What It's About: Quentin Tarantino's imaginative and comedic take on World War II has a group of Jewish soldiers relentlessly killing Nazis in German-occupied France. Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes the group, whose targeted acts of brutal retribution -- and their scalping of dead soldiers -- wins them the name "The Basterds." The film, organized in Tarantino's trademarked chapter structure -- begins with Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) witnessing the execution of her family at the hands of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) before narrowly escaping to Paris. Elsewhere, Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. It all converges in a Paris cinema, where Tarantino choreographs a wild ending.
It's Kinda Like: 'Pulp Fiction' meets 'The Dirty Dozen'
What We Say: Tongue-in-check, violent and -- well, downright brilliant -- this is one of the best Tarantino films in years -- and one of the best films of 2009. The real stars of the tale aren't the Basterds nor Pitt, but Waltz (who has been racking up critics group nods for Best Supporting Actor) and Laurent and Kruger.
What It's About: It's a raunchy, crude, bathroom humor comedy told in flashbacks. Two days before his wedding, Doug and his three friends drive to Las Vegas for a blow-out bachelor party they'll never forget. But when the three groomsmen wake up the next morning, they can't remember a thing. They find a tiger in the bathroom and a six-month-old baby in the closet ... but no Doug. With little time to spare, the trio must retrace their hazy steps in order to figure out where things went wrong and get Doug back to L.A. in time to walk down the aisle.
It's Kinda Like: 'American Pie' meets 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' meets 'Very Bad Things' meets 'What Happens in Vegas' ... well, you get the idea
What We Say: The sleeper hit of 2009 is sordid, perverse and funny in a twisted sort of way. It's exhilarating in its nastiness and throws more curve balls (and goof balls) at you than Steve Carlton. It makes 'Borat' and 'Bruno' look like the Bobbsey Twins.
What It's About: CGI animated/live-action comedy adventure about a top-secret, highly trained group of guinea pig super spies assigned to stop a dastardly plot to take over the world. The animals -- armed with the latest high-tech spy equipment -- are the latest evolution of a covert government program to train animals to work in espionage. But, naturally, the group is disbanded before they can accomplish their mission, and they have to escape to save the world.
It's Kinda Like: 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' meet 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'
What We Say: An entertaining movie for the kids but wearisome for adults. This is producer Jerry Bruckheimer's first stab at PG-rated kids fare and he must have spiked the animators' coffee with Ritalin, thinking his audience all had ADD. Unfortunately, the frenetic, manic action can't make up for a lack of characterization and plot. But hey, who cares, it'll keep the young ones busy for a good 88 minutes.
Other New December 15 DVD Releases:
'The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard'
'The Girl From Monaco'
'The Other Man'