Tarantino Goes to War

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Diane Kruger | R |

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THRILLER
More than it's about World War II, Inglourious Basterds is about movies. The film is director-writer Quentin Tarantino's gloriously preposterous, fiercely funny, loving (but too long at 2 hours, 32 minutes) homage to every great and every cheesy WWII movie he ever sat through—and to wish fulfillment. It's easily his best, most sustained offering since 1994's Pulp Fiction.

Basterds has multiple plot strands that eventually converge in a spectacular finale, which takes place, fittingly, in a movie theater in Paris. There's a group of Jewish-American soldiers, called the Basterds and led by Pitt, whose mission is to kill as many Nazis as possible as brutally as possible. Other story threads involve a Jewish Frenchwoman (Laurent) in hiding, a German film star (Kruger) and a clever Nazi officer (Waltz, a real find). And don't forget Adolf Hitler (Martin Wuttke), depicted as a fervent movie fan, and his top henchmen. This isn't WWII the way it was but rather the way it should have been, if only Hollywood had been in charge.

Post Grad

Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton | PG-13 |

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COMEDY
Like festive icing on a plain vanilla cake, a fun cast and offbeat humor hugely increase the palatability of Post Grad, an otherwise conventional coming-of-age comedy. Bledel plays a new college grad struggling to land a job and decide between two potential boyfriends. What gives Post its kick is her family, a wacky crew led by Keaton and Jane Lynch, with Carol Burnett as a cranky grandma. A sample of Lynch's motherly advice to her young son: "You have to stop. I know you like the way it tastes, but some kids just don't like having their heads licked."

>Miley's sis, 9, voices a fish who turns into a girl.

ON HER FIRST DAY OF WORK I was kind of nervous, but my sister [Miley] told me to just have fun with it.

ON VOICE-OVER WORK It was hard because I had to fit my words into how their mouth is moving, and you gotta have perfect timing. It was hard for me to talk a little slower.

ON HER NEW VOCABULARY I had to name all these types of fish like Dipnorhynchus! I got it after the schoolteacher broke it down for me.

>A FRESH FACE IN COMEDY

• The 23-year-old member of Judd Apatow's crew wrote and stars in the film investigating love.

SHE MADE HER FILM DEBUT IN KNOCKED UP The L.A.-born stand-up comic almost blew her audition to play a lovable stoner: "I was terrified!"

SHE'S NOT MICHAEL CERA'S GIRLFRIEND Yi insists she's just friends with the Superbad star, but his female fans still send her hate mail. "I wrote [back] once," she says. "I'm like, 'We're not even together. So now do you like me?' She said, 'No!'"

ELIMIDATE INSPIRED PAPER HEART Yi got the idea for the film after seeing "people making out in the Jacuzzi" on the reality dating show. "I thought, 'Is this how you date?'"

>SHORTS Director-writer Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids) stumbles with a not especially funny, special-effects-heavy comedy about kids who find a magic rock. (PG)

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WORLD'S GREATEST DAD Robin Williams (below), an effective actor when not trying too hard, shines as a would-be writer in an acrid dark comedy. (R)

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MY ONE AND ONLY In an agreeable comedy inspired by George Hamilton's real-life youth, a fading southern belle (Renée Zellweger, below) travels cross-country with two teenage sons. (PG-13)

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