Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Quentin Tarantino worships at the altar of Junk Cinema.
He pays hommage, or rips off, depending on your viewpoint, the genres common to exploitation cinema of the last 50 years; gangsters and crime noir, kung-fu, black and sexploitation, gore, violence, smut, big guns, fast cars etc. The films he reveres and apes were short, fast little programmers usually destined for double bills at drive-ins and secondary theaters. They were junk, frequently very entertaining junk, but junk nonetheless.
And they were short. Most films of this type ran 70 to 90 minutes long, seldom much longer because they were designed to be shown on a multiple bill with one or two other similarly themed and timed films. These films work, as entertainment and ocassionally art, because of their brevity. They get in and get the job done and get the hell out.
Tarantino's next film, Inglourious Basterds, his remake/reimagining of a cheap 70's WWII film by director Enzo Castellari, (sidenote: a contemporary of my beloved gay porn iconic director Joe Gage; Gage, under his real name of Tim Kincaid and Castellari co-directed Sinbad of the Seven Seas together). It's Tarantino's first war film but it features a strong revenge theme; a band of Jewish American soldiers kicking Nazi ass towards the end of the war. Tarantino has a big star, Brad Pitt, and his usually large cast of eclectic actors including The Office's BJ Novak, Mike Myers, Cloris Leachman, director Eli Roth and old timer Rod Taylor, from Hitchcock's The Birds. It sounds like a potentially great movie or at the very least a stupid, fun movie in the Tarantino vein. It opens at Cannes in May, and wide release in August.
The downside: it's been leaked recently that the movie runs 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The original was 99 minutes long. So in other words, the same thing that lessened the experiences of watching Kill Bill and Grindhouse are coming into play again with Tarantino's next movie...the stupid motherfucker wants to remake fun, trashy, SHORT, exploitation films but blow them up into some long, dumb, dialogue heavy Tarantino extravaganzas. There was no need for Kill Bill to be divided into two films and Grindhouse might have worked if each part had been no more than an hour long. The man has such a massively huge ego, he's letting it get in the way of making great cinema and the result is overlong, self-indulgent crap. And maybe Basterds is brilliant, (and I hope so), but frankly very, very, very few movies need to be, or deserve to be 2 fucking hours and 45 fucking minutes long...
And the deliberate misspelling of the title is a bit precious.
The image is of the original film's movie poster...obviously