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…’s a must see!

Wedding Crashers

065935221012Wedding Crashers is a decent comedy, in the same vein as Meet The Parents and American Pie. John, played by Owen Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Shanghai Noon), and Jeremy, played by Vince Vaughn (Swingers, Clay Pigeons) are long time friends that have mastered the art of hooking up with girls at weddings. There are dozens of rules and even a Wedding Crashers playbook to follow. All of that goes out the window when they attempt to crash the wedding of weddings. Well known politician William Cleary, played by Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can), is hosting the wedding for his daughter, and while crashing the wedding John starts falling for Claire, played by Rachel McAdams (The Family Stone, Mean Girls). Wanting to get to know Claire better, John agrees to go to a weekend get-a-way at the Cleary house on the coast, and of course Jeremy has to go along….all the while being pursued by the Cleary youngest daughter, Gloria, played marvelously by Isla Fisher (Swimming Pool). The comedy continues as John and Jeremy experience about every awkward situation you might imagine during their stay, complete with Mrs. Cleary (Jane Seymour, Live and Let Die) hitting on John!

As far as performances go, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn make for a good comedy team pairing. They are so different comically and physically, they really play off each other well. For instance during the touch football game, it is the bigger of the two, Vaughn, that gets so banged up, which is perfect for Owen to chime in and comment on. Probably even a better pairing is Vince Vaughn and Isla Fisher, who are even further apart physically, and she plays the young girl obsessed and possessive so well, and Vaughn’s reactions to avoid her make them a very comical duo to watch. OK, Will Ferrell (Anchor Man) has just a bit more of a cameo in the film and just seemed out of place and in the way. I will admit there are very few things that I have actually enjoyed him in. He overacts so much he is just annoying. Ignore him though, plenty of other things to laugh at in this one.

I don’t believe this was as funny as the movies listed in the beginning, but it is a darn funny movie. There are several sexually themed jokes, but nothing over  the top gross or anything. I would say if you are in the mood for comedy this is a good one to catch.