Sunday, August 30, 2009

You know somethin', Utivich? I think this might just be my masterpiece

Quentin Tarantino-Hi Im the movie encyclopedia and if no one will watch it, I will. Think about this name. It's probably one of the most renowned (or hated) names in cinema. We have all heard of him (unless we lived under a rock) and his name is synonomous with film greatness. When I think about my top directors of all time I always think, Scorsese, Speilberg, Lynch (David Lynch of Eraserhead fame), Fincher (Se7en), Tarantino and Eastwood. But i will try to keep my fanboyism down a notch in this review.

Tarantino has had a pretty long list of great movies-Pulp Fiction

Resevoir Dogs

and many other great films but these are my two favorite Tarantino movies with Pulp Fiction being my favorite...until today. Because Tarantino finally released his Magnum Opus, his film he has been writing for a decade, his world war 2 epic: Inglourious Basterds. You were probably wondering when I was going to get to the actual review. But we needed some backround, I am a huge Tarantino fan and have been for a while. A lot of people think he's self indulgent and is always playing off other people's movies and doesnt think of anything original. I am not one of those people. So if you DO hate Tarantino than take what I say with a grain of salt.
Inglourious Basterds is loosely based on the Dirty Dozen but more based on "Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato" which translates to the cursed armored train. What does an italian train movie have to do with anything? It was released in America under the title Inglorious Bastards. But its not a remake of the original movie but more of an homage. Its broken up into five chapters each with their own unique storyline and setpiece. So thats why its so hard to analyze the film as a whole because while it shares similar actors and a plot that arcs across the 131 minute movie, it has extremly different elements. So Ill tackle it chapter by chapter and give an overall at the end. Because this movie is so hard to explain as a whole.
WARNING *SPOILERS* No major spoilers like deaths or plot points but i will be brushing across the general idea of each chapter but i respect the viewers so i wont give away ANY MAJOR details. Kay?
Chapter 1- Once Upon a Nazi-Occupied France
This is the wonderfully colorful opening to Inglourious Basterds. Set in the French countryside it deals with the usual perils of Nazi Occupied areas-them hunting for Jews and you having Jews means your screwed. But after a very classic opening (retro Universal sign, very old school credits) we are introduced to the main antagonist of the story C0l. Hans Landa aka the Jew Hunter. He is played by Christoph Waltz who is phenominal in this movie. Seriously I would be surprised if he did not get an oscar nod. He is an Austrian actor who can speak French, German, English and Italian fluently. And we see it in this movie. He transfers effortlessly between languages and never shows a hint of a REALLY STRONG accent. He is deliciously evil, which means he is on the same levels as a Bond villain or Liev Schreiber (in any movie) He is the antagonist you love to hate. He makes you cringe, laugh and cower. And he is a mean SOB. But definetly, even if you are not a Tarantino fan, he alone is worth seeing the movie.
I will warn you ahead of time that the movie is extremly foreign. Which could be a good or a bad thing for some. Most of the movie is spoken in French or German but there is plenty of English. Its good in terms of authenticity but could distract some people who dont like foreign films or subtitles. It reminds me of Slumdog Millionaire in the way that it blends different languages but never feels boring.
Back to Chapter 1: Basically the chapter revolves around a conversation between Hans and Perrier LaPadite, a homeowner of a small dairy farm in France. This is where we are also introduced to Tarantino's new style that he debut's in this film. Gone is the sporatic story telling from Pulp Fiction or others where we bounce around from past to present, instead we see a direct chapter presentation. But Tarantino's twist is that he delivers 20-25 minute dialogue pieces and it all cultivates to a giant ultraviolent scene or a big plot twist/device or Hans comes in. He usually seems to be at the forefront of the whole thing.
After Chapter 1 is Chapter 2-Inglourious Basterds. This is where we are introduced to the title characters of the basterds. And I'll let Brad Pitt aka Aldo Raine describe this chapter:
"My name is Lt. Aldo Raine and I'm putting me together a special team and I need me eight soldiers. Eight Jewish-American soldiers. Now y'all might-a heard the Armada happening soon, well we'll be leaving a little earlier. We're gonna be dropped into France, dressed as civilians. Once we're in enemy territory, as a bush-whacking guerrilla army, we're gonna be doing one thing and one thing only... killing Nazis. Now I don't know 'bout ch'all but I sure as hell didn't come down from the goddamn Smoky Mountains, cross five-thousand miles of water, fight my way through half of Sicily, and jump out of a fucking aeroplane to teach the Nazis lessons in humanity. Nazi aint got no humanity! They're the foot soldiers of a Jew hating, mass murdering maniac, and they need to be destroyed. That's why any and every son-bitch we find wearing the Nazi uniform, they gonna die. Now I'm the direct descendant of the "Mountain Man", Jim Bridger, that means I got a little Ingen in me, and our mission will be that of the Apache Resistance. We will be cruel to the German and through our cruelty they will know who we are. And they will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, disfigured bodies their brothers we leave behind us and the Germans will not be able to help themselves from imagining the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, at our boot heels, and the edge of our knives. And the Germans will be sicken by us, the Germans will talk about us and the Germans will fear us. And when the German closes their eyes at night and they're tortured by they're subconscious for the evil they have done, they will be with thoughts of us they are tortured with. Sound good?"
The Basterds: Yes, Sir!
"That's what I like to hear. But I got a word of warning for all you would-be warriors, you join my command and you take on a debit, a debit you owe me personally. Each and every man under my command owes me one-hundred Nazi scalps... and I want my scalps! And all y'all will get me one-hundred Nazi scalps taken from the heads of one-hundred dead Nazis... or you will die trying."
And that is exactly who they are. I could have spent paragraphs going over every single person and who they are and where they are from but Brad Pitt described it all in one speech. They are an undercover guerrilla army hell bent on killing and scalping Nazis. They show no mercy, unless you cooperate, then they just carve a swastika into your head, and they leave no trace.
They are lead by Aldo Raine, a loud, foul-mouthed man with a brilliant strategic mind.
His second in command is Donny Donowitz who is even less keen on Nazis and swings around a baseball bat. He is known as the Bear Jew by many and he is played by Eli Roth.

The third in command is Hugo Stiglitz who is played by German superstar Til Schwieger and he is pretty much the "HUGO ANGRY, HUGO KILL" Incredible Hulk of the group who is renowned for killing 13 Gustappos in one night.
But this chapter sets up our main protaginists as well as moves the plot along quite nicely in terms of character development.
The third chapter is called German Night in Paris. this chapter introduces us to the other main storyline in the film. While there are many subplots and other things going on the main two plots of the film revolve around the Basterds and Madame Mimieux. Emmanuelle Mimieux is an owner of a small theatre in France. Its elegant, it only shows one movie (or a marathon) and it only has two employees, the other being a black man named Marcel, who runs the projection. This entire chapter is spoken entirely in French, this being the only chapter that does such, because the rest of the chapters switch or start off in English. Emmanuelle is being courted by a young Nazi soldier named Fredrick Zoller, who has become famous for killing hundreds of Nazi soldiers. He shares a passion for cinema and a crush for Emmanuelle. Melanie Laurent and Daniel Bruhl star as Emmanuelle and Fredrick respectively. Melanie has such a great stage prescence and plays her character SO well. And Daniel is actually, besides Cristoph as Hans, what I think to be the best performance in the movie. He showcases what a lot of Nazi soldiers were-wide eyed patriots who want to protect their country and do the right thing. Yes to everyone else in the world and now what he was doing is bad but he showcases the mentality of ignorance that kind of makes him a bit of a tragic hero. He is a Nazi and Nazis are bad. But he is a really nice guy. But he is still thought of as bad BECAUSE HE IS A NAZI. He does great though.
Chapter 4 is called Operation Kino. Chapter 4 and 5 are much longer than 1-3 and beef up the storyline. No longer are we introducing set pieces and characters (although we are introduced to the British, whose leader is played by Mike Myers...yes THE Mike Myers) but more on action and finishing this plot. Chapter 4 is probably the second longest and it mostly focuses around Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark a famous actress who works as a double agent. Bridget waits in a bar and talks with a two basterds (not the vulgar term but of the BASTERDS) and a british film critic and soldier named Archie Hicox as they talk about strategy. Michael Fassbender (Archie Hicox) and Diane Kruger do a great job with their small roles. They add depth and Michael especially adds that suave-ness that you see in British spies and he is quite witty while Kruger is VERY good at being the femme fatale type.
Chapter 5 is called Revenge of the Giant Face. In this all the plots, sub-plots and everything come together in one big giant climax that is both awesome, suspenseful, funny and the best Tarantino film scene he has ever done. And thats saying a lot considering his other movies. But here is where I'll stop the spoilers and just say the film ends RIGHT.
*SPOILERS OVER...if you skipped*
This is definetly Tarantino's Magnum Opus. Its his best film! The acting is great, the action is great, the dialogue is great, witty, well written, and (thankfully) a lot more toned down on cussing (compared to others). I would highly reccomend this to ANYONE and I'd like to see a better movie (besides MAYBE DISTRICT 9) come out this year. Im buying this film and it will go on my collection as my #5 favorite film of all time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

This is basically a guy, and there's 3 humans here, basically trying to make a warning, you know, saying "I kill 3 humans, watch out for me."

Ahh it feels so refreshing after reviewing the Goods to review such a wonderous film like District 9. If you didn't already know I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will watch it, I will.

You owe it to yourself to see this movie. Not since Star Wars or the Terminator has their been a more defining science fiction experience. I'm not exaggerating when I say its not only one of the best movies of the year but also one of the best ever. They take a simple concept or a simple story and craft into a deep socially impactful film that speaks to the heart as well as to the soul.
District 9 is a docu-fi movie. Its shot in a documentary like style (a la Blair Witch or Cloverfield) but it never feels like a shaky "I'm gonna throw up" documentary. It's loosely based on a short film Alive in Joburg which was directed by Neil Blomkamp. Why is that name important? He is also the guy who directs District 9. So his baby wasnt put into good hands, it stayed in good hands. Because of his visual mastery he was also chosen to do the now kaput Halo film, so you know he has cred. But with his style mixed with Peter Jackson's blessing, this first time film director now has a spot in the film hall of fame.
I'm not the only one who thinks its great. Its gotten pretty overwhelmingly good reviews so you DONT have to listen to me!
But District 9 as well as Joburg is loosely based around the idea of District Six in Cape Town located in South Africa. If you dont know what happened there, its okay, I'll tell you. District Six was a slum in South Africa. Because of political issues it was deemed a whites only slum and during that time 60,000 people were forcably removed from their homes with their homes destroyed shortly after. Most of the people were black or non-white and because of the color of their skin, a lot of people were treated like dirt. This film is like that except with aliens.
Its a subtle message that really spoke to me. The film feels real. There are only a few times where you actually notice the aliens are CGI. These "prawns (nicknamed after the South Afican cricket of the same name)" are refugees that are being treated like crap. They crash landed on Earth and its the tale of District 9 but more importantly Wikus van de Merwe, a pencil pushing nerd.
Its funny too with most sci-fi movies. The aliens are either completely peaceful people like ET

or destructive powerhouses on a mission to destroy earth and everyone living in it.

Either way the humans are good guys and the aliens are either good or bad. In District 9 you sympathize with the aliens and (with the exception of one) all the humans look like huge jerks. Its a scenario we have never seen in a film before and it is really interesting how that movie can make us feel for giant prawn/cricket CGI aliens like they are actual people. Very clever District 9.

Im not gonna say anything more plot wise but I will say for any action movie fan who hates "boring documentary like films" the third act of the movie really picks up and is pretty exciting.
It has heart, drama, excitment, action, brilliant effects, brilliant direction, action, producing. It was an awesome movie. It's worth seeing, worth owning and is definetly in my top 10 movies of all time...and so will inglourious basterds probably.


I have hair on my balls and I sell cars

Hi I'm the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will. This is definetly a prime example of my tagline. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bye-bye, blackbird

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will. Today marks the final movie in my "Last 5 Round-up". Whether or not these last five are still in theatres (4 are) I figured I would get a little meat on this blogs bones. Today's final film is Public Enemies which I saw 7/11/09. And no I did not go to 7/11 on 7/11 at 7:11. Although that would have been pretty cool.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You don't stop, you don't hide. You run. You understand me?

Why? Why God Why? Why must I be the movie encyclopedia, if no one else will see it than i will? These are the moments I dread. Hollywood big budget films geared towards making seven year olds happy and giving all loyal cartoon fans the shaft. The bigger question is why do they continue to give Michael Bay money? I know now why we are in a recession: Michael Bay and his damn films.

How do you protect yourself from a dildo?

Vassup? Ich me ze Movie Encyclopedia! If no one else vil see ich, zen i vil!

Ok enough of the dopey Austrian/german accent. If you couldn't tell by the poster, right now I'm reviewing Bruno. I saw Bruno on 7/18/09. And that 7/18 will be one I will never forget.

Does your act just design to make sure no girl will ever sleep with you?

Salutations everyone Im the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Part 2 of my movie wrap up is here with the third last movie I saw which is still prominently playing in most theatres right now: Funny People, which I saw 8/1/09.

Funny People is the new comedy from director/writer/producer Judd Apatow. You may know him as the director and writer of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up but he has produced many hits such as Superbad, Pineapple Express, Step Brothers and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But now he is back in the directors chair with his new opus based around stand up comedy. And just to get it out of the way, yes they are funny people.

I really enjoyed everything about this film from the first minute. Adam Sandler plays Gene...i mean George Simmons, a stand-up comedian turned multi millonaire actor who is stuck in a rut making horrible films *cough bio pic cough* He has just learned he has a potentially terminal blood disease and decides to laugh it off at a comedy club. When he gets there his act is like an emo persons journal. Shocked, Ira Wright (played by the always loveable Seth Rogan) pokes fun at him during his set. Later the next day he gets a call from George saying he wants him to write jokes for him and be his new assistant. Ira accepts quickly and they soon become quick frenemies. Ill explain why in a minute. Over the course of the next few months he gets reaquainted with his old flame (Leslie Mann-Judd Apatow's wife) and he wishes he had another chance to get "The one that got away."

Sounds like a pretty good synopsis huh? Well it works really well. The film stays consistantly funny with not a long period of time going by without something funny or witty said. Most of the humor tends to be classic Apatow blue but he does introduce something new in this movie: smart, intelligent humor! Among that he also introduces an extremly new technique: mature drama! This is the first Apatow movie Ive seen that feels mature and deep while still in the Apatow form. Sandler's performance especially is intriguing.

Sandler has had some issues in the past years. His big one is his agent! He makes these overdramatic movies like Punch Drunk Love or Spanglish and his only attempts at comedy are childish like Bedtime Stories or Zohan or they tend to be taking themselves too seriously like Click. Sandler is a really funny guy! Watch Billy Madison, Happy Gillmore, 8 Crazy Nights, any of them! He is funny. He can DO drama too but usually it is hit and miss. Reign Over Me was his best dramatic role by far and it showed his depth as an actor. But at the same time look at the above mentioned films. HIT AND MISS. In Funny People, however, he balances it well. He can be extremly funny and when he's serious he gets really serious. That's also where the frenemies part comes in. Ira and George get along pretty well and they seem to be pals but in those serious moments they can truly hate each other with a passion. That just adds to the depth of the film.

I wont try to ramble on much longer but in the end its a well made movie with a good cast, good writing, a deep maturity, a realistic approach to life, and its just plain funny! My only two complaints with the movie are the fact that it is TWO AND A HALF HOURS LONG (a bit too long to me) and that most of the supporting cast seems to be tossed aside and barely used which is a shame because most of the supporting cast is great.


A Twist You Wont See Coming!

Hey everybody Im the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, than I will.

As all of you readers out there are well aware I started this blog up yesterday. And I dont know about you all but Im not going to wait until saturday when I see The Goods or District 9 to review another movie.
I am an avid movie goer. If movies were recession proof than i would be a main contributor. Nine dollars of my money goes into these films every saturday or sunday. I have seen so many movies this summer that it would be a shame for me to not review them. But for the sake of staying current Im only going to be reviewing the last 5 movies I saw, 4 of which are still in most major theatres. The first one is the movie I saw before Julie & Julia- A Perfect Getaway, which I saw 8/9/09.

Monday, August 17, 2009

If noone is in the kitchen, who's to see?

Hi I'm the Movie Encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, than i will!

I run many blogs but I have high hopes for this one. And even though I may seem outdated at times or a bit sporadic with posts I will try to keep this going as long as I have 9 dollars.
Today's movie is the movie I just saw yesterday so it is fresh in my memory. It is Julie & Julia.