Inglourious Basterds (2009) Film Review

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Imagine if you could go back to World War 2 and kill a whole heap of Nazis… how would you like to do it? How about get Brad Pitt to lead a bunch of Jewish soldiers as a small unit that sets out to kill them, striking fear into the heart of leadership, including Hitler himself. Now imagine you are a young Jewish girl whose family are slaughtered by the soldiers of one really nasty Nazi. And imagine you had the chance to get him and many other main Nazis… including Hitler himself. Now imagine all of that is directed by Quentin Tarantino. Yup, that is how excellent this film is.

It gets totally and utterly ridiculous at times; wonderfully, really. Funny and absurd. If you don’t like violence, it’s not going to be your cup of tea. But I would recommend watching the opening sequence – I think it is the best opening sequence of a film ever (although then there is Sexy Beast…) Christoph Waltz is utterly amazing in this role.

Inglourious Basterds won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Christoph Waltz) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Quentin Tarantino), Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino), Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Achievement in Sound Editing.

 

Beginners (2010) Film Review

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Beginners follows the life of Oliver (Ewan McGregor) as he deals with life and love after the death of his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer). Shortly after his mother’s death, his father came out as a gay man and embraced life in the gay community thoroughly before becoming ill and dying, and a lot of Oliver’s problems seem to tie in to a childhood within a marriage that was, in many ways, a platonic friendship. It is only when he meets Anna (Melanie Laurent) that Oliver is really able to recognise and address his problems with intimacy.

That previous paragraph took me many redrafts, and I’m still not happy with it. I don’t want to merely copy any other descriptions of the plot. I just think there is a lot more to Beginners than that summary covers. Mind you, it’s not as bad as the blurb on IMDB, which is totally crap.

Once I got used to McGregor’s American accent, I loved this film. I loved that it is chopped up all over the place, and that the audience is fed information piece by piece. I love that there is a strong sense of reality in it (given that it is largely biographical). The acting is almost flawless – my only complaint was the casting of Goran Visnjic as Hal’s love interest. It just seemed to me that he was playing a straight man acting like a stereotypical camp ditz, and maybe some people actually are like this, but it just felt awkward and took away from the rest of the film for me.

I loved the writing of the film – the structure and the humour and the emotions it stirred. I think some audience members will struggle with the bordering-on-quirky (alright, at times, downright quirky, but I think in a good way) female characters, but they weren’t too over the top for me. It is a good, romantic tale, and I loved it.