Posts Tagged ‘Inglourious Basterds’

Oscarpalooza: Previews and Predictions

Even though Cablevision’s dispute with ABC means that I, along with several other million people in the NY-NJ area, will not be able to watch the Oscars, NPI’s Oscarpalooza carries on with previews and predictions. Of course, I am not a movie critic and, thus, have not seen all the movies nominated. Nor do I care about the majority of awards. So much of what makes the Academy Awards interesting to casual movie fans, though, is how a cottage industry of diviners and predictive pseudo-sciences has sprung up in response to the awards. Thanks to innumerable “Best Of” lists and predictive “secondary” awards like the SAGs or the Golden Globes, most people feel like they have a good idea of, say, Meryl Streep’s performance in Julie & Julia, whether or not they have seen it. Sifting through the critical white noise has become something of an art, and I’m offering my services so that those of you who would rather not watch Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin chaperone a four-hour self-congratulatory love-fest (or those of you who have Cablevision and simply have no choice), don’t have to watch to see who wins the eight major awards.

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Oscarpalooza: Inglourious Basterds

In honor of Oscar weekend, NPI will be rerunning its reviews of the Best Picture nominees. Here, John S praises Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds:

inglourious basterds

Of all directors currently making movies, Quentin Tarantino is by far the most interested in movies themselves. All of his films include specific allusions, both in subject and style, to obscure movies, and they often work within the conventions of very refined genres. His latest work, Inglourious Basterds, is supposedly both a war movie (sorry, Josh and Tim) and a “spaghetti western,” as well as Tarantino’s homage to The Dirty Dozen. Whatever that means, it is really, really good.

Given Tarantino’s infatuation with cinema, it comes as no surprise that the climax of Basterds takes place in a movie theater. The “Basterds” of Basterds—a ragtag group of American Jews who (in case you haven’t seen the previews) like to kill “gnatzees” for their leader Brad Pitt—have chosen this spot for an attempted assassination of the crème de la crème of the Third Reich as they gather to watch Joseph Goebbels’ latest propaganda flick, A Nation’s Pride. Continue reading

A Continuation of My Praise of the Oscars’ New “Best Picture” Voting Process

The 2010 Oscar Nominees were announced today and I seek to defend my previous praise of the expansion of the “Best Picture” category to include ten nominees instead of the usual five. Without further ado, the ten nominees are:
Academy Awards Best Picture
Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air

Based on Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominees/winners and general Oscar “buzz,” Avatar, Up in the Air, and The Hurt Locker were shoo-ins to be nominated and Precious was pretty close to one. If we’re in the five-nominee system that leaves one more nomination and two NPI favorites: Inglourious Basterds and A Serious Man. One of those movies would most likely not have been nominated and would have no chance at winning “Best Picture.” Yes, with the expansion to ten nominees we get the inclusion of the undeserving The Blind Side and the filth known as Up*.
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The Not-So-Golden Globes

The Golden Globes were last night and since, as host Ricky Gervais kept reminding us, actors are the best and most important people in the world, we here at NPI cannot let that the occasion pass without some commentary. As usual with awards shows, it was a mixed bag.

The Best Three Things:

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Mere Anachrony: Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs

WARNING: This post contains spoilers. You should only read it if you’ve seen Reservoir Dogs, or if you have no interest in seeing the movie but for some reason want to read a review of it.

I was not a fan of Reservoir Dogs when I first saw it.

The first time I saw it was at summer camp when I was 14 years old. A friend of mine had sprained his ankle in the middle of the summer, which prevented him from doing pretty much anything the rest of us did. It’s hard to play basketball or soccer when you can’t really stand up (unless you’re Willis Reed, I guess). So he basically spent all of his time alone in his bunk watching movies on VHS.

Most of these films were generic comedies of the 1990s, like American Pie, Ace Ventura and Friday, but one day he head tossed in Reservoir Dogs, and I walked in about halfway through.

Now, it’s never ideal to start in the middle of a movie, and this is a perfect example why. I don’t remember exactly when I started watching the film attentively—I had gotten pretty used to tuning the movies out by that point, they were on all the time—but at some point it got my undivided attention. It is incredibly hard to ignore a Quentin Tarantio movie. They are so visually arresting and the dialogue is so sharp that they demand your attention.

But while I was engrossed in the film by it’s ending, I was ultimately disappointed by the conclusion. The final scene seemed abrupt and unsatisfying. It was a flashy, intense, bloody ending with little emotional value. Mr. Sprained Ankle agreed. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while shoving tennis balls down people’s throats in “non-threatening” ways:

  • The only thing that could make us more excited for this is if it were called The Memento Matrix. ‘Cuz it sure looks like it’s that anyway.

Monday Medley

What we read while wondering what beats DJ AM is trying to impress Ted Kennedy with:

  • William Safire takes on “clunkers”, a word that has been amusing since the “Cash for Clunkers” initiative began.
  • Not sure what was more interesting: The New York Times’ cover story (in Sports) on the possibility that Miguel Tejada tipped pitches and didn’t hustle after ground balls hit by Dominican friends in close games (yeah, there’s a small sample size), OR Deadspin’s dead-on critique of David Waldstein’s frustrating “say-it-already” way of making his point. Our question: Why was this article printed now?

Inglourious Basterds: A Review

inglourious basterds

Of all directors currently making movies, Quentin Tarantino is by far the most interested in movies themselves. All of his films include specific allusions, both in subject and style, to obscure movies, and they often work within the conventions of very refined genres. His latest work, Inglourious Basterds, is supposedly both a war movie (sorry, Josh and Tim) and a “spaghetti western,” as well as Tarantino’s homage to The Dirty Dozen. Whatever that means, it is really, really good.

Given Tarantino’s infatuation with cinema, it comes as no surprise that the climax of Basterds takes place in a movie theater. The “Basterds” of Basterds—a ragtag group of American Jews who (in case you haven’t seen the previews) like to kill “gnatzees” for their leader Brad Pitt—have chosen this spot for an attempted assassination of the crème de la crème of the Third Reich as they gather to watch Joseph Goebbels’ latest propaganda flick, A Nation’s Pride.

This film-within-in-a-film tells the story of Frederick Zoller’s (Daniel Brühl) attempt to fight off 300 Allied soldiers while holed up in a tower in Italy; from the glimpses we see of this film, it looks repetitive and boring— though Hitler seems to get a kick out of it.

The movie is decidedly unlike Basterds itself, which is altogether uninterested in the kind of glamorization of lone soldiers in bell towers that makes for great propaganda. Instead, Tarantino begins his story on a dairy farm in Nazi-occupied France. A lone SS officer, played with brilliant aplomb by Christoph Waltz, with the nickname of “the Jew Hunter” comes to visit the farm in search of Jews hiding from the Germans. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while sympathizing with Afghanistan’s committed non-voters…

  • The whole concept that 1. A man should only eat one candy; 2. That that candy is Jujubes; and 3. The correct pronunciation of said candy is the two-syllable “ju-jubes,” got us so angry that we decided to head down to Walmart and stock up on real candy–like Milky Ways, Snickers, Twix, Kit-Kats, and yes, even Skittles (‘cuz real men love tastin’ the rainbow).
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