Inglourious Basterds

I’m still mulling over Inglourious Basterds, but the good news is that it’s terrific. It’s much slower, talkier and in a way more serious than I expected, but damnit it works. I haven’t dug into the negative reviews yet, but its safe to say a certain movie blogger who was morally outraged by the movie is talking out of his ass.

Much of the critical attention since Cannes has centered on Christoph Waltz (above) and his comic/evil performance is worth every adjective, but I think Brad Pitt deserves a little more attention than he’s getting. Melanie Laurent is also good as the French Jewish woman bent on revenge.

I don’t know where Inglourious Basterds will end up fitting into the Tarantino canon, but every time I think I know what to expect from the dude, he throws me a curve ball and takes me by surprise. He’s done it again and in a very good way.

Speaking of the man, QT himself unexpectedly (by me anyway) turned up to introduce the midnight screening at the Cinerama Dome. He didn’t have much to say, but he got the crowd properly juiced before dashing off to introduce the 12:05 show. Say what you want about the guy, he stands behind his movies.

In trailer news, I’m pleased to report that, as you’d expect, the Avatar trailer plays much more impressively on a giant screen. Plus, I’m starting to warm up to the idea that the Na’vi just aren’t going to be photorealistic. It remains to be seen how believably expressive they are and that could be the key. Also, I guess we’ll find out this evening how the thing looks in 3-D.

More interesting than Avatar or Shutter Island which we’ve all already seen was the teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Inception. I’ve kept myself from really knowing anything about it, but it looks freaky cool.

That’s all for now. I’ll have more on Inglourious Basterds after I’ve had a chance to let it sink in a little bit and reconcile it with my expectations.

30 Responses to “‘Glourious’ Friday”

  1. I’m glad you liked this movie. :-)

  2. You and me both, sister!

    I already want to see it again tonight.

  3. Tarantino’s movies do have an insane re-watchability quotient to them.

  4. I’ve heard this one knocked (as Deathproof was) for lacking the same dialogue sparkle, but to me it’s just different. Christoph Waltz’s opening speech about rats was great.

  5. His dialogue works great in the hands of great actors. That’s why it didn’t in DP, except for Kurt Russell.

    Off to the show!

  6. Sounds like good news regarding IB, Craig.

    I’ll exhale after I see it…

  7. Sorry to say I did not like the film very much at all, and I am filing for a return of two-and-a-half hours of my time. I’ll have more to say on The Watercooler, but I’m very happy it didn’t disappoint Craig and many others who waited a long time for it. It has it’s fans for sure.

  8. Glad you loved it so much Craig! It’s great when we’re left feeling so juiced about a movie. I thought IB was very entertaining and I’m glad I saw it. But there was enough in it that worked less well for me to leave my own enthusiasm tempered. But considering I’ve not liked his other post-JB efforts I’m really pleased I found this one so readily engaging.

  9. I wasn’t a huge admirer of Tarantino outside of “Jackie Brown” until I saw the diabolical work of genius that is “Inglourious Basterds”. I’m beyond shocked at how much I loved the film. It still bothers me that he uses music from other movies, but everything else about this film was just about perfect. The opening chapter and the entire sequence at the tavern are the two best pieces of writing and directing I think he’s done. Really blown away by the film.

    Sam, I’m interested to hear more about your view of the film, or what specifically turned you off.

  10. I just saw Basterds . . . I’m speechless. I have no idea how to write about this film and do it justice. I’ll give it my best over the weekend after I digest it (is that even possible?). If I write about it right now, I might run out of praise, I would for sure drown in hyperbole. I’m just . . . flabbergasted.

  11. Here we have a microcosm of the love and hate this film is getting. I love it.

    Thrilled you guys were blown away. Bummed Sam didn’t feel the magic.

    I have a rough draft of a review, but it doesn’t really do the movie justice. Hopefully I’ll have it up sometime tomorrow.

  12. Also for those of you keeping score at home, my favorite bits were the opening chapter, the sequence with the actress in the bar and the climax in the theater.

  13. Oddly, I felt the theater end was anti-climatic and not particularly satisfying…otherwise, loved it.

  14. The theater end disappointed me too. It touched on one of my difficulties with the film – I disliked the murderously psychopathic Basterds as much as the Nazis (who had the saving grace in some cases of personality/presence) – so catharsis was out of the question and I didn’t otherwise find it a big enough cinematic moment. But I thought the prologue was excellent and I enjoyed the extended bar sequence.

  15. The climax in the theatre was my favorite part Craig (and Ari). –Hitler telling the filmmaker that his newest film was the best he’s ever made and then the breaking down in response–ha!– But I was repulsed by the excessive violence, much of which was NOT delivered tongue-in-cheek, the sadistic scalpings and gorgings, the haphazard screenplay, which had long, tedious (very tedious)
    stretches, and the oppressive self-indulgence. I don’t object to the imorality as Jeff Wells does, but at so many points I needed to look away. Seems like anything goes here, and so much of that ‘anything’ has no artsitic cohension nor discipline. I can’t imagine myself ever watching this ‘alternate history’ epic ever again.

    That’s my take, I have no issue with anyone else here who liked/loved it. I am aware of the 2/3 favorable reviews it received, so I’m inclined to say “maybe I missed something.” I find myself agreeing with the thrashing it took from the two women, Manola Dargis and Stephanie Zahareck, even if Michael Sgrow was the most brutal of all.

  16. Actually, my big problem with the end — besides no final confrontation between Shosana and Landa — was that Hitler’s comeuppance wasn’t even particularly visceral or kinetic.

  17. “I disliked the murderously psychopathic Basterds as much as the Nazis (who had the saving grace in some cases of personality/presence)” Sartre this to me is what makes the film great.

    Unlike that godawful Rambo which encourages you to enjoy the slaughter of human beings, Tarantino complicates it. He gives you your cake but then dares you to feel good about eating it.

    Sam, the funny thing is I didn’t find it all that violent. There were a couple of scenes, but they were not prolonged and there was lots of talking in between.

  18. SPOILER I don’t know Christian. The look on Roth’s face (his only good moment in the whole film…..he’s the only thing I didn’t like about IB) and Hitler twisting in a hail of bullets was pretty great.

  19. Yeah, I’m not following the “end wasn’t visceral” line of reasoning. I think what happens in the theatre is one QT’s shining moments as director: beautiful, intense and ambivalent. The Dirty Dozen filtered through Carrie. How much more do we need? (or want?)

  20. I’ll rephrase it – visceral yes, well-choreographed no. Fo the first time I thought QT didn’t find the best way to shoot this scene. The brief look on Roth’s face didn’t do it for me. I wanted a pause before they took out Hitler, just to draw out the surprise and catharsis. It was chaotic, but not kinetic.

  21. I’m glad there seems to be somewhat of a consensus as to the movie theater climax. It was stunning and hypnotic. I can’t shake it. Also, bravo to Waltz and Ms. Laurent, but let’s show some love to Michael Fassbender! This guy is the real thing.

    SPOILER
    The look on Roth’s face (his only good moment in the whole film…..he’s the only thing I didn’t like about IB) and Hitler twisting in a hail of bullets was pretty great.

    I agree so much with this. I found Roth a bit of a distraction (one of these things is not like the other), but that moment was glorious. It was Kubrick on speed dangling from the roof of the Cinémathèque.

    The Dirty Dozen filtered through Carrie. How much more do we need? (or want?)

    I love this analogy, Chuck! It works.

  22. Craig, I am talking about the sickening body gorging and the scalping. I can’t look at that stuff. The depraved treatment of the policeman in RESERVOIR DOGS all over again. Just not my cup of tea, though I don’t begrudge anyone who sees the cinematic worth.

  23. Sam, I totally see your point re the violence. I am fairly desensitized to movie violence, but still found myself covering my ears and looking away from certain parts.

  24. Aye, Dorothy, I suspected you would be, as you are a sensitive soul. But I commend you for find the worth beneath this. I just couldn’t.

  25. “…for those of you keeping score at home, my favorite bits were the opening chapter, the sequence with the actress in the bar and the climax in the theater.”

    ha, don’t be coy, sartre. Just say your favorite bits were the chapters without Brad Pitt and Eli Roth.

    seriously, I love this movie, though the basterds themselves were the least of it.

  26. Ha Ryan! Craig not me was your source of coyness. But I think we both thought Brad did really well with what he had but Eli no so much.

  27. I love you guys, but poor Eli, barely in the movie and he still gets jumped. I won’t lie, he wasn’t much in Death Proof, but I thought he was, well, sort of non-descript here, though I liked his lack of polish in the theatre scenes. The man makes three horror movies, the first so-so, the others better than they get credit for, and is never forgiven for it, while others churn out crap endlessly without much word. I don’t get it.

  28. I blame the casting not Roth himself, Chuck. I’ve only seen his first film as a director and was wholly underwhelmed. But I don’t feel predisposed to dislike him per se.

  29. Sam I actually believe an aversion to violence is something to be proud of so I don’t begrudge you being put off by those parts of the movie.

    As I said elsewhere I think there’s something harder to stomach about beatings and scalpings than a good old fashioned shooting…but at the same time I think that was intentional on QTs part.

    Chuck, I have no beef with Roth as a director or a human being, but as you say he was kind of non-descript in this film and it was a role that needed something more. All the Basterds should’ve been stronger.

  30. Also….Dorothy…yes. Fassbender was great. I’m hoping there are more scenes of him on the cutting room floor that turn up on DVD.

    Also I have to say I liked Diane Kruger as well.

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