The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Inglorious Bastards aka Quel maledetto treno blindato (1978)
I was discussing movies with my buddy at Movies in the Attic, and I mentioned that I was going to see the new Tarentino film Inglourious Basterds. He asked if I'd seen the original. I didn't even know there was an original. Not only is there an original, but it stars Fred Williamson. I threw it right on my Netflix queue.
Inglorious Bastards is about a group of soldiers in WWII, stationed in Nazi occupied France at the end of the war. They've all been arrested for committing various crimes while in service, and they're being transported off to the brig, when their van is attacked. They escape, and try to make their way to Switzerland, fighting off the Nazis they encounter along the way. Eventually they find the French resistance, and in a twist of fate, they are pressed into service in exchange for the freedom. Their job, help carry out a bomb plot on a train carrying a rocket.
This movie is great. I've always said Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first adventure film to have a roller coaster effect of continuous action, as opposed to large pockets of lull leading up to one big period of action at the end. Well, I take that back, because, if anything, Raiders borrowed that paradigm from this film, which predated it by three years. It was definitely a take off on The Dirty Dozen, and as an overall film, The Dirty Dozen was better; but taken on its own Inglorious Bastards is equally entertaining. It's just a fun action movie.
Enzo Castellari directed this. The other film of his I've reviewed here is 1990: Bronx Warriors, which was another great flick. His stuff is often a little before DTV, (this movie was made in 1978, for instance), so I've kind of bent the rules to include him here. That being said, a lot of what he's done influenced a lot of what we see in DTV and low-budget films now, and the late 70s early 80s is right on the cusp of the VCR age. Plus, his casting Fred Williamson, a DTVC Hall of Famer, only makes the inclusion of his films that much more appropriate.
Speaking of the man, Fred Williamson, he's great here. He makes the film for me, even more than Bo Svenson, who was also good. I know he was a Castellari mainstay, but I think it's cool that he was cast in this, when Jim Brown was cast in The Dirty Dozen. Jim Brown was the better football player, but Fred Williamson is the better actor. While many posts of newer films I do with Fred Williamson in them only have him in small parts, he's in this movie quite a bit, and we're all better for it.
I could've sworn I'd reviewed a Bo Svenson film on here, but I guess not. At least I couldn't find one on imdb. Also, according to imdb, he was in the Tarentino Inglourious Basterds as an American Colonel, and I didn't remember seeing him. Enzo Castellari was in it too, as himself, and I don't remember that. I guess I'm just getting old, huh? Regardless, Svenson was awesome here. Another Swedish acting great, he'll finally star alongside Dolph Lundgren in the forthcoming Icarus. I can't wait to see it.
If you haven't seen this, you need to rent it. As I'll point out below, it has very little in common with the new Tarentino film, so you don't need to see it to compare the two. It's on Netflix, and well worth a spot in your queue.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076584/
I finally got around to seeing the new Tarantino film, Inglourious Basterds, this week, and I think it was really good. It wasn't really anything like the Castellari film of the similar name, except that they were both set in Nazi occupied France. It was a little gruesome in parts, but I'm sure Tarentino will tell you he was going for that. Unlike the Castellari film I reviewed above, this isn't nonstop action. It has more of that Hitchcockian element of inevitable action. In every scene, I felt like there was a time bomb underneath the table, that we could see, but some or all of the characters couldn't. Unlike Hitchcock, though, who wouldn't let the bomb go off, Tarentino often did, and because he's Tarentino, we knew he would, and it made it all the more tense. I still think I like Pulp Fiction better, but this is right up there. The sets were great, Brad Pitt was spot on as a Southern Army Lieutenant, and Nazi Colonel Christoph Waltz was a perfect combination of evil cunning and sophistication. If you can handle the gore-- and on the other end of the spectrum, the frequent subtitles-- you're in for a good time.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361748/