Melanie LaurentI was on Twitter the other day -- my favorite time waster -- and noticed an interesting question from Matt Dentler of Cinetic Media: "Will women pay to see Inglourious Basterds this weekend? No, seriously, I'm asking: are you, or do you know, a woman who will?" I replied that I'd paid to watch the movie at Cinemapocalypse, and would probably pay again to see it with my husband. Matt then told me the Alamo event didn't count -- he didn't quite explain why, but I think the point is that women who go to all-night movie marathons probably do not fit the traditional female moviegoer stereotype.

Anyway, my reply to Matt generated some retweets and a short, interesting discussion: "I wish the ads conveyed that it [Basterds] has strong female characters." "You nailed it," he replied, and I understood what he meant. He found the trailers misleading -- rightfully so. As Eli Roth mentioned before the Cinemapocalypse screening of the film, the trailers for Inglourious Basterds don't convey the general storyline of the movie at all. You might assume it's mostly about the title characters, who run around scalping Nazis, but that's almost a subplot. I just watched the most recent trailer, and I noticed only a few blink-and-you'll-miss shots of Melanie Laurent (pictured at right), who has one of the most critical roles in the film. To be fair, this is partially because few Americans have heard of Laurent -- we also see little of Christoph Waltz, whose character is pivotal, and he's a guy. Diane Kruger has had some U.S. fame from her role in the National Treasure films, so she gets a little more face time in the trailer. Brad Pitt understandably gets a disproportionate amount of trailer time because we all know who he is, and he's considered a box-office draw.

Still, the shots of Laurent and Kruger in the trailers show them in pretty dresses or saucy hats -- alluring, not active, with the briefest exceptions. You might assume their characters are love interests for the more important male characters, but that's not at all the case, I assure you. Quentin Tarantino has brought us formidable action heroines (or anti-heroines, if you like) in Jackie Brown, the Kill Bill movies and in the Death Proof segment of Grindhouse. He's done it again with Inglourious Basterds ... but how are you supposed to know that from the advertising?

I suspect that whatever the box-office numbers are this weekend, we'll hear about young men being the primary group that saw Inglourious Basterds. That's been the target demographic for the promotions -- everyone knows women don't go to see movies that feature gory violence like scalping, and that focus on military tactics during war, right? That's why the audience at the movie marathon I attended last weekend was close to 50 percent female, all watching movies set in wartime or about gang warfare. And no, we were not all accompanying boyfriends or husbands ... mine was home asleep, and I was surrounded by three other women on their own.

But now you know that Tarantino's latest film features two strong female characters who don't bat their eyelashes and pout, or cry uselessly, or silently gaze worshipfully at Their Men. If you want to watch ass-kicking women, you may want to check out Inglourious Basterds. Zoe Bell did stunts for this film ... does that convince you now?