October 16, 2009
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Entertainment

Best of summer cinema

District 9 and Inglorious Basterds mix social commentary
with dashing originality
by by Connor Stone, assistant entertainment editor

District 9 turns the screen into a mirror, reflecting our xenophobic fears straight back at us. The aliens are grotesque and uncivilized, yet they are portrayed with more humanity than the humans themselves. The people, mostly government agents and employees, bring out the arrogance of the human race. They shamelessly declare their superiority over the so-called “prawns.” Despite its modest budget, the special effects are amazing. The aliens blend in seamlessly, never looking the slightest bit out of place.

Yes, heads are torn off, bodies explode, and robots decimate entire villages. It feels a bit too actiony at times, yet the film manages to keep focus. But amidst all the violence is the most thought provoking movie of the summer.

* * *

There has been no shortage of World War II films lately, and over the years they have become somewhat stale. Luckily for us, Director Quentin Terantino has found the cure to this monotony. Instead of attempting to glorify history, he rewrites it. Although Inglorious Basterds takes place during WWII, it is not and should not be classified as a war film. Not one battle between the Axis and Allies is shown. Terantino chooses to rely more heavily on drawn out conversations and his masterful skill of building tension.

 

Beauty & the Beast Practice
photo courtesy of thecia.com
Inglorious Basterds
photo courtesy of screencrave.com

The Basterds themselves actually have less screen time than expected, but they never fail to steal the spotlight. Brad Pitt fantastically portrays Lieutenant Aldo Raine, leader of this exaggeratedly tough gang. Playing a crude and unsympathetic southerner, Pitt lets the audience feel the rush he must have gotten from the role as he casually toys with the lives of others. The award for best actor would have to go to Christoph Waltz, for his part as the Jew Hunter. He is both a direct contrast to Lieutenant Raine and virtually any Nazi ever portrayed in a film. It is startling to see how quickly he can change between an well-mannered gentlemen and a vicious killer. Inglorious Basterds is certainly a rare experience. it makes war far more fun than it should be.

 
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