Month: January 2013

I, Robot

Year: 2004
Directed By: Alex Proyas
Written By: Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman

RYAN’S REVIEW

With a movie like this it’s all about the effects. Also, as yet another movie in the typical sci-fi story line of machines becoming aware and taking over it’s important that the robots are cool.  Not only are the effects in this movie really good but the robots are more than cool, they are freaking awesome. This movie offers a sci-fi theme that has been done to death, but it’s an acceptable recycled story line so long as the special effects make things worth wild right? This movie does all those things and it is a lot of fun along the way watching it.

I have always really liked this movie but I have never really thought there was anything special about it.  This movie offers us a story that has been told to death but like I said, the appropriate effects are in place to make it worth wild.  Aside from that it is simply another Will Smith vehicle and those tend to be hit or miss.  Will Smith is a great actor that has enough swagger to carry a movie on his shoulders all by himself.  His movies are always huge but I haven’t liked many of them.  I never liked the M.I.B. movies, I thought Independence Day was a huge disappointment, Hancock was superhero overkill, and don’t even get me started on Wild Wild West. However I did grow up watching Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and I think he was awesome in the Bad Boys movies, as well as Enemy of the State.  Now I haven’t mentioned all of his movies but looking back over his track record I didn’t skip too many and I am surprised by that.  I really thought he had been in more movies but that is probably because he is such a multi-talented entertainer.  When he wasn’t acting he was still in the limelight for a while as a “rapper.” I put that in quotations because I was young during his big time rapping comeback and sided with Eminem in the feud that they had. “Will Smith doesn’t have to cuss when he raps to sell records, but I do, So F#*% him and F#*% you too.” I thought that was hilarious and topped Smith’s line in one of his songs when he said something like “write one verse without a curse.” I can’t fault Smith for being appropriate though and now that I’m older it makes me appreciate what he was trying to do more.

Smith is good in this movie but every time I see Will Smith I feel like he is just playing the same character and this is no different.  He always has something wise and clever to come back with, he is stylish, and when the action heats up he kicks ass.  Isn’t that more or less what he does in every movie he is in?  I have to be careful here because my sister absolutely loves the guy and she would consider it blasphemous to say these things about him.  Smith is starring in a new movie this summer that I am really looking forward to from M. Night Shyamalan.  The movie is called After Earth and the preview looks really promising. It’s a sci-fi thriller in which he stars alongside his son.  I haven’t seen them work together before because I refused to watch Pursuit of Happiness. I have a personal rule that I do not watch a movie if the preview makes me cry, and the preview for that one had me bawling like a baby. So I look forward to the opportunity to see how the two do working together in this one.  Smith’s children with Jada Pinkett-Smith have been incredibly successful in their own right and his son Jaden is beginning to look like a little Will Smith clone.

Aside from Smith I don’t think there is much to be said about the rest of the cast in this movie. I think James Cromwell is awesome but he has one of the smaller roles of the film and everything we see from him is after his character has already died.  Bridget Moynahan does not offer much as the female lead and I think they really could have gotten someone better.  Alan Tudyk “plays” the part of Sonny and I like Tudyk but would have never known he was the voice or motion operator of the robot if I hadn’t seen it listed on IMDB. Bruce Greenwood fits his role nicely but still leaves much to be desired as far as a guy that is kind of a villain.  The supporting cast often doesn’t matter in the Will Smith vehicle though because these movies are all about him.

There has been talk of a sequel to this movie but I don’t think it’s been given a green light yet.  If it ever is made I’ll give it a shot when it comes out.  I liked this movie and would be willing to sit down and see what else these robots might get into.  This movie might be simply more of the same as far as sci-fi goes but it’s still a fun and entertaining movie.  If you find yourself with an opportunity to see it your time won’t be wasted by checking it out.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I think this movie is great. Ryan is right, the story is so overdone…but for some reason I really like the fighting scenes and the action scenes, especially the one where Will Smith beats like 200 robots.

irobot

Check this one out! There is a scene of Will Smith and Bridget Moynahan inside another scene of Will Smith inside a scene of robots and then…wait for it….inside and big image of Will Smith and Bridget Moynahan. Wow. The font choice looks like the “designer” said “hmmmmm, it’s an action film so Oh! I know I will make the font techy with a silver gradient and then I will italicize it to make it look like it has action.” I just threw up a little in my mouth.

NEXT MOVIE: Iron Man (2008)

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Django Unchained

RYAN’S REVIEW

We finally made it out to see this film yesterday.  I had been anticipating the film for some time and went in with really high hopes.  I can thankfully report that I walked away more than satisfied and if I had the opportunity to do so would have turned around and went right back in to see it again.  This movie was so satisfyingly violent and savage throughout and I couldn’t have loved that more about it.  I think the script was clever and well written, probably one of the best Tarantino has written but that is hard to say.  What surprised me the most is how funny it all was. His movies have always had an element of wit to them that could make you laugh but this one was all out funny.  The humor seemed to balance out all of the obscenity and ferocity of the situation in my opinion.

I have heard much said about the controversial nature of the film both with how slavery is so brutally covered and how the “N-word” is so pervasive in the film.  Why though? What so many have seen as offensive I have only seen as necessary to the film he was trying to make.  I despise all racial slurs, and the people that make them but this was a movie set in 1858.  That word was used then with a frequency that not even modern rappers could keep up with today.  I don’t see a problem with how Tarantino used it, or how he didn’t make any effort to sugarcoat slavery.  Slavery was awful and brutal in this country and there is no way to truly make a film about it without getting your hands dirty. I studied history in college and my senior seminar class was specifically about slavery.  Slavery happened all over the world and every race was enslaved at one point or another.  The difference here is that it developed in this new country as the rest of the world was giving up on an outdated practice.  Not only that but the most significant difference in this country is how it became a specifically racial issue with one specific race being subjugated into the role of slave.  It was awful and unfair but it was done and what is done is done and can’t be changed.  All we can do now is to learn from it, prevent it from being that way now or in the future but that has never happened.  There are too many conflicting feelings from people in regards to the topic.  The memory of slavery invokes anger, disappointment, shame, rage, pity, and unfortunately there are always going to be those awful people out there that get satisfaction out of it. Most of the feelings invoked by that memory are understandable but still lead to deepening the divide among us all. As for the movie I will admit I don’t think it is entirely appropriate for a white man to be the one behind camera doing all of this, but I don’t think he did anything disrespectful or outlandish.

I think the cast of this film did an excellent job.  I think Christoph Waltz may have been a bit better in Inglourious Basterds but only because his performance as Colonel Hans Landa was so good I don’t think it can be topped.  I think he was great in this movie and I think he has so much to offer us in the future, he is an outstanding actor.  I think Jamie Foxx was great in the lead role.  Leonardo DiCaprio was awesome as the vile and violently unpredictable Calvin Candie. Samuel L. Jackson was really good, as always, but I really didn’t like the role that he played despite how well he did it.  Walton Goggins fits these kinds of roles a bit too well but I am a big fan of his work on The Shield and Justified.  There are great cameos from Jonah Hill, Don Johnson, Tom Savini, and probably a few others I am forgetting.  The one awful decision Tarantino made in this film was inserting himself into it.  I think he is a great filmmaker but leaves far too much to be desired as an actor.  I liked his part in Reservoir Dogs but it should have ended there.  I don’t know why he is still doing this but he shouldn’t. This time around he reaches far too much and goes for an Australian accent; I shook my head at that point.  He had a perfect movie in the works progressing right before my eyes and he stumbled there for a moment.

I thought this movie was absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to buy it and watch it again down the road. I’ll say the only thing that I didn’t like about the movie was the experience we had watching it in the theater.  The movie has been out for a while now but there was still a good crowd for the first showing on a Saturday afternoon.  However the audience was so unique.  It was practically a split between African-Americans and full blown rednecks garbed in overalls, hunting camo, and aggressive beards.  That kind of division really gave off an awkward vibe that we may have felt more because we somehow ended up literally sitting on a row with differing groups sitting in the opposite rows before and after us.  The Rednecks made me uncomfortable, specifically because I assume they took very different things from this movie than I did.  Wrong to assume I know, but those people were more like the white people in the movie and that’s unfortunate.  It will better to watch the movie in the privacy of my own home or with whoever I choose to watch it with.

If you are on the fence about this one I obviously strongly recommend it. However if you aren’t cool with violence in movies or profanity this is not the movie for you. To say the very least it is about ten steps past extremely graphic and it is not for the tender-hearted.  The violence is part of what make this movie great though, and in so many ways it is practically Tarantino’s calling card.  This movie is long as hell with a running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes but I can say with certainty that it is well worth that time.

Intolerable Cruelty

Year: 2003
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Several contributors including the Coen brothers

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out during a time when I had recently discovered the Coen brothers and thought they were the greatest duo in the business.  For that matter, I still think they are two of the greatest filmmakers out there but I do not think this was their best movie.  I think it is a good movie that features so much of what makes them great.  The elaborate set design, the witty dialogue, and the interesting characters that are always featured in their films are all in this one. The Coen brothers are also really great when it comes to casting their films.  This movie, like many of their others, is driven by the powerful performances of the actors they chose to cast.

The main two stars of this film are Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney.  I have never been a fan of either really although I have enjoyed many of their movies. This movie was Zeta-Jone’s follow-up to her Academy Award winning role in Chicago. She showed an incredible amount of talent in Chicago so I cannot say she isn’t a good actress but I have always thought of her more as just a pretty face.  She is a very beautiful woman but I always felt that was all that kept her in the movies because outside of Chicago I don’t think she has had a stellar career. She plays her part in this movie well but I don’t know that there is any honor to be had in playing this role well.  She is a cruel and bloodsucking woman in this movie and this part is probably a big part of why I don’t care for her that much.  Clooney is good in this movie as he is good in many movies but I just cannot stand the man.  No matter what he does or how many good movies he makes I will never get over his horrible stint as Batman in one of the worst movies of all time, Batman & Robin. He destroyed the Batman franchise with that role, he should be ashamed of himself.

I think some of the other actors, even in the smallest of roles, manage to outshine the stars of the film a bit.  I think Cedric the Entertainer was hilarious as Gus Petch and really thought this was the beginning of great things to come from him. I haven’t seen him in anything lately but I do think he is really funny. Geoffrey Rush is an amazing actor who is as talented as they come.  I love the opening scene when he catches his wife having an affair.  He has such a great accent that works well for both humor or evil and I like how it gives him diversity as an actor. I am a fan of Richard Jenkins and he is in many Coen brothers movies.  I think he is really funny in this one playing the part of Freddie Bender.  I don’t necessarily think Billy Bob Thorton did anything spectacular in his role but he was a hot commodity at the time this movie came out.  I have never understood it but the guy was so popular. I guess a lot of it had to do with his relationship with Angelina Jolie, which was weird enough to keep everybody interested.

Watching this movie now I can see what it was that I liked about it ten years ago.  It is clever and well made.  Today I don’t really care for it quite as much because it is all about divorce.  There is nothing funny about divorce and I specifically don’t like movies about it.  This one mostly mocks the practice of money grubbing marriages though so I don’t know that it really qualifies the same way.  These are loveless marriages all about sex and philandering and greed.  It’s still divorce though and all these kinds of divorces do is sully something that is already dirty.

Despite that this is still a good movie and I think it is worth your time.  It may not be the best Coen bros’ movie but it is still a Coen Bros movie and this means there is something to it.  These guys are the best even when they aren’t at their best.  It’s been ten years since this movie came out now and I think there is a good chance in another ten years it will be a movie nobody remembers.  So check it out if you have a chance and let us know what you think.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I still love these guys, but this is by far my least favorite of the Coen Brothers movies. I love all of their films. They are witty and interesting tales. Like books made into incredible movies, except they wrote the books themselves and you can see every single detail that is their style throughout their films, much like a Tim Burton film. I just didn’t like the whole story. The movie was shot well and is interesting enough, but I didn’t really love the story of divorce lawyers and marrying for money. I figure that this story has already been told, and usually the Coens’ stories are so original.

MPW-7461

This is a very clean poster. Nothing really special. You have the movie tagline, followed by an off center picture of them, and then the billing and title at the bottom. I love a nice sans serif font, so I don’t hate this poster, it is actually really nice, but I just don’t think that it is anything special.

NEXT MOVIE: I, Robot (2004)

Interview with the Vampire

Year: 1994
Directed By: Neil Jordan
Written By: Anne Rice

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is one of my favorite movies of all time.  It doesn’t crack the top three but it falls into the immediate group that follows.  There are many movies I bonded with in my youth that helped me make it through the difficult times.  This is one of them.  This movie is about sadness and loneliness, about emotional torment, and a longing for something not quite understood.  It’s about feelings and frustrations I related to in my youth and it will always be important to me because of that.  I think the movie is well made, well acted, and tells a fascinating story.

I was fascinated by vampires before they became cliché in the aftermath of Twilight and True BloodThe power that comes with immortality and the ability to do anything is enough to infatuate any imaginative teenager.  This was one of my favorite movies and I went on to read the book, as well as the sequel The Vampire Lestat, I remember not liking the book for this film nearly enough but I thought the sequel was incredible.  I need to stress that I read these at a young age because there is something funny I will always remember about it.  When I was reading The Vampire Lestat I was practically unaware of things like bi-sexuality in men.  I remember telling people that the book was awesome but Anne Rice didn’t know anything about how men think and behave. In my youthful ignorance I assumed that because she was a woman she just had the wrong idea about men and how they are.  Naturally in adolescence I was under the hopeful and perverted impression that women might always engage in closer contact nonchalantly and done the things these men in the book did.  When I got older I realized that Lestat and Nicolas were simply French, and possibly homosexual.  I feel stupid about it now but still find humor in how unaware and ignorant I was then.

I think what makes this movie such a successful book adaptation is that the author wrote the screenplay herself.  I was a big fan of Anne Rice at one point and think her role in this film allowed her to enhance and alter the story in ways she hadn’t thought of before.  I have not read any of her work in some time and will admit that when I became enamored with her I was simply a fledgling reader.  It’s hard to give an accurate opinion about how I feel about her now but I thought she was awesome at one point.  I think she wrote a great screenplay to go along with a good book in Interview with the Vampire. I need to revisit it at some point as well but I remember The Vampire Lestat being epic and awesome.  I will eventually reread it one day and if you are a fan by all means offer words of encouragement to get me motivated to do it.  Talk me into it.

As far as the acting goes in this movie I think everybody did a great job but the best performance was given by the very young Kirsten Dunst.  She was only 11 or 12 when the movie was made yet gave such a powerful and compelling performance.  Her role was a hard one because she plays a character that reaches a very old age while trapped in the body of a child. I found myself wondering years later how she didn’t manage to utilize that talent more.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of her but I just thought we would see bigger things from her. I am no fan of Tom Cruise but can’t deny him when he is great.  If I remember correctly he was a big surprise being cast in the role and many doubted his ability.  I think he silenced most of his critics though, as he has continued to throughout his career.  I do not like him but even I have to admit he is damn good at what he does and is seemingly ageless these days. I am a fan of Brad Pitt but don’t think that he is really exceptional in this movie.  His story is the one being told and it makes him the most important character but I think he was out shined by the rest of the cast. I thought Antonio Banderas was great as the ancient and unpredictable Armand. I thought Stephen Rea was good as his main henchman Santiago too.  Christian Slater was on top of the world to an extent at this time and did a good job.  The role he played was initially intended to go to River Phoenix before his untimely death in 1993.  Keep an eye out too for a very young Thandie Newton playing the part of a beautiful slave.  She is such a beautiful woman who seemingly does not age; she has not graced the screen enough throughout her career.

I think this movie was a hit on all levels. Direction, writing, and acting were all top notch in my opinion and I think this is an awesome movie.  I think the eventual sequel that was made, Queen of the Damned, was possibly one of the worse movies I have ever seen and to this day don’t understand what anybody was thinking when they made it.  As a big fan of this movie I heavily anticipated the film as it was in production and have never been more disappointed.  I don’t know why they chose to make the third book into a film and not the second.  I had lost interest in the book series by the time I got to Queen of the Damned and didn’t know much about it, but had my doubts it could be as good as The Vampire Lestat. I don’t know why Anne Rice wasn’t utilized again as a screenwriter on the film but don’t know that it would have really made any difference.  The movie is notable only because it was filmed before the untimely death of pop singer Aaliyah. It was released post-mortem for her and did absolutely nothing to give her any kind of legacy.  Which is unfortunate because she had all the potential to become a really big star in her future.

This movie may be old news in today’s vampire madness but this is a real vampire movie.  I don’t pay attention to any of that crap put out these days.  Vampire are creatures of the night, they are killers, and predators.  Not something for a prepubescent girl to ooh and aah over.  Not only that, but the genre they have become today has just gone too far.  I didn’t read the book but need I say more than simply Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer? I think when we start rewriting history to incorporate vampires we are just reaching.  We can do better and I am just disappointed by what we have resorted to over the last several years.  True Blood is a stupid show that used to be OK and now I can’t stand it, the only consolation being that there is tons of nudity.  These days I am so sick of vampire crap I can’t stand it. 

If you find yourself equally as sick of vampires as me yet still want to watch a good old fashioned vampire flick then this is the movie for you.  It’s a good one that came out before vampires became overkill in the media.  This movie is important to me because of the nostalgic feeling it invokes for me but it is a great movie and more than worth your time as well.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Before Ryan would let me watch this movie with him, he made me read The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. It is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. I like her view of vampires. They don’t shine like effin diamonds in the sunlight, thank god. After reading that book we watched the movie, and I was blown away. I really love this movie. It is so interesting. I think for me it was better because you have to remember that this movie came out before the vampire craze of today. I still love it. You also get to see a little Kirsten Dunst kid vampire, which is awesome. She was amazing in this movie.

interview-with-the-vampire-movie-poster

The poster is kind of what you expect it to be for the time. I think the font is in the Trajan family, which really actually works. It has a dark eerie feeling which is nice and appropriate. Some of the text gets lost in the image and that always drives me crazy. But, overall…it’s not a bad poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Intolerable Cruelty

Inside Man

Year: 2006
Directed By: Spike Lee
Written By: Russell Gewirtz

RYAN’S REVIEW

Let’s face it; the bank robbery movie has been done to death.  This movie quickly gets the regular things out of the way and then distinguishes itself quite nicely. Early on we see a time jump that clearly lets us know that the police are clueless; they have no idea who perpetrated the crime.  So we are left to wonder as the robbery unfolds how exactly the criminals manage to succeed and what exactly they are after.  This one will keep you guessing and intrigued all throughout. It has an excellent cast and a wild story that threads a great web of mystery.

I have never really been a fan of Spike Lee, although I do like that all his movies are referred to as “A Spike Lee Joint.” I do not think he is a bad director; I have just never been a fan of his specifically.  In fact I think this is the only movie he has made that we own.  I have never seen Malcolm Xbut it has been on my list of movies to watch for over ten years now.  It is completely possible I have just not seen enough of his work; I just haven’t liked the few that I have seen.  This one was incredible though, he did an excellent job in putting the film together.  His camera angles are all great, his sets look good, and more importantly his movie kept me interested and guessing the whole time.

I’m not a big Denzel fan either but I cannot deny his talent. He has a great track record and will be remembered forever for his talent, but I have just never been a fan.  Personally I feel that he brings too much racism into his films. I specifically hate racism and it always bothers me.  He has always had a knack for playing the black man being persecuted, a role that needs to be played.  My problem comes specifically from his role in Remember the Titans.  He was great in that movie but there was one scene where he got into a confrontation with Will Patton.  It bothered me because Patton played a character that was on Denzel’s side, yet Denzel treated him like he was being judged.  I know that is how the character was probably written but still feel Denzel overplayed the part and was trying to get a specific point across.  For whatever the reason it bothered me. I can’t think of any other immediate example but that one is specifically the reason I don’t like him.  He has also made many movies I have enjoyed and this one is one of them.  Denzel fits the part well and delivers his performance as a seasoned pro.  I am not a fan of his but my opinion should not matter because his talent speaks for itself.

This was another good role for Clive Owen in 2006 but for whatever reason I find myself wondering “what happened to Clive Owen?” in 2012.  I have always like Owen but his career seemed to fizzle out somewhere over the last few years.  In fact, looking over his track record it is arguable that this was the last movie he made worth any salt.  He is listed as filming the sequel to Sin City and I am very hopeful for that. (Check that, in the time it has taken to publish this post -waiting on my wife’s input- Clive Owen’s part in Sin City 2 has been recast. Josh Brolin is now playing the part that Owen played in the first movie. It makes sense because in the first movie he is said to have a new face, but it still blows. I’d take Owen over Brolin any day.) Despite Owen’s drop in popularity I think he undoubtedly has more to offer as an actor. Speaking of actors who have fizzled out, I think this was a great role for Jodie Foster as well.  I have always liked Foster and I think she was really badass in this movie.  I am a really big fan of Willem Dafoe and I like any movie a little bit better when he is in it.  I spotted Daryl Mitchell in a small supporting role and wanted to mention him because he was awesome in Galaxy Quest

Movies are always a little bit better when they center on Nazis somehow and I love how this movie brought that into the story line. As the story unfolds things only get more interesting. The cops don’t know what was going on, they know who did it but can’t prove it, anybody can be a suspect, and no money was taken.  This is a crazy mystery for a long time and then it all comes together so perfectly.  There was a larger game being played in this one and it kept us all on the edge of our seats.

I think this movie is worth your time because it is awesome.  There is something deep down inside of all of us as movie fans that undeniably make us love the bank robbery movie.  This one manages to bring something new to the table so it is something we should all be in to.  The bank robbery movie may have been done to death but this movie proves there is still something great to be offered in the scenario.  If you haven’t seen this movie then you should give it a chance and I hope you enjoy it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is a really cool movie. Denzel is such a likeable actor. What I mean by that is even when he is playing an unlikable character, you still like the job he did acting that part. He is that good. I am aware that Ryan doesn’t like Denzel Washington, but here we split and disagree. I really like this movie and I think you would too.

insideman

This movie poster is SUPER cool. It looks like the designer had free range to do something really creative. They have all of the needed information, but it is arranged in such an unusual manner. Love it. I love the colors, I love the fonts, and I love the grid. LOVE IT.

NEXT MOVIE: Interview with a Vampire

Innerspace

Year: 1987
Directed By: Joe Dante
Written By: Chip Proser and Jeffery Boam

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is one of the first movies I remember falling in love with. I must have watched it a hundred times as a child. It brings back fond memories of summer vacations at my grandparent’s house.  They owned the movie and never cared how many times I watched it. I can’t pinpoint how old I was when I first saw it but there was a lot to it that I wouldn’t understand for a long time.  This movie does have a PG rating though and offers very little on the inappropriate side. I still think it is an awesome movie today and always enjoy watching it again.

This movie is great because it is both exciting and funny. The story is so imaginative and I haven’t seen any other quite like it.  I like the idea of miniaturization technology, I think the two main characters were well developed and well played, and I think the bad guys were all perfect.  Tuck and Jack couldn’t be more different as characters and they are both thrust together in this unlikely situation that will test both of them.  One is completely isolated and unaware of what’s going on so he just goes about doing his job.  The other is a hypochondriac that nobody wants to pay any attention to when someone starts tinkering around inside of him. They have to struggle with one another before figuring out how to work together and overcome the real dangers at hand.  The villains in this movie are so good too. Mr. Igoe may be a bit too much of a terminator rip-off but I didn’t know that when I watched this movie as a child and I’ll excuse it today.  All I knew then was that he was scary and could shoot bullets from his fingers, but isn’t that enough? Totally awesome. I like the fiery redheaded villainess Dr. Margaret Canker with her ruthless attitude and powerful sexuality.  All villains need a strong and dangerous boss to lead them and Scrimshaw filled that role nicely in his debonair white suits. The Cowboy can’t go unmentioned here, another great villain that came with his own theme music.

The funny thing about Dennis Quaid and Martin Short in the lead roles here is that they have such terrific chemistry despite not having any on screen time together until the end of the movie. Quaid plays his more masculine role with charisma and wit.  While Short is the polar opposite and quite funny in the part. Meg Ryan was young and beautiful as the female lead.  She plays a strong character that is quick to action when things get heavy. As great as Quaid and Short are in this movie they still managed to be showed up by Meg Ryan, she is an ultimate badass in this movie as Lydia. Robert Picardo has his moment playing a really cool part as the Cowboy.

The movie gets a bit cheesy when Tuck is transported back and forth between Lydia and Jack by kissing but that’s the 80’s baby. That kind of thing can be excused today as simply a campy element of the era.  I think this movie has Spielberg’s fingerprints all over it, to its great advantage. Spielberg is one of the greatest directors of all time but as good as he is in that role he has never been short of great as a producer.  He has had his hand in so many great films over the years; there is no end to what he has given us as fans.

This movie was set up for a sequel and to this day I am still disappointed that it was never made.  I for one would have loved to see a continuation to this story. It never happened though and I am not sure why. I think this movie is worth your time because it is funny and entertaining.  I do have a special place in my heart for it though because of the nostalgic feeling it gives me.  If you know this movie let me know what you think about it because I am interested to hear other opinions about it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I guess this movie is ok. I don’t really know. I know Ryan loves this movie, but I have only seen it a handful of times and that was recently. Maybe if I could appreciate the pure cheesiness of it all. In any case here is the poster, for which I have few words.

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“This poster needs a bright yellow starburst.” -Said no designer ever.

NEXT MOVIE: Inside Man (2006)

Inglourious Basterds

Year: 2009
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. I had long since lost faith in Tarantino as a director with feelings I wrote extensively about in our Death Proof post. This movie proved me wrong about him however. Amber and I went to see this movie in the theater and I really went in wanting to hate it. I specifically remember the first shot of the film gripping me right there in the theater. I was immediately drawn in and then the scene that followed was so overwhelmingly powerful that not even I and my fledgling hatred for Tarantino could deny the greatness of this film. Let me say it plainly and straight, while I still feel Kill Bill and Death Proof were horrible films, Tarantino obviously still has a lot to offer as a filmmaker and he deserves our respect.

Tarantino was nothing short of perfect with this film. His writing, choice of music, and attention to detail was incredible. This movie had a long and interesting journey to being made but all the time and effort paid off. I remember it first being listed as in production on IMDB.com in 2003 and I spent six years waiting for its release. Tarantino spent something like seven years working on this film and at different times had roles for Adam Sandler, Michael Madsen, and Tim Roth at least. I did not expect much from it after all the different developments over that time. Especially since none of those guys, or the characters they were listed to play ended up appearing in the film. Right before the movie came out I heard it was a remake and all hope was lost for me. I have never seen the original movie but I don’t have to in order to know that this movie hardly qualifies as a remake. Tarantino may have taken some basic plot elements from something else but otherwise this movie was all him and he nailed it.

Despite the many casting changes that went on during the lengthy production the lead role ultimately went to Brad Pitt and I felt his performance gave his career validity again just as much as the movie gave validity back to Tarantino for me. Pitt got his swagger back with this one. He was great as “Aldo the Apache” with an awesome accent and flawless delivery. I had lost faith in Pitt too before this movie following his roles in movies like Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Ocean trilogy. This movie proved to me he still had it though and I look forward to what he still has to offer as he enters the sunset years of his career. My favorite thing about his character in this movie is the scar he has on his neck. It is never explained and that makes it all the more interesting. Aldo the Apache is a crude and blunt man. With his kind of demeanor it is obvious that at some point someone tried to slit his throat. From the look of the scar they made all efforts to get it right but Aldo survived despite that. That’s part of what makes Aldo such a great character, but there was no shortage to what made him great.

I had never heard of Christoph Waltz before he was cast as the villain in this movie, but like everybody else, I will never forget him afterwards. As Colonel Landa, Waltz was intimidating and brimming with power. He has such a calm and patient persona that you don’t realize, and then nearly forget, what he is actually capable of. He has an extreme ruthlessness masked behind impeccable courtesy and charisma. He is an ambitious man who will sell out anyone and even his cause for his own means.  He gets it in such a satisfying fashion in the end too. He survives the war, but as the viewer we know that he will never escape his crimes.

Eli Roth was great as “The Bear Jew.” He is a large and intimidating man already but brought such a savage violence and tenacity to his character in the movie.  Prior to this movie coming out Tarantino financed the US release of his movie Hostel in 2006. Michael Fassbender has a small but significant part in the movie.  He has burst onto the scene since the release of this movie and I think he has great potential.  He was incredible in Prometheus and I thought he was great as Magento in X-Men First Class.  Also adding this movie to their filmography are Harvey Keitel and Samuel L Jackson who lend their voices to the film.  Jackson has a voice over at one point discussing the Basterds and Keitel is the American officer on the phone who makes a deal with Landa in the end. Mike Myers has an unusual but welcome cameo in the movie too.  About fifteen years ago Myers might have been one of the funniest men in movies but that time passed.  I am still pleased to see him when he is in anything now, and I like what he brought to the film in his short role.

Diane Kruger was great as the German double agent who aids the Basterds in their fight against the Third Reich.  As good as she was in this movie though I think the best female performance undoubtedly goes to the unknown Melanie Laurent. She was cool and cunning as Shosanna, the Jewish girl who gets the last laugh against the Nazis. I still wonder if Colonel Landa in fact knew who she was during the scene in the restaurant.  He is such a sly and villainous character that there is no telling but the fact that he ordered her milk seemed telling.  Her character seems concerned when he places that order but I think in the audience we were all on the edge of our seats because of that too.

I don’t know that there is any place to criticize this movie because it is as perfect as they get.  I happen to like the way Tarantino changed history to suit his own purposes in this movie but it is misleading to the young people who don’t know any better.  I remember once back when I was teaching a kid told me I was wrong during the lesson because the Americans were actually the ones who killed Hitler. That frustrated me but the ignorance of youth will always frustrate. If for whatever reason you are unaware pay close attention: this movie is ENTIRELY fictional and none of the events that transpired are based in any fact.  Of course Hitler probably committed suicide in 1945 as the Russians were breaking down his door and that was what ultimately ended the war in Europe.  I say probably because there are some interesting theories out there suggesting the possibility of Hitler’s body double actually being the one that was found and Hitler having escaped to somewhere in South America.  I do not know well enough to say what might have actually happened but I found the History Channel special on the topic to be very interesting.

When this movie came out I remember my sister telling me she had heard it wasn’t any good from a friend.  That friend told her that when this movie ended people actually stood up and applauded it.  She had never seen such a thing happen and couldn’t figure out what they thought was so great about it.  All I have to say to that is that my sister’s friend was an idiot.  People stood up and applauded because this movie was that damn good.  The movie closes with Brad Pitt saying his most recent swastika was his masterpiece.  I see that as Tarantino telling us that he felt he had just finished his own masterpiece and I concur. Despite the feelings I had developed for the director I had once loved he had proved me wrong and even as a hater I couldn’t deny what he had done.  One of my best friends and I had argued relentlessly over the man for years and when I walked out of the theater I called him on the spot and told him he was right and I was wrong.

This is without doubt one of the best movies I have ever seen and it is more than worth your time to see it.  If you feel differently about it please leave a comment and give us a piece of your mind.  I would be very interested to hear alternative opinions on the movie.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is a damn near perfect movie in my book. I loved it. And I don’t even like Quentin Tarantino that much. So to call one of his films damn near perfect is a huge compliment. I love the actors and the humor and the nasty gritty details of every scene. If you haven’t seen it you are missing out.

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This is the poster, which I really like. I usually HATE, actually loathe his design choices in most of his films. Not all, but most. This poster, however, is one of my absolute favorites of his. It alludes to the brutality in the film without actually showing anything brutal. The logo is nicely designed and became recognizable when the movie was being introduced. Overall, I give this movie and the poster the utmost kudos.

NEXT MOVIE: Innerspace (1987)