Review: Inglorious Basterds

Anyone else's theater have this displayed as "Inglorious B" since apparently even when spelled incorrectly, "Basterd" cannot be displayed at a movie theater. (Although "Meet the Fockers" is apparently fine?)

Quintin Tarantino does not disappoint in this WWII Nazi explotation flick. While it's got quite the running time (153 mins) it never gets boring. The story is almost 3 different stories woven into one. The main one being a group of Jewish-Americans led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) are dropped in France for one reason, and one reason alone: Killin' Nazis. Yes, they are referred to as the "Basterds" they don't just shoot the Nazis, they scalp them, terrorize them, and have the Bear Jew (The man behind the 'Hostel' flicks, Eli Roth) bash their heads in with a baseball bat. The ones that they do let live get a swastika carved on their forehead. Oh yes, the Basterds are brutal, but it's all in good fun. After all, their killing Nazis, and their hilarious while doing it. Brad Pitt's Tennessee accent is my favorite part of this film (including a later scene when Pitt attempts to speak that accent) Tarantino's directly style makes it even better. With his catchy soundtrack and in-your-face effects (You'll remember the name Hugo Stiglitz after its flashed across the screen) it makes everything so over the top, smart, and fun. The more dramatic story in the film belongs to Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent) a young Jewish woman who was being hidden from the Nazis, only to have her family murdered by Col. Hans Landa (Christopher Waltz) and his guards. She escapes, while Landa watches her, and assumes a fake name and now runs a cinema in France. She catches the attention of Frederick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl) a star officer who is having a film made about him. Although she's not interested, Zoller pushes for his film's premiere to be held at her venue. Its there she decides she will get her revenge. The story that ties them together is of Bridget von Hammerssmarck (Diane Kruegar) as an actress/undercover who enlists the help of The Basterds to also sabotage the theater.

I've always been a fan of Tarantino's films. Yes he can get quite chatty, and the films pace begins to slow, but it doesn't happen in this film. There's a lot of talking, and of course..Tarantino's signature feet shots, there's so much story here that it is impossible not to pay attention. The eerie beginning gets us focused, the comic relief from Pitt keeps us laughing, and the determinded performance of Laurent makes us root for her. Waltz is particularly scary as Col. Landa. The cast gives a great performance, the cinematography was nice, and although the film is long it never makes us glance at our watches. Extra bonus points to go the intriguing 'Inception' trailer attached to the film (Or at least in my theater's case) Some people may not like the ending (SPOILER::::::it creates a new ending for WWII) but I think it worked. It's over the top, it's Tarantino! Would you expect anything less?

Recommended: Yes. 4.5/5 stars. Memorable quote: "Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz, we just wanted to say we're a big fan of your work when it comes to killin' Nazis..." - Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt)

Honorary Mention: "You know, fightin' in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you're fightin' in a basement!"

Review: District 9

South African born Neill Blomkamp brings us an interesting take on the Alien/Human genre. The Peter Jackson produced "District 9" is a lower budget sci fi film that never quite feels that way. It greatly exceeded my expectations.

District 9 sets itself in Johannesburg, South Africa. An alien race nicknamed "Prawns" hovers above the city before humans decide to take matters into their own hands and invade the ship discover that the aliens are ill. They are placed in government slum-like camps, the humans will not let them leave. Multi-National United (MNU)is a private company more interested in using the aliens for warfare then for the Prawn's actual well-being. Newcomer Sharlto Copley plays Wikus, a filed operative who is supposed to help move the aliens to a new districts. Wilkus is exposed to some liquid of the Prawns, and eventually begins to mutate some similarities of theirs. MNU tries to preform tests on him, but he escapes into District 9. He strikes a deal with the Prawns, they will reverse his transformation, and he will steal fuel from MNU to assist them.

District 9 sounds cheesy on paper, but the documentary style of filming and the beginning and end of the film, the quick takes in between, and the flawless CGI, this film will go down as one of the best SciFi movies ever made in my opinion. The story is interesting, and even realistic. The story is never boring and the cast of unknowns does not disappoint. South Africa is an interesting setting for a such a story, and the filmmaker obviously had a lot of passion for his script. He makes everything look so relaxed. I hope to see his man directing again, he did an absolutely flawless job (with such a small budget).

Recommended: Yes. and not just for scifi fans. 4.5/5 stars.

Memorable Quote: "When dealing with aliens, try to be polite, but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet." (Because me, and everyone else in my theater laughed hysterically at this.

Review: GI Joe: Rise of Cobra

There's a certain set of expectations you need to go into a movie like this. By a movie like this, I mean 1) They didn't screen it for critics. 2) It's star (Sienna Miller) admits upfront that it's not the best acting they've ever done. 3) Rumors swirled about this film months before it's release about the studio not liking it.

With that being said, my only expectation going into this film was that I wanted to see some explode, and I wanted to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander. I was disappointed.

GI Joe: is based of the series of comic books and children toys from the 80's-90's. This film tried to base it off the comics. A special team of operatives lead by Hawk (Dennis Quaid, who obviously did this just for the pay check) consists of Duke (a very wooden Channing Tatum), Ripcord (slightly amusing Marlon Waynes) Scarlett (Rachel Nichols, who has absolutely nothing to do) Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Snake Eyes (the always cool, yet mute Ray Park). They are going up against COBRA which consists of The Baroness (Sienna Miller, who didn't even try to act in this movie) and Storm Shadow (Byyng-hung Lee)

The best actor in this entire movie is Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Doctor..who in the last 5 mins of the movie finally puts on the freaking Cobra mask) and he barely had anything to do! Levitt at least looked like he was having fun with the roll. The best action sequence in the entire movie was the chase through Paris, and they showed that in all the previews, so seeing it again wasn't as great as it should've been. The acting is wooden (Minus Gordon-Levitt, and I'll admit that Marlon Waynes had decent comic relief) the special effects were ok. Maybe my problem with this film is I went into it after reading Ebert's review saying it was better than Transformers 2. But I have to disagree. I laughed in Transformers..can't really say that about GI Joe. Which is such a disappointment, because I really do want to like EVERYTHING that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in.

Recommended: No (unless your are a JGL die hard that just loves to see him work) 2/5 stars

Memorable Quote: "The time has come for the cobra to rise up and reveal himself. You will call me... Commander." - The Doctor. (Joseph Gordon Levitt)

DVD Review: Push

"Push" is one of those screenplays that probably sounded really good on paper, but didn't quite fully transition on to screen. Not to say that this is a bad film, only some parts of it seem silly and out of place.

"Push" is about people with special abilities. A group known as 'Division' wants to find all these people and create weapons out of them. There are many different kinds of these people. Pushers can push thoughts into other's minds and get them to believe any lie they make up. Watchers see the future, as if they are shown pictures of things that will happen. Movers can move objects with their minds. Stitchers have the power to heel, Screamers can scream really loud and basically blow out your eardrums (one of those things that didn't really transition well) Sniffers (another) can smell anything and tell you exactly where it has been and who had it. Shifters can change the appearance of objects and Shadows can cast a protective shadow over a person or object, hiding it from everyone including watchers. The only probably with all of this is that when Division tries to inject these people with a drug that makes their powers more powerful, they die. All accept for one, Kira (Camilla Belle) who survived the injection and ran away.

That brings us to our characters, Nick (Chris Evans) is a pusher living in Hong Kong, he still has trouble controlling his gift, and he often gets into trouble. Cassie (Dakota Fanning) is a watcher, and the daughter of possible the best watcher in the world, who is currently in Division. Cassie sees her future, and she sees that her and Nick must find Kira and help her or else they will die. Division, lead by Carver (Djimon Hounsou) is after them.

Push is an interesting concept, and is shot very well, very quick, and very abstract. Most of it comes off well on screen, The Pushers, Watchers, Shifters all look great, but the Sniffers and Screamers end up looking ridiculous. Dakota Fanning gives the best performance as Cassie. It's nice to see Fanning transition from child to teen actress. Hounsou and Evans were good and Belle, who was the weakest one was still enjoyable. The story at times jumps around a bit and gets a little confusing, but the story is interesting and although the ending is quite predictable and abrupt it is still an enjoyable film.

Recommended: Yes 3/5 Stars.

Memorable Quote: "Hey I'm thirteen and I've been told I look AT LEAST fourteen!" - Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning)

Review: (500) Days of Summer.

Academy Award Winner for Best Film Editing: Alan Edward Bell. You heard it here first.

"(500) Days of Summer" is not a romantic comedy. It's actually quite the opposite. It's about a relationship, but it's not all the good. It shows the bad, the complicated, the ups the downs. Its what makes this movie feel real and fresh, and is officially one of my favorite films of the year so far.

The film follows Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a boy who believes in true love, and that he will never be truly happy until he finds it. He meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel) a free spirit who doesn't believe in love. 500 days is the length of Tom's infatuation with Summer, but we don't see it in order. We jump around their unofficial relationship, we see how they met, how they fight, the good cutesy times, and ultimately it's end. The jumping around never gets confusing, and the split screen technique that the film occasionally uses helps. Split screen is a hard thing to capture. It can either turn out artsy (2:37, a fabulous Aussie Indie is a great example) or it can be overkill (The Tracey Fragments, good film..hard to watch) The editing in this film is great. The performances are fresh, and the soundtrack is awesome.

Joseph Gordon Levitt is by far one of my all time favorite actors. He deserves all the crucial acclaim he's gotten. This man is fantastic in this film, just as he is in others. (Mysterious Skin, Brick, Manic, Lookout). Zooey Dechanel is fantastic as always. These two starred together in 'Manic' when they were teens, and it's great to see how they've grown as actors and how they play off each other so well in this film. They have wonderful chemistry. If these two actors do not have Oscars in the next few years I will riot. Their fabulous. I definitely recommend this film. Its not your every day "boy meets girl" story. It's got a great indie vibe, and a good story to tell. My only complaint would be the slightly cheese last sentence uttered in the film.

Recommended: Yes. 5/5 stars. :)

Memorable Quote: "All we do is fight." "oh that's bullshit!" - Summer and Tom (Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt)

Review: Funny People

Judd Apatow and crew are back in this comedy/drama 'Funny People'. The name is accurate, stars Adam Sandler, Seth Rogan and Leslie Mann are indeed funny, however this film isn't a full on comedy. It deals with some serious issues, and while the jokes are clever the film itself is about 30 minutes too long.

George Simmons (Sandler) is a famous comedian who finds out he has a terminal illness. He realizes he really doesn't have any close relationships with anyone, and while doing an impromptu stand up routine he meets an aspiring comedian Ira (Rogen) and hires him to write jokes for him and be his assistant. As much as Simmons doesn't want to admit it, Ira eventually becomes his close friend. He talks him to sleep every night, he becomes his opening act, he also tags along when Simmons tries to rekindle is romance with a previous flame, Laura (Leslie Mann) who is already married and has children.

At 146 mins it is a very long film, some scenes drag and feel like they should've been shortened or cut completely. I've always been such a big fan of Apatow I almost feel bad writing this. This film isn't nearly as funny as 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' or as realistic as 'Knocked Up', but it won't hurt him in anyway. Apatow will have another hit, and this film will just seem like a little bump in the road. His jokes in the film for the most part are still very clever and fresh. Sandler is obviously a veteran in comedy and Rogan is well on his way. It's hard not to like Seth Rogan, he's absolutely adorable and no matter how many times they poke fun at the fact that he's lost so much weight, he looks great. Bottom line. Leslie Mann is absolutely lovely as always. It's easy to get annoyed by directors constantly casting their spouses in films, but I will never get sick of seeing her, as she always adds a little sparkle to the project. Apatow also made me realize something that I don't think I would've otherwise: Eric Bana is hilarious. At first I raised an eyebrow to him in a comedy, now I see how wrong I was. Not to mention hearing Bana's native Aussie accent is a sexy plus.

Recommended: Yes, but only if your an Apatow fan. The movie is good, it just runs far to long. 3 stars.

Memorable Quote: "You don't pass through fire to get to Heaven, I think your grandfather went to hell" - Leo (Jonah Hill) Honorable mention goes to Aubrey Plaza's stand up in the film. I can't remember it word for word, but it was wonderful.