Category Archives: brad pitt

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green ~ I think this wonderful fantasy film, written, co-produced, and conceived by Ahmet Zappa, may have been list in the shuffle in theaters, being released so closely to the similar kid-growing-up-weird movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. While I haven’t seen that Brad Pitt flick, I did thoroughly enjoy Timothy Green.

This is a modern American fairy tale, a perfect fit for Disney, that tells the story of a childless couple played by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton, terrific performances by both, who have a young boy show up on their doorstep as their son. He’s everything they have ever wished for, except he’s a bit odd. And has leaves on his ankles.

I loved this heartwarming tale. I laughed, I even cried. The Bride and I got this flick OnDemand, and we were pleasantly surprised, a welcome treat. Recommended.

Happy Feet Two

Happy Feet Two ~ I read a synopsis in the newspaper of this movie well after I had seen it. The synopsis made sense, a hell of a lot more sense than the film itself, and I wish I’d read it beforehand. Maybe Happy Feet Two should have had a narrator, or one of those long scrolling intros like in Star Wars – if only to remind the writers what it was about, because it felt like they were forgetting every ten minutes.

This was a sore disappointment as the original was so good and so emotional. It’s almost as if director and co-writer George Miller had forgotten everything about the first Happy Feet. When the film is on point, it’s about Mumble (Elijah Wood) having fatherhood troubles, but oddly enough, based on his coloring, as opposed to his size, Mumble isn’t even an adult yet. I guess it’s a trademark thing, but it was very distracting.

I liked the addition of P!nk and Common, but couldn’t help wondering where Hugh Jackman and Brittany Murphy were. Hank Azaria manages to be more annoying than Robin Williams here, a feat to be sure. Although, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon come very close to taking the annoying crown as krill who have very little to do with any of the plots, sub or otherwise.

There are several other annoying and seemingly pointless subplots thrown in as well as a baseball bat beating of ecological messaging, which even the thoroughly green first film didn’t do. The music and the CGI animation are still top rate and worth seeing, but all the other little irritating stuff ruined the flick for me. I also didn’t care for the original songs. I couldn’t help but think that when “Glee” started doing new music over covers, they jumped the shark.

Wait for DVD or free TV, it’s not worth the theatre experience. Except if you want to see the cartoon before the movie, then definitely put out the cash. It’s a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes classic, “I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat,” featuring Sylvester and Tweety, that was originally done for a record back in the 1940s – so it has Mel Blanc and June Foray’s voice work – and animated with today’s technology. This is amazing, the movie not so much.

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Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds ~ This may be just another bloody Quentin Tarantino flick or it may be his homage to World War II films and Spaghetti Westerns, but what it definitely is is a love letter from a movie lover to other movie lovers. Then again, most Tarantino films are that, but this is for real film lovers, not just grindhouse or martial arts movie lovers.

The cinematography, the scenery, the dialogue, the choreography, even and especially the music, touches the true movie lover in a way that the casual moviegoer just won’t appreciate. Everything is referential, from the character names, to the songs, to the conversations and set pieces. This is a brilliant film, if only for film buffs.

Regarding the spelling in the title, I think it’s just for copyright and trademark reasons. Perhaps it’s to differentiate it from the 1978 Italian film with Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson called Inglorious Bastards. Just for the record, this isn’t a remake or anything of the sort. The only thing these two flicks have in common, other than a similar title, is that they both take place behind enemy lines in WWII. Of the spelling, Tarantino says, “Here’s the thing. I’m never going to explain that. You do an artistic flourish like that, and to explain it would just take the piss out of it and invalidate the whole stroke in the first place.”

The plot, simple but presented in a complex way (this is a Tarantino film after all), revolves around the Basterds – Jewish-American soldiers killing Nazis in occupied France – blowing up a moviehouse in Paris where the Nazi High Command will be gathered for a very special movie premiere. And just for the record, don’t bring the kids. When I say killing I mean Tarantino-style killing. Not pretty.

Brad Pitt impressed me here and he doesn’t do that often. His southern accent and charm as Aldo Raine was haunting, almost as if he was channeling Andy Griffith in A Face in the Crowd. He’s just as charming and sociopathic as well. There’s just not enough of him in the film. Unfortunately Eli Roth channeling the Bowery Boys is as painful as Pitt is brilliant.

Other than Brad Pitt, the standout of the cast is Christoph Waltz as the villain Hans Landa. Both charismatic and chilling, he makes the most convincing and evil Nazi to make the screen since Ralph Fiennes’ Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List. He is a perfect villain. And Samuel L. Jackson’s brief narration was a fun surprise.

As many good things as I have to say about Inglourious Basterds, it’s not all good. Tarantino seems to be recycling jokes at some points, especially with the Little Man name bit that recalls Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs. His foot fetish also rears its ugly head but not as blatantly in previous films.

The inclusion of David Bowie’s “Cat People” (the film version) in a WWII movie seems intrusive, and perhaps not right any longer considering Quentin couldn’t get Nastassja Kinski for the role it references as he intended. Also Mike Myers’ cameo is bizarre. I really expected him to pull off his make-up and wig at any moment and yell, “Surprise! It’s me!”

Shosanna’s (played expertly by Melanie Laurent) story is much more compelling than that of the Basterds. It made me wonder if perhaps there should have been two different films here. There are certainly two different themes. If there were indeed problems with the length of the movie, as the rumors claim, maybe it should have been two films, much like Kill Bill.

All that said, I would definitely recommend Inglourious Basterds with the proviso that it’s a Qunetin Tarantino flick, so know what you’re going to see before you go. But do go.

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Inglourious Basterds – Sneak Peek

Reportedly, writer/director Quentin Tarantino has been working on this war film, apparently a remake of 1977’s Italian epic Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato, on and off for decades. Hope it lives up to the hype. Supposedly we will finally see it this coming August.

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