30 Thursday, 20 August 2009 London Lite I f the advance publicity is to be believed, this is a dreadful film, an overlong tedious example of why Quentin tarantino is a spent force who may as well give up making films now. One critic, after seeing the film at the Cannes film festival this year, called Inglourious Basterds boring and pointless. After the screening I attended, a few of my fellow critics snorted in derision. One asked what the certificate was as hed been snoozing and missed it. Its an 18, replied another, just like the directors IQ. they must have been watching a different film. Or perhaps theyd met the notoriously flammable tarantino on another occasion and felt the whiplash of his smar- tass tongue, because Inglourious Basterds is a rip-roaring, dazzling cinematic revenge fantasy/Second World War adventure that, after tarantinos underwhelming recent efforts, represents a real return to form. Inglourious Basterds is quintes- sential tarantino. the title itself is appropriated (and misspelt) from enzo Castellaris 1978 Dirty Dozen knock-off, and the film is thoroughly drenched in the directors nerdy movie references. But it doesnt matter if the deluge of movie in-jokes means nothing to you -- Inglourious Basterds is brilliant and entertaining on a number of levels. the first chapter, for example, is simply sensational. It pits a taciturn salt-of-the-earth french farmer against charmingly evil Nazi colonel hans Landa (nick- named the Jew hunter and played by an utterly magnificent Christoph Waltz, as an odd hybrid of Columbo and Rob Brydons Uncle Bryn from Gavin & Stacey), who knows the farmer is har- bouring on-the-run Jews, but who skewers him with civilised chat- ter before the farmer cracks. Landa then calls in his troops to slaughter the family, who are hid- den under the floorboards. Only Shosanna (Mlanie Laurent, melt- ingly beautiful) escapes and we catch up with her a few years later as shes approached to host the premiere of a Nazi propaganda film at her Parisian cinema. She hastily concocts a plan for revenge with her black lover. Also on the trail of vengeance, albeit more bloodily, are the titular basterds, led by Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt having a whale of a time). their plan? Scalp every Nazi they can find. Soon, how- ever, their attentions also turn to the premiere of the Nazi film, where they sense an opportunity to end the war with one strike. Inglourious Basterds is riotous good fun -- even at almost two and a half hours it doesnt feel too long. It is, of course, thoroughly ridiculous and not a little shallow, but whats so wrong with that? Its a thrilling ride, rich in humour, dripping with drama and splendidly acted. tarantino is back, and how. WHEN, during his high school final-year speech, socially inept, nerdy overachiever Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust) decides to confess his long-unrequited love for beautiful head cheerleader Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere), all hell breaks loose. Why? Well, his speech doesnt end there. In a misjudged orgy of carpe diem madness, Denis encourages the schools bully (Josh Emerson), a spoilt posh brat (Marie Avgeropoulos), muscled goon and Beths boyfriend Kevin (Shawn Roberts), and a closet gay (Jack Carpenter) to embrace their inadequacies and quirks and live life without fear. Oops. Thereafter, Beth and her friends pay a visit to Deniss house for drinks, before Kevin, high on coke, comes over to do Denis and his big hooter some serious damage. Soon, were on the road in a kind of Superbad-with-chicks, one-night, coming- of-age adventure, during which truths are learned, kisses are stolen and hearts are broken. I Love You, Beth Cooper is a seriously uneven movie -- the script, for example, veers from crass and clichd to smart and funny, often within the same line. And the final reel sucks. But there is some value here. Panettiere shows real acting chops as the teen beauty who is all too aware that her prime may have come and gone, while Carpenter, as Deniss best friend, plays a memorable character. We may not quite love you, Beth Cooper, but we do like you -- sometimes quite a lot. PC REVIEWSCINEMA Inglourious Basterds Cert 18, 148 mins HHHHH Tarantinoathis glouriousbest REVIEW BY PAUL CONNOLLY Allyoucould wishforina familyfilm DONT accuse Sin City and Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez of being a megalomaniac. After all, the writer, director, editor, director of photography, visual effects supervisor and composer of super-slick kids film Shorts let his 10-year-old son come up with the films concept, plot and title. The lad also appears in the film. Young Rebel Rodriguez suggested creating a series of episodes about kids who live in the same community. The shorts are linked by the story of Toe Thompson (Jimmy Bennett), who is teased and tortured by his parents bosss kids Cole and Helvetica Black, until he finds the Rainbow Rock which grants his every wish. Of course, the wishes dont always go to plan -- think giant bogeys and talking babies -- but the stylised production and uplifting what matters is who you are message guarantees great fun for the whole family. LAUREN PAxmAN Seize the day: Denis (Paul Rust) and Beth (Hayden Panettiere) Wequitelikeyou,BethCooper! I Love You, Beth Cooper Cert15,102minsHHHII Alsoshowing... Lust for blood: Eli Roth and Brad Pitt Rainbow rock star: Jimmy Bennett Shorts Cert PG, 89 mins HHHHI IN&OUTTONIGHT Tread carefully: Dance Flick wont suit all KIDS -- dont they grow up fast? Before you know it theyre perving on their teachers, watching porn on Youtube and mistaking rat poison for cocaine. All take place in Afterschool (Cert 18, 107 mins HHHHI), a beautifully shot and wonderfully acted drama about the impact of the death of two popular 18-year-olds at a US boarding school. fans of Requiem for A Dream will love the German film Chiko (Cert 18, 92 mins HHHII), a drugs are bad flick about two turkish immigrants, Chiko and tibet. they turn to drug dealing to pay for medical treatment for tibets mother. As the violence escalates, relationships and friendships are pushed to the limit. Shooting Robert King (cert TBC, 78 mins HHHII) is a visually arresting documentary that follows war photographer Robert King over 15 years as he transforms from a clueless wannabe to a hardened pro. All you need to know about Dance Flick (Cert 15, 83 mins HIIII), the newest spoof from the moronic Wayan brothers, is that it features one character urinating on anothers face in the first 30 seconds. 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