Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?
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If you’ve seen more than one movie by Quentin Tarantino, then you’ve surely noticed his signature POV trunk shot. The shot even has its own wikipedia page (take that Scorsese Squeeze!). Here is the background from wiki:
The Trunk shot is a camera angle used in cinema when one or more characters need to retrieve something or someone from the trunk of a car. … This camera angle is often noted to be the trademark of film maker Quentin Tarantino who disputes that he puts the shot in his films as a trademark and simply asks “Where would you put the camera?” Although he did not invent it, Tarantino popularized the trunk shot, which is featured in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, and Kill Bill. In Death Proof, Tarantino’s traditional shot looking up at the actors from the trunk of a car is replaced by one looking up from under the hood. In Inglourious Basterds a “trunk shot” is used two times when Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) crouches over a captured Nazi with one of his soldiers, cutting a swastika into their victim’s forehead (the shot is supposed to be the victim’s point of view).
After the jump you can see an image that collects all of Tarantino’s Trunk Shots. It first appeared on Reddit but has been making its way around the interwebs yesterday.
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Worth 1000 is famous for their photoshop contests. Their latest, Mate a Movie 15, asks graphic artists to take two or more movies, and combine them to make one much funnier movie. I’ve included some of my favorites after the jump, most of which have some play on Avatar.
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Quentin Tarantino, Upper Playground and The Weinstein Company have teamed up to present, The Lost Art of Inglourious Basterds — a benefit for Haiti this Thurday, February 18th 2010 from 6:00-9:00pm in Downtown Los Angeles. A bunch of artists have created their own posters based on Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. You can check out eleven of the thirteen posters after the jump. The event will be held at The Upper Playground Art Gallery, and all proceeds from this program will be donated to The American Red Cross to help the victims of the Haiti Earthquake. Each print will be numbered and signed by Quentin Tarantino, in a extremely limited edition of only six prints per poster. More details in a press release, after the jump.
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The nominations for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards have been released, and there are a few small and pleasant surprises in the list. The list of ten films nominated for Best Picture is causing some sensation, as District 9 is among the group. Lest that make you too hopeful, The Blind Side also got a Best Picture nod, though after the success of that film in the past two months that isn’t much of a surprise. Audible cheers went up among the media audience when that and Sandra Bullock‘s Best Actress nomination were announced.
There are some good small surprises: Woody Harrelson got a Best Supporting Actor nod for his excellent work in The Messenger; Joel and Ethan Coen got a Best Original Screenplay nod for A Serious Man and their film is up for Best Picture; and Jeremy Renner got a Best Actor nod for The Hurt Locker. As expected, James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow both have Best Director Nominations, and their films Avatar and The Hurt Locker are competing for Best Picture. The full list of noms is after the break. Read More »
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After the past six weeks, there’s no surprise that Avatar is in the Monday box office news. Once again the film is making scads of cash, pushing past The Dark Knight‘s domestic total and closing in on Titanic‘s box office record. High 3D ticket prices help quite a bit, as Avatar is still way behind Gone with the Wind and Star Wars on the list of most-seen films.
But while the Avatar box-office steamroller has made the film look like a lock for the Best Picture Oscar, last night’s Producers Guild of America (PGA) awards have changed the odds. The PGA awarded Best Picture for 2009 to The Hurt Locker, which was a stunning upset for Avatar, and makes The Hurt Locker an Oscar front-runner. Read More »
Hot Toys has announced they will be released a 1/6th scale Lt. Aldo Raine Collectible Figure from Quentin Tarainto‘s Inglourious Basterds. More information, and tons of photos, after the jump.
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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
(Available as single-disc DVD, 2-Disc Special Edition DVD, and 2-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray)
“You know somethin’? I think this might just be my masterpiece.” That’s a mighty audacious claim that Tarantino not-so-subtly injects in Inglourious Basterds, his self-proclaimed World War II spaghetti western, but he earns the hell out of it. The film plays like a masterfully calibrated collection of short films, with each lengthy, deliberately paced scene—usually featuring nothing more than a number of characters sitting around a table talking—building up with excruciating intensity until finally reaching a breaking point, resulting in a delirious climax that repeatedly left me an exhausted mess. Together, these sequences add up to an endlessly thrilling viewing experience, with the overall narrative providing one of the more fascinating tales from the past decade. Everything there is to love about Tarantino is on full display here, from his ruthlessly clever dialogue to his brilliantly realized characters to his eclectic soundtrack selection and so on. Even though the movie is undeniably an exploitation film, there’s also a brain behind the madness. Instead of merely reveling in the slaughtering of Nazis (although there’s plenty of that too), Tarantino presents an interesting moral balance between all of the characters, including the comedically shameless Basterds and several almost (almost) sympathetic Nazi victims. Acting as somewhat of an examination of good and evil—or more specifically, what it means to be an evil person—Inglourious Basterds constantly plays on audience expectations for what its characters are capable of, using Hans Landa as its reference point for the true face of evil. This aspect is thankfully not pronounced aggressively enough to detract from the film for those that hope to appreciate it on a purely superficial level, but like the film’s obscure, carefully placed movie references, it’s there to be observed for those interested in looking. Two more things: Christoph Waltz’s performance is astounding, and the film’s ending is a stroke of pure, unbridled genius. Rock on, Tarantino. You made the best damn movie of the year.
Notable Extras: Single-disc DVD – Extended and alternate scenes, and the Nation’s Pride film. 2-disc DVD & Blu-ray – Includes everything on the single-disc DVD, as well as a Roundtable Discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and film historian/critic Elvis Mitchell, featurettes (“Making of Nation’s Pride”, “The Original Inglorious Bastards”, “Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitters – the Australian Beer”, “Quentin Tarantino’s Camera Angel”), a conversation with actor Rod Taylor, a gag reel, a Film Poster Gallery Tour with Elvis Mitch, and a digital copy.
|BEST DVD PRICE*|
|Amazon – $15.99|
*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $21.49 at Amazon, $22.99 at Best Buy, and $24.99 at Target (see below).
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE|
|Amazon – $17.99|
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I’m currently trying to figure out my top ten list of 2009, but one film that I knew was going to be there from the moment I saw it was Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. I’ve yet to see some of the bigger releases this month, but as of this moment Basterds is definitely my favorite film of the year (I’m not saying it’s the outright best film this year — at least, not yet). I’m confident that this film will be analyzed for years to come because there’s definitely a lot going on underneath all the Nazi killing.
One very personal piece was recently written by Eli Roth’s father, Sheldon Roth, for the Jewish Journal. The piece concerns Roth’s final moments in the film, and is definitely spoiler filled right from the title.
Some excerpts, and more spoilers, after the break.
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