Tag Archives: Inglourious Basterds movie

Don’t forget

I saw Water for Elephants last night at a special early screening sponsored by Living Social.  Drinks, appetizers, the movie and a coupon for the book — all for $20?

I’m in.

Full disclosure — I haven’t read the book.  During the cocktail hour before the movie, I found that most of the people there had.  And they approached the film with equal parts excitement and expectation.

Me?  I had none. I was there based on the trailer alone.  (We all agreed that was good.)

I think we all agreed on the movie as well.  When an entire theatre filled with people cheers not once, but twice at the end of a film, that’s a good sign.

If, like me, you haven’t read Water for Elephants, it’s set in the Great Depression.  An Ivy League veterinary student loses his parents and his home at the start of the film.  Forced to find his own way in the world, he hops a train which, as fate would have it, is a struggling circus.  There he finds work and love — the girl, unfortunately, is the owner’s wife.

Wouldn’t ya know?

Christoph Waltz, who won an Oscar for Inglourious Basterds, is riveting as the circus owner and ringmaster.  He is unbelievably cruel — to both people and animals — but is still able to elicit some sympathy for his actions.

[My one hesitation in seeing the film was the animal cruelty I knew would be portrayed on screen. While it was there — all CGI, no animals were hurt in the making of this film — it was not overt, and off-camera when possible.  It will still hurt your feelings, but don’t skip the movie.]

Reece Witherspoon is all platinum hair and ice — a hardened circus performer.  She never really warmed up, though, which made her ‘desperate’ romance with Robert Pattinson a bit hard to believe.

And Robert?  Well, he finally has a role with a little more teeth in it — get it?  teeth?  you’re welcome — and I think he handled it quite well.  The cinematography, with all his sepia tones and sunsets to convey the era, suit him well.

If you just like looking at him, this film does not disappoint.  But his performance offers much more…something the major film critics are having to grit their teeth and admit.  I’m enjoying that as well.

Oh — and I can’t forget the elephant in the room.  She ends up being the star of the show.

Grand gesture

The 82nd Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday, and for the first time in the show’s history, the “Best Motion Picture” category was expanded to 10.

And the nominees are:

“Avatar”
“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious”
“A Serious Man”
“Up”
“Up in the Air”

By increasing the field to 10, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences theorized that they would be able to recognize ‘more truly deserving films.’

Who are they kidding?

The directors, producers and actors recognized will be able to add “Oscar-nominated” to their resumes and demand higher paychecks for their next projects.  And the ratings for the awards broadcast itself may go up a bit, with a few more box office favorites in the mix.

But one of the serious contenders for “Best Motion Picture” will still win the Oscar, and this year, there are still only five….so they could have avoided all the drama.

Just look at the Top Ten:

  • “The Blind Side” was slammed by the critics, but beloved at the box office.  Sandra Bullock’s nomination for “Best Actress” was recognition enough.
  • “District 9” seems like a bit of a stretch.  Indie sci-fi overachiever, maybe…but Oscar nominee?
  • “Up,” only the second animated picture to be nominated in the category, is not a serious contender.  (Count yourself lucky.  The producer’s speeches to date have been real snoozes.)
  • “An Education” is the foreign film rep.  Carey Mulligan’s nomination gives it credibility, but no real chance.
  • “A Serious Man”  is, in my opinion, an automatic inclusion.  The Coen Brothers seem to get a pass on whatever they produce and direct.  I’m not even sure the members watch their films anymore.

Which leaves us with…

“Avatar”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious”
“Up in the Air”

These are your five serious contenders for the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture.”  The others?

Just filler.