James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
James Clay//Film Critic
Rated R, 152 minutes.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, Diane Krueger, Daniel Bruhl
When a studio releases a catalog title from a revered director like Quentin Tarantino, it guarantees money in the bank. So Universal is finally releasing Tarantino’s 2009 masterpiece INGLORIOUS BASTERDS on 4K, which on the surface, is good news until you start to look a little deeper.
INGLORIOUS BASTERDS is hands down the most disappointing big 4K release of 2021, and the difference between this and the blu ray is indistinguishable. This, of course, is a big problem, but let’s break it down why Arrow Video, Blue Underground, and Warner Bros. (most recently with THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION’s crisp 4K release) are killing it in UHD.
Which achieves the best fidelity, specialty labels will see if access to the original camera is negative; if that is the case, they will rescan that negative in 4K. This brings out all the colors and hues that the director intended to pop during the film’s original run. INGLORIOUS BASTERDS does not have this, which is crazy given how particular Tarantino is with the presentation of his work. Maybe he doesn’t care for physical media; who knows.
This release was just rescanned in 4K of the 1080p rip from the blu ray. So all you’re getting is an up-converted image that’s not true UHD. Also, the audio track is a DTS Master Audio which sounds solid, but it’s still the same as the blu ray.
This is a sad release from one of my all-time favorite films. Sadly INGLORIOUS BASTERDS never received a super solid home presentation. Maybe Arrow Video will step in one day and drop some cash for fans eagerly awaiting a quality release.
The positives with the disc are the preexisting special features from the original blu ray release and the new white artwork pictured above. But, overall, there’s not much else to add, and fans should hold onto their blu ray; no need to double-dip here.
BUY/RENT: SKIP IT
THE GREEN KNIGHT
As a Texan, it feels great to have an independent filmmaker working on a scale that draws attention worldwide. David Lowery’s films are tone poems rather than focusing on the plot. Still, he has challenged himself to be more “commercial” with films like PETE’S DRAGON and THE OLD MAN & THE GUN (this reviewer’s personal favorite) inside the studio system without losing his voice as an artist.
His latest THE GREEN KNIGHT is Lowrey unhinged, which sounds a little ridiculous given he’s a quiet and methodical filmmaker. Having a filmmaker go for broke can alienate some, give others what they want and usher in a wide swath of fans. Lowrey’s adaptation of the Arthurian tale Sir Gawain and The Green Knight was just that, it polarized filmgoers and stood up as a confident piece of work.
While I struggled in the theater to stick with the languid pacing, baffling editing decisions that caused the movie to drag in fits and starts, the visuals are undeniably compelling. It’s a tough film that forces the audience to shuffle through several parables as Gawain (Dev Patel) tries to prove himself and rise above his status as a rich louse who likes to frequent the brothel.
Filled with visual tricks from cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo (A GHOST STORY) and shot on location in Ireland, the GREEN KNIGHT achieves the immersion needed to tell a medieval tale authentically. The issue with the 129-minute long film comes in the pacing and the length with said pacing. There are moments of quiet triumph in the film, and ONE genuinely shocking moment. The cast, including Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander (in a dual role), Barry Keoghan, and Joel Edgerton, do the heavy lifting to keep the themes on track. THE GREEN KNIGHT is a film full of confidence and vision.
BUY/RENT: A24 has thousands of ardent fans out there who will lap up anything the distribution company pumps out for its audiences, and if you’re one of those people blind, buy this release immediately. The special features are insightful and entertaining, with the highlight being a 35-minute making-of documentary. This includes interviews from Lowrey, production designer Jade Healy, director of photography, Andrew Droz Palermo, and many more.
Inside the documentary, the crew provides an intimate look at how they achieved the aesthetics and harnessed the mentality to bring a challenging film to life. Even as a person who is mixed on the film, this is a must-see. Plus, the blacks are inky, and if you have a good enough sound system, this is worth the purchase.