Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Unnecessary Basterds

Another movie review for you.

I saw Inglourious Basterds this past weekend. While watching it, I found myself completed uninterested most of the time. I actually left twice to use the bathroom and was in no rush to run back in.

But, as the days have passed, it's memory is growing on me. I find myself thinking about it more and more and responding to these thoughts fondly.

The movie is split into chapters. As with most Tarantino movies, it contains three different stories that mix and mingle and intertwine with each other until they all come together in the end.

The first chapter is one of the greatest scenes I have ever seen. The acting is outstanding. Christopher Waltz is Col. Hans Landa. A German "Jew Hunter". He is out on the french dairy farm of Perrier LaPadite (played by the extraordinary french actor Denis Menochet) investing the disappearance of an unaccounted for Jewish family. This scene is mesmerizing. It's quiet, intense, incredibly shot. In the quiet moments when all you see is the fear in Monsieur LaPadite's eyes, you can hear the cows gently mooing in the background, the wind rustling outside. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. Mr. Waltz and Mr. Menochet should both get Oscar nods for their performances. Yes, Denis Menochet was only in the movie for the first scene, but if Judi Dench can be nominated and win for less than 10 minutes of screen time, why can't he?

Unfortunately, Chapter 2 begins with Brad Pitt. I don't know what happened to him. But he is a terrible actor. Just terrible. I don't know if it's because his looks have finally gone and maybe that was all that was masking his acting "talents" before, but I could not bear to watch/hear him on screen. He speaks with a southern accent in this movie. I'm fairly certain Mr. Pitt has a natural southern tone to his voice. Why he felt the need to go all Slingblade, I will never understand. But he doesn't pull it off and it's not funny.

Brad plays the leader of the Inglourious Basterds, an American government supported rag tag bunch of vigilantes who want nothing more than to "kill Nazi's." And not just kill them, no, Mr. Pitt also requires their scalps.

It speaks to Brad Pitt's acting/persona that I can't for the life of me remember his character's name. I think part of his problem is he has grown too big to really sink into a role anymore. It's the same with Tom Cruise. I can't watch either of them anymore without thinking: hey it's Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise acting.

I also found the Inglourious Basterds to be completely unnecessary to the movie - besides the title. Yes, I can see where they fit in. But it really just seemed like their main purpose was for the old Quentin gore factor and to add some light, comedic moments.

This movie has several amazing scenes that keep you glued to the screen. But every time Brad Pitt showed up, I just wanted to walk out.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Being that I am not a Quentin Tarantino fan, this speaks a lot.

District 9 is still the frontrunner for my movie of the summer.

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