Wow. Four months since I've posted here.
Can you say - Fell off the edge of the world?
I had a mini-breakdown over Christmas but now I'm back. Better than ever. I realized I wanted to get back to posting about movie. It's been too long.
What a better way than to start with Quentin Tarantino's new flick just released on DVD, "Inglourious Basterds." Did I mention it's directed by Quentin Tarantino? Not sure if you are aware it's by Quentin Tarantino. Let me make sure I'm very clear - this movie is by Quentin Tarantino.
Because in the end, the only thing you will remember about this movie is that it's by Quentin Tarantino, which is exactly what he wants.
I have no interest in detailing why he misspelled the title or what arcane movie this is based on from the 70's. Except for the worlds film geeks and those obsessed with all things Quentin and those in Hollywood, no one in America cares why he misspelled the title or what this is based on.
All anyone cares about at the end of the day is the movie itself and for this movie, I can say this:
At 2 hours and 23 minutes long, there is roughly 40 minutes that are an absolute gas. The opening 20 minute sequence is riveting. The final image at the end of the opening sequence of a girl running in a field, covered in blood, is spectacular. The finale is pretty fun and one half of a 20 minute scene in a basement bar is delightfully tense and disturbing.
The problem with the rest of the movie is that it's okay, but not very interesting. And despite Quentin's efforts to make his chatty, chatty, chatty movie hold together via a jarring mix of genres and editing and color saturation and bizarre title sequences and truly mind-boggling 80's musical choices, I don't care what anyone says, the movie isn't very good.
What is it about?
It's about 4 different teams of people coming together with one common goal: end the war, kill Hitler and a few select men who are associated with the resistance.
That's it. Which is great. Very little story is the key to a good movie. Very little story told very deeply.
But it all feels so...contrived and forced, despite Quentin's clear love of the form, despite everyone's best efforts to find a way to hook into this odd tone of the movie, despite the great ambition to end the most horrific crime against man inflicted by one man...
The truth of the matter is there are long stretches where it's boring and could have easily been cut, cut, cut.
Because it was not and because Quentin loves to make loonnggg movies, the only thing as a viewer I can deduce is Quentin's ego is so lost in the process of editing this film that he loses sight of what is truly interesting, cannot be diligent to cut, is deteremined to be artful and no one around him will say, "Quentin - you really need to cut out a half hour. Please."
I know a good movie when I see one and this is 1/3 of a great movie. The photography is eloquent, the colors fantastic, the love bestowed upon the process of making the movie staggeringly clear. The details in the movie are mind-boggling BUT I'd rather see less emphasis put on being tricky and cute and have it replaced with genuine intent and more solid drama.
Brad Pitt and his team of Bastards are a bit embarrassing in the movie. I love who the actor Brad Pitt is in life. He's a truly compassionate and sweet man, but in this - it's like straight boy joke acting. It feels like a frat party.
And the rest are just - smug. That's it. The movie is smug.
And as such, in the end, despite the confident of those fantastic 40 minutes, it's off-putting and feels all about Quentin and his ego.
Eli Roth is awful. He is a director of absurd horror films and was only put in here because Quentin and he are 'buds'. He's not an actor. It reeks of such 'old boys school' Hollywood as to make you ill. Is it because Roth is a Jew he's in here?
The really great one in here is Diane Kruger. She's fascinating to watch. Christoph Waltz is good in the part but near the end he wobbles in a scene that is so jarring and full of actor ticks I was wondering if he was having a spasm or was struggling with the English language.
I should be fair - except for Pulp Fiction I'm not a movie watcher who feels Quentin Tarantino is that great of a director. I'm not a man who would say, "He's fucking amazing, man! Amazing! Dude, he gets movies, you know? Like really gets them, man! They fucking rock!"
Kill Bill was ultra-violent, pretty, over the top and lonngggg...same with his bloated Death Proof. People in Hollywood love this guy. I am not one of them.
With that in mind, if you are ravenous for 40 minutes of great footage and wish to wade through the rest, have it darling, have at it.
Your Movie Man