Inglorious Basterds

inglorious-basterds-poster-1“Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France…”

Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown) and WWII, seems like a perfect match? Not to give too much away for those who want to see this film…this is the story of a group of Jewish born Americans led by southern redneck Lt. Aldo Raine. Their mission is to inflict pain on the Nazis. Also it follows a story line of a Jewish girl seeking revenge on the Nazis. Opportunity arises as they find out of the Premiere of a German propaganda film and Hitler and Goebbels will be in attendance, the chance of a lifetime to end the war. In a nut shell, without ruining it for others, that’s it.

Any die hard Tarantino fan will tell you the entire movie is completely genius and is the perfect movie, unfortunately I don’t have my head buried that far down in the sand. I don’t think this is Tarantino’s best work, nor do I think it’s his worst. As far as drawbacks go, the film started out with bits and pieces of “Tarantino” style film making. Bringing up the big 70’s type when introducing Hugo Stiglitz, and even the beginning, stating “Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France…” and then it pretty much disappears until the very end when hand written type appears pointing out who is who in the German army. I would have preferred more of that, or do away with it.

The bar scene seemed way long to me. Tarantino, known for his dialog scenes…has a very well written scene but my only problem with it was I am not sure how good it is to actually be reading the scene in subtitles instead of actually enjoying the performances and the quick banter back and forth between characters. And the last problem I had with the film was I thought Tarantino could have left out Goebbels and Hitler in the end and that would have made the movie plausible in history rather than ignoring it. It’s kind of like watching Titanic and it never sinks.

OK, even though I had the issues above, that does not mean I didn’t enjoy this film. It had many good laughs and dark comedy moments which all Tarantino fans will enjoy. The performances were so good, I could see a few Oscar nominations come from this film. I have already heard of Christoph Waltz getting a supporting actor nomination. He was very good, rambling away during an interrogation scene and speaking many languages, makes this character one you grow to like and then he snaps and you are right back to hating him. I thought the best performance though comes from Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, Mr and Mrs Smith). He is amazingly funny with his dry humor and redneck approach to the war. I would love to see him get a Best Actor nod for this, but for someone that has top billing in this film, he sure seemed to be absent from it quite a bit. Knowing that Anthony Hopkins won  Best Actor for Silence of the Lambs with under 20 minutes screen time, maybe there is hope.

If you are familiar with Tarantino and his style and know what to expect going in, you’ll like this film. It was well written, beautifully photographed and very good soundtrack featuring the great Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…Tarantino’s favorite film by the way!). In all, I really liked this film and will see it again at some point. If you love Tarantino dialog and humor, there is plenty of it in this film…..it’s a must see!

Burn After Reading

barblucoverSeeing this at the theatre for the first time, I left thinking to myself that this film was just an average ho-hum movie. Watching it again on bluray, I thought a bit more of the film. Maybe because I knew the plot line and the story and it was easier to watch it as a dark comedy rater than trying to make sure you get all the facts straight so you can know what is going on. For what ever reason, I did enjoy the humor in the film much more the second time.

 This film is about personal trainers Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, Legends of the Fall) and Frances McDormand (Best Actress Fargo) who find a disc that is simply information on a novel that belongs to a government employee, John Makovich (Rounders, In the Line of Fire). Linda and Chad, the trainers, try to blackmail Osbourne Cox for a quick get rich scheme. George Clooney (Oceans 11, Best Supporting actor Syriana) has a great character whose only goal is having affairs with women, and one of the women, Tilda Swinton (Best Supporting Actress Michael Clayton, The Deep End) is one of the cheating wives, and married to Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) the government agent. Paths cross, stories overlap and the insanity begins!

This film is directed by the Coen Brothers also known for No Country for Old Men and  Fargo. Don’t think that this film will measure up to those two, they won’t. But if you enjoy their style of comedy, or like me, want to give it a second chance, there are a lot  funny moments, I just needed to know where to look. Worth watching but not a must see.