11 items from 2014
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, cinematographer Roger Deakins is one of the greatest working DPs today, having earned 11 Oscar nominations and never won. He’s like the Susan Lucci of the technical categories.
But he got that way because for years he’s been consistently collaborating with the Coen Brothers on some of their most iconic films, everything from Fargo to O Brother Where Art Thou, The Man Who Wasn’t There, True Grit, The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink and No Country for Old Men. The man is a master, most recently making sinister, wintery chills in last year’s Prisoners.
Thanks to Blag Films, you can now see a short supercut of some of Deakins’ finest shots among his collaboration with the Coens (with the unfortunate exception of The Ladykillers and The Hudsucker Proxy). While only limiting it to Coens films eliminates the chance to see some »
- Brian Welk
Los Angeles (AP) — There were bowling pins, bathrobes, white Russians, and even The Dude himself. Jeff Bridges and his band performed Friday at Lebowski Fest, but Joel and Ethan Coen's 1998 campy crime comedy "The Big Lebowski" was still the night's biggest star. Fans of the Raymond Chandler-flavored film filled the Wiltern Theater in midtown Los Angeles to capacity for the annual celebration of the cult classic, which has been staged around the country since 2002. The two-day festival continues Saturday with a costumed bowling party. "It's the people here that are so awesome," said Steve Lewis, a veteran of seven Lebowski Fests. "It's a community." The 37-year-old made his own Army dog tags to meticulously recreate one of John Goodman's costumes from the film. Lewis traveled to festivals in New York and Louisville with his friend J.D. Lloyd, who searched eBay to find the exact sweater Bridges wears in the film. »
As noted in my review of the pilot last week, the second episode of Fargo promised some more references to various Coen brothers movies, namely Raising Arizona and Burn After Reading. The former was in the form of Oliver Platt‘s “Supermarket King” character. He owns a chain of stores called Phoenix Farms and wrote a book called “American Phoenix.” I guess showrunner Noah Hawley didn’t want to go too on the nose by naming him Stavros Phoenix, though. Instead, his last name is Milos. As for the latter homage, there wasn’t much to it other than Glenn Howerton playing a personal trainer. Meanwhile, there were allusions to The Hudsucker Proxy (the man scraping the name off the police chief’s office door) and I’m gonna say A Serious Man, as the scene with Colin Hanks spying on his orthodox neighbor undressing reminded me of a scene from that film. The »
- Christopher Campbell
Perhaps the only news of note this week is that in a move echoing what they did with Breaking Bad, Netflix has swooped in and gained rights to the TV series of From Dusk Til Dawn made in the states for Robert Rodriguez’s new El Rey network cable channel. Netflix will stream the episodes the day after they air in the states every week, curiously they are still billing this as ‘A Netflix Original’ when this isn’t the case necessarily. I have no idea as to the quality of this, the film From Dusk Til Dawn was one of my favourites when I was a teenager but how you drag that out into a ten part TV show I don’t know, let alone a possible second series. I watched the trailer and it looks solid and well-made as opposed to a cheap cash in and features Don Johnson »
- Chris Holt
In his 30-year career as a composer, Carter Burwell’s film scores have run the veritable cinematic gamut. From composing for Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., Where the Wild Things Are) to his work being the best parts of the Twilight saga, Burwell’s résumé is sporadic and unconventional, even for a man who makes film music for a living — it’s fitting, given his less-than-conventional roots as a cartoonist for The Harvard Lampoon and later as a vagrant New York punk rocker. Undoubtedly, Burwell’s become best known for the his collaborations with Joel and Ethan Coen. Last week, Sound on Sight ranked the films of the Coen Brothers, so what better way to take over The Big Score than with a similarly themed meditation on their work with Burwell? As much as the Coens’ filmography is defined by their trademark cynicism and wit, Burwell’s compositions are »
- David Klein
Joel and Ethan Coen have built a reputation as two of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmakers working today. Dabbling in Film Noir to screwball comedy, from off-beat indies to big-budget studio pieces, their films are adored by critics and audiences alike. The two-man writer-director-producer-editor team, have long been regarded by cinephiles as masters of the craft. Choosing our favourite Coen Bros. film isn’t an easy task, but we asked our staff to rank their films from favourite to least favourite. The results were interesting, with Fargo running away with first place, and two of their 16 films not producing enough votes to justify making the cut (The Lady Killers, Intolerable Cruelty). Here are the results. Let us know which is your favourite Coen Bros. film?
13. Burn After Reading, 2008
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen; Screenwriter Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, Adam Driver; Running time: 105 mins; Certificate: 15
Like the title character, Inside Llewyn Davis is a difficult film to pin down. It's a winding existential trip, a deliciously dark and funny mind game of the kind the Coen brothers occasionally throw in between splashier comedies - as A Serious Man was preceded by Burn After Reading and Barton Fink was followed by The Hudsucker Proxy. Except, this trip is as much soulful as cerebral.
Oscar Isaac is plucked from relative obscurity to play the man who wouldn't be famous, a 1960s folk musician who gigs in Greenwich Village, New York (a world richly realised by the Coens) where Bob Dylan regularly made the scene - then made it big. Llewyn has got the goods, plays a mean guitar and shows off a sweetly melancholic voice. »
Outside of Martin Scorsese, there are very few clean slates in Hollywood – and even He has Bringing Out The Dead blotting his copybook (discuss…). The Coen brothers though, have created an unbroken conga-line of stunningly original movies, mixing and mastering genres, and even creating new ones.
If there was a bump in the road in 1994 time, it seems, has since been kind to The Hudsucker Proxy. A bigger budget (courtesy of ’80s alpha-producer Joel Silver) and an initially unresponsive family audience had it labelled as the Coen’s first flop, but watched now its pleasures are myriad and unmistakably Coenesque (including a great, late-vintage performance from Paul Newman).
The Coens announced themselves to the world in 1984 with the instant neo-noir classic, Blood Simple. Now, just mull the following subsequent film titles over in your mind like a mouthful of Chateau Petrus. Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, »
- Cai Ross
Over the past thirty years, the Coen brothers have succeeded in attracting an impressive array of acting talent into their decidedly unorthodox fold. With their offbeat methods and disarming charm, the brothers have been able to coax spectacular and often unexpected performances out of major stars and venerable veterans alike.
Working with the Coens seems to be a liberating experience which can redefine careers and alter perceptions. But for all their success, the Coens have remained steadfastly loyal to the nucleus of acting talent with whom they forged their reputation, maintaining this formidable core whose presence lends a comforting continuity to their work, and without whom no Coen brothers offering would be complete. They are built into the very foundations of the off-kilter and often unsettling universe the brothers have created.
The Coens’ repertory is a distinctive mix of character actors and indie stalwarts whose unconventional looks and versatility lend »
- Daniel Palmer
A is for…
A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop
This is the international title of the 2009 Chinese remake of Blood Simple, which Ethan and Joel both received a story credit for. A distinct change of pace and style for House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou, the tale was transposed from a Texas town to a noodle shop in a harsh desert landscape of the Gansu province.
B is for…
Botched criminal act
Take a look at any of the duo’s films, and very little actually goes to plan for the characters. Even latest creation Llewyn Davis encounters more than his fair share of obstacles, but many of their films in the crime genre include a disastrous »
- Adam Lowes
Last year I listed ten New Year's movie scenes, this year I give you a selection of scenes compiled by Bernhard Fasenfest that I've been holding onto for just over a year so I could post it today. The list of films featured is directly below the video. Happy New Year! Blackboard Jungle (1955) Boogie Nights (1997) Holiday Inn (1942) Last Night (2010) Little Caesar (1931) Money Train (1995) New Years Eve (2011) Oceans Eleven (1960) Poseidon (2006) Radio Days (1987) Rosemary's Baby (1968) Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Strange Days (1995) Sunset Boulevard (1950) Tabu (2012) The Apartment (1960) The Gold Rush (1925) The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) Trading Places (1983) When Harry Met Sally (1989) While You Were Sleeping (1995) »
- Brad Brevet
11 items from 2014
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