You know that phrase, ‘things that go bump in the night’? It doesn’t sound very scary, really. I would be more frightened of ‘things that go shriek in the night’, ‘things that go “AWOOOOOOOOOO” in the night’, or perhaps even ‘things that stalk you in the dark in order to rend your innards like spaghetti… in the night’. Less snappy, perhaps, but certainly more chilling than the latest cinema hypefest Paranormal Activity, in which the dismal attempts at scares are almost invariably of the ‘bump’ variety.
Imagine you have an acquaintance named, let’s say, Dave. He’s always hanging around when you’re with your friends, and most people seem to really like him. Trouble is, you’re not entirely sure why. Apparently, he once did something really funny at a party, and to be fair to the guy, he does sometimes interject in conversations with snappy one-liners which are moderately amusing, if terribly attention-seeking. Most of the time, though, he never shuts up about his specialist subject, which is film. He has seen a great many more films than you, and boy, does he know it.
Dave’s counterpart in the world of movie direction is, if you hadn’t already guessed, Quentin Tarantino. He’s back – and he’s eager, if not to please, then just to be noticed, with his new movie, Inglourious Basterds. Unfortunately for us, he’s produced yet another egregiously self-indulgent, meandering, and terrifically boring movie. I can’t emphasize that last point enough – calling this movie utterly, unconscionably, interminably, outrageously, unbelievably dull would be trivialising the awfulness, and the tragedy is compounded by the fact that someone, somewhere (I’m looking at you, Quentin), must’ve thought all this was cinema gold. You must do everything in your power to avoid this movie. Here’s why.
Here I will attempt to weave together two perhaps unlikely subjects – an epic sci-fi novel and a black-comedy TV series. By some coincidence, I finished reading/watching both yesterday, and by another, they both left a distinctly ‘unfinished’ feeling lingering with me, while both being utterly marvellous right up until the last few minutes. I’ll try not to include too many spoilers here, but it’s going to be tough…
Last night, my friend Max and I emerged relatively unscathed from a showing of Lars von Trier’s latest picture, Antichrist. You have heard correctly: it is horrendously violent, it is viciously misogynist (and knows it), and does indeed contain a disemboweled, undead fox risibly informing Willem Dafoe that, if it wasn’t obvious by that point in this disorienting, confounding ‘WTF’ of a movie, ’chaos reigns’. Unexpectedly, none of this necessarily makes it a bad film. I’ll explain.