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updated 08/31/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/31/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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."

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