August 20, 2009

Inglourious Cat-dudes

I figure we should dedicate a talkback to Inglourious Basterds (Walter's review of which is now live), but since today also happens to correspond with the online debut of the trailer for James Cameron's Avatar, let's kill two birds with one stone.

Since there isn't an ideal embed for the Avatar preview yet, allow me to send you to Apple's site, where you can watch it in HD.

At the risk of passing premature judgments--looks pretty goofy. My favourite shot in the trailer is the one I've capped at the top of this post, just because of the expression on the guy in the background. It's ineffably...human. From there it all seems a little too console-ready to me, but I have a weird, perhaps misplaced, faith in Cameron and will no doubt see it in IMAX as hype-prescribed.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

*** SPOILER ***

Lingering question from IG - why does Quentin have Shosanna die? And at the precise moment that she does die?

Nate said...

Misplaced faith? The guy has yet to fail in my opinion, though I realize not everyone shares my appreciation for Titanic. Anyway, the Avatar trailer is impressive because I can't really tell where the live action ends and the CGI begins, and I can only hope this effect is multiplied in 3D. In other words, fingers crossed...

Bill C said...

For me the "misplaced faith" crack was more based on those terrible IMAX documentaries he made about fish and such, and TRUE LIES is sort of appalling in the rearview. And while I don't hate TITANIC, it's not because I think it's well-written!

Patrick said...

Have yet to see Inglorious Basterds, but I'm very happy that after Til "absence of talent" Schweiger and Diane Kruger, you Americans finally get so see a good German actor, and happy that Christoph Ganz, who first made a splash here with a glorious TV miniseries about an undercover cop losing himself to the allure of the mob, is getting his dues.

DaveA said...

Basterds: Haven't seen it yet, and I know Tarantino is a genius when it comes to casting, but I just can't imagine how he got acceptable performances by this cast. Diane Kruger? Til Schweiger? Daniel Brühl? Especially this German cast is just a huge turnoff for me (Full Disclosure: I'm German).

Avatar: The effects - I'm not sure. Maybe it looks great in IMAX 3D, but with 1080p it's underwhelming. I can't imagine how anyone can have problems detecting the real actors from the CGI, and it's very distracting. The navi design (na'avi? whatever...) seems to be aimed at teenage girls, and the last shot in the trailer with its Ethno-Kitsch is plain hilarious.

DaveA said...

Patrick:

There's Bruno Ganz, and Christoph Waltz, and both are not German (which is probably why they can actually act). :-)

schnofel said...

Why did Cameron feel a need to remake Final Fantasy? The Wolfman looks much better.

Ian Pugh said...

Anon: Another casualty of war--and war heroism, for that matter. You can't stew hatred for years and expect a moment of knee-jerk sympathy to go unpunished.

Patrick said...

DaveA: Nonsense! Speaking German = being German!

Honestly, I didn't know that about Waltz, though I could have suspected from his accent.

I don't want to be left with Kruger and Schweiger, though.

Anonymous said...

@patrick: Waltz is excellent, as is Brühl. Diane Kruger fills her schoes, so to speak and Schweiger does not matter. Like, at all (he's hardly permitted to speak ..)

Go see it in its claustrophobic glory - even the scenes outside feel airless.

And looking forward to Avatar, too.

Patrick said...

In the interest off full disclosure, I don't know anymore where I saw Waltz for the first time. I looked it up and, even though I was convinced it was him, it actually was Stefan Kurt who played the "Shattenmann" (man in the shadows) I was talking about. I still remember Waltz in these scenes, but that just goes to show how bad human memory can be. Sorry. He's still a good actor, though.

Bill C said...

If I recall correctly, Tarantino first saw Waltz in a "German soap opera"--which could mean anything, given how reductive the newswire tends to be.

DaveA said...

I think Waltz is still best known in Germany from a TV biopic he did in the 90s, about a very popular German schlager singer. Before you ask: Yes, I remembered him from that one, too. You may hold that against me, but man, that was 13 years ago; you just couldn't escape it. Waltz can also sing pretty well, actually.

simonsays2 said...

Avatar - Some recognizable elements from Aliens, some Terminator and the obvious showcase for his new technology. The 'photo-realistic CGI' blue meanies look stiff but I'll wait to offer an opinion after the debut considering it's the same folks that brought us LOTR & King Kong. IMO the best effects in film this decade.

Inglourious Basterds - Walt's glowing review reinforces the weekend itinerary. Have a good one FFC.

Jefferson Robbins said...

I look at those blue things and for some reason I think of Kangaroo Jack.

B said...

Tank Girl. That's the kangaroo connection.

jer fairall said...

***THIS***

is not a spoiler. Particularly for a film that hadn't even opened yet.

Nyarlathotep said...

Really, really not feeling the Avatar trailer. My punny prediction? Box office peace in the uncanny valley.

Kyle Puetz said...

Okay, since nobody's talking about Inglourious Basterds, I've got a question re: Funny People. What's with all the boom mikes? At first, I thought it might laziness, but their ubiquity throughout the movie has to be intentional. Is it a comment upon the public nature of Sandler's life? A fourth wall break that brings to light the artifice of Apatow's onscreen soul searching? WTF?

By the by, Inglourious Basterds was genuinely upsetting.

Alex Jackson said...

*** SPOILER ***

Lingering question from IG - why does Quentin have Shosanna die? And at the precise moment that she does die?


I think this has something to do with the fact that the Basterds don't die or at least aren't killed. And that they only speak one language-- English. Shoshana's death has pathos and tragedy. Like most of the Europeans in the film she is living a double life. She is living a lie. She has a secret. The Basterds are basically saying: cut the bullshit and just say what you're going to say, do what you're gonna do. They're cartoons. Soulless two-dimension cartoons. Crudely pragmatic and unwilling or incapable of developing even the rudimentary stirrings of guilt or remorse. You know, that would require some kind of introspection and intellecualism that the American Basterds don't have the inclination to drudge up. The film is saying that that's a virtue. That's what America, American style revenge in particular, has to offer the world.

The best way to view the film may very well be as a subversive celebration of Bush-ism.

Bill C said...

@Kyle: If you're seeing boom mikes in FUNNY PEOPLE, it's the projectionist. It's just one of many films framed for 1.85:1 projection but shot at 1.33:1, leaving a "safe" area for boom mikes and the like. The idea is that movie theatres are supposed to matte this stuff out, but with the dissolution of the projectionist's union the image doesn't always get vertically aligned according to specs. That's one advantage of digital projection: no fussing with the frameline, since all the matting's been done for you.

DJR said...

Since Tarantino is the topic, how about an appreciation for the scripts he wrote but didn't direct? I know Stone wrote half of Natural Born Killers, but that movie is seriously a marvel to watch, while a revisiting of From Dusk Till Dawn tonight reminded me of how incredibly fun that movie is, easily the best work Rodriguez has directed, and while True Romance suffers from some seriously generic direction courtesy of Tony Scott, it still has some great set pieces and works as fantasy wish-fullfilment. Nevertheless, I wonder what Tarantino may have done with these scripts.

Kyle Puetz said...

Haha, thanks, Bill. I recall noticing something was up in the credits sequence -- some of the names were cut off. So I figured the projectionist had done something wrong but failed to connect that with the boom mikes hanging over the characters like omnipresent sprites.

Patrick said...

I love the way the Aliens look in Avatar.

Finally saw Basterds. It's not perfect, and I didn't enjoy the scenes with only the basterds in them, funnily enough. Might have been because while the film kept the French intact, it changed English to German, and you didn't get accents nor could you discern when German or English were spoken. Which hurt two scenes, but one in particular. »You speak funny.« – »No, I don't.«

I did enjoy Daniel Brühl – thankfully not his usual role – and a lot of other German faces in there. Mèlanie Laurent was okay, but I wonder if Marion Cotillard wouldn't have been a better choice for this complex and central role; sometimes it seemed Laurent just closed off and portrayed "dislike" and that's it. Of course, that was in the scene with Waltz, and in a scene with Waltz, everyone seemed kind of flat. The disappointment Landa showed when Aldo didn't respect him as much as he had hoped, or the way he ate that cake, or... absolutely astonishing.

And I still didn't enjoy what happened to him at the end. Too much casual sadism, much as with Eli Roth's baseball scene. Roth, by the way, should not be in front of another camera. Maybe only if the other choice was Diane Kruger, who I wanted to strangle much earlier than when Waltz took revenge for German cinema. She really tried – and almost succeeded - to ruin all of her scenes, beginning from the moment she shows up through the tense scene in the tavern, the interrogation by Aldo and finally her meeting Landa at the cinema. I almost shouted at the screen to make her shut up.

Also, David Bowie did not fit for that moment. At. All. Nice images, bad music – and I'd never thought I'd say that about Tarantino.

So, some letdowns, some great moments. I enjoyed the theme of myths throughout with the nicknames and the second film and all that, though of course Tarantino both celebrates cinema as "face of Jewish Wrath" and shows us Nazis applauding to their own action film. And ending on Rayne's »I think I made a masterwork« – no, you didn't.

Probably because of the quasi-historical background, you may be able to discuss this film the most of Tarantino's work, but it's definitely not his best. I mean, Mike Meyers? But the tension of the first scene, or the tavern scene despite Kruger, and the cinema scene are wonderful, up to and including Hitler's fate, casual sadism be damned.

Patrick said...

Have you seen Tarantino's top 20 of the last 17 years?
Makes me want to watch the one's I haven't seen because I agree so much with him, certainly on Unbreakable, less so on Team America. That would be:

Anything Else
Audition
Blade (not Snipes)
Dazed & Confused
Fridays
Joint Security Area
Memories of Murder
Police Story 3 (I've probably seen it, but now I want to rewatch that one)

Kyle Puetz said...

Joint Security Area is a surprisingly humanist and warm effort from Park Chan-Wook with one of the most enduring final images I've ever seen. Too bad it's unnecessarily structured as a detective story. Frankly, I'm surprised Tarantino didn't go with anything from Park Chan-Wook's Vengeance trilogy instead.

Memories of Murder is probably my favorite of Tarantino's picks, a great seriocomic companion piece to Zodiac that likewise comments on the price of obsession and the insatiable desire for knowledge that can never come to pass. Directed by the guy who did The Host, too.

Daniel said...

Patrick: "Might have been because while the film kept the French intact, it changed English to German, and you didn't get accents nor could you discern when German or English were spoken."


What on earth does this mean?

Patrick said...

In the original, as far as I know the actors speak German, French and English (and a little Italian).

In the dubbed version, German is still German, French is French. But where in the original English would be spoken, we now hear accent-free German, as well. So as a viewer, I don't even know which scenes were filmed in English or in German, because to me, both sound the same. It's not even denoted with an "Allo, Allo"-style accent.

I don't know if it made a difference because I don't know whether there was some language switching between English and German. I do know that when an undercover agent is discovered because he's supposed to have an accent or a funny way of speaking German, it did not sound that funny to me because there was no accent.

I hope that's clearer.

Justin B-H said...

Idle thoughts on Avatar-that trailer with its absence of dialogue and reliance on visual "shock and awe" reminded me of nothing so much as the Phantom Menace teaser trailer. Here's hoping the film itself doesn't warrant further comparison.

Also - whoever designed the alien world has seen way too many Roger Dean album covers...

Patrick said...

So I had the fortune of catching a Basterds screening in the original version. Maybe it was seeing it for the second time, or the slightly different language, but I enjoyed it more this time around.

In the dub, the first scene with Landa and the Frenchman is in French and German, not French and English, and though that doesn't make that much a difference in the dub you did get the feeling of the actors' lips and their dialogue not being synchronous. What's more, when Pitt interviews the German kid after Roth beat the officer to death, in the dub Pitt calls over another Basterd to basically ask the same questions twice, where now it became clear to me Pitt's speaking English and the other guy translates. That improved the scene because I wasn't wondering what the second guy talking was all about – I had initially assumed something like giving everyone a speaking part.

Si said...

I couldn't write Daniel Bruhl off entirely - "Goodbye, Lenin!" was close to excellent. (Anybody else here actually like it? I know Travis gave it a very good review while he was still writing here.)

Nor could I write off Diane Kruger, she did just fine. No, no complaints about the Basterds cast from me whatsoever. Waltz and Laurent are the obvious standouts.

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