Inglourious Basterds ★★★★½

This very enjoyable, original, and multilayered film features an engaging and unpredictable story, many masterfully constructed scenes (the opening sequence and the last act are nothing short of brilliant), wonderful dialogue, gorgeous cinematography, and clever camera work. As befits a cinematic celebration of cinema and the medium of film, there are plenty of movie references in "Inglourious Basterds", many of which I am sure I missed.

Quentin Tarantino, who also wrote the screenplay, directs the movie superbly, his love of movies shining through in virtually every frame. In the last scene, one of the characters looks directly into the camera and says, "I think this might just be my masterpiece"; I can’t help but wonder if that is Tarantino’s way of letting the viewer know how he feels about "Inglourious Basterds".

With the exception of Mike Myers, who feels somewhat out of place in the role of General Ed Fenech, the cast is solid. Christoph Waltz, the biggest asset of the film in terms of acting, gives a riveting performance as Col. Hans Landa; I will be very surprised if he does not receive an Oscar nomination. For the most part, Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Lt. Aldo Raine is relatively unremarkable, but he really shines in some scenes, such as in the both hilarious and suspenseful one in which his character pretends to be Italian. Excellent acting by Mélanie Laurent in the role of Shosanna Dreyfus.