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Post by Admin on Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:23 am

Sunday, February 27, 2011
2010, 01-16:

Director:Quentin Tarantino

Writer:Quentin Tarantino

Brad Pitt
Mélanie Laurent
Christoph Waltz
Eli Roth
Michael Fassbender
Diane Kruger
Daniel Brühl
Til Schweiger
Gedeon Burkhard
Jacky Ido
B.J. Novak
Omar Doom
August Diehl
Denis Menochet
Sylvester Groth
Martin Wuttke
Mike Myers
Julie Dreyfus
Richard Sammel
Alexander Fehling
Rod Taylor
Soenke Möhring
Samm Levine
Paul Rust
Michael Bacall
Christian Berkel
Anne-Sophie Franck
Ludger Pistor
Jana Pallaske
Buddy Joe Hooker
Carlos Fidel

MPAA Rating:

Rated R for strong graphic violence, language and brief sexuality.


“Facts can be so misleading.”
“Your family will cease to be harassed.”
“Nazis ain’t got no humanity!… They need to be DESTROYED.”
“They seem to be able to elude capture.”
“We let you live so you can spread the word.”
“I will be the German Van Johnson.”
“It appears I’ve created a monster.”
“All our rotten eggs in one basket.”
“There’s a special ring in Hell for people who waste.”
“I’m a German, you idiot!”
“I want to trust you.”
“It’s called ‘suspicious’…”
“It appears somebody’s missing.”
“… dashing as me.”
“I tease rough!”
“If the shoe fits, you must wear it.”
“If I were sitting where you’re sitting, would you show me mercy?”
“Finding people is my specialty.”
“She got what you deserved.”
“… And, yes, it will RUIN the evening.”
“You have to make a deal.”
“Every once in a while, FATE reaches out.”
“That’s a bingo.”
“I’ve been chewed-out before…”

MY Rating:

9 of 10 stars (based on viewing the DVD version of the 153 minutes film).

Revisionist RETRIBUTION “sets you FREE”

QUENTIN TARANTINO has a reputation for self-indulgence in his films. He was comparatively SELF-RESTRAINED in this latest production of his…

… The basic story is REVISIONIST history wherein Jews go actively hunting & killing NAZIS during World War II… The above Quotes will give you a good “overview” of this fascinating concoction…

… Tarantino’s divided the overall story into 5 separate chapters: Chapter 1 is “Once Upon a Time In Nazi Occupied France (1941)”. Here, we meet very charming but ruthlessly vicious SS Colonel Hans Landa (excellently played by CHRISTOPH WALTZ)…

… He speaks fluent French & English, & interrogates a French farmer (DENIS MENOCHET). After bragging “I can think like a Jew”, Waltz tries to get the farmer to give up Jews who had been concealed from his hunters… He tries to kill many in hiding, but one girl named Shosanna (MÉLANIE LAURENT) escapes…

… Chapter 2 = “Inglourious Basterds”. This introduces us to the military group headed by Lt. Aldo Raine (BRAD PITT) from the deep South. He describes himself as supposedly a descendant of Mountain Man Jim Bridger, &, at one point, comments, “We aren’t in the prisoner-taking business.”…

… Supposedly because he’s part American INDIAN, he wants all the guys in his specially-put-together group of Jewish soldiers to be not only KILLERS of Nazis, but to bring him SCALPS of those killed…

… His band of revengists consists of guys such as Sergeant Donny “Bear Jew” Donowitz (ELI ROTH), PFC Omar Ulmer (OMAR DOOM), PFC Smithson Utivich (B.J. NOVAK), Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz who had to be rescued from Nazi clutches (TIL SCHWEIGER), PFC Andy Kagan (PAUL RUST), PFC Michael Zimmerman (MICHAEL BACALL), & PFC Simon Sakowitz (CARLOS FIDEL)…

… Spearheaded by the attitude of Brad, his guys are purposely ruthless, wanting the Germans to know about their exploits and to FEAR them, which they do. In fact, Hitler (MARTIN WUTTKE) rails against his subordinates for not capturing & stopping the Basterds…

… Flashbacks show Brad threatening German soldiers with death by baseball bat-wielder Bear (Eli), in a story partially told by Private Butz (SÖNKE MÖHRING) to Hitler… He relates some details of an infamous “carving” done by Brad…

… Chapter 3 is called “German Nights in Paris”… Here, we meet a young female French Parisian cinema-owner named Emmanuelle Mimieux -- who is actually the runaway Shosanna living under an assumed name. ..

… She chances to meet an outgoing German soldier named Fredrick Zoller (DANIEL BRÜHL), who describes himself as “a fellow cinema lover”. She soon discovers he’s famous to the Germans, for having mowed down loads of American soldiers from the birdsnest atop a bell tower…

… Daniel fancies himself as “the German Sgt. York”, & is so popular, Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (SYLVESTER GROTH) wants to show a MOVIE he’s produced about Daniel’s exploit called “A Nation’s Pride” (starring Daniel in a recreation of his famous feat)…

… Daniel works to convince racist Goebbels to premiere the film at Mélanie’s theater-- which gives her an idea for a plan to get VENGEANCE against the Nazi leadership (scheduled to attend the screening) for what they’ve done to her family & friends…

… Life starts getting very tense, when slimy Christoph starts to QUESTION Mélanie, seemingly having “caught-on” to the fact that she was the Jewish ESCAPEE from the farmhouse… He seems to not trust having her black assistant Marcel (JACKY IDO) around (although he’s not aware of just how close he is to Mélanie)…

… Things are very cleverly set-up, in the way Christoph works to extract information from her, without letting on exactly what he really “knows”…

… That brings us to Chapter 4, “Operation Kino”, wherein the British learn of Shosanna’s plan, & want to be part of it along with the Basterds. The Brits send one of their soldiers -- Lt. Archie Hicox (MICHAEL FASSBENDER) -- to the Paris area to try to help with things…

... Brad is upset when he learns the meeting place is to be in a difficult-to-control basement bar, where the British agent is to meet a double agent in the form of famous German actress Bridget von Hammersmark (DIANE KRUGER), who he’s never met before…

… In the bar, she chances to get involved in a celebration by a bunch of drunken German soldiers for the birth of a baby boy to Master Sergeant Wilhelm (ALEXANDER FEHLING)…

… English agent Fassbender is very uncomfortable having the unexpected German celebrants around as he tries to plan things with actress Diane...

… When he tries to get rid of Wilhelm & his friends, he’s confronted by a German Gestapo Major Hellstrom (AUGUST DIEHL), who starts to “question” his unusual-sounding German “accent”…

… After a game of “Who am I?” played with cards, the confrontation becomes unusually intense and violent when “mistakes” are made by agent Fassbender…

… Concluding Chapter 5 is called “Revenge of the Giant Face”… Wouldn’t you “know” it, ever-troublesome Christoph finds some damning evidence against one of the participants in the afore-mentioned fierce conflict in the tavern-- someone who’s closely involved in the plans against the Nazi hierarchy at the cinema…

… Some of Brad’s men are set-up to be at the cinema for use in attacking the high-ranking Nazis… But, once again, CHRISTOPH is there, & he plays “cat & mouse” games with various conspirators…

… Sacre bleu! -- There’s a sudden “TWIST” that comes up concerning Brad & Christoph and others!… Is there a “TURNCOAT” somewhere in the mix?!…

… Is the “Twist” going to AFFECT the players in the drama?… WILL the grand Plans succeed towards the Nazis?… Who will “SURVIVE” the Plans, & what kind of “shape” will they be in?…

… There’s a bunch of CLEVER work done in setting up this swirling drama, with Oscar-caliber acting done by Christoph Waltz… Overall, an effectively multi-layered film highly WORTH seeing…

[And, as a postscript: Waltz WON the OSCAR for Best Supporting Actor… ]

= = = … ( <> ^ <> ) ...
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Post by Admin on Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:43 am

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler
Today, I figured I would take a brief look at a film, in addition to making a lot of idiots very angry, is one of the best exercises in tension of recent times. It’s a film by one of my favourite directors, and possibly his best work – if not in the top 3. It’s a film that turned me into a fan of two people who I had never heard of before seeing this film. It’s a film that was both my favourite film of 2009, and in my top 15 of all time. The film in question? Inglourious Basterds.

Now, what you have to know is, while this film is called Inglourious Basterds AND does indeed feature a group by the same name – it is not a film about them. They are merely a tool at best, and a distraction at worst, for a much bigger plan – kill Hitler[1]. No, the film is far more about SS Captain Hans Landa – “The Jew Hunter” and Shosanna, the girl he let get away and her plans of revenge. Just go into the film knowing that and you will be fine. And really, how the hell could you not be far more pleased with that than what we actually get? Just because Brad Pitt is the biggest name in the cast (and, I’ll admit a pretty darn good actor when he wants to be) does not mean he gives the best performance – hell, I’d be hard pressed to put him in the top 5 performances. In fact, I’ll give a quick rundown of the top five performances of Inglourious Basterds:

1. Christoph Waltz as Cnl. Hans Landa. Hero to all Germans, eradicator of Jews. There is no wonder that Herr Waltz both won the Oscar AND gave himself a career outside of Germany based on this performance. He is so brilliant in the role and is probably Tarantino’s best casting decision ever – and, to me, QT is a man who KNOWS how to cast. It takes a very special man to make a character who is both so morally reprehensible and flat out likeable, but Waltz plays both sides with aplomb.
2. Daniel Brühl as Pvt. Fredrick Zoller. Reluctant, but willing, propaganda hero to the Germans. Brühl manages to convey innocence mixed with the fear of knowing that he’s been thrust basically into a lie, yet is fully relishing the position and fame that this lie has afforded him. Every time I see this film, I like his performance just that little bit more.
3. Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfuss/Emmanuelle Mimieux. The one that got away. Once again, QT is a man who KNOWS how to cast – Mme. Laurent conveys nothing but disdain, anger, fear and moral disgust at the Germans who have not only killed her family, but taken over her town and forced her to move among their ranks...well, until the sheer glee on her face when her revenge plan moves into motion.
4. Denis Menochet as Perrier LaPadite. The farmer. Sure, he may only be featured in one scene, but not only is it one of the more crucial scenes, showing the audience just what a monster Cnl. Landa actually is, but it is the scene that sets up just what sort of tone the whole film will give. And the tenseness, the fear, the sadness that Menochet shows within those first five minute convey more than almost any other opening of Tarantino’s catalogue.
5. Michael Fassbender as Lt. Archie Hicox. Superspy extraordinaire. Another character who exists primarily in a single scene, but that scene is probably one of the tensest scenes that I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot, mind you). Granted, this scene is as strong as it is due to all performances, not just his – but Herr Fassbender conveys such an egotistical swagger that you just know he’s going to bring it all down around everyone’s ears.

Now, I said that this was an exercise in tension and it truly is. I don’t care who you are, but you will be on the edge of your seat during several scenes – in particular (and not spoiling too much), the farmhouse scene, the dinner scene and the meeting in the inn. I know I was.

[1] I’ll freely admit that I can see how some people would be pissed off, since the advertising was built around a team of sadistic Nazi hunters, and instead they play a second banana role to, well, everyone else.
Written by ShaneC at 4:09 PM

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Post by Admin on Fri May 13, 2011 8:26 pm

Friday, May 13, 2011

First off, lemme say that Tarantino is incapable of making an un-entertaining film. He has an understanding of movies that a lot of American directors don’t have, and I appreciate that. Now, with all that nice s$#! outta the way, I have some MAJOR issues with his most recent film; “Inglorious Bastards”. Just like all of Quentin Tarantino’s other films, Inglorious Bastards is a “movie mix tape” of a specific drama. In this case, it’s the “men on a mission” war movie genre (“dirty dozen”, “the great escape”, “ice station zebra”, “inglorious basterds” (1978), etc). Tarantino (kinda) stays true to the formula of those movies. For example, a ragtag group of WW2 soldiers are sent off to do a special side mission, which usually includes killing Nazi’s. In fact, the final Mission in Inglorious Bastards is a direct homage to the final mission in; “Dirty Dozen” & “Inglorious Basterds” (1978). The first major problem with the film is that it’s called “Inglorious Bastards”, but the “bastards” are only in about 1/3 of the film. Yes, the trailer is quite deceiving. One of the key elements of the of the old WW2 action movies that the film was paying homage to, is that they always give a back story on each member in the group of solders sent off to do the mission. In Tarantino’s film, they only do this with one of the “Bastards” at random (which is one of the best parts of the movie, but still…). The next problem I have with the movie is the same problem I’ve had with Tarantino since the last half of Kill Bill 2. And that is; the unnecessary, sometimes forced, wordy dialogue. Sometimes Tarantino gets so caught up in trying to write “cool” sounding dialogue that it just goes on and on, and it eventually takes you out of the movie. For example, at the beginning of the film, the main villain asks someone if it’s ok for them to continue their conversation in English and not German. This would be fine, but it took about a page & a half of the script for him to get to the simple point of asking if they could continue their conversation in English. Sometimes the script in Inglorious Bastards is quite similar to the pointless talk between the female characters in “Death Proof”, you find yourself wanting to scream; “GOD, GET TO THE f#%@#&! POINT ALREADY!” My last issue with the film is that I couldn’t help but imagine how much better the movie would’ve been with the originally intended cast, including Tarantino regulars; Michael Madsen and Tim Roth (they were officially signed on at one point), and rumors of Samuel Jackson (who ended up narrating the film) and Sylvester Stallone making appearances in the movie as well. Now, don’t get me wrong there are some Great parts in the film, mainly by actors; Til Schwiger, Michael Fassbender and the main villain character played by Christoph Waltz. Plus Tarantino doesn’t hold back on the violence (which is something new, because in the past most of the violence in his past films are shot just off camera). Plus, I’m aware that this is a Tarantino movie, and just like the Coen Brothers, you’re still probably going to see it no matter what. But just be aware, you might find yourself day dreaming off from time to time, and the TITLE CHARACTERS aren’t in the movie as much as the trailer would have you think.

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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:34 pm

Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France...

A terrific film in almost every aspect: story, characters, script, direction and acting. After the doldrums of Kill Bill 1 (2003) (so disappointing that I couldn't bring myself to see Kill Bill 2, 2004) and the IQ-lowering Death Proof (2007), this is a welcome return by Quentin Tarantino to the kind of brilliance displayed in the earlier work, Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994), that inspired a generation of young film-makers. According to Wikipedia [], the first draft of the script was written in 1998, before Kill Bill and Death Proof. It seems the script went through some significant changes along the way, so hopefully this current return to form is not limited to projects from his back catalogue but is a pointer to the future.

The story is set in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, in a kind of alternate universe where the fixed historical realities of our world do not apply. The plot essentially centres around an Allied mission to assassinate a number of prominent Nazi government officials at a film premiere. The Basterds of the title are a volunteer group of Nazi-hating American soldiers, headed by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), working clandestinely behind enemy lines to instill fear into the hearts and minds of Nazi soldiers through acts of ruthless savagery, consciously creating a word-of-mouth reputation of mythical terror that can strike with impunity, anywhere, anytime. The other characters include French Jews, notably Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent), either in hiding or striving to maintain a false public identity; a magnificently skillful Jew-hunting "national security" SD officer, Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz); an equally perceptive Gestapo officer, Major Dieter Hellstrom (August Diehl); a British secret agent with fluent German, Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender); and German film star Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger).

As well as these principal characters, there are a good number of ordinary German soldiers and civilians. With the premise of the Basterds' mission being that it is fine to kill Nazis, interestingly, these "ordinary" Germans are written and played not as cartoonish caricatures, but as fully realised, rounded, sometimes likeable, even in some cases admirable human beings. I found myself wondering what part if any these people would have played in the atrocities committed by their government. Did they all deserve a grisly fate, or were some just soldiers at war, patriotic as any people at war might be about their country? The mission of the Basterds, to kill all Nazis, seemed harsh to my modern eyes, if the term "Nazi" includes normal German people caught up in a war not of their own making.

The film is a showcase for and a discussion of Hitchcock's famous formula for suspense (Hitchcock/Truffaut, 1985, by François Truffaut, Simon and Schuster, see also Themes and plot devices in the films of Alfred Hitchcock) [], in which, as I understand it, explaining how to create suspense, Hitchcock describes a scenario where two people are talking in a room with a bomb under the table. In order to create suspense, Hitchcock explained, the audience needs to know about the bomb. If the audience doesn't know about the bomb, and the bomb goes off, it will be a surprise but nothing more. It is with the knowledge of the existence of bomb, that in the minds of the audience, over time, suspense can be built. In fact, the longer the bomb does not go off, the greater the suspense. In Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino puts metaphorical bombs under a lot of tables, and tells the audience about many of them. As the audience spend time with the participants, the metaphorical bomb under the table raises the level of the stakes (the perceived value of the outcome) for each participant, and correspondingly, ratchets up feelings of suspense.

Amusingly, in one key scene, Tarantino reverses the formula, so that for most of the scene, while the participants know, or suspect, that there's a non-literal bomb under the table, the audience is only later told of its existence, though, from the demeanour of the characters, the audience will rightly suspect that something is amiss but not quite know what. This is more like the Hemingway edict, if memory serves, consciously trialled in the short story "A Clean Well-lighted Place" (1926), where a tragic event is never explicitly stated, that you don't need to explicitly include the main event driving the plot, e.g. the climactic suicide, as its occurrence will be active in more or less subtle ways in other parts of the story, like the invisible parts of the iceberg that hit the Titanic. (For interesting discussion of alternatives to Hitchcock's classic formula for suspense, see "Building a Better Bomb: The Alternatives to Suspense" Peet Gelderblom, 19 October 2008, [])

The other edict Tarantino seems to follow (one for which I can't find a reference online, and would welcome one) is that, films being essentially a sequence of scenes, if a filmmaker aims to make a great film, it must include half a dozen or so really great scenes, which Basterds does. Where Tarantino excels, in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Inglourious Basterds, is in setting up (physically) fairly static scenarios marked by really kick-ass dialogue. The dialogue, in itself, is often concerned with apparently mundane topics, such as pop culture, food and drink, but nevertheless, because of clear conflict of interests and high stakes (such as a figurative bomb under a table which the audience is well aware of), Tarantino's scenarios are full of suspense. One scene in particular in Inglourious Basterds, full of pleasantries about a family's health and the quality of drink on offer, parallels the technique used by Hemingway in the superb short story "The Killers" (1927), where the menace of two gangsters waiting in a restaurant to murder another character is mainly conveyed through the most banal exchanges, largely relating to the availability - or rather lack of availability - of food, but covering a potential for great violence.

The script includes some nice interplay between art and life, where one character, interacting with another character in person and also able to see that character in a fictive role on screen, is undone when the response to the fictive role supersedes that of the real person, fatally attributing the fictive character's motivation to the real person. While watching this film-within-a-film, which seems to be little more than a series of back-to-back killings, appreciated hugely, for the wrong reasons, by the kind of people most of us would not wish to be associated with, I thought it a neat commentary (inadvertent or not) on the poverty of interest of pure action films such as Kill Bill 1, to my mind is more like a test run of action sequences than a fully-fledged storied film. My brother, Rob, however, suggested that this partially glimpsed film sounded more like a Nazi version of the biopic, Sergeant York (1941) [], for which Gary Cooper won a Best Actor Oscar in the title role, which follows a similar plot-line, or alternatively, To Hell and Back (1955) [], starring Audie Murphie as himself, another film about a WWII expert marksman who single-handedly takes on a large number of enemy soldiers.

As for the performances, as a director, Tarantino must be doing something very right, as he has assembled a brilliant cast and got fantastic performances by almost everyone. Of particular note are:

Christoph Waltz, superb as the character of the charming "national security" officer and rightly received various prestigious awards, including "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe, as well as (confusingly), Best Leading Actor at Cannes
August Diehl as the Gestapo officer in the beer cellar
Michael Fassbinder as a British secret agent
Diane Kruger as a German film star
Mélanie Laurent as a French Jew
Daniel Brühl as a German hero

The only slight question mark in my mind hangs over Brad Pitt's portrayal of First Lieutenant Raine, leader of the Basterds. It's a difficult role, with little shading to it, and he plays it with a good deal of swagger, like an old-fashioned swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks or (American) Errol Flynn, mixed with the ruthlessness of a military Clark Gable or a mercenary Lee Marvin. My reservation is that his portrayal, or at least the camera's representation of his portrayal, does not take us into his thought processes, resulting in a person without depth of feeling beyond the actions required, so it's tricky to judge whether or not he is a trustworthy guide to the rights and wrongs of dealing with Nazis. Is he a good man who has embraced a distasteful but essential duty, or a cheerfully heartless executioner? Trying to think of another actor for the role, Sam Shepherd as Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983), comes to mind as having the requisite phlegmatic unflappability and toughness and machismo. There's a quiet intelligence behind the eyes there that Pitt doesn't seem to attempt.

Director: Quention Tarantino
Writer: Quention Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Mélanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Daniel Brühl, Til Schweiger, Eli Roth

Rating: Exceptional 5 stars
When seen: 24 Jun 2011
Where seen: Home
More information: IMDB | RottenTomatoes | Wikipedia

Posted by Geoff Taylor at 20:09

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Post by Admin on Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:30 pm

Monday, July 4, 2011
Film: Inglourious Basterds
Format: DVD from personal collection on kick-ass portable DVD player.

Ask most Americans how they spend the Fourth of July, and the majority will probably include barbecue, beer, and fireworks. I love barbecue and fireworks; I’m not that much of a drinker. So instead of beer, I’m substituting watching a film that glorifies the horrible slaughter of enemies of the American people and the world: Nazis. A few days ago, watching Das Boot, I was seeing German sailors not as enemies, but simply as men. That changes in a film like Inglourious Basterds in which Germans are essentially their 1940s propaganda counterparts, suitable mainly for extermination.

In the modern age of film, admitting that you aren’t a Tarantino fan is sort of like saying you don’t like coffee. Well, I don’t like either. Coffee tastes like ass, and Tarantino’s films always feel to self-referential to me. He likes his dialogue a lot and likes to show off his knowledge of obscure things. There seems to be a part of Tarantino that can’t resist demonstrating the sort of obscure knowledge he carries around in his cranium so that his fanbase can titter about just how awesome Tarantino really is.

So it was mildly surprising to me that Inglourious Basterds doesn’t contain much in this respect. It’s essentially a dark, violent fairy tale, even starting with the words “Once upon a time” before it gets into the meat of the story. Here we have a few stories that all converge on the same point, leading to a fiery, explosive conclusion.

For one story, we have SS Colonel Landa (Christoph Waltz), who has recently been given the task of rounding up all of the Jews still in France and sending them off to concentration camps. We see him in action at the start, brutally slaughtering a French Jewish family hiding out on a dairy farm. One member of the family, a daughter named Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent) escapes, and naturally this will become important later.

A second story concerns a group of American Jews who have been airdropped into France. Nicknamed “The Basterds” by the Germans, this group scours the countryside slaughtering every German soldier they can find. Their leader, Aldo Raines (Brad Pitt), has demanded a bounty of 100 Nazi scalps from each man under his command, and thus his soldiers do scalp their kills. The idea is to put incredible fear into the German troops and wear on their morale, and kill as many of them as possible. Included in the group are a couple of German-born Jews who defected to America and signed up to kill their former countrymen.

A third story concerns the premiere of a new propaganda film. This film concerns the exploits of a German sniper who single-handedly fended off an enemy column by killing several hundred enemies over the course of a couple of days. The private in question, Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl) becomes entranced with the owner of a small cinema in Paris, and he demands that the premiere be held there. Of course, as it turns out, the owner of the cinema is none other than Shoshanna from the start of the film.

With the premiere of this film involving many members of the German High Command, the British decide to take a whack and getting rid of many “rotten eggs in one basket,” sending in a British expert on German film to infiltrate the showing and blow everything to hell. This man, Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) is to meet up with the Basterds and then a German double agent—a famous German actress named Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger).

Death, blood, explosions, and all manner of insanity ensue.

I was prepared to dislike this film, but found that I couldn’t. I already don’t love Tarantino in general, and there’s an additional reason for this not mentioned above. When he first hit, I loved his work and thought he might be a genius. And after Pulp Fiction…he didn’t do anything. It was as if he did nothing but believe his own press and rest on his laurels, and I really started to not give a crap about him. Compound that with the fact that one of the actors in this film is Hostel director Eli Roth, and you get a collection of things that really don’t interest me at all.

And yet this film has a peculiar manic energy to it. It’s bloody like all Tarantino movies, violent and disturbing in places, and with a strange humor in other spots. Landa is such a complete prick that it’s impossible not to hate him, and yet played so well that it’s impossible not to enjoy having him on the screen. The film slows down in parts—particularly the sections regarding the film premiere—and is far better and more interesting when we are dealing with Brad Pitt and his crew.

So it turns out I liked this film, save for one enormous ego-stroking dick move pulled by Tarantino at the very end. I’ll put this under a spoiler tag.

*** NO PEEKING ***

Raines and his men mark the few survivors of their attacks by carving swastikas in their foreheads. Confronted with a situation in which they have to allow Landa to live, Raines carves his forehead up and says something to the effect of, “I think this is my masterpiece.” The very next frame is “Directed by Quentin Tarantino,” essentially declaring his own work a masterpiece. It may well be, but the man has gone beyond simply stroking his ego to publicly masturbating it.

*** ALL DONE ***

It goes to show that the movie really is the thing, and even someone who appears to be out of surprises can still surprise us.

Why to watch Inglourious Basterds: Quality, splattery death.
Why not to watch: Tarantino’s biggest dick move.
Posted by Movie Guy Steve at 11:52 PM

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Post by Admin on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:05 pm

Sunday, July 17, 2011
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Tarantino's latest film Inglourious Basterds was the movie we had from Netflix, so we decided to put it in. Basterds stars Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, the leader of an anti-Nazi group charged with hunting and killing every Nazi they find. Pitt is joined by a huge cast of people I was unfamiliar with such as Melanie Laurent, Christopher Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender and Daniel Bruhl. A few of the others I did recognize were Diane Kruger, Til Schweiger and B.J. Novak. We even see a cameo performance by Mike Meyers.

Tarantino's filming and directing style is immediately recognizable in the opening credits. The music gives you a first clue, and when paired with the credit style you know instantly it has to be a Tarantino film. That is presuming you didn't know prior to watching the film obviously. Tarantino keeps his unique style going through the entire film, with similarities to many of his previous films in this one as well.

He shows his unique filming abilities in features such as muted battle scenes throughout and popping vivid color scenes such as near the end when Melanie is on her balcony in her red dress. He brings in his usual bloody and gory motif with sick and twisted characters. Tarantino is even able to bring in his personal women's foot fetish! His use of color, camera angles and other filming techniques make this film very unique. Filming and directing are both genius. I would dare to say Basterds is the best visual film he has done to date.

One of the most confusing aspects of this film we could not figure out immediately was if it was based on real events or entirely fictional. Having an interest in Hitler myself, I ultimately figured it out a while in to the film, but I think it is a touchy subject to be vague with when you are dealing in real events.

Tarantino left out his confusing timeline in this film, but he did have many items that were left unanswered, or just plain not explained. This was another frustrating feature of the film, but at the same time it did create some valuable and interesting additions. While I did think there were too many of such instances in this film, I do not think they should have all been removed as a lot of them are needed to make the film what it is.

Can I voice one more frustration? Of course I can, it's my blog..that was rhetorical. My biggest frustration of this film is when we come upon a scene that is narrated, and the narrator is none other than...can you guess it?...Samuel L. Jackson! I know, I know. I wanted to turn off the movie too, but you need to power through as it is not that long of a narration and the film is worth seeing even with that horrendous addition. At least Samuel didn't add his trademark "mothah fuckah! (mother fucker) into the film.

Acting is exactly what I imagine Tarantino wanted it to be. It was a bit comical, a bit off kilter, a bit what the hell are they doing and a lot of perfect for this film. Pitt's character is the epitome of this example, and you will know what I am talking about after viewing the film. I was very impressed with Melanie Laurent's acting. I did not think there were any subpar performances delivered, but every time I see B.J. all I can think of is The Office series. Mike Meyers' cameo performance was similar to B.J.'s where I saw some of his goofy previous performances, but overall Mike delivered very solidly as did B.J. in serious roles.

My overall impression of this film is that if it were based upon real events it may go down as one of the best Hitler films of all time. I fear that others will feel the way I do; it was too touchy of a subject to base from and make a work of fiction. I felt it detracted from the overall feel of the film. If you were to temporarily forget the entire WWII era and Hitler, this movie would be near perfect on all levels.

Despite the above, Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (which by the way both words are misspelled on purpose) is one of the best films of 2009. I am ultimately giving Basterds a 4 star rating because of some of my strong feelings, and the large amount of unanswered questions left. Ciao for now and see you for the next review!
Posted by Jason Hesch at 11:02 AM

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