#1,497: Inglourious Basterds
Here's a post that didn't post at the end of August, because I was too lazy to do all the two-line reviews: Feverishly hacking away at the mountain of editorial assistance required to bring SpikeTV's Surviving Disaster to a television screen near you starting next Tuesday, Sept 1, and every Tuesday thereafter for the next ten weeks.
In June, we had a little time off and I went off to edit a feature film shot on the RED, The Selling, written by and starring Gabriel Diani (who you can hear in episodes of Better Radio, my sci-fi sketch comedy radio show (re: podcast) ). It's great, by far the best feature I've worked on so far. Spooky and funny in turn, it's a haunted house story that's more inconvenient for a real estate agent than it's terrifying for a family.
While I was working on that, I was also watching:
-Public Access - Bryan Singer & Christopher McQuarrie's first movie. Not exactly...good. Reminded me of Sex, Lies, & Videotape a bit. And there's the formative version of the big twist they'd get right the next time around.
-Jandek on Corwood - Documentary on a musical recluse. Not at all as interesting as its own subject.
-Zombie Girl - Same problem, different cause. I'd suspect this was shot without a plan, and pieced together from the footage, which is a much less likely route to a captivating doc.
-Man on Wire - I probably would have been way more into this one if I'd seen it cold, a year ago when it was new, instead of hearing all the details all over the place in advance. It was, however, a fun inaugural run for MustacheTV.
-Captivity - Kim Bauer Gets Kidnapped: The Movie. Snooze.
-Push - Why aren't original movies about superheroes any good? What's the exception to this rule? Is it because (almost?) all of them try to break from comic book tradition with the edgy, raw, gritty idea of using superpowers in order to be lazy?
-The Great Debaters - Good, but pretty by-the-book example of one of these. Also, I think it had some anachronistic stuff about Hitler and WWII that wouldn't've happened yet at the time the movie takes place.
-The Hurt Locker - This was pretty good, but also kind of a cheat. What's more exciting in a movie than the stock moment of 'will the bomb be defused in time?' And this movie is a huge collection of those scenes! I did wonder though, about what they might have been saying with the spent cartridge floating and bouncing in slow motion, and why they bothered to set it 5 years ago when it probably wasn't written that way, with all its references to things that didn't exist 5 years ago.
-G.I. Joe - I was never at all a fan of G.I. Joe back in the day, so I went into this one not knowing who anyone was. Thankfully, they make it easy on newcomers by putting one of everyone on both teams. I wonder if the toys were just repaints of the same figure. It's been a good year for animation, so this is far from getting the 'one of the best animated movies I've seen this year' joke. Still, way better than Transformers, even if I did doze off for a bit somewhere in the middle.
-Funny People - First Apatow movie I've seen. Good thing they didn't call it 'Good Actors.' I liked it overall, especially from the perspective knowing a bunch of upcoming comics. That Jonah Hill guy though; yuck.
-District 9 - Cool movie. Loved it less than the popular response. Close as we'll get to Half-Life: The Movie. Still don't like when mock docs don't commit. Hope, like Cloverfield, they'll have the guts not to take the bait on a sequel.
-District 13 - Action parkour fighting movie! Kind of like Escape From Paris.
-District 13: Ultimatum - The sequel to action parkour fighting movie! I actually liked this one even better for the most part. Crazy and more elaborate fights, flashier parkour chases, and an even more disappointing ending!
-Ponyo by the Sea - Hot on the heels of the original, Studio Ghibli's anime remake of last year's action hit Taken is a terrific retelling. It hits the beats of the original while still adding something new to the father's relentless search for his missing daughter. The casting for the English dub was well done, and the recruiting Liam Neeson to reprise the original role is brilliant. The primary difference in this version is that the girl is overcome with Hugo's Disease. I don't think anything I've seen in the theater this year so far has gotten as much laughter as this did.
-Last of the Mohicans - the 1936 version. AND
-Last of the Mohicans - the 1992 version, which is a remake of the 1936 edition, not a fresh version of the book. I thought I'd start a series here on double features, but it's been a while since I saw these, and I was surprised by how lousy they were. Even more so, how the movie doesn't seem to be about the Last of the Mohicans (who, by the by, aren't extinct).
-Inglourious Basterds - this was fun to see, the way it's always fun to see more from someone who has such a distinctive mark on their movies. And it was fun to see the audience around me not-enjoying it, from the walk-outs to the guy who kept complaining that scenes didn't make any sense and it was too much work to read the subtitles. I liked the way it would make silly concessions and then double back on them and turn out to be clever. I wonder how much it changed since it's premiere at Cannes, since Ebert's review didn't seem to apply to the finished cut. Also, one gets the sense that the clan of Basterds were only included as an excuse to use a title QT loved on his movie about something else entirely.
8 or 9 out of 17 this round.