Category Archives: Movies

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Batman ’89: The beginning of something grand in Gotham, our hearts, and our minds

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With yesterday (June 23rd) being the 25th anniversary of the original premiere for the movie known as “Batman”, I figured now would be the perfect time to reflect on the importance of such a movie that came out on a summer day way back in 1989.

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Here, There Be Spoilers: How To Train Your Dragon 2 Review

Having seen an advanced screening of How To Train Your Dragon 2, I decided to give my thoughts on the film.

As the title suggests, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!

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Fyreharticles: Top Ten Cities/Places That Should Be Destroyed In Movies

New York City getting destroyed is a bit overdone by now, isn’t it? That and London. Thankfully the times are changing and, spoilers, San Francisco (along with Las Vegas and a city in Hawaii) got decimated in the new Godzilla movie. So it seems Hollywood has at least temporarily stopped using NYC as its whipping boy, and I’d say it’s about time they focused on other perfectly good cities that are worth decimating on film for dramatic effect (just to clarify, dramatic effect equals “a quick buck” in this scenario). So, here’s ten cities I think Hollywood should unleash their fury upon.

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Quentin Tarantino

Fyreharticles: Ranking Tarantino (Least Favourite Film To Favourite Film)

I’ve toyed with this idea before in my head, and I’ve decided to go ahead with it. Without wasting too much of your time, I’ll dive right into this one…..after a bit of clarification anyway.

I’d like to point out that, aside from this obviously being my own personal opinion, this is only counting movies Tarantino directed; not simply wrote. As such, you won’t see True Romance (a movie I still haven’t seen regardless) or any other movies like that on this list. You also won’t see Four Rooms (another one I haven’t seen yet), as he technically only directed a section of the movie, rather than the entire thing. So, with that out of the way, let’s get on with the list.

No. 7 (aka “Least Favourite”) – Death Proof

Fairly easy pick for “least favourite” to be honest. This movie is pretty forgettable in my opinion. I know this is technically one half of a double feature, but I don’t think watching Planet Terror would improve this much. Mind you, I don’t hate the movie at all, just the ending is lame. This is one of the few movies I’ve ever seen where I thought the ending must’ve been a fake out, as I was still waiting to find out what happened to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character. Like, what the hell Tarantino? The last time we see her, her friends have basically handed her over to a horny redneck who probably raped the living hell out of her off screen for all we know. And her friends don’t seem to give a shit either. I honestly kind of lost all sympathy for these characters when I realised that. Hell, the ending itself is very anti-climactic. It generally seems like it should go on a bit longer, but it just ends abruptly and left me thinking “……that’s it? Really?”

The acting wasn’t terrible by any means, but again, this movie is probably the only Tarantino movie I would advise you to skip if you haven’t already seen it. Not to say you shouldn’t if you’re curious. If you are, go ahead, you may like it more than I do; that’s how opinions work. But for me, this is easily my least favourite Tarantino movie, and the only easy one to really place. Well, aside from…

No. 6 – Inglorious Basterds

Now, I have no issues with this movie. In fact, the only Tarantino movie I have issues with is Death Proof; hence why it got the bottom spot. But compared to the other movies on this list, this ranks very low for one specific reason. “Rewatchability”. To me, out of the six of these that I do like, Inglorious Basterds is the one I re-watch the least amount comparatively. It’s not a bad movie, but for some reason I only really re-watch it when I’m not in the mood to watch the other five above this (Granted I don’t own Django on DVD, so I’ve only seen it about twice or so).

The performances are all solid, especially Brad Pitt, who is the funniest (and ugliest) I think I’ve ever seen him in anything. Like, wow, here’s a guy I never thought I’d see in a Tarantino movie, and it ends up working out really well. The standout performance is easily (in my opinion) Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa. Christoph seems to disappear into the character so well that I find it to be a shame I didn’t know he existed before this movie. Easily one of the best actors Tarantino’s ever worked with, which would explain why he brought him back for Django Unchained.

I honestly don’t have anything else to say about this movie, but I guess I’ll clarify again that I don’t think this movie is necessarily bad in any way, just not as good as the movies I’ve ranked higher than it on this list.

No. 5 – Reservoir Dogs

Something tells me I’m going to get negative feedback for this not cracking the top three, but that’s why personal opinion exists. I do think this is a solid movie, as is every other movie on this list (aside from Death Proof anyway), but as good as this movie is, nothing much really happens. And no, I’m not bagging the “heist movie without the heist” gist of the movie; in fact I think that’s what helps make this movie stand out so much. I guess for all the great Tarantino dialogue, the simplicity of the plot ended up hurting it a bit as far as placement in this list. And I know, simplicity is a silly thing to go by when you’re talking Tarantino plots, but still.

Again, I love this movie, but like with Inglorious Basterds I just don’t seem to want to watch it over and over again, which ended up hurting it enough to land it in fifth place. But if that isn’t enough for you to hate me yet? Oh boy, are you going to hate me when we get to number four.

No. 4 – Pulp Fiction

Told you so. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!”.


Kakashi (aka the guy being crucified): Me
The many Itatchi pictured (Everyone else): You

But please, allow me to beg your indulgence for a moment (finally, an excuse to say that). First off, yes, Pulp Fiction is a great movie, but this isn’t a list of which is the best, it is about which one I happen to like more than the others. And I can tell you right now, even if this had ended up higher, it would NOT have been number one. As good, hell, as fucking GREAT as Pulp Fiction is, I once again surprisingly don’t watch this as often as I watch the number one spot. In fact I’m rarely in the mood for Pulp Fiction, which is odd. I mean, aside from the rape stuff it’s a very enjoyable movie, so why don’t I watch it more often? God knows I currently have enough free time to watch it several times a day.

Part of it may be I purposely don’t want to overwatch it, as it may ruin the charm of the movie somehow, which could be right. There have been plenty of movies that I watched once a day when I was younger (Spaceballs being the main one), and after a while I just wouldn’t watch the movie for ages before finally watching it again. That said, as fun as the movie is, I don’t consider it to be Tarantino’s best story. And to be honest, that’s another way I ranked this; which movies’ plots interest me the most. Which leads us to number three.

No. 3 – Django Unchained

As of writing this article, this is the last movie Tarantino has released to date, and I knew practically nothing about it going in, which I think helped. It was great to see Christoph Waltz again, and basically playing the polar opposite of his character from Inglorious Basterds. If I had to pick, I’d say I prefer Christoph’s performance in this to Inglorious Basterds. I mean, sure, he’s the best thing about that movie, but in this his performance seems more real as he does appear to be a genuinely nice guy. Oh, I’ve only been talking about Christoph haven’t I? My bad, I’ll try to talk about something else.

Aside from a solid cast this movie also has one of the few romance plots I actually care about. Most usually seem tacked on, and even when they are the main focus I usually don’t like those kinds of movies. Django Unchained, however, manages to pull off the “never ending quest to save his wife” gimmick quite well. Not surprisingly, putting this story in a time period of the USA where slavery was still legal actually helps ramp up the tension; especially near the end where the ruse is figured out by Samuel L. Jackson’s character. I must admit that when I first saw this movie and it gets to the part where they’re about to castrate Django, I was on the edge of my seat. This is a Tarantino movie. That could’ve actually happened. Thank God it didn’t though, that would’ve been hard to sit through (like the rape scene in Pulp Fiction).

As far as the stand out performance goes, I’d have to go with Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin J. Candie. Anyone who can be so in-the-zone when acting that accidentally cutting up their hand doesn’t faze them, and it actually helps to make their performance even more menacing, is a great actor in my book. Goes without saying though that there wasn’t a single terrible performance in this movie. Great acting, an interesting story and a scenario you’d think Tarantino would’ve exploited long before he finally did is what made Django Unchained move into the number three spot.

No. 2 – Jackie Brown

Huh, the “other” Tarantino Blaxploitation homage movie is also in the top three. Odd. Anyway, I honestly don’t care if you disagree with me or not, I think Jackie Brown is one of the most solid stories Tarantino has ever told on film. I’m not saying all the other movies are necessarily bad plot/story wise, but the more I think about it the more I start to realise just how underappreciated this movie must be. Before Christmas back in 2012 I had never heard of Jackie Brown. I’d at least heard of Death Proof, but I’d never EVER heard anyone talk about Jackie Brown. And after seeing it several times I only have one question. Why?

Why in the hell had I never previously heard about this movie? This is a GREAT movie, and probably the most underrated of Tarantino’s movies. That being said, me considering this to be underrated is NOT what allowed it to place so high. And no, I didn’t place it this high as a joke or to piss people off (This is my opinion remember). This placed so high because I was actually invested in what was going on. Most of the other Tarantino movies are fun, and you go along for the ride, but I’ve noticed I’m never invested in what’s going on. When Vincent dies in Pulp Fiction I really don’t care. Aside from the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs (which is still hard to watch) I don’t have any sort of emotional reaction to anything.

Jackie Brown however? I’ve found I really did become emotionally invested in what was going on the first time I watched it, and to this day it still bugs me that Max Cherry and Jackie don’t end up together. But in an odd way I do actually like that ending. It’s not entirely happy, but it’s not depressing either. It actually seems like a very realistic ending. They essentially admit they have a thing for each other, but Max doesn’t get the chance to run away with Jackie because she leaves before he makes up his mind. I like to think he went after her anyway or they met up again when she gets back from Spain, but still, as far as the movie goes they don’t end up together.

Aside from nit-picky stuff I won’t bother to mention (well, aside from the “they don’t end up together” thing) this movie is pretty much perfect. A great cast coupled with arguably the second best story Quentin Tarantino has ever produced. It almost makes me want to see Tarantino make more adaptations.

No. 1 – Kill Bill (Vol. I & II)

No matter where everything else was placed, Kill Bill was easily going to be in the top spot. It never occurred to me to separate both volumes on this list by the way. Had I done so, this list wouldn’t have changed much. “Kill Bill Vol. I” would’ve been in the number two spot, and “Kill Bill Vol. II” would’ve been in the number one spot (thereby pushing everything else down a spot), and that’s it. Kill Bill gets the number one spot for several reasons. For one thing, Kill Bill is legitimately my favourite thing Quentin Tarantino has ever done. Secondly, I didn’t just become emotionally invested in these movies, I became completely immersed in the story’s universe. I’ve watched these movies more times than any of the other Tarantino films combined.

I’m never not in the mood to watch these movies, and I always feel that once I watch Vol. I, I have to watch Vol. II, whether that’s immediately after the movie ends or the next day. Kill Bill Vol. II HAS to be the next movie I watch. If that’s not enough, Kill Bill has actually influenced me to want to write my own revenge story. There are other influences, but Kill Bill is easily the main one. If it ever saw the light of day I would never deny that Kill Bill was an influence because I’d be lying through my teeth.

On top of everything the cast is perfect. No, not just great, the cast of Kill Bill is perfect in my eyes. The best example of this is how Michael Parks plays two completely different characters in both movies, and I never noticed until watching a “Making Of” extra on the Kill Bill Vol. II DVD. In film one, Michaels Parks played the Texas Ranger Earl McGraw. In film two he played Esteban Vihaio, the retired Mexican pimp. It’s still hard to believe that that’s true, as I honestly couldn’t tell Esteban was being played by a white guy in heavy makeup. I really did believe the actor legitimately had some sort of Latino heritage. I’ll stop now so I don’t go on for days, but long story short I absolutely LOVE every single thing about the Kill Bill movies, and that’s why they get the number one spot.

So, what do you guys think? Would your list be similar to mine? Exactly the same? Completely different? Please let me know in the comments, as I am genuinely intrigued as to how other people would rank the Tarantino movies.

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The Hunger Games – Catching Fire Review

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THIS ARTICLE PROVIDES SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN, NOR WANT THE HUNGER GAMES – CATCHING FIRE SPOILED, DO NOT READ BELOW THIS

Hey peeps. Once a month, I usually decide to go to my local cinemas and watch a film with my fiancée’. A couple of years ago, my partner and I were at the cinemas and were not sure what to watch. We ended up deciding on watching The Hunger Games pretty much spur of the moment. Previously to this, I would go watch maybe the odd superhero movie, a comedy, or even a “why am I here” movie. Expecting The Hunger Games to be one of the latter, I walked in with low expectations. I was blown away to say the least. This movie hit hard in many ways, and virtually re-defined the way combat can be displayed. 24 kids walk in and only 1 walks out. Simple plot, however it is the character development, story line, and great acting that sets the tone. The first movie seen the rise of Jennifer Lawrence (god bless that chick). Would the sequel be a flop? Or would we be starving for more Hunger Games round 3?

Simply put, the movie catches fire and shines. Going into the movie, I already knew that there were going to be some similarities to the first film. I cannot complain with what I already knew about, however it felt like a sequel and a remake all in one. The three person love triangle, the parading of Katniss as a star, and the endless slaughter brought onto by these Hunger Games events were nearly identical, yet much more expanded upon, and much more interesting. There are twists, there are turns, and there is unpredictability. This movie has been successful for a reason. Personally speaking, unlike most movie reviewers, is that I enjoyed the sorrowful tale of former winners being brought back one more time for slaughter. It was done well and builds this trilogy more so.

On that note, what makes these movies is the characters, and more importantly, the persons who portray these characters. We know Jennifer Lawrence is a goddess on-screen, but props to the entire cast of stars. Philip Seymour Hoffman is always ever so entertaining, Donald Sutherland plays such a ruthless President, and Josh Hutcherson is entertaining as Peeta. As weird as this will seem, the three characters that I love the most are Haymitch Abernathy, Caesar Flickerman and Effie Trinket, played magnificently by Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Elizabeth Banks respectively. Charismatic screen owners is the only way I can describe the trio. Woody Harrelson is powerful as the voice of reason and common sense, with Stanley and Elizabeth just illuminating the screen up with presence. It is few and far between where you see such a strong cast put together that clicks.

Getting back onto the plot, the obvious response via most people is that two thirds of the film was slow and dull, followed by a solid action packed last third. I don’t see that at all. The Capitol was built to look heinous and inhuman, the characters were undergoing change through every event, and just when the tale hit a climax, Hunger Games is back to place icing on the cake. I enjoyed the first third of the film, basically due to the fact that Katniss was being used as a puppet from the Capitol to cease an uprising. The visiting of other towns and seeing the sadness of others was really touching. If anything describes the movie, it is definitely the word emotional. Feels are to be felt the entire way throughout.

The second third was used to build the event itself. Katniss training and finding allies played a huge role in the battle to come. Yet it was the 24 united on stage on live T.V. that sold this entire film. Going into the battle, I wanted the majority to survive, especially the old lady and happy nerdy couple. You know that is never to be. I also fell in love with the character Johanna. That elevator scene was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in a movie. Lawrence and Harrelson were gold in that scene. After Lenny Kravitz’s character gets beaten up, it is time to fight on.

The final part of the movie; Battle. I get really nervous about this part because similar to The Walking Dead, the inevitable must happen to someone you love. The action felt a little less violent than the first film, though it was intense and very “Cube-esque”. It was never whether the “contestants” could kill each other, but who the Capitol directed to death. It took a moment to recall, yet I enjoyed the cannons and sky tributes as a throwback to the 74th Hunger Games from the last year. Alliances, life saving moments, and Katniss destroying the true enemy made the battle different from the last film. Finally, you find that the Game Maker is actually a rebel and ready to launch a campaign against the Capitol, with Haymitch and Finnick in tow. With the film ending with Katniss’ reaction to District 12’s demise, it sets up a huge finale in the two-part Mockingjay (which was everywhere  in this movie).

In lump summary, I thoroughly enjoyed this outing from The Hunger Games. It was a similar story freshened up for a new outing. Solid character development, an awesome cast, and an entertaining story will keep me watching for the next movie scheduled for the end of this year. The tale to be told here is whatever Jennifer Lawrence touches turns to gold.

Thank you for reading and regards.

At PTVP, we talk all kinds of entertainment. Please do the poll below and let me know what you thought of Hunger Games number 2. Make sure to like, favorite, subscribe, and join us at Pastime Viewpoints with the links below:

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What the Justice League Movie Needs

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Hey y’all. With news of the Avengers 2, Batman Vs. Superman, and the eventual Justice League movie, I thought it would be an idea to analyze the Justice League movie set for 2017. Now speculation is rampant about what will happen in Avengers 2 and Batman/Superman, however I feel that if anything, it’ll be the Justice League that needs to be the movie that saves DC from international embarrassment via the silver screen. Marvel has far exceeded expectations, after releasing the Avengers to critical acclaim. So how can DC combat this? I have got some suggestions to help aid DC Comics.

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Do Not Focus Solely On Batman and Superman

The Avengers did a great job of giving every single character their own story and amount of time on-screen. In a parallel universe, Marvel easily could have put Iron Man on the screen the entire movie and bashed his colleagues. Instead, they went for story and character building around Iron Man. DC needs to do this. Superman and Batman have their chance to grow in their movie. This movie needs greater focus on Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Arrow and/or Martian Manhunter/Aquaman/Hawk Girl. I wouldn’t complain about having any or all of these guys, as long as we don’t get a whole new story about Superman’s past or Batman’s history. We have heard that all before too many times. I want to hear about Wonder Woman, Aquaman etc. Anyone can throw Batman on the screen and make a movie watchable. It is being able to put Batman into the same row as others that will define this tale.

Let DC TV effect the course of the story

I watch Arrow. It is one of the best TV shows I have watched in a long, long time. I am a big fan of the ability DC has to turn an “average” superhero into an absolute star on par with Batman. “Average” villains are also getting the same treatment. Deadshot is a great example, with his epic rivalry with John Diggle. The thing is, the TV show has proven it can tell a story successfully. Arrow has only just introduced the Flash. This mind you is a spin-off for Barry Allen’s own TV show himself. My theory is while Batman and Superman are writing their own tale, let Arrow and Flash build the Justice League via episodic TV. It is cheap and effective. They can save the main “alien” characters for the movie, but there is no reason we cannot get an appearance from Green Lantern on Arrow, or even Lex Luthor. Then there is Deathstroke…

A villain that can captivate and build the JL

Continuing on from last paragraph, the Justice League needs a good villain. Now the Avengers had Loki. Loki is Thor’s brother and not necessarily the biggest nor baddest villain in the Marvel Universe. However it set up for Ultron in Avengers 2 whom is bigger and badder. You must go epic the further and further you go on. That said, who does DC go with? I would rule out The Joker and Lex Luthor by default. That is necessary for a later date against their respective foes. Eventually, JL will come across the ultimate bad guy Brainiac. Until then, I suggest we pick lesser renown villains that still have some big history with team members, such as a Starro, Solomon Grundy, Yellow Lantern Sinestro, Metallo,  Nekron, Ares, or even Ra’s Al Ghul. I have no issue dealing with an enemy that is not a Superman/Batman direct rival. Seeing how this pans out, then JL can go nuts and fight the ultimate baddies who can easily one up our heroes.

Be faithful to the DC comics for a change

In my honest opinion, DC Comics within their TV Anime shows and graphic novels are superior to Marvel (It’s an opinion of mine, we all have them). DC has really struggled to ever portray comic canon on-screen. Superman is always trying to be cutting edge albeit stale on-screen, Batman keeps evolving to be darker and darker, and the other characters have just plain sucked on-screen in general. How can DC counter this? Go with what brought you to the dance. Stay faithful to your rich history that everyone loves. Let Superman be a patriot and a hero, let Batman be socially awkward yet funny at times, let Wonder Woman kick ass and lasso baddies, let Flash be a sarcastic fool, and let Green Arrow… Well let Stephen Amell play him (don’t touch his character at all actually). The point I am making is don’t try so frickin’ hard with these guys. That is why people are annoyed when they watch a movie and are disappointed. Too much change sometimes isn’t for the best. And lastly…

Don’t let Superman destroy another city and kill for no reason. Ever. Again.

Just saying.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on the Justice League movie. I really hope for all of our sakes that DC comics gets this right. Make sure to like, subscribe, and favorite all our stuff, and check out all things DC and Marvel comics here at Pastime Viewpoints.Regards.

Zell

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