An intelligent ode to a time when Hollywood made wildly inventive movies without pressure from focus groups, there's a serious edge to what superficially looks like a madcap comical romp. But this isn't one of Joel and Ethan Coen's nutty comedies. It's a pointed exploration of the collision between art and commerce, assembled as a sprawlingly entertaining ensemble movie packed with lively, often hilarious characters.
It's set over 24 hours at Capitol Pictures in 1951 as studio minder Eddie (Josh Brolin) tries to keep several movies in production despite a series of hitches, while twin gossip columnists (two Tilda Swintons) try to get a scoop. Top movie star Baird (George Clooney) has been kidnapped by communist writers from the set of his Roman epic. Water-ballet diva DeeAnna (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant and unapologetically unmarried. And rising-star Hobie (Alden Ehrenreich) is struggling to make the transition from Western action hero to chamber room drama, clashing with his demanding new director Laurence (Ralph Fiennes). Meanwhile, song-and-dance man Burt (Channing Tatum) is up to something on the set of his sailor musical. With all of this, Eddie begins to think that maybe he should take the offer of a job outside the film industry.
As the movie darts between these various productions, the Coens gleefully reinvent this series of genres that have essentially died out. Yes, the film is a pointed depiction of how Hollywood used to make a wide array of movies for much broader audiences. Each sequence is written and directed with witty details that perfectly catch the way the chaos of a film set can be transformed into a glamorous motion picture in time for the starry red-carpet premiere. And the entire cast rises to the challenge. Clooney is terrific as the dim-witted star who hasn't a clue what's happening around him. Ehrenreich shows real charm as a smart kid struggling in an insane situation. Brolin holds things together in a surprisingly sympathetic role, while Swinton, Johansson and Fiennes add plenty of spark, and the film is stolen by Frances McDormand as a spiky film editor.
Continue reading: Hail, Caesar! Review
Ever since his wonderful appearance in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, we've been waiting for Ralph Fiennes to take up a similar role that shows a completely different side to the actor, now it looks like the Coen Brothers have given the actor such a role. Laurence Lorenz is an eccentric film director who finds himself caught up in a fiasco when Hollywood superstar Baird Whitlock is kidnapped.
Continue: Hail, Caesar! Trailer
Steven Spielberg takes on the Cold War with a stately, sentimental thriller that gurgles along with quiet intensity, only occasionally finding a real spark of energy. Most intriguing, and important, is the way the film refuses to indulge in the usual moralising, allowing its characters to be complex and confused as they try to do the right thing. Even the Russians are depicted as real people rather than shady villains. And this makes what happens utterly riveting.
Set in 1957 New York, the story centres on lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), who is hired to represent Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) as he is tried for being a Soviet spy. But James is fighting a losing battle against a culture that's determined to convict Rudolf, regardless of the evidence against him. Three years later, an American U-2 spy plane is shot down over Russia, and its pilot Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) captured. So now James is drafted in by the CIA to negotiate a swap: Rudolf for Gary. He heads to Berlin to orchestrate the hand-off, and there decides that he also wants the East Germans to free an American student (Will Rogers) who was wrongfully detained as the Berlin Wall was being built.
Donovan was a remarkable man who tirelessly went far beyond the call in everything he did. He's also a terrific movie character, and Hanks plays him with deadpan honesty, adding shadings to every scenes that make him easy to identify with. This is a likeable person who represents today's political ideal: a tenacious man who ignores partisan politics to do the right thing. The characters around him are less developed, although Rylance offers some strong support as an honest, perceptive man who accepts his fate with dignity. And Ryan has some pointed moments as Donovan's observant wife. All of the actors benefit from the strong screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen and Matt Charman, which stirs plenty of edgy humour into the Cold War tensions.
Continue reading: Bridge Of Spies Review
The Coen brothers are returning to the Cannes Film Festival to head the jury.
Joel and Ethan Coen are to serve as co-presidents of the 68th Cannes Film Festival jury. The official line-up and jury will be announced in April while the festival takes place May 13-24.
The Coen brothers had success at the Cannes Film Festival with Inside Llewyn Davis
"We look forward to returning to Cannes this year," the Oscar-winning directors said in a statement. "We welcome as always the opportunity to watch movies there from all over the world. Cannes is a festival that has been important to us since the very beginning of our career. Presiding over the Jury is a special honor, since we have never heretofore been president of anything. We will issue further proclamations at the appropriate time."
Continue reading: Watch Out Cannes 2015, The Coen Brothers Are Coming
In the wake of the murders, everyone is trying to figure out what on Earth is going on.
This week’s episode of Fargowas yet another downer, but maybe it comes with the territory for a show, set in the desolate Minesota prairie. Beware, spoilers ahead. Fargo episode 2, The Rooster Prince, opens with another stark, snowy landscape to help set the mood. Something is on its way. Literally. “Something” comes in the form of two mysterious travelers – an unknown, leather jacket and mutton chop-sporting man and his passenger, whose identity is hidden away by a large coat, majestic beard and a pair of sunglasses.
The Coen Brothers' adaptation of their 1996 film is just as dense as the original.
As the two arrive in Bemidji, the town is still rocked by the deaths of trucking boss Sam Hess, police chief Vern Thurman, and bullying wife Pearl Nygaard. Apparently the mysterious pair have been sent by Fargo, the crime syndicate overseeing Hess’ empire. They ask for Max Gold, whose exact position within the firm is still unknown, though he acts like a money man or lawyer. It seems like he is overseeing the business in Hess’ place.
The series marks a new direction for FX.
Billy Bob Thornton, aka That Guy From Armageddon, has been cast in an upcoming FX series – Fargo. According to Deadline, the true crime series will be executive produced by none other than the Coen brothers, who were the brains behind the original 1996 movie on which the series is based. The project is a 10-episode limited series and it will focus on an entirely new case with new characters. One thing that will be carried over from the original is the trademark dark humor and “Minnesota nice.”
Billy Bob will be the villain.
Thornton has signed on to play Lorne Malvo, a seedy, controlling character, who meets a traveling salesman and manipulates the man into ruin. He is described as reminiscent of the character of Gaear in the film.
Continue reading: Billy Bob Thornton Comes On Board For FX's "Fargo" Project
Despite apparent interest from the original cast, a sequel to The Big Lebowski is looking unlikely.
The Coen brothers may have emerged as the new favourites for this year's Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival after their new movie Inside Llewyn Davis received five star reviews across the board, though the filmmakers have shot down reports they are developing a sequel to their cult hit The Big Lebowski.
The 1998 comedy about Jeff Bridges' hippie bowler character 'The Dude' is amongst the Coen's most popular work and Bridges himself has spoken of being open to a sequel. "John Turturro, who wants it, talks to us incessantly about doing a sequel about his (bowler) character Jesus," Ethan Coen said at Cannes this week, "He even has the story worked out, which he's pitched to us a few times, but I can't really remember it. No, I don't see it in our future." If Ethan left the slightest possibility of a sequel, brother Joel shut down door firmly shut, "I don't think it's going to happen ... I just don't like sequels," he said.
Continue reading: Dude Won't Abide: Coens Play Down 'Big Lebowski' Sequel At Cannes
The Coen brothers latest movie appears to have a real chance of scooping the Palme D'Or this year.
The Coen brothers eighth placement in the competition for the prestigious Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival could be their strongest chance since Barton Fink, which won the award in 1991. It's been six years since the filmmakers have been in competition at Cannes though it seems Inside Llewyn Davis could see the brothers back with a bang.
Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) At Jim and Jean's Apartment
The movie, loosely based on Dave Von Ronk's posthumously published memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street, follows Oscar Issac as a singer-songwriter who navigates the testing New York folk music scene of the 1960s. The film, boasting an all-star casting including Isaac, Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby), Justin Timberlake (The Social Network), Garrett Hudlund (On The Road), Adam Driver (Girls) and John Goodman (Argo), Inside Llewyn Davis appears to have all the attributes of a possible Palme D'Or winner and the Coens appear to have spent time making it the best movie possible. It is believed the brothers could have rushed the film into last year's Oscar season though decided against it. Timberlake has contributed to the movie's soundtrack, as has Mulligan's husband Marcus Mumford and T Bone Burnett, who helped shift 8 million copies of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? score.
Watch The 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Trailer!
Llewyn Davis is a struggling folk musician attempting to find his place in the world by scouring New York's Greenwich Village at the height of folk in 1961. Along the way he meets old friends who are not particularly happy to see him because of his own unresolved mistakes in the past, and while he strives to find a venue to do what he loves doing, hitchhiking across roads in the freezing winter with a beat-up guitar and a homeless cat, he is forced to question not only himself as a person, but also where and what he really wants his future to be.
'Inside Llewyn Davis' is an emotional musical drama written and directed by Oscar winners Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, aka The Coen Brothers ('No Country for Old Men', 'True Grit', 'Fargo'). It has been very loosely based on the posthumous 2005 memoirs 'The Mayor of MacDougal Street' by the late New York folk artist Dave Van Ronk, and has been nominated to compete for the sought after Palme d'Or prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. This passionate story about love, music, finding oneself and learning from one's mistakes will hit screens in the UK on January 24th 2014.
Remade from a 1966 romp starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, this con artist action-comedy is enjoyably silly but never much more than that. Part of the problem is a lack of chemistry between stars Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz, and the film focuses on goofy slapstick instead of a coherent plot. So we may chuckle along the way, but it's hard to be interested in anything that happens.
Firth is at the centre as Harry, a London art expert who has a score to settle with his arrogant billionaire boss Lionel (Rickman). So he sets up an elaborate scam involving a fake Monet painted by his talented pal Wingate (Courtenay). But they need the help of a sassy Texan, PJ (Diaz), to make it work, and she doesn't play along as Harry imagines she will. Soon she's flirting shamelessly with Lionel while Harry sneaks around in the background setting up the con and struggling to pay for her extravagant stay in the Savoy. Meanwhile, Lionel is trying to make a deal with a group of hard-bargaining Japanese businessmen.
While the Coen brothers' script bursts with absurd wit, Hoffman directs the film as a mindless farce, missing every chance for black comedy. From the animated Pink Panther-style titles, the tone is light and frothy, the characters are paper thin and the plot's convolutions never seem to amount to anything. Most of the big set-pieces are irrelevant asides, such as a half-hearted scene involving the lion that's featured far too prominently on the movie poster. Or a long sequence in which Firth cavorts around the Savoy without his trousers. It certainly doesn't help that Firth and Diaz never generate even a spark of attraction between them.
Continue reading: Gambit Review
Harry Deane is a pretty hopeless British art curator who has suffered years of condescension and disrespect at the hands of his preposterously rich and eccentric boss that is the renowned art collector Lionel Shabandar. Frustrated at his own lack of recognition in the art world, Harry decides to organise an elaborate plot of revenge on his employer by tricking him into buying a seemingly priceless Monet painting that happens to be a fake. As part of his cunning ploy, he travels to the states and meets a stunning, blonde Texas cowgirl who he enlists to help him by posing alongside her grandmother as inheritors of the valuable piece. He takes her to England where Shabandar is immediately taken with her and goes to all lengths to charm her. Harry's affection for Nicole is also growing and his jealousy of the two of them results in more than one embarrassing situations.
This flamboyant crime comedy is a remake of the 1966 Academy Award nominated film of the same name which starred Michael Caine ('The Dark Knight', 'Children of Men') and Shirley MacLaine ('The Apartment', 'Terms of Endearment'). Not only has this 2012 movie also got an all-star cast, it has been written by the multi-Oscar winning writing brothers Ethan Coen and Joel Coen ('No Country for Old Men', 'Fargo', 'True Grit') as well as being directed by Michael Hoffman ('One Fine Day', 'The Emperor's Club'). It's set for release in the UK on November 21st 2012.
True Grit is a 1968 Western book by author Charles Portis, Ethan & Joel Coen now lend the story and re-work it into a film adaptation. They are not the first directors to turn this book into a film as it was also attempted by Henry Hathaway in 1969 and starred John Wayne.
Continue: True Grit Trailer
This film feels kind of like what you'd expect from a collision between George Clooney...
An intelligent ode to a time when Hollywood made wildly inventive movies without pressure from...
Ever since his wonderful appearance in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, we've been waiting...
Steven Spielberg takes on the Cold War with a stately, sentimental thriller that gurgles along...
Eddie Mannix is a fixer who works in Hollywood where he tames celebrities and keeps...
With a true story that's almost hard to believe, this inspiring biographical drama is made...
The Coen brothers have a wry twinkle in their eyes as they take us on...
Llewyn Davis is a struggling folk musician attempting to find his place in the world...
Remade from a 1966 romp starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, this con artist action-comedy...
Harry Deane is a pretty hopeless British art curator who has suffered years of condescension...