Monday, August 31, 2009


Inglorious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino's entertaining and stylish take on an alternate World War II where Jews kill Nazis. Tarantino is my favorite filmmaker to come out of the 90's. I follow everything this dude does. I've seen every Tarantino movie since Pulp Fiction opening day. Yes even Four Rooms. So maybe I came in with abnormally high expectations, but his most recent films Kill Bill & Grindhouse exceeded my lofty expectations. And though Basterds was entertaining and a very good movie it was one of my least favorite Tarantino films.

I might be a little hard on QT by saying the movie was somewhat of a letdown, but it was still one of the best movies of the year. Sorta how
I felt about Curious Case of Benjamin Button or There Will Be Blood. There was so much potential and such a great cast and crew, I just didn't feel it was all I thought it could be. I mean it was a war movie with no battle scenes. Come on. The best thing about the film had to be actor Christoph Waltz. Who played Colonel Hans Landa, by far and away the best villain of the year. He made me so uncomfortable with every scene he was in I was scared to see what happened next. Like in Pulp Fiction and Death Proof, Tarantino brings that frightening suspense that is almost unbearable to watch. And of course Tarantino brought his quarky film-making to the screen, with references about movies, cool cameos, and awesome visuals. Even an average Tarantino movie is still better than most.

Grade: B+

Let me just start by saying how seriously Kev and I take QT films.We bought tickets ass early in the morning for Kill Bill Vol. 1 on opening night, and of course a bunch of Jokers snuck into the theater without tickets, so the theater was oversold with nowhere to sit. We parked our asses in the aisle and watched as the opening sequence rolled, prepared to sit uncomfortably for the whole film. Then some asshole usher told us we were a fire hazard and had to leave right as the bride got her brains blasted in black & white over Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang." We never went back to that theater.

I left Quentin Tarantino's latest movie wondering if my grandmother, who survived Auschwitz, would enjoy the film. There's something about seeing violence against Nazi's that isn't hard to stomach. Sure, there are plenty of cringe worthy moments in
Inglorious Basterds; a veritable buffet of brutal Nazi murdering, scalping and other assorted variations of ultra-violence. But you don't feel bad for any of the Nazi's, and I think that's what our man was going for.

The film is well cast, and to my surprise, Brad Pitt was not the most compelling actor. Props to Eli Roth, The Bear Jew, for being the most bad ass Heeb in film since Munich, and to Christoph Waltz who portrays Colonel Hans Landa, possibly my favorite Tarantino character ever. After the first few minutes of the movie, you yearn to see Colonel Hans get his comeupance. He's the villain to end all villains. Pitt is solid and fun to watch, but you don't learn enough about Aldo Raine to care about him or what happens to him.

The story is a departure for Tarantino in that the story is chronological. We have some of the usual QT trademarks- the film is divided into chapters, his signature dialogue is at full tilt, the female characters are strong willed, and there's a close-up of some feet. No red apple cigarettes, and to my surprise, no kick ass soundtrack. The music suits the film, and there is one brilliant musical moment courtesy of David Bowie, but it's the first film that I haven't wondered "who did that song" and I won't be looking for the soundtrack. But minor flaws aside, the acting is great, the story flows and it doesn't feel as long as it is.

I've heard there's rumors of a prequel. Maybe we get to learn how Aldo, the Bear Jew, and the rest of the Basterds came to be such stone cold killers... and that's something I'll look forward to. Even if he doesn't get around to the prequel, Basterds, and its amazing rewrite of history is a film i'll be glad to watch again.

Grade: A-


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