I recently saw Inglourious Basterds and thought it was great (8/10). It could've been better by giving the Basterds more screen time and could have had more over-the-top action, but the dialogue and acting were top notch. For a 2 1/2 hr. movie that's driven intensively by dialogue, it went by like a breeze. Off the top of my head, only Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown are better than Basterds. Tarantino is still a master of taking rather old ideas and piecing them together into new ones.
I've been using my generous holiday break catching up on movies, old and new. So, here I go:Valkyrie - 6/10.
I didn't know the full story about the July 20 plot, but for the most part, this film seemed like a faithful portrayal of the last assassination plot on Hitler. That said, it wasn't as thrilling as I would have hoped and I thought it could have been developed better. I'm sure Stauffenberg was an insightful and interesting fellow, but Tom Cruise is robotic, for lack of a better term, in playing to character. It was a safe film in its accuracy, but should've had more substance.Monty Python's Life of Brian - 10/10.
It's something of a personal Christmas tradition to watch Life of Brian. I've probably stated that this is one of, if not, the greatest comedies of all time and I don't think I need to go further into review here.Monty Python's The Meaning of Life - 8/10.
Of the three Python films, this was more of an acquired taste to like this film, let alone to put it on the level of Life of Brian or The Holy Grail. It still has its brilliant laugh-out-loud moments and is a worthy addition here.District 9 - 8.5/10.
One of the better sci-fi films to come out in recent memory (alright, that and JJ Abrams' Star Trek). Unlike what a number of critics have put down in their reviews of this film, I thought the action scenes were fantastic and accentuated the film well. I suppose they were expecting more out of this than the Summer blockbuster route of exploding things and shooting them up, but it's still better than the average Summer blockbuster by a good bit. A fun night's entertainment, even if it was meant to be held as something of a political statement film.North By Northwest - 9/10.
My favorite Alfred Hitchcock film. It's not quite his best, but it's also his easiest film to dive into. The film has a brisk, quirky flow about it but still manages to be as suspenseful as it is playful and over the top. It's a complex, otherwise well-presented cat-and-mouse adventure. BTW, the transfer on the Blu-Ray for NBN is fantastic, as expected.Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance - 8.5/10.
It's unlike me to play a rather morbid, depressing movie like this on the Holidays, but when you have a loudmouth cousin who brags about having a strong stomach for any kind of gory film, that's asking for trouble. Unfortunately for him and my other cousins there, I have a deep library of gorefest movies. I thought of showing this one when I remembered suggesting it to someone on the Lightside when he reviewed Oldboy, another film directed by Chan-Wook Park, on their movies thread.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a Korean film, part of Chan-Wook Park's Vengeance Trilogy (Oldboy and Lady Vengeance are the others), and the long and short of it is it's a Korean take on a Shakespearean tragedy. There's absolutely no redeeming value, as it's all about folks with good intentions doing horrible things in the end, which lead to their downfalls. For my personal taste, it's not ultraviolent, but it's not for the squeamish either because it is quite gruesome. However, I'll say the violence is one, restrained and two, it serves as a purpose to develop the main characters and story well. I assure you that you'll walk away from this film disturbed by a good deal.Ichi The Killer - 8/10.
As if that's not gory enough, Ichi The Killer is a bloodbath. Let's say it makes Hostel seem like a kickabout at Disneyland. In fact, odds enough, the trailer might be enough to make you puke if you're squeamish. Anyhow, this is one of my favorite over-the-top gorefests with a Yakuza backdrop. I don't find this movie to be that sickening because the violence is rather ridiculous and things like the odd music assignment to the scenes, are worth a chuckle. Beyond the gore, it actually has a pretty good story albeit a bit perplexing.Audition - 8.5/10.
This is a horror film directed by Takashi Miike (the same lad who directed Ichi) and while it's not like the conventional horror film, it's a reasonable story that's well built up. Not as violent as Ichi, but more emotionally disturbing than Ichi.Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut - 9/10.
I got this as a Christmas present and a rather thoughtful one at that. Basically, this is the Director's Cut interspersed with scenes from the Tales of the Black Freighter animation. The director's cut is good enough if you're not a Watchmen fan, but really, the reward is the motion comic.Blade Runner: The Final Cut - 10/10.
This is Blade Runner without the Harrison Ford voiceover and a few scene modifications and it's bloody brilliant. The original cut of BR is great in its own right, but this is a classic. I also have the Workprint on this 5-disc Blu-Ray. I've yet to see that, but I'm looking forward to it.