Posts Tagged ‘Coen brothers’

This week’s releases include: a blood-spattered massacre; a modern day film noir; a law-breaking legacy; an historical kangaroo court; the first appearance of Pai Mei; a tale about a dangerous friendship; an unsuccessful assassination; a little known comedy; the never-ending troubles of a motorcycle club; the second instalment of another vampire and werewolf tale; a traditional horror picture; and a moving drama about a pseudo-father/son relationship. (more…)

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This week’s releases include presentations from several acclaimed directors as well as a few strained relationships: a young woman is forced to choose between tradition and a new world; a couple’s seclusion does not have the desired results; an assembly of the Coen Brothers’ films spanning 10 years; a group of friends gather to recapture their youth; a love triangle turns deadly; a collection of major musicals from the last 10 years; and a set of Terry Gilliam’s great reality-bending films. (more…)

The Coen Brothers have had several hits and misses in their 20 plus-year career, but having established their aptitude they finally had the opportunity to make a movie they’ve wanted to create – A Serious Man is their “Jewish” film.

Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlberg) is a physics professor experiencing a few significant life adjustments: his wife is leaving him for his best friend; his unemployed brother is permanently occupying his couch and bathroom; a student is threatening his career; he can’t understand his children; and his beautiful neighbour enjoys sunbathing nude. Struggling to make sense of it all, Larry visits three rabbis – none of whom give him the answers he seeks. The struggle of a man to stay afloat against forces out of his control and Larry’s demeanour are reminiscent of Matthew Broderick’s character in Election.

There are quirky moments that illicit snickers, such as a rabbi younger than Larry telling him, “This is life”; meanwhile all anybody can think is what do you know about life? The hoops Larry continues to jump through in attempts to better his life are extensive, especially since none of the manoeuvres produce positive results. Furthermore, none of the advice he receives is helpful, or even applicable.

The constant juxtapositioning and parallel editing is overkill. Unfortunately, it does not prevent the film from being slow and feeling over-extended. It is difficult to become engaged in Larry even though he is in nearly every scene (which is an impressive feat on the part of Stuhlberg). Finally, the open ending has little purpose than to leave the audience without closure.

Special features include: “Becoming Serious,” a making-of featurette; “Creating 1967”; and “Hebrew and Yiddish for Goys.”


Low-budget British-Indian drama Slumdog Millionaire received 11 nominations on Thursday for the British Academy awards. The well-deserved esteem comes on the heels of the film’s success at the Golden Globes and gives it another boost ahead of the Oscars next month.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which stars Brad Pitt as a man who ages backward, was also nominated in 11 categories, including best film, best actor and best director for David Fincher.

Slumdog Millionaire, a film about a Mumbai street boy’s rise to game-show glory, was nominated in six major categories including best picture, best actor for Dev Patel, best adapted screenplay for Simon Beaufoy and best director for Danny Boyle. It received several design nominations as well.

They are followed by Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight, which won nine BAFTA nominations, including best supporting actor for the late Heath Ledger; while Clint Eastwood’s L.A. noir Changeling, was nominated in eight categories, including best director.

Political drama Frost/Nixon won six nominations, including best actor for Frank Langella and best director for Ron Howard. Post-war Germany picture The Reader was nominated in five categories, including best picture and best actress for Kate Winslet. In Bruges, Milk and Revolutionary Road picked up four nods apiece.

Double-Golden Globe-winner Winslet is competing against herself in the best actress category, with nominations for both The Reader and Revolutionary Road. She is up against Angelina Jolie for Changeling, Meryl Streep for Doubt and Kristin Scott Thomas for the French film I’ve Loved You So Long.

The best-actor nominees are, Sean Penn for Milk, Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler Patel, Langella and Pitt – who was also nominated in the supporting actor category for the Coen Brothers’ spy comedy Burn After Reading.

In a statement, 18-year-old Patel said to be nominated alongside Pitt, Rourke, Langella and Penn “is unbelievably exciting and such a huge honour.”

The televised ceremony will be hosted by controversial presenter Jonathan Ross, who was recently suspended without pay from the BBC for his participation in obscene prank calls made to actor Andrew Sachs.


This is top-notch Coen Brothers and will have you laughing from beginning to end. A must-see and see again flick.

Osborne (John Malkovich) was a C.I.A. analyst until he quit after what he felt was an unfair demotion. Larry (George Clooney) is a U.S. Marshall and married philanderer who is sleeping with Osborne’s wife (Tilda Swinton). He is also dating Linda (Frances McDormand), who along with her can-do best friend Chad (Brad Pitt) is blackmailing Osborne over some “sensitive” information found in the locker room at Hardbodies Fitness Center, where they work.

On the surface this sounds like it could be a political drama but when all the characters are blunderers it tends to go in a different direction. Designers faced a difficult task in making two of People’s sexiest men alive into less attractive fools. For Clooney, it’s thoroughly achieved via a gold chain and high-wasted pants; Pitt has terribly bleached hair and is always bouncing to the beat of an iPod.

While many of the characters’ actions seem ridiculous, they actually have typical worries that plague the middle-aged – they’re just slightly more exaggerated than most people’s experiences.

The Coen Brothers have had their fair share of hits and misses over the years but this one is sure to be a winner. They wrote each part specifically for each actor and the players really step up to the challenge. Fortunately, they are all very strong and competent actors so no one overshadows anyone else. Nonetheless, JK Simmons has some of the best lines in the film as a C.I.A. superior.

As is habit with the Coens’ DVD releases, the bonus features feel insufficient. “Finding the Burn” is a five-minute “making of” featurette that reveals very little regarding the shooting process. “DC Insiders Run Amuck” is 12-minutes and is divided into sections dedicated to the actor and his/her character, with each relating how the costume was significant to their persona. Lastly, “Welcome Back, George” is an amusing, short featurette about the Clooney’s tendency to be cast as a fool by the Coen Brothers. With such an extraordinary and entertaining cast, the lack of special features will only leave you wanting more.

Two of the Coen brothers’ more ambitious films about murder are being re-released together: No Country for Old Men and The Man Who Wasn’t There.

In No Country, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) opens a can of murderous worms when he stumbles upon a botched drug deal and finds a briefcase containing $2 million. The Mexican owners of the money bring in killer-without-a-conscience Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) to recover the cash. In the meantime, soon-to-be-retired Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) tries to track down Llewelyn and breach his stubbornness to prevent any more bloodshed.

The Man Who Wasn’t There is a dark and twisted film noir that takes place in a 1949 California town. Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) is a barber that wants to join the dry cleaning business but to gain the means to escape his dull life he turns to blackmail and revenge. The other players in Ed’s charade are his wife (Frances McDormand), brother-in- law (Michael Badalucco), his wife’s boss (James Gandolfini), a young pianist (Scarlett Johansson) and a big city lawyer (Tony Shalhoub).

No Country for Old Men is brilliant. The unusual wig adorned by Bardem is truly memorable and adds to the uniqueness of a haunting character. Brolin’s quiet determination and Jones’ weary professionalism is outstanding. The story is intriguing and the Coens give it their own special brand of style. The conclusion is entirely unexpected and unpredictable, which is initially troublesome but very smart.

The Man Who Wasn’t There looks stunning in stark black and white contrasts. The lighting and cinematography are excellent, creating a film reminiscent of classic noir pictures. Some scenes are so perfectly set, they distract from the narrative for a moment, but it enhances the film overall. Thornton’s performance as silent protagonist and unreserved narrator is also noteworthy. The only complaint is by the end it feels somewhat lengthy.

No Country‘s special features include a “making of” documentary; ”Working with the Coens,” which sings the brothers’ praises; and “Diary of a Sheriff,” which follows Jones’ character. The other DVD also has a “making of” documentary; an excessively long although informative interview with cinematographer Roger Deakins; and an amusing feature commentary by Thornton and the Coen brothers.

The Coen Brothers were scheduled to shoot Burn After Reading before No Country for Old Men but attempting to bring together a cast of this magnitude requires some shuffling. When it all comes together though, the result is extraordinary.

Osborne (John Malkovich) was a C.I.A. analyst until he quit after what he felt was an unfair demotion. Larry (George Clooney) is a U.S. Marshall and married philanderer who is sleeping with Osborne’s wife (Tilda Swinton). He is also dating Linda (Frances McDormand), who along with her can-do best friend Chad (Brad Pitt) is blackmailing Osborne over some “sensitive” information found in the locker room at Hardbodies Fitness Center, where they work.

On the surface this sounds like it could be a political drama but when all the characters are blunderers it tends to go in a different direction. Designers faced a difficult task in making two of People’s sexiest men alive into less attractive fools. For Clooney, it’s thoroughly achieved via a gold chain and high-wasted pants; Pitt has terribly bleached hair and is always bouncing to the beat of an iPod.

While many of the characters’ actions seem ridiculous, they actually have typical worries that plague the middle-aged – they’re just slightly more exaggerated than most people’s experiences.

The Coen Brothers have had their fair share of hits and misses over the years but this one is sure to be a winner. They wrote each part specifically for each actor and the players really step up to the challenge. Fortunately, they are all very strong and competent actors so no one overshadows anyone else. Nonetheless, JK Simmons has some of the best lines in the film as a C.I.A. superior.