Tag Archives: Christoph Waltz

The Green Hornet (2011, Michel Gondry)

Of the Seth Rogen films I’ve seen—those he’s written, I mean—The Green Hornet is the weakest. It’s only partially Rogen and cowriter Evan Goldberg’s fault. The concept does not present them with the best opportunities.

At its most amusing, it’s usually Rogen and costar Jay Chou bickering. Rogen and Goldberg’s strength is when the film is a bromance, something they eventually have to abandon in order to have a superhero movie. Unfortunately, the big superhero plot they come up with is pretty weak—there’s only so much one can do with the character, like I said—and it gets a tedious in the third act.

Rogen and Chou are both excellent; they make the movie worth watching. Cameron Diaz is actually not annoying as their unwilling joint love interest (major potential is actually wasted with her, though the unlikely sequel would have probably put her to better use). Her success is the script’s fault. Rogen and Goldberg actually write a good script… just not the masked adventurers parts of it.

Tom Wilkinson is wasted. David Harbour’s bad in a supporting role. Edward James Olmos is fine; Edward Furlong has a good cameo… as does an uncredited former costar of Rogen’s.

As the villain, Christoph Waltz tries hard but too much. He can’t sell the absurdity of his character.

Gondry’s direction is actually pretty indistinct. A stronger hand might have made it work.

Good photography from John Schwartzman and bad music from James Newton Howard.

It’s an interesting failure.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Michel Gondry; screenplay by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, based on a radio series created by George W. Trendle; director of photography, John Schwartzman; edited by Michael Tronick; music by James Newton Howard; production designer, Owen Paterson; produced by Neal H. Moritz; released by Columbia Pictures.

Starring Seth Rogen (Britt Reid / The Green Hornet), Jay Chou (Kato), Cameron Diaz (Lenore Case), Tom Wilkinson (James Reid), Christoph Waltz (Chudnofsky), David Harbour (D.A. Frank Scanlon), Edward James Olmos (Mike Axford), Jamie Harris (Popeye), Chad Coleman (Chili) and Edward Furlong (Tupper).


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Inglourious Basterds (2009, Quentin Tarantino)

Tarantino will probably never make a film as good as the good parts of Inglorious Basterds again. Possibly because the good parts of the film–even with the Sam Jackson narration–seem so unlike Tarantino, it’s impossible to imagine him making them. It’s like, all of a sudden, an adult magically appeared and took his place. Unfortunately, the real Tarantino returns for the last twenty or so minutes, when Basterds collapses.

But I’m going to try to talk about the good things. The Tarantino conversation scene is nearly twenty years old. It’s never been used as well as it is in Basterds. The film opens with one, an unbelievably affecting scene (with a lot, in the end, owed the Searchers). It’s like Tarantino finally learned his “chapters” work better as real time vignettes, instead of jumbles of location shooting and stunt casting.

Besides his excellent writing–since it’s mostly non-English, Tarantino doesn’t bother going for cool sounding dialogue–Basterds succeeds because of Mélanie Laurent and Christoph Waltz. The rest of the cast doesn’t really matter (they’re all great, except Eli Roth, who went to the Quentin Tarantino school of lousy acting). The great film inside Basterds is about Laurent. The silly one Tarantino delivers is, unfortunately, not.

He does some really stupid stuff at the end, the kind of nonsense one would do if he didn’t want to make a real movie, but a joke.

It’s a shame Tarantino keeps growing as a director, but never as a filmmaker.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino; director of photography, Robert Richardson; edited by Sally Menke; production designer, David Wasco; produced by Lawrence Bender; released by the Weinstein Company and Universal Pictures.

Starring Brad Pitt (Lt. Aldo Raine), Christoph Waltz (Col. Hans Landa), Eli Roth (Sgt. Donny Donowitz), Michael Fassbender (Lt. Archie Hicox), Diane Kruger (Bridget von Hammersmark), Daniel Brühl (Fredrick Zoller), Mélanie Laurent (Shosanna Dreyfus), Denis Menochet (Perrier LaPadite), Sylvester Groth (Joseph Goebbels), Mike Myers (Gen. Ed Fenech) and Rod Taylor (Winston Churchill).


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