inglourious-basterds-posterOf course we couldn’t let this weekend go by without going to see Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino’s new revenge WWII movie.  We both think it was worth spending our hard-earned cash (what little we have of it) on a movie ticket!

Here’s Anna’s take on the movie:

I’m not as big of a Quentin Tarantino fan as Serena, and I wasn’t sure what to think of this movie from the commercials I’d seen, but I was willing to give it a try…if anything to hear Serena burst out laughing every time Brad Pitt said “Nazi” in that Tennessee accent.

I wasn’t disappointed.  In fact, Inglourious Basterds now ranks among my favorite films of all time.  The movie, which takes place in Nazi-occupied France, is told in chapters and basically follows SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz, who totally deserves an Oscar for his performance), also known as “The Jew Hunter;” Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and his “Basterds” who hunt and kill Nazis; and Shosanna Dreyfus, a young Jewish woman who escapes Landa at the beginning of the movie, changes her name, and ends up running a cinema in Paris.  In their own way, each of these characters ends up at the premiere of a propaganda film in which Hitler, Goebbels, Göring, and Bormann are slated to attend.  That’s enough about the plot.

In true Tarantino style, Inglourious Basterds is violence galore.  Raine tells his men to each bring him 100 Nazi scalps, and one of his men has no qualms about using a baseball bat to bring down the Nazis.  They always let one German soldier survive to tell of the terror inflicted by the Basterds, and this soldier will wear a swastika engraved on his forehead forever.  So if this kind of violence bothers you, you’ll probably want to avoid this movie.

A lot of the movie is in dialogue, and the characters might sit at a table and talk for 20 minutes or so.  Having seen a few of Tarantino’s previous films, I knew that these scenes would end in an all-out gun battle or something similar.  And I was right.

It’s hard to say why I found such violence and mayhem entertaining.  Maybe because the Nazis get what they deserve, the dialogue was truly funny in some parts, the characters were captivating, and the story itself was brilliantly composed.  Though almost 3 hours long, I was surprised when it ended, as I could have sat through another few hours without blinking.  It was that good.

mondays-movie-jpg1Here’s Serena’s take on the movie:

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is the most linear of his films and tells a fairly cohesive story from beginning to end.  Descriptions that call this move a revenge film are accurate.  The film, which stars Brad Pitt, pits Jewish-American soldiers under the command of Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine against the Nazi’s in Occupied France, and let’s say the Nazi’s get some of their own medicine in a big way.  Raine, aka the Apache, scalps his victims, while another member of the Inglourious Basterds hits Nazis out of the park with his Louisville Slugger.

Unlike other Tarantino films where violence and blood are a primary focus, many of these scenes flit on the screen and vanish so the actors can deliver their lines and character mannerisms with aplomb.  Each chapter provides viewers with an inside look at the various elements at work in the final scene (which rewrites the end of WWII), and while these scenes do not become increasingly more violent, they do unravel the behind-the-scenes plotting among the Basterds, the OSS (the precursor to the U.S. CIA), and a French cinema owner, Shosanna.

Christoph Waltz who plays Nazi Colonel Hans Landa steals the show in the movie with his cut-throat tactics, top-notch detective work, and his odd behavior as a twisted Nazi.  A couple scenes were incongruous with the characters of Landa and Shosanna toward the end of the film, but they were not enough of a distraction. 

Inglourious Basterds is one of the best Tarantino films to date with nods to previous WWII movies like The Dirty Dozen.

We both give Inglourious Basterds 5 bags of popcorn!!

Check out the trailer:

Defiance (Movie) Review

mondays-movie-jpg1 Monday’s Movie is a meme sponsored by A Novel Menagerie.

Over the weekend, my husband and I watched Defiance, starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schrieber.

The Bielski brothers, Tuvia, Zus, Asael, and Aron, saved about 1200 Jews during WWII in Belorussia.  The brothers formed the Bielski Partisans.

The brothers fled to the woods in German-occupied Poland and Belarus, taking with them Jews and protecting them for more than two years.

Defiance is a dramatization of those times and begins with grainy video of Germans herding Jews into trucks, etc.  The beginning sequences are heart-wrenching, providing an authentic feel to the movie.  Daniel Craig turns out one of the best performances in the movie, along with Liev Schrieber.

This movie is well paced and crafted and highly recommended for those interested in the various, somewhat unknown, resistance efforts.  For more information about the Bielski brothers, please check out the Holocaust Research Project.

I give this movie 5 bags of popcorn.


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Movie Review: I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal [Magistra Mater]

neverforgottenCarol from Magistra Mater recently reviewed the movie I Have Never Forgotten You.  Here’s an excerpt:

He didn’t mask his disappointment.  It’s a documentary? Exhausted from a long work week, my husband anticipated a light comedy … something … easy.  Three minutes into the movie we were fully engaged, and flat out in love with Simon Wiesenthal.  When the credits rolled, we wept in silence, wrapped in a shawl of sorrow.

Read the entire review here.


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Valkyrie [Movie Review]


Serena’s take on the film:

Anna and I popped into the movie theater not long ago to see Valkyrie with Tom Cruise, Tom Wilkenson, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, and many other famous British and non-British actors.

While the lack of German actors and accents was distracting at first, I do think that the beginning portion of the movie where Tom Cruise’s character, Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, speaks in German is helpful to set up the time period and setting for the movie.  However, with Nazi soldiers saluting one another in an nontraditional way, the movie was not as true to history as I had hoped.

Overall, I did find that I wanted to outcome to be different than reality, as I cheered Tom Cruise and his co-conspirators on.  My one aside is that Tom Cruise rocked the eye-patch!

Anna’s take on the film:

I’m not an expert on Operation Valkyrie and the plot to assassinate Hitler, but I thought the movie was pretty good.  The acting was fine, a lot of familiar faces, and there was plenty of action to keep my attention.  The one thing that bothered me was the absence of German accents.  I found it very distracting and hard to believe that such accomplished actors as Tom Cruise and Kenneth Branagh couldn’t learn how to speak in a German accent.  I recently saw Resistance, the movie based on the Anita Shreve novel, and I was impressed that it mainly was in French with subtitles, as members of the Maquis wouldn’t be speaking English.  I guess I expected more authenticity with Valkyrie.  Still, the movie was good, and even though I knew how it would end, I couldn’t help rooting for the good guys.

Those of you who’ve seen the movie, please let us know what you thought of it!

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