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Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Excellent, excellent, and even more excellent
Inglourious Basterds is a spectacular film, in which the acting, music, camera angles, screenplay, costume design and everything else comes together to create a 2 1/2 hour entertainment powerhouse.
Cristoph Waltz just shines as Col. Hans Landa, and his Cannes win was deserved.
The dialogue was witty and the action scenes were done awesomely. I felt the tension the whole way through.
My only criticism is that the film is subtitles intensive, since a lot of the dialogue is in French and German. So it won't be a film for those who don't like to read subtitles for long stretches.
Quentin Tarantino is a master director, and I hope IB is rewarded with Academy Award nominations (and wins, of course).
Streets of Gold (1986)
A fantastic 80s flavoured smack down
This a great, inspiring boxing film from the mid eighties. I had read a number of positive reviews about this film, and I agree with those reviews.
Alek, a former boxer from the Soviet Union (Klaus Maria Brandauer) arrives in the United States to start a new life. He witnesses two boxers, Timmy (Adrian Pasdar) and Roland (Wesley Snipes) participate in the rough sport of illegal boxing. The two young men have obvious strength with the arrogant attitudes to match, and Alek sees that they both have potential to become champion boxers. After Timmy witnesses Alek get the better of Roland during a drunken dark alley brawl, Timmy asks Alek to be his coach, as he knows that his style could use some refining.
Alek accepts, and puts Timmy through a tough training regime. Timmy gets angry, after his coach walks out in the middle of their first training session, resulting in Timmy screaming four letter words at Alek (a memorable scene). Afterwards, when things have cooled down, the young man feels contrite. A number of things happen (one of them being the Soviet boxing team visiting the US for a post cold war smack down) and Alek takes on Roland as a protégé (much to Timmy's chagrin, since he and Roland had bad blood between them). Under Alek's wing, the two kids learn discipline and excel at boxing. The entire film proceeds in a logical order, culminating in a Rocky-style bout between Timmy and the Soviet champ.
Streets of Gold features Pasdar and Snipes in their early twenties (when they were unknowns), and it's easy to see that way back then, they had the talent and the masculine looks to achieve super stardom. The film is worth watching, just to see Pasdar attempt to do a Russian folk dance. I have to give him points for trying! The veteran actor Brandauer is just as brilliant as the two young lead actors, as the fiery yet Yoda-like mentor.
There are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments in this film. I won't give anything away, since you have to see them for yourself.
I can't finish the review without mentioning the fashion. The 1980s had featured colourful clothes by today's standards, and I must warn you that there is plenty of typical 80s fashion in this film (as you'd expect). Baby Boomers and early Gen X's will feel nostalgic while watching this, while late Gen X's and Gen Y's will be silently thankful that they didn't have to wear such outlandish clothing. I'm in Generation Y, BTW.
The only criticism that I can give, as other reviews have discussed, is that didn't explore the characters as deeply as I would have liked. For example, we don't get an in depth look at Timmy and Roland's troubled childhoods. Perhaps a flashback could have been appropriate. However, I'm just nitpicking, since what has been presented in this 89 minute film is excellent.
If you are a fan of Pasdar or Snipes, or of boxing/80s sports films, Streets of Gold is a must see film. 8.5/10.
An excellent production
I was not aware of there being a Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS) film before I read its article on Wikipedia. I am glad that I discovered it.
JSC, if you don't know what it is (and in that case, where have you been?) is a rock musical composed by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. If you know about Jesus's final hours of life, then you will be familiar with the events in this musical. However, the production team has opted to put a contemporary spin on this much loved composition, so expect to see guns and television sets.
The performances are of high quality. Glenn Carter is excellent as Jesus Christ, Jerome Pradon is outstanding as Judas Iscariot and Renee Castle is lovely as Mary Magdalene. In fact, the ensemble cast is great as well.
Some of the scenes reminded me of other musicals. The second song, "What's the buzz?" is very West Side Story, and if you think of "And all that jazz" from Chicago then you can draw comparisons to of King Herod Song. This is a good thing, because I enjoyed those musicals as much as this one.
The director mentioned in the "Making of JSC" featurette that he wanted this film to appeal to 20 year olds and 30 year olds, not just the people who grew up with the musical. As a 20 year old, I can say he has certainly succeeded.