Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds” (2009).

Sep 06 2009 Published by Benito Vergara under review

Inglourious Basterds

There was a time, back in 1994 when Pulp Fiction came out, when I just couldn’t shut up about Quentin Tarantino. In a fit of movie giddiness, I had seen Pulp Fiction on the big screen maybe three times the month it opened; I owned the Faber & Faber editions of his screenplays; I had the posters on the wall; I had memorized the entire “dick dick dick dick dick dick dick” monologue — easy to do, since I owned the soundtracks both on cassette and CD. I owned Reservoir Dogs (1992) on VHS, DVD, HD-DVD (a Belgian import), and Blu-Ray. Even now, I can still tell you when I saw his films, which theaters I saw them in, and who I saw them with. One year my ex and I even dressed up as Vincent and Mia for Halloween.

You might say, correctly, that I was smitten. I loved his films’ explosive profanity, their bursts of violence, the way the narrative swung back and forth with flashbacks within flashbacks, the way Uma Thurman draws a square in the air, the way Tim Roth picks up his wedding ring and hesitates. But people were celebrating Tarantino for being a bad boy and breaking the rules long before I had any conception of what those rules were. Such Paulettesque movie-love, prior to my picking up all the other cinematic references, real or imagined, in Tarantino’s films. Before I knew better, one might say, but that would be going too far.

All this, as the reader would have figured out by now, is a preamble to a confession of inevitable disappointment. I’ve seen and re-watched all his other films, of course, and all those stylistic flourishes which I once found cool  — thrown in just because, even if they go nowhere — I now found gimmicky and distracting, even irritating. But unlike in a real-life amorous relationship — where you used to love the way she used to tuck her hair behind her ear, before it started unaccountably getting on your nerves — Pulp Fiction didn’t change; I did. “It’s not you; it’s me.”

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Movie Roundup.

Aug 25 2008 Published by Benito Vergara under notes

1. No time to write a real write-up, but Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse is up there with Bong Joon-ho’s The Host (and Philip Gröning’s Into Great Silence) as one of my favorites this year so far.

(And in case anyone wanted to know: QT’s was better than RR’s. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Eli Roth’s “preview” for Thanksgiving was better than Planet Terror. And indeed I’ll go out on another limb and say that Death Proof is probably Tarantino’s best work since Pulp Fiction. It’s a structural marvel, plus Tarantino lets his characters simply luxuriate in the pleasures of the rhythm of simple conversation. Words, speed and metal — yeah.)

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Movie Roundup!

Aug 19 2008 Published by Benito Vergara under notes

- Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill
Finally got to see both parts in one sitting, and it was well worth the wait. It isn’t Reservoir Dogs, but it’s certainly his most entertaining film so far, with no apologies for his film-geekery. But now I’d like to see his next flick be a little more original.

- Georges Franju’s Eyes without a Face
Seen this amazing movie a couple of times before, and the newly-minted Criterion edition blows the murky video version (from Kino?) out of the water. (The scene when the nurse looks up to see the plane in the cloudy night sky is finally clearer, and I still don’t know what it means.) As for extras, there’s the surreally beautiful The Blood of Beasts, but I can’t imagine seeing it more than once: it’s a documentary about abattoirs in post-World War II Paris. The gorgeous shots of the city rival Atget’s (but the shots of decapitated lambs, well…).

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