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Wednesday May 20, 2009 8:00 pm

Early Reviews for Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds

Inglorious Basterds

When a movie is annoyingly difficult to spell (I can never seem to get right on the first try), you know the film’s going to generate mixed emotions. Although the crowds were eager to welcome Brad Pitt and director Quentin Tarantino to the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, the reception to their WWII era film was a bit uneven.

Preview the trailer here then read the early reviews after the jump.

The Guardian:  “Quentin Tarantino’s cod-WW2 shlocker about a Jewish-American revenge squad intent on killing Nazis in German-occupied France is awful. It is achtung-achtung-ach-mein-Gott atrocious. It isn’t funny; it isn’t exciting; it isn’t a realistic war movie, yet neither is it an entertaining genre spoof or a clever counterfactual wartime yarn. It isn’t emotionally involving or deliciously ironic or a brilliant tissue of trash-pop references. Nothing like that. Brad Pitt gives the worst performance of his life, with a permanent smirk as if he’s had the left side of his jaw injected with cement, and which he must uncomfortably maintain for long scenes on camera without dialogue.”

Variety:  “While World War II has probably inspired as much fiction as any other single topic in film history, Inglourious Basterds is one of the few to have brazenly altered history to such an extent. Because he carefully sets up the approach at the outset, as well as through his sense of style, Tarantino gets away with it, and is in a position to fine-tune the picture before locking a final cut.”

Hollywood Reporter:  “The film is by no means terrible—its two hours and 32 minutes running time races by—but those things we think of as being Tarantino-esque, the long stretches of wickedly funny dialogue, the humor in the violence and outsized characters strutting across the screen, are largely missing….Tarantino never finds a way to introduce his vivid sense of pulp fiction within the context of a war movie. He is not kidding B movies as he was with Grindhouse nor riffing on cinema as with Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill films.”

Entertainment Weekly:  “I’ve never felt that Tarantino has ever been interested in real emotions or real characters, and that’s fine, that’s not his thing. But the choice is also an Inglourious limitation. So Pitt play acts; that’s what’s called for. And Jews and movies win the war this time around. But a Nazi steals the picture.”

The Sun:  “At almost three hours, it’s a bit on the long side and could have benefitted from being a bit shorter. It is also worth nothing that around half of the film is in French and German which means you’ll be reading a lot of subtitles. Overall though it’s a cracking return to form for the director who won the prestigious Palme D’Or here for Pulp Fiction in 1994.”

Inglourious Basterds opens stateside on August 21.

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