Thursday, May 21, 2009

The buzz on Tarantino's 'Basterds'

Few films have been more eagerly anticipated than Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," which features a star turn by Brad Pitt and an intentional misspelling of its title, borrowed from a 1978 Italian WWII film by Enzo G. Castellari. Tarantino's movie, which debuted Wednesday in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, seems to be receiving wildly mixed reviews from the world's critics. Obviously, I haven't seen "Inglourious Basterds" yet, but I offer links to three Cannes reviews -- one from Variety, one from The Hollywood Reporter and one from The Guardian. Reaction in the so-called blogosphere seems generally positive with several over-the-top expressions of enthusiasm.

Reviews aside, nothing about the trailer dampened my enthusiasm for the movie, which finds Tarantino taking on Hitler and his Nazi hordes. Anticipation doesn't always translate into appreciation. Still, I wish that Tarantino hadn't taken his movie to Cannes, but had allowed it to reach his fans without benefit (or possibly hindrance) of festival buzz. But Tarantino evidently loves Cannes. He headed a jury at the festival five years ago, and won the prestigious Palm d'Or for "Pulp Fiction" in 1994.

One thing seems clear, though, "Inglourious Basterds" won't satisfy those who are looking for historical accuracy. It may, however, be just what the doctor ordered for those seeking a revenge fantasy from a director with an immoderate and undisguised love of movies. Stay tuned: "Inglourious Basterds" is slated for Aug. 21 release.

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