Category Archives: inglourious basterds
The Academy Award nominations for this year were announced this morning. You can view them here.
A couple weeks back, I posted some of my guesses about what would be nominated at my Twitter. I was right on with a few and dead wrong with a few – and of course there are some outright exclusions and some WTFs that made it.
I’ll post my thoughts later. For the moment, though, enjoy the nominations…
My top ten films that I’ve seen this year that came out this year would be, in no particular order – Timecrimes, District 9, (500) Days of Summer, The Princess and the Frog, Moon, Wonder Woman, Inglourious Basterds, and my top three – Ponyo, Watchmen and Star Trek.
On television, “Glee” tops my card, quickly followed by Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and a startling season of “Dexter.” Other highlights would include the “Seinfeld” reunion on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the spoiled children of “Big Brother 10” and of course the “Doctor Who” specials.
Musically there’s no question that 2009 was the year of Lady GaGa. And I think that’s only the beginning. Even if she’s a four-hit wonder, her performances and music, as well as her interviews are stunning. She is a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
On the interwebs, props must go to Marvel Comics for their amazing motion comics of Astonishing X-Men and especially Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.
Now bring on 2010!
Extract ~ I really wanted to like this one, being such a big fan of Mike Judge’s Office Space, but no suck luck. This might have been good or maybe just looked good on paper, but on the screen this is a loser. Ben Affleck is interesting in the way he used to be in Kevin Smith movies but then he blows it by referencing himself as a character. This doesn’t work, but man, I wish it did.
Dark Manhattan/Underworld ~ This double DVD features two 1930s urban melodramas with all African-American casts. The second is better than the first, but together a great time capsule of the time and an underrated gem.
The Hole Story ~ A wannabe TV producer trying to sell his pilot manufactures a story where there is none. A great concept poorly executed, but worth a look.
The Inglorious Bastards ~ Also known as Deadly Mission and G.I. Joe, it should be known that the only thing this flick has in common with the new Quentin Tarantino film besides a similar title is that it occurs in Nazi-occupied France. Other than that this is just a pretty typical 1970s war movie about guys on a mission – in a DVD extra Tarantino even explains that for him and his friends, the term ‘inglorious bastards’ always means ‘guys on a mission.’ In fact, the DVD extra with Tarantino talking with this film’s director Enzo Castellari is probably more fun and more engaging than the movie itself.
Bohica: The Devil’s Film-Maker ~ I just bet this looked a whole lot better on paper than it does on the screen. And the music, a rip-off of the “Kolchak the Night Stalker” theme, is like a never-ending circle of Hell itself. That’s the real horror of this low-budget horror/comedy.
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.
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.