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Inglorious Poster

Film by Quentin Tarantino released August 21, 2009

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Very, VERY entertaining...could have been a classic!

  • Sep 14, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+4
One of the great pleasures of Quentin Tarantino movies is the wonderfully inventive casting that he employs. In PULP FICTION, he revived the career of John Travolta, made Samuel Jackson a star, pushed Bruce Willis into another echelon and even helped get Ving Rhames off to a good start. In JACKIE BROWN, he burnished Pam Grier & Robert Forster's careers. In KILL BILL, he reinvented Uma Thurman and reinvigorated David Carradine. Even in DEATH PROOF, he introduced the world to the amazing stuntwoman Zoe Bell and gave Kurt Russell the kind of part he's missed out on for too long.

And now, wonderfully, in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, he's introduced the American viewer to some stellar European actors, namely Melanie Laurent and particularly Christoph Waltz, now an easy favorite for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Tarantino also frequently tries the patience of his viewers with his rococo dialogue and insistence on constantly reminding us that we're watching a movie. In PULP FICTION, all his "habits" were fresh and new to most viewers (because, really, how many of us had seen RESERVOIR DOGS before we saw FICTION?), but over time, we learned that Tarantino was often just a little too pleased with his own screenwriting and often too pleased with his own directing. In a completely off-the-wall piece like the priceless KILL BILL films, everything worked to form a crazy-quilt whole. In INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, he's too clever for his own good at times.

BASTERDS tells the completely untrue story of how World War II might have ended had a group of bloodthirsty, highly trained American Jews been allowed to infiltrate Nazi occupied France with no mission other than to take Nazi scalps. Oh, and how that mission needed to collide with one fateful night when all the top leadership of Germany attended the gala opening of a new propaganda film held at a movie theatre owned by a beautiful French girl who was actually a Jew who had escaped a massacre that had taken her entire family and now she's bent on revenge at any cost. And of how her goal coincides with that of an undercover British agent who just happens to be a German film scholar and a German double agent who happens to be a movie star.

I know that sounds a little confusing. To Tarantino's credit, the plot as laid out in this 150 minute film is actually easy to follow. In fact, he's put everything into easy-to-digest chapters. It does ask us to believe that every important member of the German government & military would all assemble in a fairly public place at one time...but if you can get past that hurdle, there is much vicarious pleasure to be had in watching WWII reinvented by Tarantino.

By far, the best part of the film is Chapter 1. It features Waltz as SS officer Col. Hans Landa in what is easily the most chilling portrayal of a Nazi since Ralph Fiennes donned the uniform in SCHINDLER'S LIST. Fiennes role (and that entire brilliant movie) were for altogether different purposes. Landa comes off more like a Nazi Hannibal Lecter (without the strange dining preferences)...he's a bit of a lone wolf in his own party. He's feared by all, because he has a wonderful BS detector that helps him root out deception at every turn. In the opening scene, which plays out like a delicate one-act play, Landa comes to a humble French farmhouse and speaks with the owner. We know the owner is hiding Jews beneath his floorboard, and we're pretty sure Landa knows it too. Just how he gets that information, through one of the most tense interrogation scenes you'll ever see, is a joy to behold. You literally find yourself not breathing. I leaned forward in my seat. And yet there is never a raised voice, nor a threatening gesture. The screws are applied through intensity of manner. Waltz instantly makes his character a classic. Tarantino the writer has crafted brilliant dialogue, and Tarantino the director films it all with rare taste and simplicity, and Waltz knocks it out of the park.

The rest of the film is more uneven. While Brad Pitt is a goofy delight as Aldo Raine, leader of the Basterds...it's a performance that is more campy than believable. His Basterds, including folks like director Eli Roth and B.J. Novak from TV's "The Office" are fairly interchangeable. And strangely, we look forward to them conducting KILL BILL PT. ONE type mayhem, yet they actually use relatively little screentime showing them in action. There is one short, effective scene of their own brand of interrogation...but mostly we have to take the word of other characters (like Hitler himself) that these guys are wreaking havoc on the Nazis.

And during one jarring moment, we are introduced to one of the basterds with a blast of `70s era Blaxploitation music and a `70s era title card. Why? Yes, it was funny...but it took everyone totally out of the spell the movie was weaving. Just as having Michael Myers, in thick but unconvincing makeup, play a British officer hatching a scheme to blow up a movie theater, was very distracting. Myers accent is impeccable, and he plays the part straight...but he's still unmistakably Myers and many audience members snickered when they recognized him. Very distracting.

It's as though Tarantino doesn't quite believe that he can make a straightforward film and have it be riveting. Too bad...because when he gets out of his own way (as he mostly does in the climactic sequences of the film), INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is a cinematic treat. The gorgeous settings and lovely costumes even gave Tarantino a chance to show off and have it fit the tone of the film...but he still insists on going off the rails. "Hey, this is a Tarantino movie!" he seems to want to shout at us. And this causes him to get in the way of the stunning Melanie Laurant, who plays the vengeful theater owner. I've never seen her before, and she is an entrancing presence, whether in casual slacks or a gorgeous formal red dress. She dominates the final portions of the film.

I had a great time at this film, and I recommend it fairly highly. But with 10 minutes less of the sometimes too clever dialogue and 5 minutes less of Tarantino's showboating, and we might have had a true classic of suspense. See it, though, because the two performances I mentioned are worth the price of admission...heck, the opening scene is worth it.

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More Inglourious Basterds reviews
review by . January 09, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    The Quentin Tarantino-directed "Inglourious Basterds" is not much unlike the wise-cracking genius of modern cinema's other features. It's a one big old fan film; another one of Tarantino's great homages to the many things that he loves. Once again, he shows his admiration of his inspirations through music choice, camera angles, and an overwhelming supply of movie references. While there are plenty of other directors who do this, Tarantino does it differently; …
review by . April 05, 2010
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review by . January 11, 2010
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Ingloruious Basterds (I think I spelled that incorrectly) was the best movie I've seen all year. This was my first QT movie , and I went into it with trepidation, expecting cartoonish violence and macho muscularity without much depth. What I got was masterful moving picture making. Every scene works (even the one intentionally--and self-mockingly?--cartoonishly violent "Bear Jew" scene) but the opening scene builds so slowly and perfectly that it matches anything Hitchcock crafted in its beauty, …
review by . August 23, 2009
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poster
   Quentin Tarantino, taking inspiration from the 1978 Italian film “Inglorious Bastards“, “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS” (now renamed “Basterds”) is the latest installment from the acclaimed director. “Inglourious Basterds” isn’t just a war film, it is a war film with the Tarantino signature that features stupendous dialogue, incredibly opaque plotting, an anarchistic soundtrack (even worms in a David Bowie song from “Cat People“), …
review by . August 12, 2009
   I'll save you time.  You don't have to read the rest of this review to know how I feel.  I loved this movie.      There is so much to love about this movie and I will try to explain my perspective without the use of spoiler because I want everyone to see and experience this movie for themselves.  Before we go any further, here is the trailer:            See what I mean.  I knew from the trailer …
Quick Tip by . January 04, 2012
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review by . August 25, 2009
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Seeing Inglorious Basterds was an interesting viewing experience for me.  Not because anything crazy happened, but because of the ways in which the film kept pulling me back in.  While I thoroughly enjoyed Basterds, there were definitely times I was asking myself, "what is this leading up to?" which I think a lot of people were asking about Death Proof .  Of course the minute I asked myself this, everything came together and made me ecstatic about the current scene. …
review by . January 08, 2010
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You might think Tarantino glorifies violence, but I think that's just the way he expresses his ideas
   I am a huge QT fan so I went expecting a lot from this film. The movie is simply an experience and Tarantino immerses you into this world.   I honestly am very surprised that there are so many comments stating this is a bad movie and Tarantino trash. I understand not everyone loves QT but how can you not appreciate the writing and acting in this film. The film, as most of us know by now, is a WWII revenge saga that follows a small unit of Jewish-American soldiers as they wreak …
review by . May 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A MASTERPIECE
INGLORIOUS BASTERDS       As any one can tell you I am a huge QT fan and basically own everything he has been a part of. So of course when this film was released I had to go see it and the second it was out on DVD/BLU-RAY I had to own it. I knew from the moment this film was announced that it would be another QT classic with out a doubt. Say what you will but it was a major success and you can't discount that at all. I of course knew that I would love this film and of course …
Quick Tip by . April 05, 2011
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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Inglorious Bastards

Inglorious Bastards is a 2009 war film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.  It was released on August 21st 2009.  It stars Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger and Christopher Waltz.

"

Although Quentin Tarantino has cherished Enzo G. Castellari's 1978 "macaroni" war flickThe Inglorious Bastardsfor most of his film-geek life, his ownInglourious Basterdsis no remake. Instead, as hinted by the Tarantino-esque misspelling, this is a lunatic fantasia of WWII, a brazen re-imagining of both history and the behind-enemy-lines war film subgenre. There's a Dirty Not-Quite-Dozen of mostly Jewish commandos, led by a Tennessee good ol' boy named Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) who reckons each warrior owes him one hundred Nazi scalps--and he means that literally. Even as Raine's band strikes terror into the Nazi occupiers of France, a diabolically smart and self-assured German officer named Landa (Christoph Waltz) is busy validating his own legend as "The Jew Hunter." Along the way, he wipes out the rural family of a grave young girl (Melanie Laurent) who will reappear years later in Paris, dreaming of vengeance on an epic scale.

Now, this isn't one more big-screen comic book. As the masterly opening sequence reaffirms, Tarantino is a true filmmaker, with a deep respect for the integrity of screen space and the tension that can accumulate in contemplating two men seated at a table having a polite conversation. IB reunites QT with...

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Details

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: August 21st 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Quentin Tarantino
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2009
Runtime: 149 mins.
Studio: The Weinstein Company, Universal Pictures, Universal Studios
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