Inglourious Basterds

In all of Quentin Tarantino’s films, he never likes to tell a story in a plain vanilla style. He normally likes to use a nonlinear story instead. This time around, Inglourious Basterds tells two different linear stories that start off disconnected and jump back and forth between each other, but then the two stories finally come together and dovetails nicely at the very end.

Inglourious Basterds is set in Nazi occupied France during World War II. The first story shown is about a young Jewish girl, played by Diane Kruger, who barley escapes capture by the main Nazi villain, played by Christoph Waltz. The second story is about Brad Pitt‘s character who has gathered a team of Jewish Americans to be his Inglorious Basterds. A team that runs around seeking revenge on Nazis by killing and branding as many as possible, with the ultimate goal to take down Adolf Hitler.

Quentin Tarantino likes to use a strong female lead, like in the films Jackie Brown and Kill Bill. Or instead of a central lead, he will have a strong all male team, like he did in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. With Inglourious Basterds, he was able to have both a strong female story along with a story of a strong all male team. Quentin Tarantino also place his films in two distinct worlds. One is the real world where normal rules apply, featured in his films Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. In the other world he uses, which is set in the Hollywood movie world, most rules do not apply. Like Kill Bill, it is often bizarre and over the top. Inglourious Basterds walks a fine line between the two worlds. I feel that the story line about the Jewish girl is set in the real world, with long drawn out realistic moments. Where as the story about the Inglourious Basterds themselves, is set in the movie world, with over the top actions, comedy and even a narrated introduction of the team.

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who truly loves films. He shows this off in Inglourious Basterds by having a premiere of a Nazi propaganda film play a central plot. Along with playing a main character in the main film, Eli Roth directed the propaganda film within the film. Like always Quentin Tarantino has to use many long drawn out slow scenes but Inglourious Basterds uses this the best out of all of his films. All of the scenes feature either a group of Jewish people hiding from Nazis, or a group of Jewish people undercover talking with Nazis. They have to be careful because any wrong move will reveal who they actually are or where they are hiding, thus the slow drawn out scene builds tension and work perfectly for this film.

All the characters in Inglourious Basterds are great and will go along well with the collection of already classic and unique characters Quentin Tarantino has created. Brat Pitt plays a guy who is too full of himself and is actually kind of dumb which leads himself into trouble. Eli Roth plays an absolutely crazy Nazi killer, which is very funny and I would like to see him act more, instead of write and direct. And Christoph Waltz plays an manipulative two faced Nazi who is always playing a game with someone. He is such a great character that he over shadows Adolf Hitler in this film. It was also great to see minor roles go to B. J. Novak from The Office and Samm Levine from Freaks And Geeks.

Out of the 10 films nominated for Best Picture of 2009, I will have to say Inglourious Basterds is my second favorite film of the year and possibly my second favorite Quentin Tarantino film. I am not a big fan of guns but I will be first in line when they start selling punch guns. Inglourious Basterds is a comedy and drama, set both in the real world and the Hollywood movie world, and features both a strong female storyline and a strong all male team storyline; Quentin Tarantino for the first time gets to have the best of both worlds.

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker is a well paced realistic look at a United States Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team during the Iraq War. The film is about a highly skilled team leader of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit play by Jeremy Renner. He rubs the rest of his team the wrong way because he likes to do everything is own way, even if it is extremely dangerous. The film is about him connecting with his other teammates as they are put in many risky situations.

The pacing was the first thing I noticed about the film because it starts off with a bang. The film continues this trend by feeding the audience a healthy amount of downtime of the soldier just living, between all the thrilling action. The opening of the film also makes the statement that anything could happen at any time. So all the characters did feel like they were in danger all the time, unlike many other films where main characters are completely invincible. Along with that, the films visuals had a quality to them that made you feel as if you were watching a real life documentary, unlike most unrealistic Hollywood movies. The near documentary style helped make the characters more real and thus allowing the audience to connection to the characters more and have them appear to be in greater peril. Even though the film is fictional, it puts perspective on the idea that this is a very real job that people actually risk their lives doing.

Overall the film is a very interesting look at the nearly unbelievable job and life of the main character, plus his wife is Evangeline Lilly. Out of the 10 Academy Award Nominated For Best Picture Of 2009, I would have to place it in the middle of the list of my favorite. Not only is the film up for Best Picture but for Best Director. The director is Kathryn Bigelow, who is the ex-wife of James Cameron. His film, Blue Aliens Are From Pandoria And Under Developed Characters Are From Earth, is also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. This fact does not actually matter, but Hollywood’s second biggest export behind movies is celebrity gossip that does not effect anyone but the ones who are involved.

Update –
Congratulations to The Hurt Locker for winning Best Picture and Best Director among many other awards. It might have not been my favorite out of the ten Best Picture Nominees, but I completely understand why it won Best Picture and happy that it won because it beat out the majority of other films that did not even deserve the award.

District 9

I went a very long time without watching District 9. I was lucky enough to not be spoiled by the film’s plot during that time. When I finally watched the film, I was genuinely surprised at the direction the film went. I am a bit saddened that I saw Avatar before District 9 because both films have a lot of the same plot points. I do think District 9 was stronger than Avatar, but I believe if I had watched District 9 before Avatar, I would have enjoyed it even more.

District 9 is an adaptation of the short film Alive In Joburg. The feature film is in a documentary style and set in 2010. The film opens with humans talking about how an alien ship suddenly appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa back in 1982. The alien ship just sat idle for an extended period of time until the humans sent a team to investigate. They found the aliens in a weak state. The humans removed all the aliens from the ship and brought them down to the city below. The aliens were suppose to live among the humans in Johannesburg, but very quickly, racial conflicts arose. The aliens were forced into a government controlled camp called District 9. The documentary style continues with the human interviewees talking how the aliens are now going to be removed from District 9 and forced into a new camp. An under prepared human, played by Sharlto Copley, was put in charge of the team that would move the aliens.

After a few scenes of the team trying to force the aliens to move, something goes wrong unexpectedly. This is when the film has a dramatic shift in its story and its tone. Before, the film was a documentary with talking heads and now it becomes a hand held action drama with Sharlto Copley character trying to fix the mistake he made. I did enjoy the direction the film went, but it was unexpected, and not what I assumed the film would be about. I believe I would have enjoyed the film even more if it were all in the documentary style and a story that would have fit that style.

This film is far from the normal action packed alien Sci-fi movie. The main theme of District 9 was xenophobia. The entire film was a metaphor for the Aparthid in South Africa. I would put District 9 in the middle of my list of favorite films out of the 10 Best Picture Nominees Of 2009. The production of the film had a very low budget but still managed to produce amazing visuals. I am, once again, saddened that Avatar’s revolutionary visuals and technique overshadows District 9, especially since District 9 used a fraction of the budget that Avatar did.

District 9 was directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson. The two were originally teaming up to create a Halo movie, but they created District 9 instead. I am very happy this deeper and more thoughtful film was created instead of a weaker, geared towards frat boys, video game movie.


Avatar is a film that only a few people might have heard of. It has gone under the radar for far too long. Everyone must know that Avatar is easily the greatest film of all time, if not greatest thing of all time.

In all seriousness, James Cameron’s Avatar is just another mediocre blockbuster movie that is now the highest grossing film of all time.

The story of Avatar deals with humans invading the planet Pandora for its resources but the native humanoid alien race, The Na’vi, are unhappy with the humans. The humans created a handful Na’vis that they can control with their minds and inhabit the body of with the help of machines. One human in his Na’vi avatar body goes rouge and gets involved with the native Na’vi culture. He struggles with being a human in a Na’vi body as the struggles between the humans and the native Na’vi worsen.

The story conflict of Avatar is simple, Man VS Animal. You may try to find a more complex conflict of it being Man, with the motivation of Greed and with the help of Machines VS Animal, with the motivation of Faith and with the help of Nature. However, Avatar’s basic story helped it become so successful. It is so generic that the story could be a metaphor for many different real world conflicts from the past and present and from round the world. This is appealing and relatable to many people and cultures around the world.

I did enjoy Avatar and had more fun during the viewing of it than many of the other 10 best picture nominees of 2009. But that is the problem with Avatar, it was just a movie experience that was made for you to have fun while watching it. Once the last frame of Avatar is shown, the experience is finished and you do not think about the movie itself again. You might think about the amazing visuals, but not about the story or the characters or about the film as a whole. All the other best picture nominees are long lasting deep films and have made me think about the story and characters weeks later. Many of them were depressing with characters struggling through real world situations. Since the others nominees were depressing, that is the only reason why I can say I had more fun viewing Avatar but it did not make me think or care about the film like the other depressing films did. The only thing Avatar has going for itself is the visual 3D roller coaster ride for your eyes.  The visuals might be amazing, but that does not make a good movie. The music was just as bad as the visuals were good. The story and characters were undeveloped and there was too much Papyrus.

Avatar is a movie made to be a movie. It will be nothing more than just a movie. It is an experience meant to be had in theaters with 3D glasses on, like I did with my friend Michelle Fischer. I would recommend anyone to experience Avatar this way, but I could not recommend Avatar as a simple home viewing. Because of that, Avatar fails at being something more and is just a simple short term experience.