Whether you love or hate Quentin Tarantino there is one thing that he does do very, very well — revenge. And ladies and gentlemen, in Inglourious Basterds we have what can only be described as the ultimate revenge movie.
It is World War II. Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) is the leader of a pack of Jewish soldiers who trawl German-occupied Europe hunting Nazis and carrying out gruesome acts of vengeance. They step up their game, however, when they join forces with Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), a beautiful and beloved German movie star, to bring down all the leaders of The Third Reich.
It is violent, of course. It’s a war movie so that is to be expected, but at that moment of bloody, violent contact, where most other directors pull away and film the reaction shot, Tarantino goes in for a close-up. And if you can stomach it, it works a treat. Every grisly moment is paired with Tarantino touches of black humour and genre-bending flashes of other eras that conspire to make this one of his greatest films yet.
Brad Pitt owns this role. It is nice to be reminded every now and again that he is an actor, as opposed to someone who just appears in magazines with his hot girlfriend and array of children. The rest of the cast is superb and includes Eli Roth, Rod Taylor as Churchill, Mike Myers in an excellent cameo, Diane Kruger and Mélanie Laurent as the divine and vengeful Shosanna Dreyfus.
Laurent holds her own in a pivotal scene that Tarantino clearly constructed for his own pleasure but all the other cinephiles in the world can also enjoy. Under the lights of an old Parisienne cinema, movies become a beautifully crafted tool of vengeance.
Both the Blu-ray and DVD two-disc special edition contain over 90 minutes of special features including a round table discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and Elvis Mitchell.
Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) leave their village to embark upon an epic journey across the ancient world. Some hilarity ensures.
Year One was one of the most highly anticipated comedies of the year. It was born of the mind that brought usCaddyshack, Stripes and Ghostbusters. Harold Ramis is comedy royalty and the expectations were huge. Sadly, it didn’t quite hit the mark. The critics savaged the film but while it doesn’t work in its entirety, there are the odd moments that will make you spit popcorn from laughing so hard. This doesn’t work so well at the movies because everyone has already seen those moments repeatedly in the trailer, and trailer was gold, but now, as a summer DVD rental, Year One will appeal to those with a broad sense of humour.
Most of the good moments belong to Michael Cera. He stumbles through this Biblical world with a modern urbane sensibility. Jack Black has flashes of funny but he seems to be in hyper drive for the duration and it becomes a little exhausting.
The best value for the special features come on the DVD two-disc edition and the Blu-ray where you will find deleted scenes and gag reels along with an alternate ending with commentary. The highlight is the unrated commentary, which is funnier than the movie, with director Harold Ramis, Jack Black and Michael Cera.
This battle of the sexes rom-com delivers stock-standard, brainless entertainment.
Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl play the duelling love interests. While Hepburn and Tracey they ain’t, they do their best here and inject some heart and personality into their characters.
The gender politics are dubious at best and the pretext requires some significant suspension of disbelief. However, there is a pair of vibrating underwear worn in a fancy restaurant which is always good for a chuckle. I mean, gosh darnit, who hasn’t been there?
The Blu-ray and DVD edition special features include commentaries, deleted and extended scenes, alternate endings, a gag reel and a couple of featurettes.
Hong Kong directors, and brothers, Danny and Oxide Pang, remake their own film as an action vehicle for Nicolas Cage. Cage stars as an assassin on assignment in Bangkok who falls in love with a local mute girl and takes a young street criminal under his wing.
Cage is one of the finest hair actors of our age. In this performance we see a black weave that manages to stay absolutely motionless during the most intense action sequences. Honestly, it is solid as a rock. And the best thing about this film.