HippoJuice News Archives from August 2009:
Brad Pitt is a Basterd.
Quentin Tarantino likes making genre films that other people are afraid to make. I'm not talking about a film exploring domestic violence and the triumph that is to be a woman. I'm talking about making a nazi film without filling it with the emotionally charged baggage of the jews escaping Auschwitz. The movie is not completely historically accurate, but you are supposed to be watching a movie, not the history channel. When he makes a hack and slash flick, this is exactly what is to be expected ten fold. Just as in how Japanese Chanbara films were exploited in Kill Bill, the spaghetti western style is exploited to the fullest in Inglourious Basterds.
What really makes this work is how BIG it is: the violence is big; the audacity is big. The spaghetti western vibe for much of the style, dialogue and performances is wonderfully over the top without descending too far into the cartoon quality of Kill Bill. Even though Inglourious Basterds is not considered low budget, it has cheap blood effects and shows the mix of French, Italian and American names typical of spaghetti westerns. The last line said by Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) is "This might be my masterpiece," which is probably a cocky message from Tarantino himself.
Brad Pitt is a fast-talking, thickly accented, vengeance-driven hillbilly from Maynardville, Tennessee. He bears a rope burn on his neck, the history of which is not mentioned in the film (typical spaghetti western style); the script hints that he might have survived a lynching. The character has been described as "a voluble, freewheeling outlaw" similar to Jules Winnefield from Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. His first appearance in the film is a subtle homage to George Carlin's The Indian Sergeant routine. The character's name is a tribute to the character actor Aldo Ray, who appeared as a tough soldier in many WWII films such as Battle Cry and What Did You Do In The War Daddy? When you think of an actor playing a tough commanding officer, Brad Pitt doesn't really come to mind. When I first heard of the role, I pictured an actor like Mickey Rourke. However, Pitt is very big and commanding on screen, looking like he knows how to kill someone with a ball point pen - and is still very fuckable.
Lets take a moment and talk about how badass Eli Roth is in Inglourious Basterds. Eli Roth (the director of Hostel and other successful horror films) packed on a few pounds and sported a thick Boston accent to play the role of the "Jew Bear." In his final years (1993/1994) at NYU film school, Roth wrote and directed a student film called Restaurant Dogs as an homage to Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. The film was nominated for a Student Academy Award in 1995, and won its division (Division III.). No matter what success Eli has achieved, I'm sure working with one of his inspirations and idols was very surreal.
Christoph Waltz and Melanie Laurent are sensational and I expect to see both a lot more in the future. Tarantino has clearly not lost his eye for casting. Unlike Death Proof, who's cast who was suppose to stick out like the casting department ran out of money, this cast fits perfectly and even Mike Myers blends in well. No one stands out too much: just like most of Tarantino's films, there is no main character because all of the stories are connected.
With great acting and camera techniques, and tense dialogue drawn out on purpose, Inglourious Basterds marks the end for the summer blockbusters and a triumphant return to great film-making. Tarantino gave me sheer exuberant fun and brilliance. ALL HAIL INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS!
Last night, thanks to AintItCool.com, HippoJuice saw a special screening of the movie District 9 in the Aventura AMC Theater, followed by a Q&A session with the director, Neill Blomkamp, and actor Sharlto Copley.
This is the type of movie that will either do extremely well in the box office this weekend, or flop. People either love these documentary-style SciFi movies or hate them. Me personally? I thought the entire movie was fantastic! And so did the rest of the theater; there was lots of clapping.
Neill Blomkamp said he specifically limited his movie budget to $30 million dollars (VERY cheap for this kind of movie) to make sure the "creativity" wasn't lost. That was a good judgment call on his part because this movie was not lacking in creativity and interest.
District 9 is one of those movies that gets people talking after they've seen it. HippoJuice had to have a full alien movie conversation immediately following the Q&A session. The funny thing is, even though I'm sure people will take a whole lot of meaning out of the plots and subplots (mainly about race and segregation), Blomkamp really just wanted to make a SciFi movie in his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. That's it.
And the South African landscape couldn't have been a better backdrop for the movie. The harsh lighting and lack of vivid colors aids the CGI aliens and effects in grounding themselves in reality. Just like in video games like Halo (Neill Blomkamp was working with Peter Jackson on a Halo movie for 5 months before Fox pulled the plug on it) or Gears of War who tend to use sepia tones to make the effects look more realistic, the scenes are all dusty brown with hazy skies. The aliens never once looked out of place.
The most impressive part of the movie are the effects that were produced on such a small budget. Neill said he used tricks to get the CGI design work done faster, like base the alien bodies off of everyday bugs instead of trying to imagine some otherworldly creature that would have taken designers time to tweak to get just right. He was also tweaking the explosions all the way through the movie - his most perfect human explosion comes at the very end. Blomkamp felt the first few explosions he saw were more like nuclear blasts than gun shots.
I cannot write an article without talking about the star of the movie, and also a great concept thinker behind the whole idea, Sharlto Copley, who played Wikus Van De Merwe. In a style that can be described as "The Office," the movie starts out with Copley as an awkward office employee bumbling to put on his lapel microphone and show you around the building. Copley was actually the director for the concept short film that started the movie:
Copley's acting in District 9 was due to his help in the short film and knowing the character. Neill Blomkamp used him in some concept shots and decided Copley was so good that he needed to be the star. Neill told the audience last night that Copley is South Africa's Borat when it comes to creating a character and immersing himself in it. We were told that he is in fact a very funny person. We got hints of that in the movie - although there weren't many jokes, his awkward actions are humorous and endearing.
Overall, District 9 is a fantastic movie. It made me think, it made me almost puke, and it left me wanting more. If you like alien invasion movies, SciFi movies, or just documentary style fiction movies, you will enjoy Distric 9.
And I want to give a special thanks to AintItCool.com for the screening.
I think we have all gotten to a point where no one knows or cares what people are writing anymore because everyone makes up their own shortcut texting / messaging code:
And lets not forget the famous reading test:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. ceehiro.
I have the problem where my mind and fingers move too fast for the spelling part of my brain to catch up. I'll find myself making typos everywhere and not even see them because my eye is trained not to read correctly, but to just keep up. I'm in twitter, chat rooms, instant message windows, websites, blogs, emails, etc. all day long. If I see something I misspelled (that is, if I even notice it at all), feel the need to correct myself. Heaven forbid people think I'm not smart and can't type good! But does it matter anymore? Do people even care? WTF? OMG! lol.
I get things sent to me all the time with typos and grammatical errors. I'm about 85% sure people stopped caring about looking like they know what they're saying. No, wait, 87% sure. And I know everyone FREAKS out if there isn't a spell check watching their every move. How do you spell reiterate? Reeiterate? Reatearat? Re.... restate. You'll rework the whole sentence because you're too lazy to look it up. What do I do? I just Google the word and the search results tell me if I'm being an ass hole.
Yes, I'm still OCD enough to try to find the right spelling, and I correct myself if I noticed I typed something wrong (and even apologize for it! "Oh, I'm sorry, did I say "fergot"? I meant "forgot!") but should I even bother.
Sometimes the typo can lead to a good laugh because the typo is actually another word. "Can you fake it? (should have been "Can you make it?") Those are what I like to call typo gems, and are even better in inappropriate situations (like a boss sending that to a secretary - ummm, what sir?). Stupid spell check can't save you from that embarrassment.
Even funnier, stand over someone's shoulders and watch them as they try to write something up. You'll find they'll make 30% more typos than usual, and you can feel big about yourself as you point them all out.
The more you point them out, the harder they will try to type. Most amusing.
I'm sure I'm one of the few left who still care at all.
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