Saturday, October 17, 2009

Inglourious Basterds [2009]

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger, Melanie Laurent
Action/War drama
Rating: Adult (language, graphic violence, brief sexuality)
Comment: "Unmistakably Tarantino, although not a masterpiece it sought to be..."

Any movie with Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino attached to it, you know you're in for a testosterone-fuelled thrill ride. While this movie deserves credit and entertaining in it's own right, it also suffers from overexposure and perhaps also over-hyped to the extent audiences might feel cheated upon leaving the cinema.

The movie revolves around fictional events taking place in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. A group of Jewish-Americans, known as 'The Basterds" led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). Their mission? To brutally kill and scalp Nazis.

Needless to say this movie has no basis in reality whatsoever, and solely for entertainment. But while it may be greater in scale (and budget), Basterds struggled to even barely surpass Tarantino's other classics such as Reservoir Dogs [1992] and is not even remotely as entertaining as his best work to date, Pulp Fiction [1994]. Now you might say that it is unfair to compare one movie to another, and it's true. But for argument's sake, this movie was touted even by Tarantino himself to be his masterpiece. FPBM! for one, would like to disagree.

What this movie lack is really the "engagement factor". Now, it may look like a war epic, but it is not. You can find more shooting and explosions in a single episode of Band of Brothers than in this entire movie. But that is not really the issue. If you are familiar with the works of Tarantino, you cannot help but not only watch the movie, but become part of it as well. For some strange reason, you will be able to appreciate the aesthetics of the movie in true Tarantino fashion, but you will also feel excluded from the ongoings.

What can be surmised here is that, Tarantino possibly fell in love a bit too much with Basterds, and lost a little bit of his touch. Perhaps he sought to impress the audience more than he would like to impress himself.

Better luck next time, Tarantino. While Basterds is a great piece of work and enjoyable in it's own right, it is hardly a masterpiece.

Points Calculation

The Good [+100]
- Machismo
- Fast paced
- Cinematography

The Bad [-30]
- Unengaging

100 - 30 = 70 points

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Star Trek [2009]

Director: J. J. Abrams
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Pinto, Eric Bana
Rating: Teen (violence, horrific images)
Comment: "A sci-fi fan's wet dream..."

The Star Trek series had always been one of those love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing, so expect don't expect the reimagining of it to be any different. FPBM! however, is a proud geek-slash-nerd hence why this movie shall receive favourable reviews.

Thumbs up to the production team for considering that we are already in the year 2009, forty-three years since the debut of the TV-series this movie was based on. Some liberties and changes were made, possibly to free itself from any continuity constraints already established in the franchise. Basically it is the same thing albeit with characterisations of it's own.

The story can be dubbed as "The Rise of Captain James T. Kirk" because that is what it was basically about. So there is no need to familiarise yourself with the entire Star Trek lore, even if this is the first time you've heard of it. Sure, there might be some Easter eggs for long time fans (such as the Redshirt's gruesome death), but this movie did more to reintroduce than to revive - akin to what Batman Begins [2005] did for the Batman franchise.

Good news for those who like it, there are two more Star Trek movies coming.

Points Calculation

The Good [+100]
- Pure sci-fi
- Fast-paced
- Intriguing storyline

The Bad [-0]
- (None)

100 - 0 = 100 points
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