Rewind Review: Inglourious Basterds

Inroduction

As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, hence the new title and little intro, regardless enjoy!

There are some mild spoilers within, forewarned is forearmed

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s delightfully twisted and decidedly Tarantino retelling of World War II. Sticking with his rococo chapter structure tales of disparate intrigue are told that are bound to collide – and they do with fantastic and explosive results.
 
Already prized at Cannes, all the hype and buzz surrounds Christoph Waltz’s performance, and it is certainly deserved as he is fabulous. However, the hype machine overshadows several standout performances in this film, and the film itself. 
 
Other standouts include:
Mélanie Laurent, as Shosanna Dreyfus: an actress I was unfamiliar with, but who in a surprising turn literally carried herself and acted like a 1940s starlet.
 
Brad Pitt, as Lt. Aldo Raine: who is one of the more frustrating movie stars working today because he can turn it on when he feels like it but doesn’t always feel like it. He is on in this performance, and very funny.
Diane Kruger, as Bridget Von Hammersmark: was great as a drunk, a flirt and in agonizing pain.
 
The smaller parts are also very well cast even though Tarantino’s choices might make you do a double-take work brilliantly. Eli Roth as the so-called Bear Jew is hilarious and effective, as is Mike Myers, as an aging British General. It was great to see him get this character work and do well after having a bad 2008 in some people’s opinions this critic notwithstanding. 
 
There are several touches Tarantino adds to an otherwise very straightforward story: two cuts to back-story/explanation with Samuel L. Jackson narration, a cut to Goebbels being intimate with a translator, cut to a Hitler monologue and a few other things. 
 
The cinematography in this film is great starting in the very first scene where Landa (Waltz) is interrogating a man accused of harboring Jews. It starts with very well-framed shots and then gets more intricate with a beautiful circle shot that moves down below the floorboards to those being hidden.

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Tarantino’s dialogue is tempered not overly-profane, verbose or arcane, things he can be even in a good way. It was always on point. The only scene that might’ve run a little long was the rendezvous in the bar because the German officer wasn’t immediately questioning them and then when the interrogation finally began anew we didn’t know he was caught. The dialogue told us. It is the kind of scene that does need to be reexamined as it likely works better on second viewing so it can’t quite be faulted. 
 
All in all it’s an excellent film you should go out and see especially if there’s nothing new out compelling you. I personally want to see it again. It is a movie that you keep thinking about, and it gets better with time.

10/10

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2009 BAM Award Winners

In the last of the remaining re-posts here is a list of my 2009 BAM Award Winners complete with my rationale for each. Again, the text (save for minor grammar and syntax corrections) is mostly unchanged, in order to preserve my thoughts from the time accurately.

These awards and their winners are based on my opinion alone.

Best Picture

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Where the Wild Things Are

One of the most emotionally engaging experiences from beginning to end in a long time and also a purely visual film. When comparing all other Best Picture nominees, all of whom where great, nothing quite lives up to this.

Best Director

Where the Wild Things Are (2009, Warner Bros.)


Spike Jonze Where the Wild Things Are

It always takes something very special to split Best Picture and Best Director and that didn’t happen this year. However, here you have a case of a film thriving due to the vision of its director. A man amongst the few who can truly be called a visionary and who had such a clear concept of this adaptation that Maurice Sendak endorsed it in featurettes leading up to the release. Spike Jonze made this film happen beginning to end struggles with the studio and all.

Best Actor

A Single Man (2009, The Weinstein Company)

Colin Firth A Single Man

A performance which is reserved when the character is trying to be as such is great, however, it is when that reserve cracks that the true greatness bubbles over: when he’s questioned by Charley, when he’s trying not to let his voice crack on the phone and tears are rolling down his face, when he’s allowing himself to be happy and many other moments.

Best Actress

Jimmy Bennett and Michell Monaghan in Trucker

Michelle Monaghan Trucker

During this performance Monaghan reminded me of several different leading ladies such that her persona was unique and all her own. She plays a frustrated, somewhat immature, lonely woman and while she never fundamentally changes who she is. We do see her change in her attitude and behavior. She’s a gritty, tough character who does not hesitate to run out into the street and protect her estranged son at the first sign of trouble. It is a moving and complete performance and it is great.

Best Supporting Actor

landainglourious

Christoph Waltz Inglourious Basterds

Absolutely the easiest decision to make. This performance is the work of a virtuoso in action. How Waltz remained unknown to the American public this long is a mystery and it’s a credit to Tarantino that he cast him.

Best Supporting Actress

inglourious_basterds47

Diane Kruger Inglourious Basterds

A strong an impactive part very deftly played by Miss Kruger. She is believably a movie star, a lady of society and a spy. She is quite convincing in pain and like Waltz perfromed in more than one language astutely which is very admirable indeed.

Best Cinematography

Before Tomorrow (2008, Isuma)

Norman Cohn and Félix Lajeunesse Before Tomorrow

This is a film which spends a lot of its time in the cramped confines of a tent or cave but also shoots majestic arctic vistas. However, landscape and wilderness cinematography is not enough to win there is framing and exposure to consider and how these shots tell the simple story of the film which is just enchanting. The fire-lit scenes inside allow for added intensity in the simplest scenes and day scenes in tents allow for diffused backlight.

Best Makeup

Film Title: The Unborn

The Unborn

Creepy and effectively done job on several fronts where makeup and not effects were used.

Most Overrated Film

Paranormal Activity (2007, Paramount)

Paranormal Activity

Hyperbolic critical acclaim not withstanding this film never escalated whatever tension it did build far enough to be a satisfactory experience. How it can be cited by some as one of the scariest movies they’ve ever seen is a mystery.

Most Underrated Film

Aliens in the Attic (2009, 20th Century Fox)

Aliens in the Attic

A grossly underrated family film that is reminiscent of 1980s family films and sci-fi. It’s funny and a pretty good action film at the same time.

Worst Picture

Orphan (2009, Warner Bros.)

Orphan

The tagline says it all: “There’s something wrong with Esther.” This is a movie that starts going downhill and never stops.

Best Editing

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)


Mark Day Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This film feels so much shorter than its running time. Everything is always visually clear the story is told well and none of the cuts leave you scratching your head.

Best Song


“Quiero Que Me Quieras” Gael Garcia Bernal Rudo y Cursi

As catchy as the original, if not catchier, “I Want You to Want Me,” however, this version has a Northern Mexican flair and also a very comedic side as can be witnessed here.

Best Score

Where the Wild Things Are (2009, Warner Bros.)

Carter Burwell and Karen O. Where the Wild Things Are

The score to Where the Wild Things Are not only made itself instantly felt and known but also played on a loop in this critic’s head for at least a solid week.

Best Sound Editing

Avatar (2009, 20th Century Fox)

Avatar

This version of the award truly combines the edit and the design and both, from what can told in a single screening, are great in this film.

Best Visual Effects

Avatar (2009, 20th Century Fox)

Avatar

Probably the most impressive display of effects that has graced the silver screen in a long time. This is truly a technical milestone and it appears WETA has surpassed ILM at least for the time being.

Best Cast

A Single Man

The intimacy of scene in A Single Man is as cinematic as you can get. There are flashbacks, two-person parties, conversations in hushed tones and all demanding that scene partners match Firth. While it’s true he’s frequently alone it is through his character’s interactions with the world that we learn about him and for that the whole cast needs to be up to snuff, whether it be leads or smaller characters like Carlos and Jennifer Strunk.

Best Performance by a Child Actor

Is Anybody There? (2008, BBC Films)

Bill Milner Is Anybody There?

As stated in the review of the film Bill Milner is the greatest actor of his generation, meaning professional child actors around his age, there is seemingly nothing he can’t do just based on this performance and Son of Rambow. Should he continue taking smaller independent work he’ll be allowed to grow and could transition quite seamlessly into an adult career as currently his talents seem boundless.

Best Original Screenplay
Inglourious Basterds (2009, The Weinstein Company)

Quentin Tarantino Inglourious Basterds

It’s an original. The title takes its inspiration from an Italian film of the late 70s about American GIs behind enemy lines but similarities end there. Tarantino doesn’t second guess himself once and he created one of the most unique and enjoyable films of the year.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Spike Jonze, David Eggers and Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are

Jonze spoke about how he worked with Sendak to get something he felt was true. Sandak was quoted as saying he felt this film elevated his work. It was a brilliant adaptation which lead to a brilliant film. It was the rare adaptation which allows for expansion of tale as opposed to its contraction and it succeeded due in part to that fact.

Best Art Direction

Is Anybody There?

anybody_9small_1241523992_crop_550x362

This is a film that not only dresses a house but its roof, the yard, a train station, Clarence’s magic lorry and a cemetery amongst others. There is a muted tonality to everything in the film and there are great conscious decisions made all over the sets and appearing in frames all over.

Best Costumes

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Where the Wild Things Are

Thankfully CG was only needed for the faces of the Wild Things, and a great job was done there, however, if the Wild Things has been all CG it would’ve greatly diminished the overall effect and charm of the film.

Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained: How Good it is to Kill Fascists, Racists and Slave Owners!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What we have here is a most unique and historic occasion! This is not only the first guest post ever on this blog, but it is also a bi-lingual post. My cousin Rodrigo Guéron on Facebook posted a brilliant essay about Django Unchained . I thought it was great and asked him if he’d mind my translating it. So below you will find not only my translation of the text, but also beneath it, for those of you who speak Portuguese and would prefer the original text, I have included that as well. Enjoy!

Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained: How Good it is to Kill Fascists, Racists and Slave Owners!

Rodrigo Guéron

Philosopher. Adjunct professor Art Institute of UERJ (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro). Author of the book From the Image to the Cliche, from the Cliche to the image: Deleuze, Cinema and Thought. Director and Screenwriter of the short films 750 Cidade de Deus (750 City of God), Cladestinidade (Clandestineness) and Eu Estou Cada Vez Melhor (I’m Always Getting Better).

Django Unchained (2012, The Weinstein Company)

Funny, I was never a Tarantinophile. My mind wasn’t blown, in the ’90s, like some of my friends, by Pulp Fiction; I liked the movie, certain scenes and images especially, but that’s it. Truth be told I really liked a movie that the cultists of the director consider minor: Jackie Brown. Then along came Kill Bill, that I thought was very interesting, and I disagreed with what most critics said about the film, namely, that this, and Taratino’s films that followed, were a collage of references, a montage of cinematic citation, sketches and pop cliches: pastiche couture. That wasn’t exactly an untruth, but it was understating these films. Similar things have been said about Django Unchained, and I continue to think that in a way the critique of Tarantino’s cinema isn’t giving him enough credit.

From the beginning, I would say that Tarantino fights and confronts the US’s past and images of America’s past (Or better yet the past relative to imagery), not differentiating, as in Godard’s Notre Musique, if the image portends to be documentary or fiction: they deal with the memories in the collective consciousness that they’re created from, above all else a memory with a present to be dealt with. To begin such a story, we’d think that the first images of the film we’d face would be of blacks in the bonds of slavery. As a matter of fact, they are there, but it has a void too, a void of imagery, a shrieking omission, specifically a counter-image. In the American cinema, and in history, slavery appears through racism, the abscess of Anglo-Saxon Hollywood. Through its absence, for lack of a protagonist, or through the stereotyping of blacks in films and, finally, that these re-affirming constructs act as images of resistance, like exuberance and empowerment, become stereotypes themselves. But the remixed past of Django Unchained goes well beyond these images: the great, epic images of “America” that are present. And in that it makes sense to mix westerns and slavery: a combination that almost never occurred is, at the heart of it, a combination that was always latent, as if Saturation and Omission met each other on the corner of History and Cinema.

It’s clear that, it’s so impossible to make a western today, it’s so impossible to believe anew in those old epic fables (save the exceptionally beautiful No Country for Old Men by the Cohen Brothers which displays that, nearly debunking my statement) as impossible to not consider the epic majesticness, the power of the images of these civilizing fables mix cinematographic beauty (the beauty of life and the world, and not the dark underbelly of cinema) with sanguinary violence of all the conflicts and genocides of Manifest Destiny. In the middle of the impasse created by this heritage, it’s as if a space was opened up by kicking and screaming to create the images that Tarantino invents in Django, an impossible black cowboy, ex-slave, freedom fighter, bounty hunter, fighting against his captors to free his lady fair.

Django Unchained (2012, The Weinstein Company)

But it’s so impossible to believe in a cowboy the way we used to, that one who is black politically correct, didactic, militant of liberal America, would be ridiculous and absurd. On the other hand, if Tarantino made his film a simple parody, or just a comedy, (as the great Spike Lee equivocally interepreted), it’d have eschewed violence in a cynical and impotent way. At the end of the day, cinema is violence, cinema is war, they’re as inextricable from one another as history and violence; whether it be the banalized violence of imagery or a violence of the banal in images; whether it be the aesthetically beautiful violence, sometimes cold and ascetic, sometimes redemptive (for a “great cause”) and, finally, a fascinating violence, attractive: a violence with the promise of great fun and pleasure.

And that’s not all, the situations in westerns are so impossible, so ridiculous, but at the same time are a past that happened, it’s almost irrelevant if it was in cinema or in fact. From old movies there are some images fascinate me to this day: fearless men, sagas, sublime landscapes. Aside from the obvious, the cowboy is at the same time a child, an innocent, sensitive and sanguinary. A heroic nomad, he comes last, does dirty jobs for others before himself, he’s also, violently civilized: the vagabond cowboy is a freedom fighter before “America” becomes the the United States of America. And in the United States film itself is, like a cowboy’s tale, a westerly march.

Tarantino creates in this black cowboy nothing credible, a fearless freedom fighter who’s enamored, who confronts a past, which is invariably tragic. In a mishmash of cinema and history, history and cinema, he duplicates images ad infinitum, showing us all its sides. Sometimes in just one movement, as times in frenetic comings-and-goings, he destroys the past as well as he salvages it. It even gives the impression that one of his filmmaking guides was the most beautiful anti-fascist text by Nietzsche (A philosopher who was, paradoxically or not, a hero to the Nazis): On the Use and Abuse of History for Life.

Django Unchained (2012, The Weinstein Company)

At the intersection between Memory and Forgetting, between what we can’t relive and what is impossible (and undignified) to forget; between what we can no longer believe and what we wish to affirm; between cynicism and innocence; between raw, real violence and film effects; between the pretension of realism mixed with moral lessons and the ridiculousness of improbable situations; Tarantino chooses all this at the same time. We make fun of, laugh at, disbelieve, and surprisingly, we are on the edge of our seats like adolescents from the mid-20th century rooting for their heroes. And this is how we find ourselves getting frightened, nearing delirium like beasts before a huge massacre: a “just” massacre, the perfect revenge: a copy of a copy of a copy, but totally anti-Baudardrillian, posing as not at all nihilistic: potent. And the whole theatre is buzzing like when the young Jewish girl in Inglourious Basterds, in the middle of Occupied Paris, blew up the theatre with Hitler, Goebbels, Goering and the whole Third Reich in attendance. It’s an absurdity that’s good: the deliciousness of cinema unmasked, rustic, stripped of dramatic recourses and moribund cinematic technique, mixing the deliciousness of seeing how history absurdly should have been for the general welfare of all. In fact, if cinema is a fallacy, science and its “truths” can be the same way: certain situations in the film are so stupid like the “scientific” explanation that a slave owner gives about the brian of blacks. But their power is also maintained because it’s fascinating and engenders pleasures. Cinema and its joys have much to do with this. This is why the scene where the slaves are setting the table in the plantation house is perhaps one of the most beautiful of the film.

Hollywood always wanted to give us the omnipotent sensation of the desctruction of evil; for this it was necessary to drown under the polarization of good vs. evil to later get rid of all our desires – and above all the anti-desire: fear and guilt- within it. Only Hollywood isn’t over our heads: it is part of the power, either with active violence, or with the impotence of fear and guilt: impotent images. The “politically incorrect” relates to these things, and it’s still capable of turning, with its spectre, a legion of proto-fascist figures of the establishment posing as the irreverent “politically incorrect.”

On the other side, if the American cinema doesn’t get tired of killing for a great cause, or of promising an assassination with a great fun – and us with heroic assassins- Tarantino in Django permits us to to play joyfully at being just, saying “Fuck off!”, to our delight, to everything politically correct. Now we can even laugh, celebrate and get as blood-spattered as we want with the triumph of good we always wanted: the best happy endings of all time.

Django Unchained (2012, The Weinstein Company)

The omnipotent American cinema of destruction of evil is triumphanty destroyed and resuscitated by Tarantino, who in the same gunsling kills liberal-Christian guilt with a bullet to the head. It’s not good enough anymore to kill “robbers,” “Indians,” “Communists,” “Islamic terrorists,” or all the other supposed enemies of “America.” Much less feel compassion for them. What’s good is killing fascists! What’s really good is slaughtering slave owners and racists! It delicious to see these pigs to the slaughter without any pity whatsoever.

Django Uncahined (2012, The Weinstein Company)

The Original Text

Django Livre, de Quentin Tarantino: como é bom matar fascistas, racistas e escravocratas!

Rodrigo Guéron

Filósofo. Professor Adjunto do Instituto de Artes da UERJ. Autor do livro, “Da Imagem ao Clichê, do Clichê à Imagem. Deleuze, Cinema e Pensamento”. Diretor e roteirista de Cinema, autor dos curta metragens “750 Cidade de Deus”, “Clandestinidade” e “Eu Estou Bem cada Vez Melhor”.

Engraçado, nunca fui um tarantinista. Não vibrei como alguns amigos nos anos 1990 com Pulp Fiction; gostei do filme, de algumas cenas e imagens em especial, e pronto. Na verdade eu gostei mesmo era de um filme que os cultuadores do diretor consideravam menor: Jackie Brown. Mas já em Kill Bill, que achei muito interessante, comecei a discordar do que grande parte da crítica dizia do filme, a saber, que este, e outros filmes de Tarantino que o seguiram, eram uma colagem de referências, montagem de citações cinematográficas, quadrinhos, clichês pops: uma espécie de costura de pastiches. Isso não era exatamente uma inverdade, mas era pouco para estes filmes. Coisas semelhantes tem sido ditas sobre Django Livre, e continuo achando que esta espécie de senso comum da crítica sobre o cinema de Quentin Tarantino não dá conta da força do diretor.

De início, eu diria que o que Tarantino faz em Django Livre é lidar e enfrentar o passado dos EUA, ou seja, as imagens do passado dos EUA (ou melhor, o passado enquanto imagem), não fazendo diferença, como na espetacular edição da primeira parte da História(s) do Cinema de Godard, se são imagens documentais ou de filmes de ficção: trata-se de memória e o que a constitui; sobretudo memória como um presente a ser enfrentado. A princípio, pensaríamos nós, as primeiras imagens a serem enfrentadas seriam as da escravidão e dos negros. E de fato elas estão lá, mas neste campo há também um vazio, uma falta de imagens, uma omissão gritante e, em especial, uma contra-imagem. No cinema americano, e na história, a escravidão aparece pelo racismo, pela assepsia anglo-saxã de Hollywood, pela ausência, pela falta de protagonismo ou pelo estereótipo dos negros nos filmes e, finalmente, pelo que estes construíram como imagens de resistência, como exuberância e empoderamento, e até como estereótipos de si mesmos. Mas o passado remexido em Django Livre vai bem além destas imagens: são as grandes imagens épicas da “América” que estão ali. E assim faz todo sentido misturar western e escravidão: a mistura que quase nunca houve é, no fundo, a mistura que sempre esteve latente, como se saturação e omissão se encontrassem numa esquina da história, e do cinema.

Mas, é claro, é tão impossível fazer hoje um western, é tão impossível crer de novo naquelas velhas fábulas épicas (e o belíssimo Onde os Fracos Não Tem Vez dos irmãos Coem mostram isso, quase me desmentindo), quanto é impossível não considerar a grandeza épica, a força das imagens destas fábulas civilizatórias que misturaram uma beleza cinematográfica gigantesca (beleza da vida e do mundo portanto, e não do umbigo do cinema) com a violência sanguinária de todos os conflitos e genocídios da “marcha para o Oeste”. É no meio do impasse criado por esta herança, como se abrisse um espaço a cotoveladas para poder criar as suas imagens, que Tarantino inventa Django, um impossível cowboy negro, ex-escravo, justiceiro, caçador de recompensas, lutando contra seus algozes senhores para libertar a sua amada.

Django Unchained (2012, The Weinstein Company)

Mas é tão impossível crer num cowboy como antes, que um cowboy negro politicamente correto, didático militante da moral liberal estadunidense, seria ridículo e absurdo. Por outro lado, se Tarantino fizesse do seu filme uma simples paródia, ou apenas uma comédia, (como o grande Spike Lee equivocadamente entendeu), teria banido de modo cínico e impotente a violência. Afinal de contas, cinema e violência, guerra e cinema, são tão imbricados quanto o são história e violência; seja a violência banalizada das imagens e a violência do banal em imagens; seja a violência bela e estética, às vezes ascética e fria, às vezes redentora (por uma “grande causa”) e, finalmente, uma violência fascinante, atraente: a violência como promessa de um grande gozo e prazer.

Mas isso ainda é pouco, as situações dos westerns são impossíveis, são ridículas, mas ao mesmo tempo são o passado que houve, pouco importa se no cinema ou de fato. Nos velhos filmes de mocinho e bandido algumas imagens fascinam ainda hoje: homens destemidos, sagas, paisagens sublimes. O cowboy é ao mesmo tempo uma criança ingênua, sensual e sanguinária. Herói nômade, ele vem antes da besta branca civilizatória ocidental, faz o serviço sujo para ela antes de ser, ele também, violentamente civilizado: o cowboy errante e justiceiro antes da “América” se tornar EUA. E nos Estados Unidos o próprio cinema é, como num western, marcha para o oeste.

Tarantino cria este cowboy negro nada crível, justiceiro destemido e apaixonado, enquanto enfrenta a sempre trágica lida com o passado. Num emaranhado de cinema e história, história e cinema, ele duplica infinitamente as imagens, mostrando-as em todos os seus lados. Às vezes num só movimento, às vezes em idas e vindas frenéticas, ele destrói o passado tão bem quanto o resgata. Dá até a impressão que um de seus manuais de filmagem foi o mais belo e anti-fascista dos textos de Nietzsche ( filósofo que foi, paradoxalmente ou não, herói dos nazis): “Das Utilidades e dos Incovenientes da História para a Vida”.

Django Unchained (2012, The Weinstein Company)

Na encruzilhada entre memória e esquecimento, entre o que não podemos reviver e o que nos é impossível (e indigno) esquecer; entre o que não conseguimos mais crer e o que temos o desejo de afirmar; entre o cinismo e a ingenuidade; entre a violência crua e real e o efeito cenotécnico; entre a pretensão de realismo misturada às lições de moral e o ridículo das situações inverossímeis, Tarantino escolhe tudo isso ao mesmo tempo. Debochamos, rimos e descremos juntos e, surpreendentemente, somos arrebatados na cadeira do cinema como adolescentes do meio do século passado torcendo por seus mocinhos. E assim nos pegamos se assustando e delirando como bestas diante de um grande massacre: o massacre “justo”, a vingança perfeita: a cópia, da cópia, da cópia, mas totalmente anti baudrillardiana, posto que nada niilista: potente. E o cinema todo vibra como quando a mocinha judia, de Bastardos em Glória, em plena Paris ocupada, explodiu a sala de cinema com Hitler, Goebbels, Goering e todo o Terceiro Reich dentro. É o absurdo que é bom: a delícia do cinema desmascarado no tosco de seus recursos dramáticos e cenotécnicos moribundos, misturado à delícia de ver como a história absurdamente deveria ter sido para a felicidade geral todos. De fato, se o cinema é uma falácia, a ciência e suas “verdades” podem sê-lo do mesmo jeito: certas situações do filme são tão estúpidas quanto a explicação “científica” que o senhor de escravo dá sobre o cérebro dos negros. Mas o poder também se mantém porque é fascinante e engendra prazeres. O cinema e suas delícias têm muito a ver com isso. Por isso a cena das escravas arrumando a mesa de jantar do senhor na casa grande talvez seja uma das mais belas do filme.

Hollywood sempre nos quis dar a onipotente sensação da destruição do mau; para isso precisou nos afogar na polarização bem x mau para depois despejar todo o nosso desejo – e sobretudo o anti-desejo: o medo, a culpa – nela. Só que Hollywood não está acima de nossas cabeças: ele é parte do poder que nos atravessa, seja como violência ativa, seja como a impotência do medo e da culpa: imagens impotentes. O “politicamente correto” tem a ver com estas últimas, e ainda é capaz de gerar como seus espectros uma legião de almofadinhas proto-fascistas, figuras do establishment pousando de irreverentes “politicamente incorretos”.

Por outro lado, se o cinema americano não se cansa de matar por uma grande causa, e de nos prometer o assassinato com um grande gozo – e nós como heróis assassinos –, Tarantino em Django nos permite brincar deliciosamente de sermos justos, mandando à merda, para o nosso deleite, todo o politicamente correto. Agora já podemos rir, comemorar e se lambuzar de sangue à vontade com o triunfo do bem que sempre desejamos: o melhor final feliz de todos os tempos.

Django Unchained (2012, The Weinstein Company)

A cinematográfica onipotência estadunidense da destruição do mal é triunfalmente destruída e ressuscitada por Tarantino, que no mesmo movimento de pistola mata a culpa liberal-cristã com uma bala na testa. Bom já não é matar “bandidos”, “índios”, “comunistas”, “terroristas islâmicos”, ou todo e qualquer suposto inimigo da “América”. Nem muito menos sentir compaixão por eles. Bom mesmo é matar fascistas! Bom mesmo é trucidar senhores de escravos e racistas! É delicioso poder mandar esses porcos todos pelos ares! Sem pena alguma.

Birthday Movies

As someone who is fanatical about films what better way to celebrate one’s birthday than by taking in a film. I have been doing so for quite some time watching a film on or near my birthday and while some have been better than others many stayed memorable because they became one of my birthday films. Below are some which I have seen. I suggest that if you have not started this tradition you should do so now. With each of these films I seem to remember something about the viewing experience because the screening was on or near a momentous date and thus made the experience somewhat elevated. Some films did turn out to be favorites and as always for an indication as to the significance of the scores check My Rating Scale.

2017 Wind River

Gil Birmingham and Jeremy Renner in Wind River (2017) CR

 

2016 Don’t Breathe 

Jane Levy;Dylan Minnette;Daniel Zovatto

2015 Sinister 2

Sinister 2 (2015, Universal)

NOTE: Was viewed on 8/28 as I couldn’t get to the movies on 8/27.

2013 Blue Jasmine and Twixt

Blue Jasmine (2013, Sony Pictures Classics)

Twixt (2011, American Zoetrope)

2012 The Apparition

The Apparition (2012, Warner Bros.)

I could’ve had an honorary selection, but then I saw this on the actual day of my birth, and it’s the worst thing I’ve had the displeasure of seeing on this day.

1/10

2010 Nanny McPhee Returns

Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)

This is yet another one of the rare sequels that is more enjoyable than the original, a fact I elaborated on in my initial review. This was a film that also made a dent in my annual BAM Awards. It continued my tradition of strong films on my birthday.

8/10

2009 Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds (2009, The Weinstein Company)

This is without question the best film of the bunch and went on to quite a few BAM wins including Best Supporting Actor. It is a throughly enjoyable moviegoing experience made more special by knowing the time and place where I saw it.

10/10

2007 Mr. Bean’s Holiday

Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007, Universal)

It seems as if Rowan Atkinson is being true to his word and that this was, and is, Mr. Bean’s swansong and if that is so what a way to go. This movie absolutely cracks me up and not only is everything that Bean should be but also has some cinematic commentary to it. Fantastic stuff and still vastly underrated I feel.

10/10

2006 How to Eat Fried Worms

How to Eat Fried Worms (2006, New Line Cinema)

How To Eat Fried Worms is another one I’d put in the underrated category. It embraces a child’s love of the grotesque with unbridled glee yet also tells what could be a very trite tale with enough sincerity to escape the commonplace and be something a bit more.

8/10

2005 The 40 Year Old Virgin

The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005, Universal)

The 40 Year Old Virgin is one of those movie whose reputation preceeds it when it shouldn’t. It’s not a bad film, it’s not a great film. It’s just fine but is often touted as being much more. While not the prime example it’s in the Judd Apatow mold of not knowing when enough’s enough and it’s also not Carell at his best and I am a big fan.

6/10

2004 Mean Creek

Mean Creek (2004, Paramount Classics)

This is a film I included in my favorite films of the decade and clearly it was a BAM winner as Best Picture. It’s a film that not only treats its young cast as real people but also isn’t afraid to make them imperfect in an unsensationalistic way. It’s also a film that with its conclusion is unafraid of embracing ambivalence making the one villainous character more gray than black in the end.

10/10

2003 Jeepers Creepers II

Jeepers Creepers II (2003, MGM)

Jeepers Creepers is a horror phenomenon I never quite understood. I appreciate what made the original work for people on an intellectual level but did not enjoy it and this one is worse still. It was slim pickings this year and I was better off skipping the cinema.

4/10

1999 The Muse

The Muse (1999, October Films)

It’s most definitely not Albert Brooks at his best it almost seems like a riff on Woody Allen that loses steam but it’s not nearly as bad as the IMDb would have you believe. There was a time where Sharon Stone had a string of tremendous roles. Considering what a minor note it was, you can still get a taste of what she was like at her peak.

7/10

1996 A Very Brady Sequel

A Very Brady Sequel (1996, Paramount)

This is lovingly satirical adaptation at its finest. It set a precedent that other films have tried to emulate but failed in doing so quite badly. It’s a sequel head-and-shoulders better than its predecessor, compulsively watchable and hilarious stuff.

10/10