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Inglourious Basterds (Blu-ray Review)

11 Dec, 2009 By: John Latchem

Street 12/15/09
Box Office $120.4 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 two-DVD set, $39.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong graphic violence, language and brief sexuality.
Stars Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, B.J. Novak, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, Mike Myers, Rod Taylor, Julie Dreyfus.

Quentin Tarantino’s notorious reimagining of World War II is his best work since Pulp Fiction, infused with his trademark meticulous storytelling, sharp dialogue and over-the-top violence.

Tarantino’s specialty is to create fully realized characters, drop them into a tense situation and let the scene unfold. Only through careful deliberation of each moment does the story began to take shape.

In this case the story is anchored by two polar-opposite yet effective characters: Christoph Waltz as the methodically chilling SS investigator Col. Hans Landa and Brad Pitt as blowhard Nazi hunter Lt. Aldo Raine. The performances couldn’t be further apart in style but are equally compelling. And yet some of the film’s best scenes contain neither character.

The disc is filled with fun extras that don’t overstay their welcome, including three extended or alternate scenes.

Film buffs will enjoy the interviews with veteran actor Rod Taylor (The Time Machine, The Birds), who has a cameo as Winston Churchill in the film. He offers some unique insights on the process of working with Tarantino. Those looking for insights about the film itself will glean a few tidbits from a half-hour discussion with Pitt and Tarantino. While parts are amusing, it’s far from the full analysis the film warrants.

Most of the fun relates to the film-within-a-film, Nation’s Pride. The disc includes not only the full six-minute version of the fake film, which was directed by Eli Roth, but also a tongue-in-cheek making-of featurette of it that seems to mock similar programs that are standard issue with most movies.

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