LOVE THOSE BASTERDS

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS:

A review:

Quintin Tarantino’s latest film is a gory, delicious and highly stylized revenge fantasy that is in many ways reminiscent of the action-packed, episodic Saturday afternoon matinee films of long ago.

Inglourious Basterds begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz).

Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine

Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine

Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.

Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to Nazis as “The Basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich.

Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus

Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus

Everything comes to a boil under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own.

Tarantino takes his time to unfold several layers of the story and at times certain scenes play out like an Agatha Christie play, with scenes that build and build as pieces of the puzzle are revealed in a explosion of gun fire.

A number of actors shine brightly. Most notably Christof Waltz as the Nazi Colonel known to his men as “The Jew Hunter.” Waltz in an Academy baiting performance is at the center of the story with his multi-lingual bad guy character who always gets him man (or woman).

Diane Kruger, oozing old-school glamor as German movie star Bridget von Hammersmark, and Daniel Bruhl as Nazi war hero Fredrick Zoller who’s about to become a star by playing himself in a propaganda film about his exploits both give excellent performances.

Perhaps the most human and sympathetic performance is by French actress, Mélanie Laurent whose beauty and vulnerability makes us squirm as she falls into “The Jew Hunter’s” trap.

Brad Pitt is fun to watch as the fearless good-ole-boy Lieutenant Aldo Raine who lets nothing stand in the way of his mission or his personal convictions.  Great cameos from Mike Myers as a stuffy old British General and Australian actor, Rod Taylor as Winston Churchill.

Cinematography by Robert Richardson is rich and beautiful. Production design by David Wasco is detailed and impressive. Sally Menke’s editing is sharp.

Inglourious Basterds is violent, colorful and thought provoking. Tarantino’s best film since Pulp Fiction, it is certainly the most fun to be had in the cinema this summer so far.

We give it: ****

Razzies Love to Hate Paris Hilton and Mike Myers

LOS ANGELES — The Razzies awarded Mike Myers’ “The Love Guru” top honors for being one of the worst films Hollywood had to offer in 2008.

Not to be outdone, Paris Hilton got three awards all on her own at a ceremony that spoofs the Academy Awards on the eve of the Oscars.

“The Love Guru” won three Razzies on Saturday for worst picture, actor (Myers in the title role) and screenplay, which Myers co-wrote. Hilton’s three prizes are worst actress for “The Hottie and the Nottie,” supporting actress for “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and worst screen couple alongside either of her “Hottie” co-stars, Christine Lakin or Joel David Moore.

With three Razzies, Hilton tied the record set last year by Eddie Murphy, who won worst actor, supporting actor and supporting actress for his multiple roles in “Norbit.”

Pierce Brosnan was chosen as worst supporting actor for “Mamma Mia!”

The worst-director Razzie went to Uwe Boll for three movies: “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale,” “1968: Tunnel Rats” and “Postal.”

Razzies voters also gave Boll a prize for worst career achievement whose critically drubbed movies include “Bloodrayne” and its sequel.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was named worst prequel, remake, rip-off or sequel.

John Wilson, founder of the Razzies, said Boll and Hilton’s movies are so bad, he could envision a collaboration between the two.