My Favorite Tarantino Movies

It is not secret that director Quentin Tarantino is pretty out there. He is an odd fellow with a very vivid imagination. If you have ever seen any of the movies he has directed, then you know what I am talking about. He is known for very imaginative and unconventional screenplays, breaking the standards for what is considered “good” films, and creating strange characters with bizarre backgrounds and motives. Tarantino is not my favorite director of all time, but I think he is important for people to support. The movie industry needs directors like Tarantino to constantly be pushing the boundaries of the conventions of movies in order to keep the film industry in constant change. Directors like Tarantino challenge what the audience deems acceptable, and I applaud him for that, which is why I want to list a few of my favorite movies he directed. I won’t say that I could watch all these movies back to back, but a Tarantino movie once in a while is thought-provoking and refreshing.


4. Kill Bill vol. 1


Bloody Bloody Bloody. This film is a tribute to all of the foreign martial arts movies that came into American markets a few decades ago. Martial arts + Blood + good story line + revenge is the equation for this one. Very fun movie to watch if you are bored.

3. Django Unchained


Tarantino’s most recent film was a hit in the awards season of 2013. I won’t go into the film because I have another blog post dedicated to it, but you should see it when it comes out of DVD if you didn’t see it in theaters. Very fun, but again, bloody.

2. Inglorious Bastards


This film, starring Brad Pitt, is about a group of WWII Jewish-American soldiers who go on a mission to Nazi Germany with one mission: To kill Nazis. This borderline parody of WWII and the Nazi regime contains a lot of humor, and even more blood. If you are looking for a film to watch when you are angry and feel vengeful, this is the movie for you. It was nominated for a ton of awards. Must see.

1. Pulp Fiction


If you haven’t seen this one, all I can say to you is go watch it right now. This movie is a classic, and is an embodiment of Tarantino. The plot is very imaginative, yet non-sensable. The characters are crazy and seem to have no continuity behind them. The film could be argued to have a hundred different themes, or no themes at all. It is just one of those crazy, amazing movies that everyone must see in their lifetime. It is very quotable, and oh yeah, there is a good amount of blood too.


*Posters from IMDb

Olympus is Falling….All the way down….

This past week I had the pleasure of seeing the new film, “Olympus has Fallen”. My hope is that after this post, I would have spared you from the pleasure of ever seeing it in your lifetime. It was poor on so many levels, I do not know where to start.


Pros: The cinematography of the film was actually quite good. The camera angles in the action scenes added suspense to the film, which was complimented by a good score. Other than that, I cannot say much good about the movie.

Cons: The story is so unrealistic, it ruined everything. EVERYTHING. The premise of the movie is that North Koreans attack and eventually take over the White House (aka Olympus). It is up to one former secret service agent to stop them. (Die Hard anyone?) What got me was the North Koreans plan to take over the White house. Step one: Fly a plane over it and distract everyone. Step two. Drive up and shoot everyone. Step three. Walk in. It was so hilariously stupid. ONE. Planes cannot fly even remotely close to the White House. After 9/11 the restricted airspace around D.C. goes for miles. Any plane with a heading toward the white house would be shot down before even getting within a mile of it. TWO. There are so many federal agents in D.C. its scary. I can promise you that if you are at the gates of the White House, you are in the sights of at least two dozen rooftop snipers and many more undercover field agents. Nobody could traverse the White House lawn. THREE. In the event that the White House was compromised, the Pentagon could easily stop anyone from getting into the computer system.

The plot was completely laughable and not even remotely entertaining. This is a movie you should avoid. It can best be described as a crappy Die Hard without Bruce Willis and with a plot that is 200x more unbelievable. Even Morgan Freeman couldn’t resurrect this film.

Grade: D+


Leonardo DiCaprio

Alright so this week I decided to make a list of the top five movies with Leonardo DiCaprio. He is one of my favorite actors, and I think its sad that he has never received an Oscar for any of his performances. Just from his looks alone he deserves one. (Many people argue that he is past his physical prime and that he is most attractive in his older movies, but I would say he’s still got it.) I would just like to note that this list is not purely based on the quality of the movies, but rather the quality of Leo’s acting in each movie. SPOILER ALERT: Titanic is NOT #1.


5.      Inception

Hopefully this is a film we have all seen before. This is one of my favorite movies that Leo is in, however, not my favorite performance by him. Much of the movie is about his struggle to cope with loss of his wife, the exile from his family, and the pressures of his high-stakes job. I think the directing and editing helps exaggerate his story and builds sympathy for his character, but I also think his acting could be a little deeper.


4.     The Departed

This is a fantastic movie and you should definitely watch it if you haven’t. In this film, Leo has to act as a character with a dangerous double life and bounce between the law and the Irish mob. He portrays this struggle well and the audience is able to feel the emotions of his character. Add Jack Nicholson as the antagonist and you have a winning movie.


3.     Blood Diamond

This is very intense thriller film that keeps you on edge for its entire duration. In this one, Leo plays a diamond trafficker in Africa and works for gangs in the trade of blood diamonds. Leo has the internal struggle between what is right and wrong, or if there even is a right or wrong. Leo is a great actor when it comes to emotions and is very good at letting the reader understand his character’s struggles through his actions. Great film and great performance by DiCaprio.


2.     Titanic


I mean, its Titanic. You really don’t have to say much more about it. I don’t care if you call it a chick flick or not, its just a fantastic movie. The love story is classic and the plot, though tragic, is very emotional. I wouldn’t cast anyone else for the movie besides DiCaprio. Its always a good time to watch this movie.


1.      The Aviator


I’ll start off by saying that this film is VERY long and has many slow and dry parts in the middle of it. If you have a short attention span, this will be a struggle to watch. DiCaprio plays film director and American aviator, Howard Hughes. It is a very interesting, and apparently realistic, account of Hughes’ life including his struggle with OCD. Not only is Hughes’ life filled with emotional struggles from his parents’ death, multiple female partner failures, and constant pressure and stress, he also has to deal with OCD and intense constant physical pain. This is a hard feat for any actor and Leo does it PERFECTLY. Throughout the entire movie, I felt like I actually was a part of Hughes’ life and felt the pain he felt. The only shining star of the movie is Leo’s acting and he certainly deserved Best Actor for this one. Best performance by DiCaprio by far.


Honorable mention: Catch me if you Can   Shutter Island    Gangs of New York

Silver Linings Playbook

This week I decided to talk about an underrated movie that came out a little while ago, but seems to be getting more attention now. I just watched the film, Silver Linings Playbook, and I have to say I am impressed. I do not know how this movie slipped under the radar of so many people, but I am glad it is being brought to justice now.



I’ll start off by saying that, based on the ads I had seen for this movie, I thought I was going to be seeing a chick flick. I was wrong. This movie is one that is hard to put in any one genre of film. To me, it was mostly a drama with elements of both the melodrama and comedy genres as well. I won’t spoil the plotline, but the movie is about a man named Pat (Bradley Cooper) who is struggling with a mental illness and a hard divorce all at the same time. His entire life went down the drain and he has to struggle with the feelings of wanting get his old life back, while knowing he needs to let everything go and start a new life.


The performances by both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are fantastic.  Both have to play parts of people who are struggling with a mental illness (which I would imagine is not an easy role to act out) and both do a great job. Their acting draws the audience in and makes the audience really care about both characters. Another hidden gem in this movie is the performance by Robert Di Nero. He has a supporting role, but it is impossible to overlook his acting in this film. If you are like me and love anything Di Nero, you need to see this movie.


Overall this was a thought provoking film with a unique and interesting plot line performed by great actors.



Grade: A-


Verdict: They kept it in theaters longer because it took a while to get recognition. Its still in theaters now and you HAVE to see it. Looking for a good new movie to see? This is it.

2013: A Look Ahead

I debated whether or not I should write a blog this week about a chick flick in the theme of Valentines day, but decided instead to look to the future. 2013 is a HUGE year for movies. There are a ton of new movies coming out and I wanted to go over a few that I am looking forward to. Most of them are sequels to movies that came out in the previous year that I am completely stoked for. Hope you all agree. Here it goes:


1. Star Trek: Into Darkness     May 17th

I absolutely loved the new version of Star Trek they made a while back with Chris Pine starring. I think this film was made beautifully with a captivating plot and great special effects. I have been a Star Trek fan my entire life and was able to relate this movie to other Star Trek movies and shows, but I felt it was a good stand alone movie to get people who have never seen a Star Trek film into the series. I really hope this one is as good as the last one.

2. The Great Gatsby     May 10th


First off, if you haven’t read this book, do it. It is a fun and quick read that would be well worth it to read before watching the movie. This one could either be fantastic or a bust. If they stay true to the book, I think it’ll be good. There is only one person I would cast as Gatsby, and that is Leonardo Di Caprio. I love anything with him in it and I hope this follows suit.

3. Hunger Games: Catching Fire     November 22nd


Again, this could be blockbuster or bust. I haven’t read the books so I really can’t say what I expect from it. All I know is that the first one was very interesting to me and I hope they build off of that to create something great here. I feel like most people will see this one no matter how good or bad it is. At least see it for Jennifer Lawrence.

4. Monsters University        June 21st


The original Monsters Inc. came out when we were just kids. I think it very odd that they are releasing a new one now, but it has a lot of potential. Monsters Inc. was one of the classics from Disney Pixar and appealed to a wide audience. The problem with waiting so long is that now they have to make it appealing to us (people who saw the first one as kids and are now considerably older) and kids. I hope they do this well and this is a hit.

5. Iron Man 3     May 3rd


The only thing this movie needs in order to be successful is a bunch of crap blowing up, and Robert Downey Jr. being all sassy (while blowing crap up). That said, it would be nice if they continued the plot off the last Iron Man and the Avengers movie to create this complex network of comic book Avengers movies. I didn’t like the 2nd one as much as the 1st, so I hope they go back to the blockbuster feel of the 1st.


Anyways, these are just my top five movies coming out this year. Let me know what you guys are excited for!

Honorable Mention: Man of Steel, Captain Phillips, Much Ado About Nothing


Skyfall does not win at all

In a little more than a week, the latest installment of the James Bond series will be released to DVD for your viewing pleasure. Except viewing this film was anything but pleasurable. Lets get a little background here. The James Bond series was recharged with the release of the film Casino Royale starring a new actor to play Bond: Daniel Craig. Craig acted the Bond part perfectly making Casino Royale an instant hit. Then came the mediocrity of Quantum of Solace that was really a plot set up movie. Everyone thought the next Bond movie would be in-your-face and fantastic. But this movie was simply disappointing.


The best way I could describe how this movie failed was that it simply wasn’t a James Bond film. It WAS a good action film, just not a James Bond film. Lets look at what makes a movie uniquely Bond: It needs a dark villain who tries to gain money or power somehow. It needs Bond to come up with a plan that outsmarts the villain. Bond needs to be hardcore, confident, and unwavering in his demeanor. And above all, there needs to be a Bond girl (I am not sexist by promoting this. I am simply stating that the movie is geared toward the male audience and based on every single other Bond movie, a Bond girl is to be expected.) Why did this movie fail in my mind? It didn’t do ANY of this. 1. The villain’s character was just made to spite Bond, and he was not witty at all. He had no motives or depth or plan to take over the world. 2. Half the movie was about Bond’s internal struggle with his past and his duty to his country. I don’t care what Bond is struggling with on the inside, I just want to see him take out the bad guys. 3. Bond is outsmarted at every turn and is beat down by the villain. Bond should never be portrayed as vulnerable, and the “master plan” to catch the villain should not be to just sit and wait and shoot him. 4. There was no strong female character attached to Bond, therefore there was no romance, a key element of every Bond movie.


All said and done, I was terribly disappointed by this movie and was hoping for a lot more out of it. Leaving the theater, I did not feel as though I had just watched a movie that belonged to a series I know and love. At best, Skyfall was a decent action movie with lots of explosions and a cool intro song by Adele. If for some reason you were on the fence about the movie and were going to wait until it came out, you are just wasting your time. I would not recommend this to anyone who wanted to watch a James Bond movie.


Grade: D+

Verdict: If you weren’t excited enough about this movie when it came out to see it right away, don’t see it at all. Please.

The Classics: Frank Darabont Style

You may recognize the name Frank Darabont from a show most of us know and love (and that is returning very soon). Frank Darabont is the director of the Walking Dead, and for all of us who watch the show, I think we can all agree he has created a fantastic series. But did you know Darabont has made more than just that tv show? In fact, Darabont has created over a dozen tv shows and Hollywood movies, including two of my absolute favorites: The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.


Frank Darabont

First off, let me just say that if you love anything and everything that Morgan Freeman does, then you absolutely need to watch these The Shawshank Redemption. I believe that  it is one of the best Freeman has ever done in his lifetime. That said, he is not the only one that makes this movie fantastic. The film is one of those rare films that draws its audience in from the very beginning and keeps them caged until the end. Darabont’s classical dramatic filmmaking style makes this film an instant classic among audiences of all demographics. Everyone who has had a struggle in life that they felt was unfairly put upon them can relate to this movie that will end up giving you hope in hopeless situations.

Shawshank Redemption

The Green Mile has a similar theme of hope in a world of hopelessness. In fact, there are a good amount of parallels between these two movies in themes and filmmaking style. However, instead of Morgan Freeman, this one has Tom Hanks. Another superstar actor who is one of my favorites. This film creates an atmosphere for the audience that is impossible for the audience to ignore or dislike. If you are ever in a setting where you want to watch just a genuinely good, all around, feel-good movie, I would highly recommend these two. They are a must see in our lifetime.



Cloud Atlas

In our cinema today, it is rare that a movie comes along that can be entertaining while having a deep impact on your view of life. It is rare that a new movie forces its audience to view life from a different prospective and even allow the audience to learn about themselves. Well a new movie that fits this category that you may have never heard of is Cloud Atlas (and it just happens to be playing at the HUB this weekend). DO NOT watch this movie if you are looking for a fun time-killer. It will force you to think deep and critically about life and the nature of humanity. In this German (non-Hollywood) three hour long masterpiece, you will be drawn into an experience that very few movies have achieved.


I will try to give information about the movie without giving away any plot. This piece is very unique in that the directors use several principal actors (like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry) to play many roles throughout the film. All at once, there are about half a dozen plot lines going on taking place in different generations of mankind, from hundreds of years ago to present to the far distant future. In all the plots, the same actors are used to portray different generational struggles. What comes out of this movie is that although times are different, and everything in a past generation may seem distant and irrelevant, Man and the destiny of Man is always the same.

Cloud Atlas is one of those films that you could come up with at least a dozen different implicit and explicit themes after watching it. But don’t. Let this film mean what it means to you, and get as much as you can out of it. Get lost in the world of Cloud Atlas and you will surely be pleased.


Grade: A


Django Unchained Review

If you haven’t made it to the theaters yet to see Django Unchained, you should certainly do so. This movie came out several weeks ago and is directed by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino has always been a director that has a very unique style and cinematic technique. Earlier in the year we watched a movie by Spike Lee who also has an unorthodox style of movie-making similar to Tarantino. That said, if you have seen another tarantino film and disliked it, don’t see Django.

Django is a movie about a slave from early 1800s America who is bought and freed, and his struggles with his new freedoms. He is propelled into a life in which he must make split-second decisions to survive, and in a world in which a freed former slave must fight for respect. Now anyone that has ever seen a Tarantino film can assume that it is not going to be an emotional Spielberg drama film with a thousand different deep messages in it. Most of the criticism of this film comes in that Tarantino uses too much comedy, and makes the film too unrealistic to provide the audience with a deeper meaning. I do not buy into this, however. The movie industry today has made film genres more rigid and left less room for films that blur genre lines. Today, many critics and individual viewers believe that films should provide a deep meaning for the audience to get out of it. Where have the days gone where we go to a film to simply be entertained? Django Unchained is a downright entertaining film that you will probably not find a deeper meaning in, but the entertainment was enough for me. Along with great acting performances by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio this a must-see movie.




VERDICT: Worth seeing in theaters or purchasing when

Passion WK9: Hero or Hack? You decide


There is no real non-partisan way to go about deeming this news story a hero or hack, so I’ll let you decide. This is a story that has to do with an article we read in class about unmanned drones used in the military.

Just days before the election here in the United States, and unmanned air drone was shot at by Iranian military jets. The Pentagon is not releasing much about it, but here are several “known facts”:

  • The drone was flying in International airspace when shot at by Iran. It was NOT flying in Iranian air space
  • The drone allegedly was only surveying the area, and was not used for force.
  • The drone was shot at, but was never hit and returned to the nearest military base
  • United States officials have confirmed the incident, but Iran has yet to come out with a statement.

So the United States was flying a drone in neutral air space for “surveillance” (which I hope everyone questions) and was shot at and missed by two Iranian jets. Not it is not known if they missed on purpose or if they just have bad aim, but needless to say, the Pentagon is pissed. I am curious to see people’s opinion on this. I think its possible that the Iranians missed on purpose and shot at it to make a point that they don’t like the unmanned drones and see them as a great threat. I also think its possible that using the drones the survey neutral territory is a BS story and the Iran was a target only defending itself from being surveyed.

Is it right for us to have these drones? Will they cause more violence and lives than they would save? Obviously less Americans lives are being lost, but is it moral to put that at the expense of other countries? So many different prospectives to take on this one that I cannot say one country is in the right while the other is in the wrong. I did feel like this is a story you should all know about and see how it follows through in the weeks to come.


Source: & Associated Press