Category Archives: Christoph Waltz

Movie Review: Django Unchained

For any of you who think I have a severe Quentin Tarantino bias, let me just say that I disliked “Death Proof.”

Now that that’s out of the way, “Django Unchained” may have just stolen the top ten list of the year in one fell swoop. It may lack the audacious perfection of “Inglourious Basterds,” however this messy masterpiece is bold and brilliant in its own right.

“Django Unchained” rightfully opens with the theme music from 1966′s “Django,” a film that is similar with this Django only in name. This is the first time that Quentin has made a Western that actually takes place in the appropriate era and locale. This is not modern-day Los Angeles, Tokyo, or Nazi-Occupied France. This is Texas in the years just before the Civil War.

Django (Jamie Foxx), a quiet slave with a sharp tongue and a deadly grin, is freed by Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Foxx is fantastically deadpan and unpredictable as Django. Unsurprisingly, Waltz displays his incredible way with words as the verbose dentist-turned-bounty hunter. There is a giant tooth on top of his carriage. I don’t why any of that is important, but it sure is funny.

Like Quentin’s other films, “Django Unchained” is less a story and more a series of cause and effect vignettes. Schultz at first frees Django because he is the one man who can help him identify and track down the ruthless Brittle Brothers, whom he is hired to kill. The mission allows Django to prove himself to be a great shot, as Quentin opens the doors of a slave revenge fantasy of the highest sort.

As his career progresses, Quentin’s films have gotten bigger and more ambitious. During a stretch of the film that is surprisingly quiet on a Tarantino standard, “Django Unchained” takes a beautiful detour into the American frontier as Django and Schultz cross the country.

“Django Unchained” is also Quentin’s funniest film. A scene involving an attempted lynching by a proto-KKK group (which includes Don Johnson and Jonah Hill) quickly dissolves into pure farce. Even with all of the gruesome violence, what shocked me most about “Django Unchained” was all of the moments I found myself laughing and feeling giddy when I probably shouldn’t have. The film is full of comic moments framed around serious moments. Laughing at these demons helps remove their power.

More than any other of his past films, Quentin has challenged himself here, by making a film that takes place before movies. Without the cushion of his typical pop culture references, he goes to some new and interesting places. Surfer movies and Elvis are traded for The Three Musketeers and German fairytales as “Django Unchained” is a mashup of western, southern, and European legends. When Django asks Schultz to help him rescue his wife, Schultz remarks that the name of his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), is the name of a character from Germany’s most famous folktale.

Just when the film couldn’t get any more exciting, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the Mississippi slave master who currently owns Broomhilda is introduced. Candie reminds me of the villain that Waltz played in “Basterds” but on a whole different level of delusion. DiCaprio, so good at conveying southern hospitality, making Candie seem like a kind and reasonable man even when he clearly isn’t. It is this charm that makes him even more terrifying. He hosts slave fights and doesn’t blink an eye when he orders the violent execution of a rebellious slave. There were many times I forgot that it was even DiCaprio in the role. In a perfect world, the Academy would just hand an Oscar over to him already.

Without the cushion of film, Quentin delves deeper into overanalyzing historical issues with excessive dialogue. Several scenes are so good, yet so dense, that I have to watch them again. His dialogue can explain simple things in such eloquent ways.  Without pop culture, you can see Tarantino’s dialogue for what it really is: a cross between indulgence and intellectualization.

Very few films have been made about American slavery. “Gone with the Wind” and “Roots” are the only ones that have truly stuck, and even those feel a little outdated. Even if it carries some extreme historical inaccuracies, “Django Unchained” is the most interesting and complex portrayal of slavery ever put out by Hollywood. Even when Tarantino intentionally overlooks historical truths, he does wonders with the details. Every costume and set is given so much loving and painstaking detail that I I felt myself becoming deeply immersed in the era. Tarantino shows the slave owners as white trash in fancy outfits, and their accompanying women are exaggerated southern belles.

And then there is Samuel L. Jackson as Stephen, an old slave who is also racist. This character totally topples the terrible archetypes in American fiction of the “Magic Negro” and the “wise, old black man.” Stephen has been Candie’s slave for so long and is so close to the man that one might argue that he believes that he is white. However, I think it is deeper than that, and it greatly shows why Tarantino’s history benders are so marvelous and so filled with depth. It is as if slavery rewarded those with loyalty by creating an immense fear of the outside world, and immense comfort on the plantation. Stephen is more than just an excuse for Samuel L. Jackson to curse and say the n-word a lot. Though, watching him do both of those thing is predictably entertaining.

“Django Unchained” does to slavery what “Inglourious Basterds” did to Nazis and The Holocaust.  It is also the most perplexing and entertaining film of 2012. Nobody combines high and low brow as well as Quentin Tarantino. Only in one of his films could a Mexican standoff segue into a conversation about racism and French culture. After 20 years as a filmmaker, Quentin still knows how to pull the rug out from under the audience. “Django Unchained” constantly change our opinions of who the bad guys are. It may not totally rewrite history or change the way movies are made, but it does go way past the point in which it should have ended, and then gives great reason as to why it does just that.

How I Rank Quentin Tarantino’s Films:
1. Pulp Fiction- Still Tarantino’s best film, “Pulp Fiction” is still as brazen and funny as it was when it first came out. This pop culture tribute has become an indelible part of pop culture.
2. Inglourious Basterds- Jews kill Nazis. Christoph Waltz is introduced to the world. History is rewritten. What’s not to love.
3. Kill Bill 1 & 2- Part one is a breathtaking action spectacle. Part two is the most emotional film Tarantino has ever made. Altogether it’s the film that kicked off my movie obsession.
4. Reservoir Dogs- The place where it all began. Still one of the best directorial debuts ever.
5. Django Unchained
6. Jackie Brown- This was not loved when it first came out, but it’s hard to follow “Pulp Fiction.” “Jackie Brown” holds up well on repeat viewings.
7. Death Proof- This is where Tarantino went a little off the rails. It’s the weaker half of “Grindhouse.” This ode to trashy cinema forgot to be fun.

It’s Here! The Premiere of the Django Unchained Trailer

I definitely didn’t need a trailer to get me excited for “Django Unchained,” but I’m not complaining about the fact that the first trailer has finally been released.

While the trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s last film, “Inglourious Basterds,” misled viewers to believe that it was nothing but a Brad Pitt fest, the “Django Unchained” trailer seems to be showing exactly the kind of film everyone expected it to be. And no, that is not a bad thing at all. “Django” looks to have a perfect mix of serious and awesome action and hilariously inspired exploitation. It also opens with a Johnny Cash song and includes Christoph Waltz channeling Hans Landa and Leonardo DiCaprio saying “rambunctious” in the most sinister way possible.

But it’s time for me to shut up now, and time for you to watch this trailer*:

Note: This trailer comes via The Film Stage, a site dedicated to movie reviews and news. I began contributing to it today. Check out the site here:

The Plot of Quentin Tarantino’s Next Movie

Two posts in one night? I must be crazy. No, this only happens when something truly newsworthy comes along.

The plot for Quentin Tarantino’s next film, entitled “Django Unchained,” has been released today. All that was known before was that it was a slave revenge film. Here is what that actually entails:
Django is a slave who’s liberated by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter and taught the tricks of the trade by his mentor. Django’s major goal in life is to recover his wife, and to do it he needs to get past the villainous ranch owner Calvin Candie (DiCaprio), who runs Candyland, a despicable club and plantation in Mississippi where female slaves are exploited as sex objects and males are pitted against each other in “mandingo”-style death matches. Candie is a slave’s worst nightmare, and that [sic] is where Django’s wife Broomhilda is an abused slave. [Deadline]

Yes, whenever Quentin says he is making an historical epic, it is not just some historical epic. Earlier this week it was announced that Jamie Foxx would play the lead role. While he did win an Oscar for “Ray,” he also starred in “Booty Call.” Then again, this is from the same director who turned John Travolta into a hitman after starring in “Look Who’s Talking.”

The rest of the cast is enticing. Of course, Samuel L. Jackson will be fantastic, as long as he is given a Bible or some dialogue that he can shout unnecessarily loud. While I have never seen DiCaprio play a flat out villain, his acting has improved with each film he does, so I have a feeling he can do this. As for Christoph Waltz, I have a feeling the German bounty hunter role was written directly for him. And yes, he can act his way out of a paper bag.

For now, it seems too hard to tell what direction this plot will take the film in. Is Tarantino aiming for a classic Grindhouse experience like “Death Proof,” or a classier revenge fantasy like “Inglourious Basterds”?

Something that I wonder even more about, however is what Tarantino will do filming in a time period before movies even existed. In “Basterds,” he was able to find conversation in the films of G.W. Pabst, but what will the 19th century characters of “Django Unchained” discuss? Maybe the characters can sit around a southern manor and discuss the significance of “Moby Dick.”

Whatever he decides to do, I will be there on opening weekend.

The Oscars: The Show Goes On

Despite a feud between ABC and Cablevision that left millions unable to watch the big show, the Academy Awards still went on as planned.

As expected, “The Hurt Locker” took home the big prize at the Academy Awards, along with five other Oscars. Also, as expected, “Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow broke one of the last glass ceilings and became the first woman ever to take home the Best Director prize.

Perhaps the only real surprises of the night came in the Screenplay categories. The Best Adapted Screenplay category seemed like a done deal: “Up in the Air” had it basically since it came out in December. It’s balance of comedy and drama, along with its ability to be both original and faithful, made it seem like a shoo-in. Instead, the heart-wrenching screenplay for “Precious” took home the prize. It seemed as if “Precious” had lost much of its momentum after its November release. Guess I was wrong on that one.

Meanwhile, in Best Original Screenplay, “The Hurt Locker” and “Inglourious Basterds” were virtually tied. It seemed that “Basterds” was a frontrunner, as “Hurt Locker” was much more of an achievement in directing and editing than it was in writing.

However, this night was a “Hurt Locker” sweep, so Tarantino unfortunately walked home empty handed. However, the film didn’t get totally shut out: Waltz got his well-deserved Best Supporting Actor trophy. He also gave what was probably the best speech of the night. Seriously, this man has a knack for taking ordinary words and making them sound like poetry. As Waltz’s Landa might say, “that’s a bingo!” Lets hope he rides this to a fortuitous future career.

Another win, although expected, was still no less exciting. Jeff Bridges won the first Oscar of his long career for his performance as a burnt out country singer in “Crazy Heart.” He movingly thanked his parents, saying the award was as much for them as it was for him. There’s nothing much more to say about the greatness of Bridges besides this: “The Dude Abides.”

No surprises in the female acting categories, either. Mo’Nique took home an Oscar for something that will not be lost in time and Sandra Bullock won for “The Blind Side.” I have not seen “The Blind Side” yet, so therefore I can’t judge Bullock’s worthiness. However, from what I’ve seen of her, I do know that she is a good actress, and never a great one. Perhaps she can prove me wrong.

Now, onto the show itself. It was a night of ups and downs, or as the Dude would say, “strikes and gutters.” The biggest up were the two hosts: Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Both men are funny and charismatic, but two hosts seemed like two much. However, it was perfect in every way. The two actors read off their scripted banter in the most perfect harmony. And they threw out a few good improvised lines, as well.

The pair of Baldwin and Martin were a welcome improvement over last year, when the Academy attempted the “song-and-dance man” approach with Hugh Jackman, with little success. While Baldwin and Martin would be great recurring hosts, Neil Patrick Harris proved himself an eligible contender contented his surprise performance at the beginning of the telecast. The combination of Baldwin and Martin (along with other performers like Harris) made a mostly predictable show easier to watch.

Before the winners were even announced, the Best Picture race was defined as a race between “The Hurt Locker” and “Avatar,” a true David and Goliath story.

This isn’t the first David and Goliath Oscar race, but this was one of the very first where David came out the victor. In the past, it seemed an A-list cast and a successful box office gross were key to getting the crown. It makes you think now that maybe “Goodfellas” could’ve beaten “Dances with Wolves,” “Pulp Fiction” could’ve beaten “Forrest Gump,” or even “L.A. Confidential” could’ve beaten “Titanic.”

Will “The Hurt Locker” be remembered down the road as a cinematic classic, or one of Oscar’s biggest mistakes? Maybe in the future it’ll be known as the best film made about the Iraq War, with “Inglourious Basterds” and “A Serious Man” being masterpieces ahead of their time, “Avatar” a fun blockbuster that changed visual cinema, “District 9” a sci-fi film on the same level with “Blade Runner,” and “Up in the Air” as an example for aspiring filmmakers of how to write a good script.

What I’m trying to say is that no matter your number one preference, and no matter what won, this was a rare year where almost every film and filmmaker earned their nominations. Here’s to hoping 2010 is going to be another good year for cinema.

See the Full List of Winners Here.

That One Scene: Inglourious Basterds

“That One Scene” is a recurring series on The Reel Deal where I examine that one scene in a certain movie that sets it apart from all others.
First off, we have a major dilemma. When I first created “That One Scene” back in August, I promised to write about one remarkable movie scene every week. Obviously, this didn’t happen.
However, now that I am a second semester senior and certain responsibilities don’t exist for me anymore, I believe now is the perfect time to bring this post back. And now, I’m going to bring it back by discussing a movie I’ve talked about way too much recently: “Inglourious Basterds.” My incessant chatter though is for good reason, as this was a film made to be broken down piece by piece to be fully admired. Also, I hope this serves to show you why this film truly deserves to take home Best Screenplay this year.
There are a multitude of great scenes to break down in this film. I could’ve discussed the stretched out, tension-filled opening scene. I could’ve discussed the audaciously long tavern scene. I also could’ve had some fun and discussed the Bear Jew beating a Nazi with a bat. However, I’ve opted for one of the more subtlety beautiful and less appreciated scenes in the film. It’s a tour-de-force of fine writing, acting, and directing.
The scene occurs after our hero Shosanna (Melanie Laurent), a Jew hiding as a French movie theater owner in Nazi-Occupied Paris, manages to sit through an entire meal with Joseph Goebbels. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), the SS Officer responsible for the slaughter of Shosanna’s entire family walks into the room. Quentin Tarantino doesn’t skip a beat going into this scene. The banging drums seem out of place in a WWII epic, but it serves well in sending chills down the viewer’s spine.
As Landa greets her, Shosanna’s skin turns white as a skeleton. Laurent shows her as someone vulnerable enough to crack at any moment. Tarantino spends an awful long time focusing on Shosanna’s facial expressions, basically making the conversations occurring right above her shoulder seem insignificant. Laurent’s acting shows more fear, vulnerability, and ultimate strength in just a few smacks of her lips than any amount of words ever could. For a director so enamored by conversation, this seems like an interesting, and even welcome, change.
This entire scene contains an incredible amount of ambiguity around it. From the beginning, we are nervous of whether or not Landa will recognize Shosanna. By the end, it’s still impossible to tell if he did or not. For someone known as “The Jew Hunter,” Landa maintains a jovial demeanor throughout the scene.
Landa says the purpose of their meeting is to discuss security matters. At times, it seems less for information and more as a means of torture. He even orders Shosanna a glass of milk, the very thing he drank the last time they were acquainted.
Meanwhile, there is a great focus on the strudels. It seems unnecessary, but Tarantino seems to have a great love of shaping human interaction around the things we eat. That lovingly shot close up of Shosanna ripping off a piece of strudel, then piling a little cream onto it, reminds me of watching Samuel L. Jackson devour a Big Kahuna Burger in “Pulp Fiction.” Tarantino seems to think a lot can be said about a person by how they eat their food. In this instance, Shosanna is someone who is careful, and will never miss a detail. Landa, meanwhile, shoves the pastry in his face. This is consistent with much of the humor arising from this character; he seems to be funniest in how outlandish he is in just about everything he does.
It’s strange also to see the weird chemistry between Landa and Shosanna. While one is a Nazi and the other is a secret Jew, they seem quite good in listening to each other and responding to each other’s comments. At times, they chat almost as if they are old friends.
Of course, while parts of this scene may seem very light-hearted, one can forget its extremely serious undertones. After all, this is a film about the topic of genocide. The most serious moment comes as Landa states, “I did have something else I wanted to ask you.” His smile so quickly turns into a frown, showing how his character can go so quickly from kind to cruel. Shosanna of course, tries to stand her ground. Tarantino takes no hesitation in lingering on this long, frightful silence.
Suddenly, Landa’s deathly stare turns into an all-out smile. He states, “But right now, for the life of me, I can’t remember what it is. Oh well, must not have been important.” This reveals something very important about Landa. Throughout the film, he seems to constantly be on the line between very serious man, and cartoonishly over-the-top. He is a villain so frightening in his insane self-centered principles. Yet, here, he is as clueless as the conventional Hollywood villain who’s too underwritten to stop his foe.
In this case, it’s not poor writing, but some form of satire. That, and it reveals Landa as the most complex Nazi we may ever see on film.
If we look at it from the possibility that he did know it was her, why wouldn’t Landa try and stop her? Well, maybe he didn’t want to because he enjoys torturing her with mystery better. Also, Landa is always fixated on the idea of survival. He seems to hold great respect for those who will do anything to survive. This is why many believe he let Shosanna run away at the beginning. Now, he sees that she is not only surviving, but thriving (like the rats he discusses earlier in the film). He may be simply amazed at how she overcame so much to come this far, and that she deserves to remain in secret.
After Landa leaves, we get to see why Laurent deserved an Oscar nomination this year. After Landa leaves, her feigned smile quickly turns into a frown. When she sees she is completely alone, she lets out a giant gasp and begins crying. It seems almost as if she’s been under the identity of Emmanuelle for so long that she forgot how to feel like Shosanna. It’s strange how she turns around to see if it’s okay to cry; as this makes it seem like her reaction is almost mechanical. However, Laurent manages to make it the most emotionally realistic moment in the entire film. It could also be that she, like the audience, can’t believe she’s made it this far. In this way, Laurent turns Shosanna perhaps into the film’s most relatable character.
Overall, this scene seems to be an embodiment of what “Inglourious Basterds” is truly about: a celebration of the finer things in culture. This ranges from good cinema to good Scotch, good cigarettes, and of course, a fine dessert. Here is a scene that represents why Tarantino is the auteur of our generation: he has an incredible understanding of humanity, timing, and detail.

Golden Globes: A Night for Blue Aliens. And Mike Tyson

Well, mainstream comedy certainly has something to celebrate.

2010 marked the first time in years that the winner of the Best Musical/Comedy category at the Golden Globes was not a musical or a sophisticated indie black comedy. Rather, it was “The Hangover,” a comedy that worked so well and basically earned* its award because it was just so refreshingly funny.
This might mean little for “The Hangover”‘s Oscar chances. It probably has a slim shot at Best Picture, but a Best Screenplay nomination is likely its best shot.
Still, I don’t see the Golden Globes as much of a predictor for the Oscars. I think it’s more of a way of seeing what people in the inner film circles are excited about at the moment. In that case my thinking was confirmed, “Avatar” is the official frontrunner for Best Picture. Yes, voters walked onto Pandora, and now they simply can’t seem to get away. Hopefully, they’re not as crazy as these people. I’m not necessarily happy that “Avatar” is stealing the thunder from several other more worthy films, but I have to hand it to James Cameron: never in a million years did I think the entire world would fall in love with a three hour movie about ten foot tall blue-cat-monkey people.
The other film I suspected as a spoiler for “Avatar,” “Up in the Air,” faired only decently tonight. It took home a well deserved Best Screenplay award, solidifying it as by far the front runner for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Meanwhile, the two best supporting actors were officially confirmed as the front runners. Christoph Waltz was the first thing on everyone’s mind from the second audiences first saw him ask for a glass of milk. Meanwhile, I knew Mo’Nique was the only imaginable winner from the minute I saw what was then called “Push” at Sundance.
Another big film, “The Hurt Locker,” went home totally empt handed. However, it has been gaining much momentum lately so I do expect it to do much better at the Oscars. Plus, it’s sweeping of the Critics Choice Awards were a very promising sign. That $12 million at the box office though, really isn’t.
The lead acting categories are a whole other story. Robert Downey Jr. should be happy with his win for “Sherlock Holmes” and expect nothing further. While George Clooney still has something of a shot, Jeff Bridges seems like the real man to beat right now. I haven’t seen Bridges’ performance in “Crazy Heart” yet, but to Bridges’ awards success I say: Dude Abides.
The most unpredictable category this year is the Best Actress category. There are four very possible candidates right now, and two who equally have a clear shot at winning. Meryl Streep has a good shot for “Julie & Julia” simply because, she’s Meryl Streep. Plus, her performance has gotten nothing but absolute raves. Sandra Bullock’s performance in “The Blind Side” also has a very good shot. Not only has she been lauded for her performance, but the film itself has become something of an underdog. Its amazing box office success was expected by no one. Perhaps this could play into votes.
Unfortunately, there still seems like little hope for “Inglourious Basterds” besides Christoph Waltz. I have a good feeling “Basterds” might’ve won Best Screenplay tonight if the Globes split it up into two separate categories. Only the WGA Awards will be able to answer that. In the mean time, Tarantino will have to wait another few years for his long deserved Best Director Oscar. If Scorsese (who was honored tonight) could wait 40 years, then so can he.
On a side note: am I the only one bothered by the fact that Best Drama always seems to be more significant to analysts than Best Comedy? Seriously, when will people start taking Comedies more seriously.
*I would’ve voted for “(500) Days of Summer.” “The Hangover” might’ve been the funniest comedy of the year, but it wasn’t the most brilliantly made.
Full List of Winners Here.

Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

Who said history has to be accurate? Don’t tell that to Quentin Tarantino, who pulled off his newest masterpiece in a brilliant revisionist style. “Inglourious Basterds” is the work of a world-class auteur at the top of his game.

When I first heard years ago that Tarantino was developing a war film, I was hesitant, unsure of whether Tarantino’s directing style could fit into a war movie. But then I realized, it is the perfect genre for him. 
Of all of Tarantino’s films, “Inglourious Basterds” has the most traditional narrative structure. While all of his other films hop through time in no particular order, this one moves through time in order with only a few brief flashbacks. What’s extremely unconventional about it though, are it’s multiple different stories that only loosely connect. 
The first story starts in the early days of World War II, in Nazi occupied France. Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), is a French Jew who narrowly escapes death at the hands of brutal Nazi Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Four years later, Dreyfus is still living in France under a pseudonym, operating a movie theater and hoping to one day get revenge on the Nazis.
The second story focuses on a group of Jewish American soldiers also in France. This troop, nicknamed the Basterds, also plans to get revenge on the Nazis and their reign of terror. The troop is led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). Raine commands his soldiers to attack the Nazis with absolutely no sympathy. He also demands that each man bring him 100 Nazi scalps (and he gets his scalps).
Now, where do these two stories connect? Well, both are revenge missions, and both seek their revenge in the exact same place. Shosanna and the Basterds never meet face to face, but all I can say is that if they ever were to meet, they’d all be pretty good friends.
In almost every way, “Inglourious Basterds” shouldn’t be a good movie. It has long expanses of meaningless dialogue, little action, and major historical inaccuracies and politically incorrect stereotypes. It’s kind of like “Lawrence of Arabia.” But these things don’t serve to make the movie worse; they end up making it even better. Only a mind like Tarantino can take flaws and turn them into idiosyncrasies. Only Tarantino could capture people talking and turn it into amazing, real conversations about the meaning of life. The dialogue is harder to quote because most of the film is spoken in either German or French, However, Raine and Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz (Eli Roth) give more than enough catchphrases to go around. 
Oh, and that dialogue. No matter what language, Tarantino’s dialogue is always so pleasant to listen to; not a single word out of a character’s mouth ever seems corny or contrived. 
And yes, the movie is violent. Very violent. On the Tarantino violence scale, it would rank slightly higher than “Pulp Fiction” but slightly less in “Kill Bill.” The violence is often ridiculous, but is also somehow the most realistically violent of all of his films.
Tarantino has a habit of reviving the careers of many once great actors (John Travolta, Michael Parks, Pam Grier, David Carradine). The careeer revived in “Inglourious Basterds” is that of Christoph Waltz. Much has been said about Waltz’s performance, and every accolade is well deserved. He plays Landa as both friendly and creepy at the same time. He can seem friendly by making small talk and then intimidating by doing something like ordering someone to get him milk. He is never a villain who seems psychotic, he just seems scary because of his overstated friendliness. It is without a doubt that Landa’s Cannes winning performance will also get nominated for an Oscar.
The true villains of World War II, Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, are played here with perfect inaccuracy. Martin Wuttke plays Hitler as  a whiny baby and Sylvester Groth plays Goebbels as a soulless zombie and something of a suck up. While Waltz has gotten the majority of praise, a large amount of it belongs to Groth. Through Groth’s eyes, Goebbels doesn’t seem like a zombie just from the things he says, but also from the things he does. In one scene, he shakes Shosanna’s hand but he doesn’t quite give it a tight grip. In fact, he barely grabs it with his cold, white hand. It looks almost like a skeleton who can walk and talk. 
Also scoring points are the Basterds. I always knew Pitt was talented, but not even his performance in “Fight Club” can top this. His Aldo Raine comes from Tennessee, and he talks in a perfect Southern droll. Roth is also a scene stealer. Roth is known for directing torture porn like “Hostel.” However, he should stick to acting. His overly hammy Boston accent becomes one of the funniest parts of the movie. And yes, the movie is funny. Tarantino’s sense of humor is one of the darkest in cinema; many of the jokes here are dark as ever. However, many are as light and hilarious as Raine’s horrible grip on the Italian language. A scene like that almost feels like something out of a Sacha Baron Cohen movie.
Tarantino is known for referencing hundreds and hundreds of movies in everyone of his films. In this one, he often draws references to his own films. The opening scene reminded me something of the Royale with Cheese scene in “Pulp Fiction.” Like Jackson, Waltz first disarms the character through light banter before suddenly unloading on him. The revenge mission feels almost like The Bride’s in “Kill Bill.” 
Tarantino also references many of his favorite movies. You can see a shot that looks like “Scarface” or a camera movement that feels Hitchcockian. What’s referenced most here though is Spaghetti Westerns. Spaghetti Westerns were Italian westerns that were made in the late 1960s popularized mainly by Sergio Leone. As I watched “Inglourious Basterds” I realized what it truly was: a Spaghetti Western presented as a war film. There are Mexican standoffs and a score that often resembles the brilliant music of Ennio Morricone. 
The plot of “Inglourious Basterds” is almost directly based off of the plot of “Once Upon a Time in the West.” Like “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “Inglourious Basterds” is about two different people getting revenge on the same person for different reasons. Both reasons however, have something to do with the loss of family or brotherhood. “Inglourious Basterds” also contains long stretches without much action. However, while Leone reveled in long silences, Tarantino revels in lots and lots of talking.
“Once Upon a Time in the West” is also the best western ever made. “Inglourious Basterds” is one of the best war movies ever made. Not only that, but it is also the most audacious for daring to change the face of history. It really makes sense as to why “Inglourious Basterds” is so revisionist: every Tarantino movie exists in its world with its own interconnecting characters and its own brands. Even though “Inglourious Basterds” doesn’t take place during modern times, it feels as if it could’ve taken place in the same world as any other Tarantino film.
“Inglourious Basterds” was one of few movies I’ve seen recently where I left feeling reinvigorated, feeling as if all my faith in cinema had been restored. Only someone like Quentin Tarantino can do this. He reinvented the crime drama, the kung fu film, and now, the war film. Being a great director doesn’t involve any film school, just a great imagination and a love for movies. And not to mention, a strange and interesting view of the world.
One more thing: we never find out why the title is misspelled. Tarantino says he’ll never explain why, and in a way it’s better like that. The spelling is a part of Tarantino’s world, and we’re lucky that we even got this good of a glimpse of it.
If you liked this movie, you’ll also like: Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Dollars Trilogy, Carrie, Scarface, Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Grindhouse, The Wild Bunch, No Country for Old Men