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 Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!   Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:30 pm

Quentin Tarantino has been talking about doing a war film ever since he finished Jackie Brown (1997), but it wouldn't be a serious war film like Saving Private Ryan, it would be a throwback to the war films of old, such as The Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare and Cross of Iron. He called in Inglourious Basterds, he got the title from Enzo Castellari's The Inglorious Bastards (1978). There was just one small problem, QT couldn't stop writing it, it was intended to be his follow up to Jackie Brown, but then procrastination set in, the script evolved over the following years and still nothing happened. QT would then do Kill Bill, but promised fans he would do Inglourious Basterds soon. But, he got distracted again, and did Grindhouse with Robert Rodriguez, which was an unfair flop. What would QT do next, how would he get out of this hole?? Then, at Cannes 2008, he announced that Inglourious Basterds would be ready for Cannes 2009!! He had less than a year to get it set up, shot, edited and completed. For all the years he spent on the script, it was going to be a tight shoot. But, he did it!! Quentin Tarantino got Inglourious Basterds finally made after years of speculation. It's been well worth the wait too!! It's not exactly action packed, but QT more or less makes up for that with some brilliant dialogue and top-notch performances.

Inglourious Basterds begins in 1941, in the French countryside, where Jew Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) escapes from a bloody massacre after SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), who is known as 'The Jew Hunter' murders her family. 3 and a bit years later, she's running a cinema in Paris under the alias of Emmanuelle Mimieux, (how she did it, we never know). And her cinema is chosen by star SS Officer Frederick Zoller, (Daniel Brühl) for the premiere of a propaganda film about him called 'A Nation's Pride', in attendance will by Adolf Hitler as well as much of the German Nazi party. Meanwhile, a group of Jewish American soldiers known as The Basterds led by Lt. Alda Raine (Brad Pitt) have been going around killing and scalping Nazi's, gaining quite a reputation. They team up with British Army officer Lt. Archie Hicox, (Michael Fassbender) and German film actress Bridget von Hammersmark, (Diane Kruger), who plan to blow up the cinema, but nothing goes according to plan. Especially as Shosanna has plans of her own, plans of vengeance against Landa for killing her family, and it involves over 300 reels of highly flammable nitrate film.

For all it's war based plot, Inglourious Basterds is, at heart, a film about the cinema and the power of films. In nearly every scene of this film, there's a reference to films, whether it's in the way it's shot, or whether it's one of many French or German films mentioned by one of the main characters. It even has a pinch of Kill Bill all over again, from character names appearing on screen to themes used in Kill Bill being used here, (QT even reunited with DP Robert Richardson for this.) There's a sense that he hasn't easily moved on from his Eastern epic. But, it does make for a good entertainment. It's a war fantasy rather than a serious war film, so there's enough to get the war historians all wound up. Plus, it's very talky, and there's only a modicum of action. But, when the war action comes, it's brief but well done. It's savage and brutal, (even nothing is left to the imagination with the scalpings, why do they scalp them?? We don't know.) But, QT has fun with his war film, even if it's an excuse to mention old 1930's/40's war films, there's a sense of demented glee to it all. He even has Spaghetti Western compositions by Ennio Morricone scattered throughout the film, with the odd appearance by Elmer Bernstein, Billy Preston, Lalo Schifrin and even David Bowie's Cat People (Putting Out Fire) is played, which in an odd way, actually suits the scene it appears in.

QT went for a great international cast for his war film. Pitt brings good star quality with a gruff, determined turn. But, it's the supporting players who stand out. Christoph Waltz is wonderful as Landa, he could have been a brutal thug, but Landa is a jovial romantic but with a sinister cruelty to his nature, he smokes from an absurdly comical Sherlock Holmes style pipe, and is multilingual. But the real main character in all of this is Mélanie Laurent's Shosanna Dreyfus, a damaged person who is looking for retribution for what Landa and the Nazi's did to her family. The rest of the cast is filled with extended cameos and stunt casting. From Mike Myers' almost restrained turn as General Ed Fenech and Rod Taylor's all-too-brief turn as Winston Churchill, to Samuel L. Jackson giving a brief explanatory narration here and there. Michael Fassbender makes a friendly turn as Hicox, who plays a key part in a signature scene in a bar, and Til Schweiger makes a good impression as quiet psychopath Hugo Stiglitz, QT brought in his Hostel 'protege' Eli Roth to play Donny Donowitz, known as The Bear Jew, who goes around murdering Nazi's with a baseball bat. Razz



It's a good piece of entertainment, and makes for a great piece of cinematic escapism. Which is what QT intended. Films are there for escapism, a chance to get away from the reality of life, and be transported to another world for a couple of hours. It's very well written, with some very good dialogue, (some of QT's best in ages). It won't be for everyone, when it's violent, it's very, very violent, and most of the film is in either French or German, (a brave move indeed). But, it is also QT's funniest film to date, thanks to Waltz's wonderful turn and the films clever writing. For those who feared that QT had 'lost it' with Kill Bill and Grindhouse only have to look upon this film to know that he's rediscovered his mojo, and it might herald a new direction for his career, even if he's still going to be referencing old films. But, he's giving old obscure films a lease of life this way, which is a good thing. With this, we'll be seeing alot of old wartime films made in France and German appearing on shop shelves no doubt. It's not a perfect film, but as a piece of entertainment, it succeeds. Inglourious Basterds has been well worth the wait, and QT has more films planned with the same characters, which is a going to be a good thing!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!   Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:27 am

Will be watching next week!

_________________
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Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!   Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:56 pm

Probably amongst the best films of the year so far bounce
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PostSubject: Re: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!   Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:43 pm

Who'd have thought it either!? Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!   Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:43 pm

Good news!! It's #1 at the American box-office!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!   Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:46 am

Saw it today. Tarantino's best by quite a way!

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We renounce our Maker.
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Behold! We are the Nine,
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Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!   Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:47 am

And here's my review, plenty of SPOILERS



I don’t think it will be a surprise to many to what I say I’m not the biggest fan of Quentin Tarantino films. Fair enough, I’ve seen them all, I’ll watch them all again and I actually liked Death Proof, but Jackie Brown is the only film I really love. Reservoir Dogs and, particularly, Pulp Fiction, their longstanding appeal astounds me. So I went into Inglourious Basterds with no great expectations. Two and a half hours later those minimal expectations had been shattered. And one of the biggest surprises is that that 150 minutes felt massively shorter, more round 80.

Much has been made that Tarantino’s films are replete with film reference, some obvious, others not so. Whether it be stunt casting, the choice of music, dialogue that implicitly refers to previous works, or subtle homage. This film is no exception. There is talk of Leni Riefenstahl and Charlie Chaplin. The soundtrack all comes from previous films, predominantly war films and westerns (including a piece from John Wayne’s directorial debut, The Alamo, surely some kind of irony considering the slaughter of American soldiers we later see depicted). It often has the feel of a spaghetti western and it’s influenced by New Wave cinema, and obviously has moments inspired by wartime propaganda (witness the perfectly carved swastika that is carved in the film featured heavily throughout, Nation’s Pride, and the cheer that accompanies it). Queen Christina and Paris When It Sizzles are just a few of the films name checked and there are numerous posters to be seen advertising French films from the 30s and 40s. It evens includes a few cameos from the original The Inglorious Bastards. In truth, a lot of these references pass me by completely and they don’t necessarily make the film more complete for my knowing about them, but they do help make the film a Tarantino one.

Cast-wise though, it isn’t an obviously Tarantino film. The man himself doesn’t appear and frequent collaborators are absent, with Samuel L. Jackson and Harvey Keital appear only in voiceovers. The lead is arguable one of the biggest film stars in the world, not someone in need of career rejuvenation and Brad Pitt looks likes he’s having a ball playing Aldo Raine, leader of the Basterds. Prone to given long-winded speeches, Raines southern drawl and odd expressions make him almost as much of a comic character as Chad Feldheimer in Burn After Reading. It’s not a particularly complex role to pull off, but it’s memorable and enjoyable to watch, which is more than can be said for others of the groups.

The Basterds themselves feature relatively little. They are bystanders in their own film. As a group, they appear together in only two short scenes three years apart, there mission to strike fear into the hearts and minds of Nazis is, for the most part, left unseen. Outside of Pitt, I can actually only really recall the exploits of two of them. Til Schweiger as Hugo Stiglitz, a German solider who’s been recruited by the Basterds after his murdering of 13 SS officers. Quietly sociopathic, he’s the standout of the group. Eli Roth stars as Donny Donowitz, aka The Bear Jew, noted for clubbing Nazis to death with a baseball bat. There are undoubtedly countless other people who could have taken on the role, but Roth is, thankfully, better at acting than directing. Not brilliant, but at least passable, and he does take centre stage in the films funniest moment. The rest get a lot less screen time, do little in the long run and are there really to make up the numbers.

Faring much better are the Europeans of the film. Christoph Waltz is rightly getting much praise for his turn as Hans Landa, The Jew Hunter. Intelligent, friendly, charming, calculating, sinister and a master of languages, he’s one the standouts of the film. Whether he’s discussing the delight of strudel, praising folk for the quality of the milk he’s drinking or enquiring about the nature of a leg injury, he’s always pleasant and likable, yet every word he utters is deliberate, and he’s waiting to see how people react. He’s a sleuth looking for answers (and there are obvious Sherlock Holmes parallels early on in a hilarious moment involving a pipe). Almost all the scenes in which he appears are brimming with tension, truly edge of your seat moments.

The other great find in this film is Melanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus. In many ways this film is her story, starting from her escape from Landa to her plan for revenge three years later, one that runs alongside but separately to the mission of the Basterds and is, arguably, the more successful of the two come the end. Fragile and fearless, in Tarantino-land, she’s certainly one of the very few characters that I actually cared about what happened to, and the conclusion to her story is oddly fitting her tragic all at once.

Add to these two the likes of Jackie Ido as Shosanna’s dignified lover, August Diehl as the suspicious Gestapo officer Dieter Hellstrom, Diane Kruger turning in her best performance (though some may say that this is hardly cause for celebration) as renowned actress Bridget von Hammersmark, and Daniel Bruhl as Roller, the war hero turned actor, initially sympathetic but later revealing his true nature, it’s fair to say that almost all of the best roles in the film go to those who aren’t from the titular group.

Perhaps the change of setting from contemporary America is the reason, but script wise Tarantino appears to have upped his game. Thankfully, we have no discussions here about Superman, Big Macs, waitress wages and foot massages. No spouting off of biblical passages. The dialogue serves plot and character, moving the former along and building the latter, and doesn’t have the feel of being written simply to become a soundbite, catchphrase or t-shirt slogan later on. One of the films longest scenes, involving British Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender, another thumbs up for the non-American roles), actress-cum-spy Bridget von Hammersmark, and numerous Germans sees discussions about whisky, autographs being handed out for a newborn child and a guessing games that lead to the answer of King Kong yet none of this feels extraneous. In the battle of wits that takes place between Archie and Dieter, another supremely tense scene, the upper hand shifts frequently as the talk changes direction (and is reminiscent of the opening 20 minute sequence, which in many ways is all the more impressive as the conversation takes place between just two men and is even then one-sided). One of the most interesting moments of this film is that of Bridget shooting Wilhelm, the new father, when seconds earlier she helped negotiate his surrender. The scene ends in a brief and brutal shootout, and in a way it’s a shame, as it kills off two of the most interesting characters and directly causes the death of a third. That’s one of the things about this film though; it constantly goes against expectations and conventions, as with depiction of violence itself. Until the final act, all the violence of the film is similarly handled as this brief bloodbath. There is little warfare in this war epic.

A quick word on the music. Almost all anachronistic, yet never seeming out of place and with the like of Moriccone and Schifrin, it’s guaranteed to sound good, ripped from films as diverse as Zulu Dawn, Kelly’s Heroes, The Alamo, The Battle of Algiers, and The Entity. Not even the warbling of David Bowie takes you out of the film. Special mention has to go to “Rabbia e Tarantella”, Morricone’s piece that plays over the final credits. Forget Jungle Boogie, Across 110th Street or whatever that song was they dance to in Pulp fiction, this is the best choice of music that QT has picked yet.

Tarantino has said that this isn’t the war film your parents grew up with, and it isn’t necessarily the boy’s own adventure story it seemed like it might be. It does manage to be both humorous and entertaining despite the cruelty and brutality on display, it also manages to thoughtful and moving. The gleeful reaction by the German audience of Nation’s Pride as American soldiers are killed onscreen in great numbers, is soon turned on it’s head by the massacre of that audience by Shosanna Dreyfus and the Basterds, and the laughs from the actual audience stopped at this point as well. The good times don’t sit awkwardly alongside the more downbeat moments. Zorba The Greek syndrome is missing.

Ultimately this is a fantasy film. There are a great many WWII films that are entirely fictional or change history. The latter often cause uproar (U-571 for example). It’s unlikely that such complaints will be uttered against this film, and if they are they’re probably missing the point somewhat. This isn’t a film to be taken seriously from a historical viewpoint. Whether the final line of the film is really Tarantino talking about himself I don’t know and I don’t particularly care. It makes it no more interesting to me. And masterpiece might be too strong a word, but considering his first two films are amazingly considered such, I have no misgiving about stating that this is one, his first, his only. It’s not perfect by any means. No film is. Mike Myers annoyed my, Rod Taylor (I thought he was dead!) was wasted and there are numerous places to nitpick throughout. Samuel J Jackson’s narration is distracting and, with appearing in just two scenes, feels almost like an afterthought (though it does allow for a brief, humorous clip to be inserted from Hitchcock’s Sabotage). Also, despite Waltz’s brilliance, he also gives one of the films flimsiest moments (though it’s one that seems to be well liked). I hated “It’s a bingo!” Overall all though, very, very, very good – 4/5


(Though that best thing QT had ever done is still that episode of ER!)

_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds!!   Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:11 pm

That puts my review to shame!! Shocked Anyways...

OH, JAH!! Quentin Tarantino's bester film in den Jahren erhält eine verdammt leuchtende DVD Freigabe!! Very Happy

Überprüfen Sie es heraus!!

•Extended & Alternate Scenes

•Nation’s Pride - The film within the film Inglourious Basterds can be seen it its entirety

•Roundtable Discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and film historian/critic Elvis Mitchell

•The Making of Nation’s Pride

•The Original Inglorious Bastards - a salute to the original 1978 film

•A Conversation with veteran actor Rod Taylor

•Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitters, the Australian beer

•Quentin Tarantino’s Camera Angel

•Hi Sallys - Gag Reel

•Film Poster Gallery Tour with Elvis Mitchell

•Inglourious Basterds Poster Gallery

•Domestic and International Trailers

•BD-Live

•Digital Copy of Inglourious Basterds




It's out on December 7th, something for Christmas perhaps?? :Wink:
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