Tag Archives: Coen Brothers

One-track mind

The Coen brothers, while creative geniuses,  have overused the ransom plot line in their movies.

It appears in Fargo. And No Country for Old Men. And The Big Lebowski. Even Raising Arizona.

Enough already.

Then today I see a trailor for their next movie…about a kidnapping and ransom.

Okay. This looks pretty funny.

But let’s stop here with this theme, okay?

One blonde, two blonde

the other womanI was ready for something light and uncomplicated at the movies this weekend, so Cameron Diaz’s new film “The Other Woman” seemed like a good fit.

A revenge fantasy, three women — the wife, the girlfriend who didn’t know he was married, and the gullible mistress — join forces to take their pound of flesh from the man who wronged them all.

Is it plausible? No. But the cast sells it, and I laughed more than I thought I would.

However, if you want to see a funnier Cameron Diaz movie that was also released this weekend OnDemand, check out Gambit.

gambit-posterThis comedy has pedigree:  The Coen Brothers as screenwriters.  A cast that includes Diaz (playing an over-the-top Texas rodeo gal), Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Stanley Tucci.  And an art heist at its center with enough misdirections and surprises to keep you guessing until the final frame.

Plus, Alan Rickman is creatively nude.

(Perhaps I should have led with that tidbit.)

Movie mashup

I saw a movie double feature this afternoon — Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by the Coen Brothers, and Her, directed by Spike Jonez.  But I needn’t have bothered.

They are the same film.

Both are about men who had recently lost a partner and were struggling to reconnect. When they do, they choose individuals — and I use that word consciously — that their friends and family don’t readily understand.

Each movie follows their journey.

inside llewyn davis

I would argue that Davis is the more successful of the two. Set in the 1960’s, it is stripped down and soulful, the soundtrack doing much of the storytelling and Oscar Isaac’s deep-set eyes doing the rest.  I read the cats were divas on set, but I found them very affecting. 

I loved this film.

her movie

Her is set in an unnamed future, told amid high rises and high tech. Compared to the very internal Davis, this movie’s heart is on its sleeve. Joaquin Phoenix’s character writes emotional, personal letters for other people for a living, yet can’t sustain a relationship…until he gets his new OS.

I do love Scarlett Johansson’s voice acting, but the movie itself is at least thirty minutes too long.

If you’re not one to spend five hours in the theatre, I suggest Inside Llewyn Davis for its beautiful story, amazing performances and soundtrack that stays with you long after you leave the theatre.

Grand gesture

The 82nd Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday, and for the first time in the show’s history, the “Best Motion Picture” category was expanded to 10.

And the nominees are:

“Avatar”
“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious”
“A Serious Man”
“Up”
“Up in the Air”

By increasing the field to 10, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences theorized that they would be able to recognize ‘more truly deserving films.’

Who are they kidding?

The directors, producers and actors recognized will be able to add “Oscar-nominated” to their resumes and demand higher paychecks for their next projects.  And the ratings for the awards broadcast itself may go up a bit, with a few more box office favorites in the mix.

But one of the serious contenders for “Best Motion Picture” will still win the Oscar, and this year, there are still only five….so they could have avoided all the drama.

Just look at the Top Ten:

  • “The Blind Side” was slammed by the critics, but beloved at the box office.  Sandra Bullock’s nomination for “Best Actress” was recognition enough.
  • “District 9” seems like a bit of a stretch.  Indie sci-fi overachiever, maybe…but Oscar nominee?
  • “Up,” only the second animated picture to be nominated in the category, is not a serious contender.  (Count yourself lucky.  The producer’s speeches to date have been real snoozes.)
  • “An Education” is the foreign film rep.  Carey Mulligan’s nomination gives it credibility, but no real chance.
  • “A Serious Man”  is, in my opinion, an automatic inclusion.  The Coen Brothers seem to get a pass on whatever they produce and direct.  I’m not even sure the members watch their films anymore.

Which leaves us with…

“Avatar”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious”
“Up in the Air”

These are your five serious contenders for the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture.”  The others?

Just filler.