Posts Tagged ‘Coen Brothers’

  • Michael Bay loves Coen Brothers Supporting Players



    At an entertaining and boisterous drink-up in a Toronto pub with an eclectic mix of film fans, filmmakers and writers last night, Mamo! Matt Price lamented that while there are Lebowski Fests all over the world, there are no Miller’s Crossing fests, and that started not only the germ of an idea. After all, it is a toss up behind Lebowski which is the more all-out quotable Coen Brothers movie – O Brother Where Art Thou?, Fargo or Miller’s Crossing – but I tend to side with the latter (and don’t you dare give me the high hat!) Nevertheless, there was a lament also that Jon Polito has not shown up in a Coen Brothers joint in some time, and that, kind moviegoers, is a damn shame.

    Maybe Michael Bay will hire him to wear a G-String and be peed on or something for his next movie.

    Huh? That’s a hell of a non sequitur there, isn’t it? Maybe not.

    It is no secret, albeit I have heard no compelling explanation why, that Michael Bay tends to pilfer top notch character actors and then make them ham it up with bad dialogue (big air quotes around the d-word which is uttered with the utmost caution on a M-Bay set) and drops them into embarrassing situations to strip them of any dignity, joy or shame. Many folks have probably noticed that he is particularly fond of taking Coen Brothers regulars and dropping them into his film. For instance, Transformers 3 has no less than three actors: Frances McDormand, John Turturro and John Malkovich which ties Armageddon (Billy Bob Thorton, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare (the latter two who have a very good, but very distinctly Non-Fargo or Big Lebowski, scene together, but these two actors prolific as they may be – this might all be coincidence – but they also appear in several other Michael Bay features (Buscemi in The Island, Storemare in Bad Boys II). Also, William Forsythe (John Goodman’s highly amusing prison-pal from Raising Arizona) also shows up in The Rock.

    All this to say that I’m not the first to notice this, and getting back to Jon Polito for a moment, this MovieLine article suggests that yea, if The Coen’s can’t find work for the man, then at least he should draw a big paycheck to stand in front of some Bayhem.

    In the meantime, who wants to help get a Millers-Con off the ground? Hey, what’s the rumpus?

  • Cinecast Episode 209 – Respect the Troll Canon


    After a couple of lean and mean episodes, we bring the show back to is usual epic size and clock in a 3.5 hour conversation. This is due to a number of things. Everyone was able to catch Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams and discussion about art, 3D, and Wernerisms ensue. Andrew has been taking in the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival and talks about boarding schools, Eva Green and troll hunting. Matt Gamble (Where the Long Tail Ends) returns after a week hiatus and reviews Scream 4 (*SPOILER HEAVY*) and this leads into a discussion of the whole Scream franchise but really, Kurt and Matt only want to talk about The People Under the Stairs. Then there is a fairly heated argument about Speed Racer and how it is kind of like Ronin Miller’s Crossing. Kurt gets angry. Matt gets condescending. (Things get even less civil later on when talking about Philip Ridley’s dark and unclassifiable fairy tale, Heartless.) Moving along, and putting arguing styles aside, we move into what we watched which includes couple of interesting documentaries, one of the super rich the other on mysterious street art. There is some talk about The Joneses and joy of David Duchovny’s self-caricature idiom, there is lots of worship of Christopher Lee and The Wicker Man. And, of course, the proverbial much, much more!

    As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!




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    Full show notes are under the seats…
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  • Hands up if you Want a Coen Brothers Horror Film!



    *Raises Hand* OK, so this is still in the early stages, but the Coen Brothers were talking to Empire Magazine and they mentioned that there is a 50% chance of their next film being a straight up horror picture. They have two scripts in development, and did not indicate what the other one was, but at this point, the mind fills with possibilities of a full on horror film from the Brothers. They have always dabbled in some extreme imagery or scary elements here and there (the dybbuk prologue in A Serious Man, The hotel and John Goodman’s Devil in Barton Fink, Randall Tex Cobb in Raising Arizona), and of course, Joel Coen was an editor on Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead film.

    Via Empire who chatted with the Brothers on their upcoming projects.

  • Cinecast Episode 200(!) – Stats, Stories and Sunshine



    So, the better part of five years just seems to have flown by us in a podcasting frenzy. First, THANKS(!) to everyone who has ever downloaded or streamed a show and actually listened to the thing in its entirety. We certainly could do the show without you, but what would be the point? It would not be as much fun or as rewarding without the feedback and comments; so thank you very much for all the interaction over the years! Also, several shout-outs in the show go to various people that have helped out over the years (you know who you are!) There is no main review this week, instead we spend the majority of our time working out personal issues with one another and just sort of reminiscing about the podcast. Also, favourite films, favourite film going experiences and a big old batch of great listener emails (two hours of that!) Eventually, we talk a little on The Mechanic on The Mechanic and sort through the great selection of DVDs coming out this week.

    So, excuse (or indulge) in a great big boatload of narcissism (fair warning!) and thanks everyone for listening and supporting over the past half decade. Here is to you and here is to two hundred more. Cheers!

    As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!




    To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

    ALTERNATIVE (no music track):

    Full show notes are under the seats…
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  • Review: True Grit (2010)


    Director: Joel and Ethan Coen (Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, A Serious Man)
    Novel: Charles Portis
    Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen
    Producers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Scott Rudin
    Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper
    MPAA Rating: R
    Running time: 110 min.


    Tough to go any extended length of time knowing that a Coen Brothers film is right around the corner. It is an event for most cinephiles and everything else just seems to pale in comparison with the expectations and anticipation felt by movie goers everywhere. So finally the day comes and we rush to the theater with excitement. Is it worth the wait? The short answer is yes. True Grit has all of the trappings of a Coen Brothers picture; complete with antiquated, yet somehow goofy dialogue, fabulous casting, a fun storyline (often having to do with a satchel of money or some sort of “on the run” scenario) and of course Roger Deakins. Yes, this is a worthy trip to the multi-plex this holiday season. But there are some reservations.

    It must be understood that this is not a remake of a film of the same name produced in 1968 and starring the late, great John Wayne. No, this is the Coens’ own interpretation of the novel. That said, having seen the 1968 version, one would find it difficult to not compare the two as they’re both extremely similar on many levels – neither of them deviating much from the screenplay-like dialogue of the book. So I’ll get this out of the way first: overall, I like the original version of the film better. It’s arguably not fair to compare the two movies and one should let this product stand on its own. But again, that’s difficult to do with the previous version so fresh in the mind and if I were letting it stand on its own I’d say its certainly a lesser entry into the repertoire of Joel and Ethan.
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Cinecast Episode 189 – Just a Symptom of 1986


    It is again that wonky time of year where studios favour the platform release, getting in the way of folks from Toronto and Minneapolis having a friendly movie chat about the same darn movies. Instead, we must be content with Multiplex Matt Gamble and the mainstream mega-release. Here he gives some thoughts on Todd Phillips’ newest, Due Date and tries to break down some pre-conceived notions. There is also some talk of the Asian Film Festival. Kurt gives a snippet of reaction to Danny Boyle’s follow-up to his Oscar win, 127 Hours. It is likely that the boys will revisit this one at some point for a consensus discussion, but as a nice double bill with the other ‘trapped between a rock and a hard place’ movie Buried there is a fair bit of stuff to chew on. Meanwhile Andrew finds solace in the comfort of his Blu-ray player… sometimes twice a day. Peter Weir is revisited in a lengthy discussion on The Mosquito Coast and also some Picnic at Hanging Rock, Master & Commander, The Truman Show and of course, the upcoming The Way Back. DVD picks and Japanese pornography are also on the bill.

    As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!




    Full show notes are under the seats…
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  • True Grit Poster


    Let us continue with our love fest of the Coen’s and True Grit. Here is the fresh off the printer one sheet.

    True Grit
  • Bookmarks for Mid August

    • When should a director stop messing with a movie?
      “There are many kinds of re-cuts, created for different reasons, under different circumstances. Whether you consider a second or third or fourth cut valid (or superior) to the first depends on what you liked or disliked about the first cut, and the circumstances that produced that first cut, and what you think was gained or lost in revision.”
    • Lock & Load (Video)
      A video montage-essay on Cinema’s fetish with guns (mostly America, but look for a lot of Johnnie To and John Woo in there too.)
    • Mit Out Sound, Mit Out Solution
      Guy Maddin on Josef von Sternberg: “With this mild mea culpa, von Sternberg was done turning out his pockets. Every interview he did after that, until his death just a few days before Christmas of 1969, was a variation on the theme of “I could tell you the secret of my genius, but upon reflection, I prefer it remain a mystery for the ages.” He’s left it for us to work out, that dumpy, dapper rapscallion, but I can hardly blame him. A mystery as insoluble as this is a gift nearly as great as the films themselves.”
    • ‘Scott Pilgrim’ Versus Itself
      “I don’t want to be the guy arguing that a movie adaptation of a comic book doesn’t do justice to the original comic. I especially don’t want to be the one doing that about Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, because there have already been dark accusations about it being too fanboyish, and I am most definitely a fanboy for Scott Pilgrim the comic book. But the little things that bug me about the movie all ultimately feed into one big complaint: the wonderful treatment of female characters in the comic book gets lost in the transition to the big screen. It’s what happens when you make a big action-filled summer film. But it’s not good that this requires the female characters and their particular relationships to be swept under the rug. ”
    • Half a Century of Making Cars Into Stars
      “There was KITT, the modified Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that protected and talked to David Hasselhoff in the 1980s television series “Knight Rider.” There was the rebuilt and countrified 1921 jalopy that Jed Clampett drove — with Granny in a rocking chair behind him — from the Ozarks to Hollywood in the 1960s series “The Beverly Hillbillies.” And most notably there was the 1955 Lincoln Futura with the bubble top that Mr. Barris and his crew chopped and stretched into a sinister-looking shiny black-and-red crime fighting machine called the Batmobile “In the hall of fame of car customizers, George Barris is No. 1,””
    • Rene Laloux’s Fantastic Planet on Blu-Ray (U.K)
      “I hesitate to use the word ‘surreal’, because it has become so dulled by overuse as to become almost meaningless, but if there was an animated work that warranted such a label, it is this one. Be warned though – the drug-inspired and often highly sexualised designs complete with images of bare-breasted aliens will probably deter the more Victorian-minded from presenting this to their pre-teens as a Disney substitute. This is definitely one to be filed under the category of “adult art animation”.”


    You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

  • Trailer: A Simple Noodle Story


    The US trailer for Zhang Yimou’s remake of Blood Simple, with its title translating to A Girl, A Gun and a Noodleshop (aka A Simple Noodle Story) is 180 degrees different in tone from the slap-stick heavy teasers ran in China while the film played at Berlin earlier in the year. At least with this trailer you can tell it is indeed a remake of the Coen Brothers neo-noir. But the final product presumable contains both elements and is probably different than either the Chinese or US trailers. Yet, I like Zhang Yimou in general (both his flashy art-wuxia pictures, like Hero and House of Flying Daggers as well as his earlier social/political dramas along the lines of To Live and Raise The Red Lantern) and I am intrigued as to how the remake concept will work going the opposite direction across the ocean for once! Blood Simple is an elastic/generic enough noir picture that even labeling A Simple Noodle Story (is there a pun in the title?) a remake is almost redundant anyway.

    The trailer is tucked under the seat.
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Millar’s Crossing: Extended Thoughts on Kick-Ass


    In Carl Matheson‘s early aughties piece on the humour of TVs The Simpsons, he talks about something he calls hyper-irony: “The flavor of humor offered by today’s comedies is colder, based less on a shared sense of humanity than on a sense of world-weary cleverer-than-thou-ness.” Of course this is not designed to be perjurious, but rather complimentary, insofar as any fan of The Coen brothers reacts to the humour of their equally cleverer-than-thou takes on both genre and cinema. Matthew Vaughn’s new superhero adventure certainly plays in this sandbox and it does it very well. It walks the line of ‘what if’ while soft-shoeing around comic nerd fantasy and realism. Knowing full well that the bulk of comic-book entry points are from the adolescent pure fantasy point of view (Iron Man‘s wise-ass chauvinist inventor stud billionaire anyone?), that is the tone that wins out in the end, but damn if it still wants you to believe that things are set it in real world. I think it is this sort of high-wire act that got The Dark Knight such critical and audience love, although it was done without any sort of ironic distance by Christopher Nolan and company. Kick-Ass seems to specialize in this sort of tone and succeeds (not in making high-art) where the makers behind the film version of Millar’s Wanted completely failed to find the right proportions of grounded-ness and ironic fantasia. Vaughn and Goldman have certainly done the author a service.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Cinecast Episode 161 – Nightmares of Incomprehensibility


    Picking up where we should have started last week is easy (at least we think so) as nothing really noteworthy was theatrically released over the weekend anyway (Those looking for yet another round of movie pundits bagging on the bad 3D and lack of coherence in Clash of the Titans look elsewhere, we wisely skipped this one). Instead we munch on some mumblecore-tinged Noah Baumbach, Greenberg starring Ben Stiller and a little How To Train Your Dragon earns some love for CG Animations second fiddle, Dreamworks. As a bonus, some retro goofery with Hot Tub Time Machine, depressed Danes in Terribly Happy and some steamy Canadian voyeurism with Chloe. As a further bonus, extensive Mad Men love from Gamble, cannibalism in the rain forests of Tasmania, Harrison Ford in the dirty back alleys of Paris with Roman Polanski and joined in the jungles of South America by Andre Gregory. Oh, and the joys of The Dude as President eating a shark sandwich. To confuse things further, some of our DVD picks are from this week and some are from last. It is a nightmare of incomprehensibility (in the parlance of our times), but it is a good time (parts of it, anyway) as we managed to make up for a messy part of the release calender with a lot of older movies on TV and Netflix. Enjoy.

    As always, feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

    To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

    Full show notes are under the seats…
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • UPDATE: Hurt Locker Still Leading Critics’ Awards. By a Long Shot


    UPDATED: (01/05)Continuing into the new year, critics all across the country are placing their votes and announcing the “winners” of their picks for outstanding achievement in film in all of the usual categories. These are all precursors of course to the Oscars, with the pinnacle of those being The Golden Globe nominations which were announced in December.

    Other than The Hurt Locker taking the spotlight in almost every case by a huge margin, early indications are not really all that surprising. George Clooney, current front-runner for a leading man Oscar leads mentions while Christophe Waltz is not surprisingly completely running away with it for his breakout role in Inglourious Basterds. Carrie Mulligan and Mo’Nique are also top winners so far in the leading and supporting actress categories respectively. Oh and even more surprising (at least to me, who hasn’t seen the film (update: I have now)), NY Critics give the best picture award to Avatar! Interesting.

    Of course it’s still early, but other than The Hurt Locker taking home so many wins for best picture and best director, I’d say this is about as an exact replica of the Oscar ceremony as you’re going to see – at least for the five major categories.

    Below are the Indiewire links to many of the critics choice awards around the country with the full results from the Boston and L.A. critics awards just for reference below that. Take a look below. See anything shamefully overlooked or is this about right? Does the uber-love for The Hurt Locker surprise anyone?

    AWARDS and NOMINATIONS announced so far:
    African-American Film Critics
    Alliance of Women Film Journalists
    Austin Film Critics
    Boston Film Critics
    British Indie Awards
    Broadcast Film Critics Awards
    Chicago Film Critics
    Cinema Eye Honors
    Dallas-Fort Worth Critics
    Detroit Film Critics
    European Film Awards
    Florida Film Critics
    Golden Globes
    Golden Satellites
    Gotham Awards
    Houston Critics
    Int’l Doc. Assoc.
    Indiana Film Critics
    Las Vegas Film Critic
    London Film Critics
    Los Angeles Film Critics
    National Board of Review
    National Society of Film Critics
    New York Film Critics
    New York Film Critics Online
    Online Film Critics Society
    PGA Awards
    Phoenix Film Critics
    San Diego Critics
    San Francisco Film Critics
    Screen Actors Guild Awards
    Southeastern Film Critics
    Spirit Awards
    St. Louis Film Critics
    Toronto Film Critics
    Utah Film Critics
    Washington D.C. Area Critics



    Best Picture:
    The Hurt Locker 11 wins (NY, LA, NSFC, Las Vegas, Austin, Satellites, Houston San Francisco, Boston, Gothams), 13 mentions (PGA, Globes, London, Online, BFCA, Utah, Southeastern, St. Louis, Detroit, African-American, NBR, Washington, NY Online)
    Up In The Air 7 wins (Dallas, Florida, Southeastern, Utah, Indiana, NBR, Washington) 12 mentions (PGA, Globes, London, Online, Chicago, Dallas, African-American, BFCA, St. Louis, LA, Satellites, Detroit, NY Online)
    Inglourious Basterds 3 wins (Toronto, Phoenix, San Diego) 14 mentions (PGA, Globes, BFCA, NSFC, Online, Chicago, Utah, Dallas, Southeastern, Detroit, NBR, Washington, NY Online)
    Precious 1 win (African-American Critics) 10 mentions (PGA, Globes, Dallas, BFCA, Southeastern, St. Louis, Spirits, Washington, NY Online, Satellites)
    Up 1 win (Detroit) 11 mentions (PGA, BFCA, African-American, Online Southeastern, Dallas, St. Louis, NBR, Washington, NY Online)
    Avatar 1 win (NY Online) 5 mentions (PGA, Globes, London, Dallas, BFCA)
    Moon 1 win (British Indie)
    Hunger 1 win (Toronto)
    A Serious Man 9 mentions (BFCA, Southeastern, Online, Chicago, NBR, Dallas, Gothams, NY Online, Satellites)
    (500) Days of Summer 6 mentions (Globes, Southeastern, St. Louis, Spirits, Detroit, NBR)
    An Education 6 mentions (PGA, BFCA, Dallas, St. Louis, NBR, Satellites)
    The Messenger 4 mentions (Southeastern, NBR, NY Online, Satellites)
    Fantastic Mr. Fox 4 mentions (Dallas, Southeastern, Indiana, NY Online)
    Invictus 4 mentions (PGA, BFCA, St. Louis, NBR)

    Best Director:
    Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker 14 wins (NY, LA, NSFC, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Southeastern, Houston, Satellites, NY Online, Washington, Las Vegas, Austin, Toronto) 6 mentions (BFCA, London, Online, St. Louis, Globes, Detroit)
    Jason Reitman, Up in the Air 3 wins (Utah, Florida, Dallas) 7 mentions (Globes, Chicago, London, BFCA, Southeastern, St. Louis, Detroit, Washington)
    Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds 2 wins (Phoenix, San Diego) 6 mentions (Globes, Online, Chicago, BFCA, St. Louis, Detroit, Washington)
    Lee Daniels, Precious 1 win (African-American) 4 mentions (BFCA, Spirits, Satellites, Washington)
    Clint Eastwood, Invictus 1 win (NBR) 3 mentions (Globes, BFCA, Washington)
    Spike Jonze, Where The Wild Things Are 1 win (Indiana) 1 mention (Chicago)
    Andrea Arnold, Fish Tank 1 win (British Indie)
    Pete Docter, Up 1 win (Detroit)
    James Cameron, Avatar 4 mentions (London, Online, Globes, BFCA)

    Best Actor:
    George Clooney, Up in the Air 9 wins (NY, Dallas, Phoenix, Indiana, Florida, NBR, Houston, Southeastern, Washington) 9 mentions (Globes, Online, Chicago, SAGs, London, BFCA, St. Louis, Detroit, Satellites)
    Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker 5 wins (NSFC, Las Vegas, Chicago, Satellites, Boston) 8 mentions (SAGs, Online, Utah, Southeastern, Indiana, BFCA, St. Louis, Washington)
    Colin Firth, A Single Man 4 wins (Austin, Detroit, San Diego, San Francisco) 7 mentions (Globes, SAGs, BFCA, LA, Spirits, Washington, Satellites)
    Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart 2 wins (LA, NY Online) 10 mentions (SAGs, Chicago, NSFC, Online, London, Globes, BFCA, St. Louis, Spirits, Satellites)
    Morgan Freeman, Invictus 2 wins (African-American, NBR) 5 mentions (SAGs, Globes, BFCA, St. Louis, Washington)
    Viggo Mortensen, The Road 1 win (Utah) 2 mentions (BFCA, Washington)
    Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant 1 win (Toronto) 1 mention (NSFC)
    Tom Hardy, Bronson 1 win (British Indie)
    Matt Damon, The Informant! 4 mentions (Globes, Chicago, Detroit, Satelllites)
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer 3 mentions (Globes, Spirits, Detroit)
    Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man 1 win (Satellites) 3 mentions (London, Globes, Chicago)

    Best Actress:
    Carey Mulligan, An Education 9 wins (NBR, Toronto, Dallas, San Diego, Utah, Chicago, Washington, Indiana, British Indie) 9 mentions (Globes, SAGs, London, Online, BFCA, St. Louis, LA, Detroit, Satellites)
    Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia 7 wins (NY, San Francisco, Phoenix, Boston, Satellites, Southeastern, NY Online) 12 mentions (Globes, BFCA, SAGs, NSFC, Online, Chicago, London, Indiana, St. Louis, Detroit, Washington)
    Gabourey Sidibe, Precious 3 wins (Detroit, Florida, Las Vegas) 9 mentions (Globes, SAGs, Chicago, BFCA, Online, Southeastern, St. Louis, Washington, Spirits)
    Yolande Moreau, Seraphine 2 wins (NSFC, LA)
    Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds 1 win (Austin) 1 mention (Online)
    Nicole Beharie, American Violet 1 win (African-American)
    Shoreh Aghdashloo, The Stoning of Soraya M. 1 win (Satellites)
    Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side 4 mentions (SAGs, Globes, BFCA, Washington)
    Abbie Cornish, Bright Star 4 mentions (Chicago, NSFC, London, Satellites)
    Maya Rudolph, Away We Go 4 mentions (Chicago, Utah, St. Louis, Washington)

    » Read the rest of the entry..

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