Tag Archives: samuel l. jackson

Django Unchained

Django Unchained is a 2012 Tarantino flick. It fact, it’s Quentin Tarantino’s highest grossing film to date. It’s not his best film, but it’s worth watching (all his films are). It’s about a slave named Django who teams up with a bounty hunter. They go around killing bad guys and collecting bounties while searching for Django’s wife in an effort to free her. It’s an interesting story but it’s not as structured as Tarantino’s other films. It’s more rambling and loose, and it feels almost as if he was trying to stretch out the running time. Granted it’s Tarantino, so it’s never boring. There’s always tremendous dialog, beautiful visuals, an epic soundtrack, and glorious violence. It’s a great movie. It’s just not quite a masterpiece.

Jamie Foxx plays Django and he’s good and all, but Christoph Waltz carries the movie as Dr. King Schultz. Schultz is arguably the main character. He’s the one that sets the story in motion. He frees Django, he teaches him how to become a bounty hunter, and he helps him find his wife. This movie has tremendous actors in it. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, etc. all had solid performances, but the movie wouldn’t have worked without Christoph Waltz. He won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, and it was well deserved.

You can’t claim to be a movie lover if you don’t watch Tarantino movies. You don’t have to like them, but you have to experience them. Tarantino watches films, studies them, analyzes them, and incorporates certain aspects of great films into his films. He pays homage to classic cinema while simultaneously pushing the boundaries forward. Yeah, he overuses the N-word and has a foot fetish. He’s still a true artist and you can’t deny his impact on cinema and pop culture.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young


Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Pulp Fiction

There are a few ways that men prove they are men. We light fires. We memorize sports statistics. And we quote Pulp Fiction. Quentin Tarantino is movie nerd and you can tell that he knows how to make a great film. He might lift things from obscure movies, but he has his own style and voice and he makes movies that you can watch over and over again.

The movie is non linear. There are three main stories that are somewhat self-contained, but certain events and characters are common in all the segments. The film starts with Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) staging a robbery in a restaurant, before it jumps into the first story about Vincent Vega (John Travolta). Vincent and his partner Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) are two hit men working for Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). Vincent and Jules make casual conversation before they kill off Brett, some fool who owes Marcellus Wallace money. Later Vincent has to take Marcellus Wallace’s wife out to dinner and keep her company. Vincent and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) go to Jack Rabbit Slim’s, a ‘50s style diner and enter a dance contest and they win. They have chemistry, but there’s no way that Vincent can act on it. While Vincent is talking to himself in the bathroom, Mia finds his heroin, assumes that it’s coke, and overdoses. Vincent manages to save her life and his own in the process.

The next segment is about Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), an aging boxer who agrees to throw a fight for Marcellus Wallace. He then bets on himself to win and beats the other boxer to death. Now he’s a rich man but has to get out of town before Marcellus Wallace finds him. His girlfriend forgets to pack his gold watch, and the sentimental value is through the roof, so he has to go back to get it. He gets his watch and nearly gets away, but he runs into Marcellus Wallace and they have one of those savage street fights where you end up trapped in a pawnshop by two sadistic rapists and their pet gimp. While Marcellus is getting some unwanted attention, Butch manages to escape, but comes back to save Marcellus from getting more raped.

The last part is about Jules, and the film jumps back to Vincent and Jules shooting Brett. After the kill him, a guy that was hidden in the bathroom jumps out and unloads his gun at Vincent and Jules but doesn’t hit anything. Random fact of the day: the guy that was hiding in the bathroom is Alexis Arquette, better known as the tranny Arquette. Jules is convinced that it was a miracle he didn’t get shot. And then Vincent shoots Marvin in the face and they have do deal with that. They have to get off the road and get cleaned up. And then they get breakfast.

They get breakfast at the same restaurant that you see in the beginning, and sure enough Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are robbing the place and the movie comes full circle.

This movie requires repeated viewings. It is just so dense, and the stories are so interwoven and integrated that you will always note something new. Not only will you notice previously neglected details, but also you will be able to absorb the dialog. The dialog flows like poetry. Christopher Walken’s cameo is his best monolog on film. Harvey Keitel stands out as the Wolf and has some great lines.

The soundtrack is amazing. Tarantino has a gift for choosing the perfect song to suit the scene. He doesn’t resort to using cheesy pop hits by popular artists, and that’s why the soundtrack still holds up today.

This is a great movie. It’s a cult classic and it inspired a bunch of copycat movies. Tarantino makes movies for movie nerds. He steals stuff from other movies and doesn’t hide it or deny it. And even though he takes stuff, he still personalizes it and makes it his own. He has his own style from copying from multiple genres and it works. He makes great movies, and if Pulp Fiction is a respectable favorite movie to have.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Actors in Multiple Movie Franchises

Some movies make a lot of money. And people like money, so they decide to make a sequel to make even more money. And if that sequel makes money they might make a third movie. And three movies in the same series makes a trilogy, and (for the purposes of this article) a trilogy is a film franchise. So if an actor appears in three or more movies in the same franchise and three or more movies in another franchise, then they will appear on this list. Unless I forgot about them. Sorry forgotten celebrity.

Harrison Ford starred in the original Star Wars trilogy and the Indiana Jones trilogy (and that shitty fourth movie that I try to forget about). He’s also rumored to come back in the new Star Wars movies.

Tim Allen starred in the Toy Story trilogy and the Santa Clause movies.

Michael J. Fox went Back to the Future three times and voiced Stuart Little three times.

Matt Damon was Jason Bourne three times and was in Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.

Eddie Murphy was Donkey in four Shrek movies and Axel Foley three times as a Beverly Hills Cop. Mike Myers was Shrek in the Shrek flicks and Austin Powers and Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies.

Shrek And Donkey - Shrek The Final Chapter Desktop Wallpaper

Orlando Bloom was Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he’s reprising his role in The Hobbit movie. He was also in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies too.

Sir Ian McKellen has saved the world as Gandalf in three Lord of the Rings movies and will do so again in The Hobbit trilogy. He’s also threatened the world three times as Magneto in the X-Men franchise.

Patrick Stewart played Captain Jean-Luc Picard four times on the big screen and played Charles Xavier in three X-Men movies with a cameo in the Wolverine movie.

Crazy anti-Semite Mel Gibson has been in four Lethal Weapon Movies and was Mad Max three times. You know he hates Jews right?

Warwick Davis was in six Leprechaun movies (about half were direct-to-video) and was also in all eight Harry Potter Movies playing duel roles as Professor Flitwick and Griphook.

Sylvester Stallone was Rambo four times and Rocky Balboa six times. I have a feeling he might be Expendable three times too.

Vin Diesel sucks a lot of balls, but he’s been in four Fast and/or Furious movies (one of them was just a cameo), and he will play Riddick again in 2013. I’m sure that there are at least four people who will pay to see that shit.

Ben Stiller has played Gaylord Focker in three movies and loaned his voice to three Madagascar movies.

Gary Oldman played Sirius Black in Harry Potter 3, 4, 5 and 7.5 and has been James Gordon three times in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Bruce Campbell has played Ash in the Evil Dead movies and had cameos in all of Sam Raimi’s Spider-man movies. That might be a stretch, but it still counts.

Antonio Banderas has been Puss in Boots in three Shrek movies and one spinoff and was in four Spy Kids movies (his scene was cut in the fourth one. Yes, there are four Spy Kids movies). He was played El Mariachi in two out of the three El Mariachi movies, so he doesn’t get any points for that.

John Cho has hung out with Kumar three times as Harold, and he was in American Pie, American Pie 2, American Wedding, and American Reunion. Cameos count. Right, Bruce Campbell?

Samuel L. Jackson was Mace Windu in Star Wars Episode I-III. He also played Nick Fury in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers, which are all part of the same universe, so he gets included.

Jackie Chan has three franchises under his belt. Three Rush Hour movies, four Police Story movies, and he’s loaned his voice to two Kung Fu Panda movies with a third coming out in 2013.

Christopher Lee played Fu Manchu three times, he was Dracula in a bunch of movies. He was Count Dooku in Episodes II and III and the animated Clone Wars movie. He was in Lord of the Rings too.

Hugo Weaving has also been in three franchises. He threatened Neo three times as Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy. He loaned his voice to Megatron in the Transfomers movies. And he was Elrond in the Lord of the Rings movie and will reprise his role again in one of the upcoming Hobbit movies.

So that’s my list. I think it’s pretty complete. If you see anyone that I’m missing leave a comment. And I’ll either correct you or add it to my list. I don’t know how to rate this so I will just settle for something like this:

Critically Rated at 12/17

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

The Avengers

It’s very refreshing to go to the movies and pay a shit ton of money and know that you are going to be entertained. Very few films come with that kind of guarantee. The Avengers is one of those movies. It has everything you want in a summer blockbuster: a great cast, a great director, great characters, great special effects, and great story. Joss Whedon knows how to direct large ensemble casts, and every character gets adequate screen time and at least one memorable moment. The Avengers kicks off the summer blockbuster season, and it’s going to be a tough act to follow. The world is in trouble and the Avengers must assemble, and it takes a while, but they learn to overcome their differences and become a team (and a family), and save they New York City and the world.

There is a huge cast. Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Samuel L. Jackson all show up. And they all get their moment to shine. There is no lead, but Robert Downey, Jr. wants you to think it’s him. Quick props to Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson. He has no powers, but he was no doubt a hero. He inspired the Avengers to become the Avengers, with a little manipulation from Nick Fury.

It might be helpful to first watch Iron Man, Iron Man 2, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger but it’s not necessary. I never saw Captain America, and I don’t feel like I had to. I understood his role and position on the team, and each Avenger gets ample screen time to establish or reestablish characters. Hawkeye and the Black Widow each get a good introduction scene; you learn their personalities, their capabilities and get a sense of who they are.

Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America all have dramatic entrances. You know the real heroes have arrived when they show up. The first half hour to 45 minutes kind of drags, but it’s important for the plot and it’s never really boring. As soon as the Helicarrier gets attacked and Banner transforms into the Hulk, the movie kicks into overdrive and never gives up. The action is intense and overwhelming. It’s sensory overload like Transformers, but unlike Transformers you are aware of what’s happening. You know who the villains are, who the heroes are, and what’s at stake.

Some of the funniest moments happen in the midst of battle. The Hulk in particular had some great moments (throwing the ejected pilot, sucker punching Thor, beating the shit out of Loki). Mark Ruffalo became the best Hulk with the shortest amount of screen time. BTW, Lou Ferrigno voiced the Hulk, a little nerd knowledge for you. Each hero has their share of quips though. It’s very reminiscent of comics: some spectacular display of violence followed by a witty remark.

Comic book fans will jizz in their pants. There are so many hidden Marvel moments to get excited about. Everyone loves a good Stan Lee cameo, but there are so many references to the Marvel Universe that your geeky head will explode. There is too much to take in, and you have to see it multiple times and talk about it to people nerdier than you are just to calm down a little. It makes you feel like a little kid, asking who that was, or what this was about. It’s rare to be excited about a movie these days. Don’t take it for granted.

I saw it in 3D. I was a little skeptical, because most films shot in 2D that get converted to 3D look terrible. The 3D is shoddy and the characters look like cardboard cutouts. A simple test is to take off your 3D glasses: blurry means that it is 3D, unblurred and in-focus means you wasted your money. This movie is actually 3D, and it’s worth paying a few extra bucks for the full experience. The cinematography alone is impressive, so seeing it in 2D is not missing out on much. Everybody wins. There are some great shots in the NYC battle. There’s a rapid shot where the camera is looking through the shattered rear window of a cab. Another great shot shows Captain America’s reflection in an overturned motorcycle’s mirror.

So this movie has already been ridiculously hyped. It has made over $207 million in its first 3 days in the US. It’s made over $1.008 billion. It’s already the #11 movie of all time. It wont be Avatar status, but it’s going to be in the top ten for sure. This isn’t the best movie of all time. But it will be a lot of people’s favorite movie. And you can’t fault them for that. This movie is a great blockbuster. There are a lot of great characters, funny moments, and jaw-dropping special effects. And it has heart.

Joss Whedon compares the Avengers to a family. They don’t always get along. They fight and bicker and argue with each other. But they come together when the need to. They work together and they save New York City. And saving New York City is always good.

This movie appeals to everyone. I saw it with three lesbians and an old man. We all had a blast. This is an awesome movie and I can’t wait to see it again. It is one of those movies that you geek out over and you do your best Iron Man and Hulk impressions to try and recreate the magic. Just see it already. Don’t be the only one left out.

Critically Rated at 15.5/17

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Coming to America

John Landis directs Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. This is Eddie Murphy’s best movie, hands down. Eddie Murphy plays an African prince who comes to America in search of a bride. He brings his faithful manservant along, and hilarity ensues. Contrary to popular belief, Eddie Murphy does not play every single role in the movie. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall each play four characters though. That’s a lot of comedy.

Murphy plays Prince Akeem. Arsenio Hall plays Semmi, his servant and friend. They come to Queens and land jobs at a McDonald’s clone called McDowell’s. Akeem falls for his boss’s daughter, but she already has a boyfriend. He keeps his regal status a secret, and eventually Lisa begins to notice him.

She gets rid of her boyfriend, and Akeem and Lisa start a relationship. Akeem’s parents show up, she finds out that he’s a prince, and she gets mad that he lied about being a goat herder and breaks up with him. Um, ok, why not? He goes back to Africa, and has to take part in an arranged marriage. When he lifts up his mystery bride’s veil, he sees that it is Lisa! Oh, what a happy ending.

This is a good movie with a good cast. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are at the top of their game, each playing multiple characters, and each one is funny. Eddie Murphy carries the movie, but it wouldn’t have been half as good without Arsenio Hall. They play off each other well; they should have made more movies together. James Earl Jones plays Akeem’s father, the King of Zamunda. Samuel L. Jackson, Louie Anderson and Cuba Gooding, Jr. have cameos. Shari Headley plays Lisa. She’s stunningly beautiful and I wonder why her career didn’t take off.

Eddie Murphy gets credit for coming up with the story, and David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein wrote the screenplay. Or did they? A guy named Art Buchwald wrote a script treatment for an Eddie Murphy vehicle in 1982. It went into development hell for a few years, and eventually was shelved. And then they made it in 1988 and Buchwald sued them. They settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Pretty shady, but I think the studio is more to blame than Eddie Murphy.

This is a cult classic. It gave the world Sexual Chocolate and Soul Glow. It gave Eddie Murphy the idea he could do anything. It gave you a reason to forgive Eddie Murphy for shit like Pluto Nash and Norbit, and that’s saying something.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment