So, it's not for everyone, but it is most certainly for me. I was the kind of kid who stayed up late to watch the westerns and war flicks that Basterds takes its cues from. Is it really a remake of the kinda-trashy 1978 war movie that shares its name? Only as a stylistic jumping off point.
You see, Tarantino's movie has a bit of everything war movies should have. There's a Jewish survivor trying to cope with her family's murder, a Nazi sharpshooter elevated to movie star by Joseph Goebbels, a double-agent actress and one of the most dashing film critics of all time. And all of them, along with the Basterds, are converging on a Parisian theater for a film premiere, which gives the Allies an opportunity to end the war by getting Hitler, Goebbels and the rest of the Nazi leadership together in one place at one time and wiping them all out.
Yes, the film is too long, and even with the length, some of the characters—including many of the Basterds—get short shrift. And even though it's violent and vile, Tarantino's trademark dialogue makes it hysterically funny. It also has cameo from Mike Myers that you don't see coming and Eli Roth wielding a baseball bat. It's vintage Tarantino.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz gives a great performance as SS Colonel Hans Landa. He's charming and an utterly terrifying hunter of hidden Jews; he's brilliant as a man who's brilliant, and if he's not nominated for an Oscar, it's only because this movie isn't, as I've said, for everyone. Remember Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List? In his way, Waltz is even scarier.
Me, I think this is Tarantino's best film since Pulp Fiction, but I'm a fan. I suspect that if you are, too, you'll appreciate the ultra-violence goodness in Inglorious Basterds. And if you don't, well, scalping dead Nazis probably isn't your thing.
Casi Divas: The first entry of this year's Cinema en tu Idioma from the San Diego Latino Film Festival is a musical comedy about four Mexican women setting out to become big stars. It plays one week at the UltraStar Mission Valley.
Cold Souls: Paul Giamatti plays a distraught actor named, um, Paul Giamatti who decides to have his soul extracted in order to play the title role in Uncle Vanya. Giamatti is terrific, and the film is nicely shot and entirely unique.
Maya Inaugural Film Series: This new seven-part traveling Latino film series will run one week. See Page 15 for details.
Post Grad: Foxy Alexis Bledel moves back home after she graduates college.
Shorts: Kid finds a magical wishing rock. Not surprisingly, grownups want to steal it.
Thirst: A Catholic priest becomes a vampire in this anti-Twilight movie from Park Chan-wook, the brilliant Korean director of Oldboy. See our review on Page 23.
X-Games 3D: The Movie: Read title, understand. Plays one week.
One Time Only
North Shore: Semi-classic surf / summer romance flick screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Young Frankenstein: Guess which summer film series is putting on this Mel Brooks classic? Oh, right—all of them. Still, who doesn't love the mad scientist Gene Wilder / monster Peter Boyle team-up for “Puttin' on the Ritz”? Screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, at Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free.
Rad!: This cheesy BMX flick from 1986 will go great with cocktails and the money you give to the San Diego Mountain Bike Association. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Ken Club. Save a buck by riding to the show.
Plan 9 From Outer Space with Rifftrax Live: Mike Nelson and the other Rifftrax'ers offer live running commentary to the worst movie ever. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at AMC Mission Valley, Horton Plaza, and Edwards Mira Mesa. Tickets at www.fathomevents.com.
Casablanca: Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into his. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla. Wine will be served.
Funny Face: It's tough to go wrong with Audrey Hepburn or Fred Astaire and even tougher when they're together. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Free with museum admission.
People Will Talk: Cary Grant is a gynecologist and university professor trying to sort out why Jeanne Crain is suicidal while staying two steps ahead of his professional nemesis. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 20 and 21, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Avatar Day: Almost 15 minutes of footage from James Cameron's epic 3-D sci-fi movie, which opens in December, will be screened. Check www.avatarmovie.com to see if tickets are still available.
Bedtime Stories: The tales Adam Sandler tells his niece and nephew start coming true. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, at Market Creek Plaza in Encanto. Free.
The World According to Monsanto: Takes a hard look at the multinational food corporation and its plans to rule the world. Screens at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest. Free.
Best of 48-Hour Film Project: Last weekend, dozens of participants spread out across San Diego for a two-day filmmaking binge. This is the best of what they came up with. Starts 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at UltraStar Hazard Center.
Seabiscuit: Chris Cooper won an Oscar as the taciturn trainer of the legendary horse. Also stars Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges. Screens at dusk, Saturday, Aug. 22, at Harbor Square in Liberty Station. Free.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: The sequel to Raiders is woefully underrated. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22 and 23, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Enchanted: Sure, it's cheesy, but Amy Adams is terrific as the Disney princess stuck in a parody of Disney-princess movies. Screens at dusk, Saturday, Aug. 22, at San Elijo Park in San Marcos. Free.
Harold and Maude: Film editor Anders Wright's favorite movie. Bud Cort's a young serial suicider. Ruth Gordon's old and all about life. And they fall for each other. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Steven Spielberg offers up some friendly aliens, a nice little tune and a mountain made out of mashed potatoes. Screens at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, at the Whistle Stop in South Park. Free.
Play the Game: Presented by the San Diego Jewish Film Fest, this one's about a young pick-up artist who opens his bag of tricks for his elderly grandfather. Screens at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, at the Jewish Community Center in La Jolla.
The Deep: A young couple in Bermuda finds a wrecked ship and some angry treasure hunters. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Tk8 Last Ride: The latest surf film from Josh Pomer features high-profile wave-cutter Tom Curren, who will also appear with his band. Doors open at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with Rifftrax: The most recent sequel to Raiders is woefully bad. But at least it'll be accompanied by Rifftrax's running commentary. Screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free.
Ponyo: The new movie from legendary Japanese animator Miyazaki is gorgeous, good for kids and a nice break from the standard CGI cartoons we see today.
Adam: Hugh Dancy is the title character, a New Yorker with Asperger's syndrome who's charming enough to get together with his new neighbor, Rose Byrne.
Bandslam: What's the best way to make a movie about high-school-age fledgling rockers? Include High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens and a battle of the bands.
District 9: This terrifically fun Peter Jackson-produced sci-fi flick has two messages. One, discrimination sucks. Two, alien guns rule.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard: Jeremy Piven and crew are brought in to save a Temecula auto dealership from bankruptcy through intense liquidation and R-rated comedy.
Lorna's Silence: A young Albanian woman offers to marry into the Belgian underworld in the hopes of gaining citizenship.
The Time Traveler's Wife: Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams star in the massively delayed adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's sci-fi romance.
The Cove: This documentary about secret dolphin fishing in Japan is tough to watch, but it's definitely worth watching.
A Perfect Getaway: Everything would be going great for newlywed couple Steve Zahn and Mila Jovovich, except someone on their island paradise is murdering newlywed couples.
Captain Abu Raed: When a group of boys mistake an airport janitor for a pilot, he doesn't exactly set them straight.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: It was only a matter of time.
Julie & Julia: Meryl Streep is Julia Child, and Amy Adams is her biggest fan, Julie Powell, who got through life with the help of Child's My Life in France.
Paper Heart: It's hard to define this little movie, which finds Charlyne Yi traveling the country and interviewing people in the hopes of finding out the meaning of love. She complements it with serious puppet shows, and she and former boyfriend Michael Cera re-enact their relationship for the cameras. Yes. Weird.
Aliens in the Attic: Aliens neglect to ensure that their mind-control ray works on meddling kids. It's unclear why said children fail to welcome our new alien overlords.
Funny People: Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen star in Jud Apatow's latest. Sandler's a comedian who thinks he might be dying; Rogen's the protégé he takes under his wing.
In the Loop: This crafty, satirical look at the methods behind the run-up to the Iraq war works because it—accurately—portrays people at every level of government as being average people, which means they're often self-involved, vicious and narcissistic.
Shrink: Kevin Spacey is the shrink, a Hollywood guru in a downward spiral of unhappy pot smoking, unable to look after the patients who turn to him for help.
G-Force: Animated guinea pigs save the world, destroy the art of filmmaking.
Orphan: Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga totally pick the scary kid at the orphanage.
The Ugly Truth: Actually, the ugly truth is that this Katherine Heigl / Gerard Butler romcom looks really stupid.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The latest entry in the Potter franchise is terrific summer entertainment, but only if you're already a fan.
(500) Days of Summer: A terrific film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It's a date movie, sure, but be forewarned, this is a break-up story and not a standard love story.
Brüno: In his follow-up to Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen proves that Paula Abdul is a moron, Ron Paul is woefully out of touch, and ignorant, homophobic crackers are ignorant, homophobic crackers.
The Hurt Locker: Kathryn Bigelow's tense new film focuses on an Iraq unit that specializes in defusing bombs. Well-made, well-written and well-acted—not what you expect for an summer action movie.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: In one of the last summer blockbusters of the year, giant robots blow shit up.
Food, Inc.: A documentary about how fucked-up the food system is in this country. Pass the buttered popcorn.
Moon: Director Duncan Jones delivers an impressive debut, and Sam Rockwell gives one of his best performances to date as a lonely miner on the far side of the moon whose entire worldview changes after he finds a body out on the surface.
The Proposal: Ryan Reynolds is Sandra Bullock's assistant. She pushes him into a marriage of convenience (at least for her), but we're guessing it sticks.
The Hangover: They cut a good trailer for Todd Phillips' new film, about three buddies—Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis—who wake up the morning after a brutal bachelor party with no memory of what happened or where the groom is.
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Space Theater: After undergoing significant renovations, the Fleet is re-opening its dome Imax theater, complete with a kick-ass new screen. Films vary week-to-week. Showtimes and prices can be found at www.rhfleet.org.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: No, it's not a time warp—the love-it-or-hate-it camp classic continues its midnight run in its 37th year of release. When the lead character of the film is a transvestite scientist named Dr. Frank-N-Furter, you know you're in for some seriously trashy viewing. And, of course, this is the one movie where you want the audience shouting at the screen. Screens Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theater in Encinitas.