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!

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Wonderland

Wonderland

To me the first viewing of this film was a little better than the second one. The first time around I was so taken by the story and the details of the murder I really wasn’t noticing other things. This movie is really just the stories of the two sides of a murder mystery. I wish the movie would have included a third point of view. Would have liked to have seen more from the detectives point of view and maybe even a more scientific point of view using evidence and forensics. Not to mention it would have given a bit more screen time to the great character Ted Levine. (“It rubs the lotion on it’s skin or else it gets the hose again.” Silence of the Lambs)

Without giving too much away, this is the true story of porn star John Holmes after the x-rated film business and in the middle of his heavy drug days, he gets accused of murder. The director does a great job with the overall look and feel of this film, with muted colors and film grain, adding to the overall character of the film. Also, a great soundtrack fits the tone perfect with the blaring of Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Val Kilmer (Tombstone, Batman Forever) is good playing John Holmes, but the real surprise of this film is Lisa Kudrow (Friends) who plays estranged with Sharon. Also Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) in a nice bit part in the beginning of the film. 

We always hear of Hollywood sensationalizing violence in films. If you have this DVD you will see that this isn’t the case. They have included the complete police walk through of the crime scene, blood still on the walls, bodies still on the ground. This film actually toned it down, and I am glad they did. The crime scene was haunting to see and really didn’t want to see the way it happened. If you are a fan of true crime movies, or just good film making, this one is worth catching. Just be aware this is about an ex-porn star into every drug imaginable.