At a time when the whole world is engaged in debate over the use of torture in wartime, Quentin Tarantino has brought his latest film, Inglourious Basterdsto the Cannes Film Festival showing scenes in which U.S. soldiers mete out to German WWII officers and enlisted men such brutality that Abu Ghraib looks like a parental smack by comparison. The band of U.S. heroes in the movie club Germans to death for refusing to talk, carve swastikas in the foreheads of those who do, scalp the soldiers they kill, and conspire to assassinate German leaders in an incendiary attack that takes the lives of hundreds of civilians. The message appears to be that such unbridled brutality would have brought an early end to the war. "The way I look at it is this," Tarantino told a news conference at Cannes today (Wednesday), "my characters changed the outcome of the war. Now that didn't happen because my characters didn't exist." Asked why the title is spelled the way it is, "Tarantino replied, "I'm never going to explain that. You know, when you do an artistic flourish like that, to describe it, to explain it, is to take the p**s out of it and invalidate the whole stroke in the first place."


Critics attending the Cannes Film Festival are mostly expressing disappointment over Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.An unsigned review on the Hollywood Reporterwebsite says, "The film is by no means terrible -- its running time of two hours and 32 minutes races by -- but 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." The British trade publication Screen Dailysays that it "offers considerable challenges to the attention span of mainstream audiences." Sukhdev Sandhu concludes in the London Telegraph: "Cannes normally adores Tarantino (he won the Palme d'Or for Pulp Fiction), but this time? It's not so much inglorious as undistinguished." But several critics take a machine gun to it. Peter Bradshaw in Britain's Guardian newspaper calls it a "catastrophe" and goes on: "It isn't funny; it isn't exciting; it isn't a realistic war movie, yet neither is it an entertaining genre spoof or a clever counterfactual wartime yarn. It isn't emotionally involving or deliciously ironic or a brilliant tissue of trash-pop references. Nothing like that."


Two of the three children of Martin Luther King have implied that they will sue to halt a deal between DreamWorks and their older brother Dexter, who is chairman/CEO of the King estate. In an interview with the Associated Press, Bernice King, who said she was also speaking for her brother, Martin Luther King III, claimed that producer Steven Spielberg had entered into a deal "believing that they have the blessing of the King Estate. They don't have the blessings of Bernice and Martin King," she said. Daily Variety, which originally broke the story of the King deal, quoted unnamed DreamWorks insiders as saying that they are confident that the family feuding will not affect the production. For his part, Dexter King said on Tuesday that he alone can grant rights to his father's intellectual property and that he is "committed to working very closely with DreamWorks.


As controversy continued to swirl around IMAX's move to install smaller screens in multiplexes, Daily Varietyhas reported that David Russo plans to direct a film featuring the Las Vegas favorites Blue Man Group that will be filmed using the traditional large format IMAX cameras and shown only on the giant screens installed mostly in museums, planetariums, and the like. The huge IMAX cameras used in the filming notoriously make too much noise for traditional sound recording, making BMG's mostly pantomime performances ideal for the format. Meanwhile, IMAX officials maintained Tuesday that they have been installing smaller screens in multiplexes for the past six years without controversy and that the screens are installed in such a way -- closer to the audience -- that they give the perception of larger size. The controversy over IMAX's new screen size was kicked up recently by Parks and Recreationactor Aziz Ansari, who said that he felt he had been ripped off when he paid a premium price to see Star Trekon an IMAX screen only to discover that the screen was only slightly larger than those in conventional theaters.