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Inglourious Basterds reviews

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CRASH! BANG! WALLOP! That’s not the intro you were expecting, and surpinglorious-basterds1risingly to me, it wasn’t the opening to Inglourious Basterds, either. Quentin Tarantino’s new film begins at no great pace, with slow langerous shots of the French countryside, and plenty of dialogue. There is a burst of violence, as there is throughout the film, but these do not have the same edge as in Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction.

Tarantino goes back to his earlier work to great success in Inglorious. The funky soundtrack, the way characters speak like no-one else does in reality, and Tarantino’s love of genre and love of films themselves. It is no coincidence that the film centres around a small, independent cinema.

When I first saw the trailer, I expected a Kill Bill Vol.1 remake, with Nazis. If you want to see that, you won’t be disappointed. There are some nice, gory, video nasty style prosthetics that will keep the Nazi-hating sadist inside you happy. But the bulk of the film is plot driven dialogue, which I wasn’t expecting. There is a lot of talking in this film, and a lot of it doesn’t develop character. The Basterds themselves are introduced to the audience sparingly – Tarantino has concentrated on plot with this film, and neglected to develop any characters apart from Shosanna Dreyfus, played well by Melanie Laurent. Aside from that, the characters are one-dimensional. From Tarantino’s high water-mark of Jackie Brown, character has taken a backseat.

Inglourious Basterds then is an attempt by Tarantino to get back what was most commercially successful – making everything really, really cool. And this is a cool film – but also a long film. A long film without reason. Characters aren’t developed, some characters come and go, and the story plods on at a slow pace without adding anything to the story. Your head will go with the film, but your bum will go numb. Go see it, but get comfy seats. Your bum will thank you.

As a side note, this is one of the first modern films I’ve seen which hasn’t (to my knowledge) been given the Kermode Seal of Approval (TM), so I’m off to listen to the new Mayo/Kermode podcast and have my opinion re-affirmed/corrected.


Written by bjobbo

August 16, 2009 at 10:29 am

David Lynch and me

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About seven years ago, I slept at my dad’s house and we got a DVD out for the night. At the video shop, he chose Mulholland Drive, which I had never heard of, had no idea about the director and wasn’t really interested. We started watching the film, and it completely threw me. Nothing made sense, there was no likeable lead character, and it scared the crap out of me.  The vision of the person behind the Winkies is still burned into my retinas. Here’s a video of it:

The film really troubled me, I just couldn’t get a grasp on it or understand what it was about. It’s now one of my favourite films. I bought it a couple of years later, just to see if I could make any more sense out of it. I still can’t now –  but I love it. There’s something about the mystery, the darkness, the whole feel of the film, the edginess, the creepiness that makes it stand out. Angelo Badalamenti’s music is astounding, and Llorando by Rebekah del Rio makes me blubber like a middle-aged woman watching Titanic.

My dad always used to bang on about how good Twin Peaks and how good it was. I bought him the first box set as a birthday present a couple of years ago, and borrowed it as soon as I could. The series is so good, so so good. The music, again was what really kept me, with Badalamenti conducting one of, if not the finest TV themes ever written.

BOB scared the crap out of me as well, Lynch has such an eye for the horrific images. The next Lynch production I saw was Fire, Walk With Me. Again, Lynch’s prowess behind the camera again scared me half to death. The scene where BOB/Leland Palmer crawls through the window to rape Laura is truly horrific. Mark Kermode has said that the only film adaptation of a TV series that has been better than the original series is FWWM. I’m not sure about that, but the imagery will live with me forever, as will the TV series (which I’m about to resume watching in a minute).

Last night, I watched Inland Empire. I’m still reeling from it. Like watching Mulholland Drive again for the first time, it has really thrown me, and I’m still yet to let it all sink in – the ideas, the characters, the length. I’m not sure if I’m going to post anything else about Inland Empire, maybe in a few days it will come calling me again, like MD did, but for the moment, I’m still trying to deal with what one blogger has called the first and only 11D film.

Written by bjobbo

May 19, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Halloween DVD review…and a bit of analysis

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Halloween (spelt wrong) poster

Halloween (spelt wrong) poster


is one of the horror movies that is considered by many to be a classic. It follows Michael Myers (no, not the guy from Wayne’s World and Austin Powers) on his killing spree of promiscuous young females.


I think that one of the main successes of the film is the opening half-hour or so. The way that Carpenter makes Michael appear in and out of shots is fantastic. While the plot is being set-up, the camera gives us plenty of travelling room so that our eyes can wander and make us wonder where Michael may be. Great stuff. Keeps you interested and keeps your eyes darting round the screen looking for that mask.

As part of my media studies A-level, we were told to analyse the opening of Halloween. I remember our tutor absolutely loved the film and could analyse the film to death. The opening scenes are very poweful – but they aren’t perfect.

Some of the direction in the sequence is crap. I love the idea of the opening being shot in one single take, and it works well – until the vital kill scene, where the camera cuts away to a shot of the hand with a knife going from left to right, just so the actress can pour some ketchup over herself. Crap. And if you see the film, watch the parents of six-year-old Michael when he walks out onto the pavement. God knows what Carpenter said to them to make them act like a piece of Ikea’s finest.

So the film plods on with some good performances, some good gory stuff and a vaguely satisfying ending. But, why is the mask never discussed even a tiny bit in the dialogue? And how did Michael come to sound like Darth Vader? WTF is up with that asthma? Mark Kermode said that bad guys have respiratory problems because underneath a mask, the actor has nothing to do. And I agree. But some kind of dialogue along the lines of “Oh by the way he was burnt in a fire at the mental hospital, that’s why he breathes like a pair of broken bellows.” But nope.  I could ramble on, but I don’t wanna bore you to much.

Anyway, I’d recommend it for the first half hour at least, ’tis a fun game playing “spot the murderer.”

Written by bjobbo

January 16, 2009 at 12:29 am

Teeth DVD review

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Teeth poster

Teeth poster

Teeth is a scrungy, rough and ready horror, that unlike so many recent horror films has a sense of humour and wit. Jess Weixler plays Dawn, a teenager with, ahem, teeth, who has taken a vow of celibacy until she marries. She is a modern embodiment of the the dentata myth – normally associated with another word which I’m not going to write. The film follows Dawn on her experiences with other horny teens.

Teeth is one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen in a long time. Mitchell Lichtenstein has done what he can with little resources and made a film that harks back to the video nasties in fantastic fashion. Although not much visual horror, what is shown is done in a very simple but effective way through prosthetics and bone-tingling sound effects. Lovely stuff to get you squirming.

It knows it isn’t an ideas movie, it knows it can only do so much. But what it does, it does perfectly well. It’s so refreshing to see a horror film which doesn’t feature wriststraps, masks or bloody long knives. Take Hostel 1 and 2 for example, which are both terrible films. They are exploitative without a cause, regurgitate other ideas, and are generally boring because of it. There’s only so much blood and guts one can take. There’s no suspense, and the characters are so easy to hate, there’s nothing to keep interest in the film. Jess Weixler has a great screen presence, and she seemed very confident as Dawn. It helps that she is gorgeous though. Heather Graham lookalike anybody? Anyway, go watch the film. Don’t take a hot-dog though…



Written by bjobbo

January 14, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Posted in Film

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Spinal Tap DVD review

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I went into Spinal Tap with high expectations – it’s appeared on plenty of  “best ever” and “top 100” lists. The DVD cover has a quote from the BBC, bizarrely, stating that it’s the “funniest film ever made.” Sorry, whoever from the BBC wrote that, but it isn’t.

I was very disappointed with the film. The film has been built up too much in the lists to have any sort of clout. Comedy is a unique genre – what is funny to one person may not be to another. If a film is said to be controversial (e.g. 9 Songs), then most people will find it controversial. Comedy isn’t the same. I like the League of Gentleman. I think The Mighty Boosh is shit. Both are described as alternative comedy, but the range not just in comedy but in alternative comedy is massive.

So, apart from the two clips that are rolled out on all the clip shows (Turn in up to 11 and lick my love pump), there isn’t much that sticks in the memory, very forgettable, just another film. I think Pick of Destiny is a funnier film in the stupid-rock variety, which has many more memorable scenes and doesn’t have that much hype dragging it down. Spinal Tap collapses under its own critical mass, it can’t live up to all the lists it heads.

So, it’s good for a few laughs, but there are many, many other comedies where the gags are better and more frequent. My next review, Teethis a much funnier, and much better film.

Written by bjobbo

January 13, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Posted in Film

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