PCR past banners
Now in our tenth calendar year!
PCR #491 (Vol. 10, No. 34). This edition is for the week of August 17--23, 2009.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Inglourious Basterds"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"Inglourious Basterds"  by Mike Smith
Airliners International 2009  by Will Moriaty
Movies That Scared Us for Life  by ED Tucker
Initializing...  by Bobby Tyler
DVD Review: Criterion's "An Autumn Afternoon": Ozu Final Masterpiece  by Jason Fetters
Heeee’s Baaack! .... Is His Name Clear? .... Tanard Jackson .... Monday Night’s Birthday .... Are You A Dolphin? .... Officer Mike Roberts .... ....  by Chris Munger
Brody .... Justice Is Blind...and Pretty Damn Arrogant .... It's Also A Damn Joke .... Movie Notes .... Everything's Archie .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2009
Archives 2008
Archives 2007
Archives 2006
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR

Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz and Melanie Laurent
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 33 mins

“My name is Lieutenant Aldo Raine.” This is how Brad Pitt introduces himself to both the audience and the group of men he has assembled. Raine (whose name is a homage to the late actor Aldo Ray, who starred in many war films including “The Green Berets”) is the kind of man who refers to Hitler’s troops as “NAT ZEES,” and his orders are simple. He expects the men in his hand picked group to bring him the scalps of 100 nat zees…each. Say hello to the Basterds.

Based on a thirty year old Italian war film that starred Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson, “Inglourious Basterds” can best be described as a Kosher “Dirty Dozen,” or half-dozen anyway. The men in Raine’s group are all Jewish, the exception being Sgt. Stiglitz (Til Schweiger) a former German soldier that didn’t like the way the war was heading and began killing officers on his own. Rescued from jail by the Basterds, Stiglitz proves himself to be a worthy member of the group. On the other side of the war we meet Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz), a calm and cool customer whose manners and demeanor help mask the pure enjoyment he gets from his job. Landa is a clever man and he knows how best to get the information he needs, whether it come from a simple French farmer or a fellow soldier. Landa is brought to life by an inspiring performance from Waltz, one that earned him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and should not be ignored come Oscar time. The rest of the cast, as in all Tarantino films, is a mixture of talent (Diane Krueger as a German actress, Melanie Laurent as a Jewish woman running a French movie theatre) and friends (filmmaker Eli Roth), though all do good work. An almost unrecognizable Mike Myers appears as a British officer who helps coordinate the Basterds’ actions. And credit Tarantino for bringing Rod Taylor (“The Time Machine,” “The Birds”) out of semi-retirement to cameo here as Winston Churchill.

Tarantino has continued to grow behind the camera and “Inglourious Basterds” shows an increasingly improving eye when it comes to action. Most of the combat portrayed is of the hand to hand kind and, while there is plenty of scalping, the violence is fairly toned down, especially compared to the geysers of blood that erupted in the “Kill Bill” films. This is only Tarantino’s seventh full length feature as a director, a remarkably low output in a span of 17 years. In comparison, Clint Eastwood has directed fourteen films (and won two Oscars for his efforts) in the same time period, Steven Spielberg twelve (with two Oscars as well). Of course, as long as the films are worth the wait, you won’t hear me complain. The script, also by Tarantino, is tightly written and you can’t help but be impressed at Tarantino’s ear for even the smallest detail. It’s obvious that all that time sitting behind the counter at Video Archives and watching movies paid off!

A well made film featuring one of the great performances of the year, on a scale of zero to four I give “Inglourious Basterds”


This week's movie review of "Inglourious Basterds" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2009, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.