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Brad PittJust how glorious is Tarantino's 'Basterds'?

Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt's 'Inglourious Basterds' gave this year's Cannes Film Festival a whole lot to talk about when it had its much-heralded world premiere on Wednesday. Tarantino literally danced down the red carpet, much to the delight of photogs, while Angelina Jolie donned a dress slit up to her waist for her stroll down the aisle -- also to the delight of the paparazzi.

And that was just the beginning. The grisly WWII epic, starring Pitt as a lieutenant who spearheads a Nazi-scalping mission in occupied France, also gave critics a reason to cheer: It received a none-too-shabby eight-minute standing ovation as the credits rolled.

That's welcome news for Tarantino diehards. But is this his best film since 'Pulp Fiction'? See what the critics are saying in early reviews from the French Riviera.

Brad PittQuentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt's 'Inglourious Basterds' gave this year's Cannes Film Festival a whole lot to talk about when it had its much-heralded world premiere on Wednesday. Tarantino literally danced down the red carpet, much to the delight of photogs, while Angelina Jolie donned a dress slit up to her waist for her stroll down the aisle -- also to the delight of the paparazzi.

And that was just the beginning. The grisly WWII epic, starring Pitt as a lieutenant who spearheads a Nazi-scalping mission in occupied France, also gave critics a reason to cheer: It received a none-too-shabby eight-minute standing ovation as the credits rolled.

That's welcome news for Tarantino diehards. But is this his best film since 'Pulp Fiction'? See what the critics are saying in early reviews from the French Riviera. -- By Tom DiChiara

Variety: "'Inglourious Basterds' is a violent fairy tale, an increasingly entertaining fantasia ... [It] only fully finds its tonal footing about halfway through, after which it's off to the races. By turns surprising, nutty, windy, audacious and a bit caught up in its own cleverness, the picture is a completely distinctive piece of American pop art with a strong Euro flavor that's new for the director."

The Hollywood Reporter: "Those things we think of as being Tarantino-esque, the long stretches of wickedly funny dialogue, the humor in the violence and outsized characters strutting across the screen, are largely missing."

Inglourious Basterds' Premiere Pics

    Actors Brad Pitt (L) and Angelina Jolie attend the 'Inglourious Basterds' Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2009 in Cannes, France. 2009 Cannes Film Festival - Inglorious Basterds Premiere Cannes, France May 20, 2009 Photo by George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com To license this image (57497222), contact FilmMagic.com

    George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com

    Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend the 'Inglourious Basterds' Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2009 in Cannes, France. 2009 Cannes Film Festival - Inglorious Basterds Premiere Cannes, France May 20, 2009 Photo by George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com To license this image (57495317), contact FilmMagic.com

    George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com

    Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend the 'Inglourious Basterds' Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2009 in Cannes, France. 2009 Cannes Film Festival - Inglorious Basterds Premiere Cannes, France May 20, 2009 Photo by George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com To license this image (57495302), contact FilmMagic.com

    George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com

    Actress Sharon Stone attends the 'Inglourious Basterds' Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2009 in Cannes, France. 2009 Cannes Film Festival - Inglorious Basterds Premiere Cannes, France May 20, 2009 Photo by George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com To license this image (57496371), contact FilmMagic.com

    George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com

    Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend the 'Inglourious Basterds' Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2009 in Cannes, France. 2009 Cannes Film Festival - Inglorious Basterds Premiere Cannes, France May 20, 2009 Photo by George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com To license this image (57495353), contact FilmMagic.com

    George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com

    Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend the 'Inglourious Basterds' Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2009 in Cannes, France. 2009 Cannes Film Festival - Inglorious Basterds Premiere Cannes, France May 20, 2009 Photo by George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com To license this image (57495347), contact FilmMagic.com

    George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com

    Actors Angelina Jolie (L) and Brad Pitt depart from the 'Inglourious Basterds' Premiere at the Grand Theatre Lumiere during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2009 in Cannes, France. 2009 Cannes Film Festival - Inglorious Basterds Premiere Cannes, France May 20, 2009 Photo by George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com To license this image (57497295), contact FilmMagic.com

    George Pimentel/FilmMagic.com

    ©BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM ***NO CANADA*** "Inglourious Basterds" premiere at the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival. Picture shows: Michelle Yeoh NON-EXCLUSIVE May 20, 2009 Job: 56216EM Cannes, France www.bauergriffin.com www.bauergriffinonline.com

    ELIOT PRESS/bauergriffinonline.com

    ©BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM ***NO CANADA*** "Inglourious Basterds" premiere at the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival. Picture shows: Robin Wright-Penn NON-EXCLUSIVE May 20, 2009 Job: 56216EM Cannes, France www.bauergriffin.com www.bauergriffinonline.com

    ELIOT PRESS/bauergriffinonline.com

    ©BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM ***NO CANADA*** "Inglourious Basterds" premiere at the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival. Picture shows: Dita Von Teese NON-EXCLUSIVE May 20, 2009 Job: 56216EM Cannes, France www.bauergriffin.com www.bauergriffinonline.com

    ELIOT PRESS/bauergriffinonline.com



Total Film: "Not only did I love every minute, if the French projectionist wanted to cue it up and roll it again from the start, I would have sat through the whole film again, with the biggest grin on my face. This is Quentin's best film since 'Jackie Brown.' It might even be his best film since 'Pulp Fiction.'"

Time: "'Basterds' draws portraits of strong women facing down evil men; and in Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent) and Third Reich screen star Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) he's created two of his fullest female portraits. But 'Basterds' is long and, for the hypercharged auteur, surprisingly wan. It has to be declared a misfire."



First Showing: "'Basterds' is a bit light on the action, heavy on the talking, and full of great performances. It's as awesome as Tarantino's first two films and as entertaining as his most recent few. It's the WWII movie we've been waiting to see."

Eli Roth, aka Sgt. Donnie Donowitz in 'Basterds': "[It's] kosher porn. It's something I dreamed since I was a kid."