's champ. It has been a family favorite for 75 years now and just keeps going. The characters and songs and images have stayed with us for generations, as each decade the film is reintroduced to a whole new audience, who fall in love with it all over again. Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" remains one of the cinemas most memorable moments, and those damn flying monkeys have haunted our nightmares for decades. The Wicked Witch cast a spell on us all, and we are still held under it today.

Major Awards Won... It's a Tie! Both films were overlooked in their time, with neither winning a ton of awards. Both were nominated for Best Picture but lost at the Oscars, and both have been named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

That means after the five rounds it's all tied up, with two wins a piece and one tie. The tiebreaker, as always, is historical significance. All the categories are important, but this one has the most clout, and Kane was the winner there so it gets the victory and will move on to face the winner of tomorrow's match up between The Godfather and Star Wars.



Come back tomorrow to see who will face Citizen Kane for the chance to be named March Movie Madness Champion! Leave your comment below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

MARCH MOVIE MADNESS FINAL FOUR POSTER MASHUP


Here they are, the last four films standing!

The Wizard of Oz (1915-1939 Era Champion)
Citizen Kane (1939-1956 Era Champion)
The Godfather (1956-1972 Era Champion)
Star Wars (1973-2014 Champion)

Who will win it all?!?! Who's your favorite? Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

MARCH MOVIE MADNESS 1973-2014 SWEET 16 & ELITE 8 RESULTS!!!


Over the last three days The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane and The Godfather have all punched their tickets to the March Movie Madness Final Four. Today we reveal the winner of the 1973-2014 bracket, which will join those three legends of cinema in the semi-finals.

It's an interesting foursome fighting for this last spot to say the least. The match ups pit two of the five highest-grossing films of all-time (when adjusted for inflation) versus two of the most influential Cannes Film Festival Palm d'Or winners ever. Will the mega-blockbusters be too much for the critic's darlings to handle? Let's find out.


SWEET SIXTEEN RECAP:

The first match up features James Cameron's #1 seeded visual-effects extravaganza Titanic versus Quentin Tarantino's game changing, indie rockstar of a film Pulp Fiction. These two films are the standard bearers of the nineties, released only three years apart, they came to represent the two different film subcultures that dominated this era. Pulp Fiction came out first and helped usher into the mainstream the term "Independent Film". It's kind of like what Nirvana did to the music industry a few years before then, ushering in the "Alternative Rock" movement. To be an independent film meant you were operating on the outside of traditional Hollywood studio system, with smaller budgets and working with generally darker subject matter. Titanic on the other hand broke all known records for production costs, with an estimated 200 million dollar budget (closer to 300 million in today's dollars). It used every known special effect there was at the time, plus they invented a whole bunch of new ones along the way.

When it comes to the five categories we've been using to compare films for March Movie Madness, these two split evenly right down the middle. Pulp Fiction gets the victory for historical significance because while Titanic was a great technical achievement and hugely popular film with the general public, it just didn't make the same kind of seismic impact that Pulp did withing the cinema world. Quentin Tarantino might be responsible for more Film School applications than any other filmmaker in history, or at least of his generation. Siskel and Ebert even did an entire half hour special called "The Tarantino Generation" back in the spring of 1995. Pulp Fiction also bests Titanic with critics as well, with higher scores and ranks from Rotten Tomatoes, Entertainment Weekly and Sight and Sound. Titanic was the people's champ though, breaking a ton of box office records, many of which still stand today (15 weeks in a row at #1). So it comes down to major awards won, and both films won more than their fair share of hardware. Sixteen years later Titanic is still tied for the most Academy Award nominations (14) and wins (11). It also won Best Picture from the Golden Globes, as well as awards from the Directors, Producers and Editors guilds. Pulp Fiction too won a huge amount of laurels as well, taking home the Palm d'Or from Cannes, and Best Picture from the Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review and the National Society of Film Critics. It was also named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Yep, "The Gimp" is now preserved in a vault somewhere in Washington, D.C.. So according to the tiebreaker rules, even though our hearts may go on with Titanic, it's Pulp Fiction that moves on to the next round.



The other Sweet Sixteen match from this bracket is amazingly similar to the first one, mega blockbuster versus mega influencer.

Mean Streets had come out a few years prior and helped put Martin Scorsese on the cinematic map, but it was Taxi Driver that brought him to a wider audience. The film pushed the boundaries as to what was acceptable in a studio release, with it's underage sex and brutally realistic violence. The film also cemented Robert De Niro's place as the leading actor of his generation, coming just on the heels of his Oscar-winning turn in The Godfather Part II. His performance as Travis Bickle is one of the screens best ever, and his "You talkin' to me?" scene is one of the most iconic moments of spontaneous dialogue ever. It was universally acclaimed by critics (currently 98% on Rotten Tomatoes) and made the top 50 in both Sight and Sound and Entertainment Weekly. Even with all that, it just can't compete with Star Wars in the other categories.

Star Wars came out the year after Taxi Driver, and sent everyone who saw it (which was pretty much everybody) on an intergalactic voyage to a galaxy far, far away, in a way never before seen or heard. The film changed the way special effects (both visual and audio) were used to further storytelling. In order to pull it off George Lucas had to create his own companies like Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound in order to achieve the effects he desired, thus enabling other filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Robert Zemeckis to create unforgettable images and sounds for their own projects. Star Wars also far surpasses Taxi Driver in cultural impact and popularity over time. Throw in it's seven Oscar wins, National Board of Review Top 10, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association award for Best Picture, and Star Wars puts it into hyperdrive and flies past Taxi Driver and into the next round to face Pulp Fiction.



ELITE EIGHT RECAP:


Here we are at last, the final elite eight match up of the tournament. This is incredibly tough for me, because these are probably my two favorite films of all-time. They both deserve to move on, but sadly only one can. Star Wars jumps out to an early lead in both cultural impact and popularity over time, while Pulp Fiction wins out with critics and major awards won. Both films changed the movie world big time in their own ways, but Star Wars not only made a huge impact on pop culture, it changed the way movies were made and marketed. It breaks my heart to do this to Pulp Fiction on Quentin Tarantino's birthday, but sadly I have to say Star Wars wins out. It's just simply too much of a juggernaut for John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis to handle. In the last forty years, there is simply no other film that can beat Star Wars head to head.


Here's the complete 1973-2014 Bracket in case you missed any of the earlier posts...


So that's it, the March Movie Madness Final Four is set... The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, The Godfather and Star Wars! Who will win it all?!?! Come back tomorrow to see who wins between The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane and moves on to the final!

Leave your comments below and tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY QUENTIN TARANTINO!

HERE IT IS!!! First official TMNT Movie Trailer!



Visit www.turtlestrailer.com for more Ninja Turtles updates.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MARCH MOVIE MADNESS 1956-1972 SWEET 16 & ELITE 8 RESULTS!!!


Two down, two to go. Over the last two days both The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane have won their respective brackets and have proven to be the top film of their respective eras, setting up an incredibly exciting semi-final match up for March Movie Madness. Today we find out which film is top dog from the 1956-1972 era. At this stage of the game there are no easy victories, as each film is a bona fide classic. The last four films left standing in this group feature plenty of star power, with names like Brando, Pacino, Duvall, Leigh, Beatty, Dunaway, Hackman, and of course, "The Duke". It also features three of the preeminent directors of this or any other era, Francis Ford Coppola, Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford.


SWEET SIXTEEN RECAP:

The first Sweet 16 match up pits the American Film Institute's (AFI) #1 Gangster Film, The Godfather, versus their #1 Thriller, Psycho. Both films fit nicely into their respective genres, and yet they not only define the genre they are in, but in fact they re-imagined what was possible within the specific cinematic world their characters inhabited. The Godfather took the idea of "The American Dream", sprawled it out over three hours, and shot a bunch of holes through it. It took the mobster genre that had had it's heyday four decades earlier, and reinvigorated it. Psycho meanwhile had the balls to demand you be in your seat before the film started or you were not allowed into the theater, it went further than almost any film had gone in terms of sexuality and violence, and it killed off it's lead character only a third of the way through the picture. Along the way it basically invented the slasher genre, with "the shower scene" being one of the most famous moments in all of cinema.

Both are legends, but only one can move on to the Elite Eight. Both films are on par with each other when it comes their historical significance and overall cultural impact, but from then on The Godfather starts to pull away. While Psycho certainly did well at the Box Office (#140 All-Time, Adjusted for Inflation), it pales in comparison to The Godfather, which in it's day was the highest grossing motion picture of all-time. When it comes to critics and awards, here too Psycho is formidable, but just can't compete with The Godfather's rap sheet. Psycho sleeps with the fishes, and The Godfather leaves the gun and takes the cannoli's to the next round.



The other Sweet Sixteen match up from this era pits the legendary bandits Bonnie and Clyde versus THE legendary western The Searchers. It's strange to think that these films were only released eleven years apart, as John Ford and John Wayne seemed like they existed in a whole other time from Beatty and Dunaway, the old guard versus the new. What makes this match so interesting is how Bonnie and Clyde was a huge success almost instantly, whereas The Searchers reputation has strengthened over time.

This was a close call, with The Searchers winning out in historical significance and cultural impact (it's John Ford and John Wayne for Christ's sake), but Bonnie and Clyde proved to be a bigger hit and a more award-winning in it's day. It came down to the critics, and this is where The Searchers sealed the victory, as it's superior performance on Sight and Sound's Critics Poll, as well as Rotten Tomatoes and Cahiers Du Cinema's Top 100 lists was enough to call the match. Just like in the film, Bonnie and Clyde almost made it to the end, only to die in a blaze of gunfire, this time coming from "The Duke". Not a bad way to go out, I must say.



ELITE EIGHT RECAP:


That leaves us with Marlon Brando versus John Wayne and Francis Ford Coppola versus John Ford, mano-a-mano. Two epics of the American Cinema, from two of the most iconic genres of the art form. You can't talk about film without mentioning the key players involved in these two films, and they were all at their peak in these movies. Historically, culturally, and critically, they are equals. But as has been the case throughout this tournament, The Godfather is just too strong in too many categories to be beaten. It's massive Box Office and Awards haul put it over the top. "The Duke" had a solid run, but in the end he was outgunned by Brando, Pacino, Caan and Duvall, and so The Godfather moves on to the Final Four.


Here's a recap of how the full 1956-1972 bracket turned out...

Come back on Saturday the 29th to see if The Godfather will continue it's hot streak against the winner of tomorrow's 1973-2014 era winner. Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MARCH MOVIE MADNESS 1939-1956 SWEET 16 & ELITE 8 RESULTS!!!


Yesterday we found out our first Final Four participant, as The Wizard of Oz beat Gone With the Wind to take the 1915-1939 bracket championship. Today we move on to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds of the 1939-1956 bracket, featuring three of the most beloved films of All-Time (Singin' In the Rain, It's a Wonderful Life and Casablanca) and perhaps the most acclaimed film EVER(Citizen Kane).


SWEET SIXTEEN RECAP:

First up the #1 seed Citizen Kane faces off against #5 Singin' In the Rain. While Rain definitely holds its own with Kane in regards to cultural impact and popularity over time, finishing in the top 5 in the American Film Institutes Top 100 Poll, and was actually a bigger box office hit than Kane, it just doesn't have the same amount of historical significance or critical acclaim to win this matchup. Throw in Kane's 9 Oscar Nominations, as well as Awards from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle, and Kane is just too much for Rain to handle. So Orson Welles' masterpiece moves on the Elite Eight.





The other Sweet Sixteen match up from this era pits two of my favorite actors and movies against each other, Jimmy Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life and Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Both films rank close to each other in almost every major poll, with Life being ranked higher according the Directors polled by Sight and Sound magazine, while the critics in that same poll preferred Casablanca. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com) gives a slight edge to Life (#26 versus #28) while Casablanca barely wins according to Entertainment Weekly (#3 versus #6).

The final decision came down to Casablanca's higher score at Rotten Tomatoes (97% versus 94%) as well as the fact that it won Best Picture, had more Oscar Nominations and won two other awards at the Academy Awards. It was close, but only Casablanca gets to move on to face Citizen Kane in the 1939-1956 era championship.





ELITE EIGHT RECAP:


If someone said "Citizen Kane is the greatest film of all-time", you'd have a hard time arguing with them. If someone said "Casablanca is the greatest film of all-time", you'd also have a hard time arguing with them. The fact that they came out a mere fourteen months apart is beyond incredible, Citizen Kane just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Casablanca coming out less than a year after the attack. Both films have made an incredible impact on cinema and film-goers the world over, but both in different ways.

Citizen Kane has had a more profound impact on filmmakers, with all of it's technical and storytelling innovations, which also gives it the edge with critics as well. Casablanca on the other hand has made a bigger impact on the culture at large, with not only one or two but at least a half a dozen different lines, from "Here's looking at you kid", to "Of all the gin joints in all the towns", to "Round up the usual suspects" all making their way into the lexicon. Kane has one doozy of a famous line too, "Rosebud". This match up came down to the last category, major awards won, and while Casablanca did win Best Picture at the Oscars, Kane actually was nominated for more awards. It also won the New York Film Critic Circle and National Board of Review Awards.

That's enough to call it a tie in my mind, which means the two films came to a complete tie after looking at all five categories. The tiebreaker goes to Citizen Kane, due to it's superior historical significance, so it moves on to face The Wizard of Oz in the tournament semi-finals.


Here's the full bracket in case you missed the earlier rounds...



Did the right films move on each round? Is Citizen Kane the top film of this era? Will it be strong enough to beat the cultural icon that is The Wizard of Oz? Come back on Friday the 28th to see which film moves on to the March Movie Madness Championship!

Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Monday, March 24, 2014

MARCH MOVIE MADNESS 1915-1939 SWEET 16 & ELITE 8 RESULTS!!!


Today we find out our first March Movie Madness Final Four participant, the winner of the 1915-1939 Era Bracket! Four early landmarks, two from the silent era, and two from the "Greatest Year Ever" for motion pictures, 1939, will fight it out for the chance to move on to face the winner of the 1939-1956 Era Bracket.


SWEET SIXTEEN RECAP:

First up was the #1 Seed Gone With the Wind versus the biggest star of the silent era, Charlie Chaplin and The Gold Rush.  Either one of these films would be a solid choice to represent the early stages of cinema, and both came to a draw in the first category, "Historical Significance". Gone With the Wind was named one of Turner Classic Movies 15 most influential movies of All-Time, while The Gold Rush was named one of the Top 100 Movies of All Time in Sight and Sound Magazine's Directors Poll. While Chaplin did outperform Rhett and Scarlett with most critics, the Wind was just simply too strong in "Cultural Impact" and "Popularity Over Time" due to it being the most successful movie EVER at the Box Office. So sadly we must say goodbye to the Little Tramp as Gone With the Wind moves on.



The other Sweet Sixteen match up in this bracket pitted two very different films against each other. Battleship Potemkin was a groundbreaking Russian silent film by the man who brought the idea of montage film editing to the forefront, Sergei Eisenstein. The famous "Odessa Steps" sequence featuring a rolling baby carriage down a seemingly endless flight of stairs, set against the images of military troops marching towards and firing on a group of civilians, is without a doubt one of the most famous sequences in film history. Homages of the sequence can be seen in films as varied as The GodfatherBrazil and most famously The Untouchables.

While Potemkin is undoubtedly profoundly influential, it just can't compete against The Wizard of Oz in overall "Cultural Impact" or "Popularity Over Time". Virtually every man, woman and child all over the world knows the tale of Dorthy, Toto, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Munchkins, Ruby Slippers, Tornadoes, and those damn Flying Monkeys! Not only is Oz the people champ here, but it also ranks #1 on Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 of All-Time as well, so it is critically beloved as well. She might be small in stature, but it didn't stop Dorthy from sinking this Battleship. She kicks her heels together and moves on to the next round.




ELITE EIGHT RECAP:


So that means we are in for a repeat of the Academy Awards of 1939, with Gone With the Wind squaring off against The Wizard of Oz! There is a solid case that these are the two most viewed films in history, with Wind selling more tickets in theaters than any other film, and Oz with it's annual showings on TV likely being viewed on Television more than any other film ever.

It was very interesting to note that 75 years after Hattie McDaniel became the first Black performer to be awarded an Academy Award for her work in Gone With the Wind that Lupita Nyong'o also took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave. When you compare those two films it makes it even more clear that Wind just does not stand up as well over time as others from it's era, specifically The Wizard of Oz. Each generation has reinvented Oz for their time, from Michael Jackson and Diana Ross in The Wiz, to the smash Broadway hit Wicked, to last years Top Ten Box Office hit Oz the Great & Powerful, and the current ABC TV show Once Upon a Time.

When was the last time you saw a Gone With the Wind spinoff? Exactly. It's treatment of the Civil War era South just does not ring true 75 years on, whereas that young girl leaning against a hay bale and singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" still pulls at your heartstrings to this day. Did you notice how this years Oscars did an entire segment on it, yet completely failed to even mention that Gone With the Wind was celebrating it's 75th Anniversary as well? Both films are incredibly iconic, and either one certainly could argue their case as the top film of All-Time, but while Wind bested Oz 75 years ago at the Oscars, Oz wins out in the long run, and by doing so moves on to the March Movie Madness Final Four!



Here's the full bracket recap, in case you forgot how we got here...



Come back on Friday the 28th to see what film from 1939-1956 that The Wizard of Oz will face off against for a chance to move on to the finals of Five Star Flicks' March Movie Madness!

Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks