With The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together, film critic Adam Nayman takes readers on a journey through the singular filmography of Joel and Ethan Coen. From Blood Simple through Hail, Caesar!, Nayman chronicles what it is that makes the work of the Coens so incredible. “To move back and forth through the Coens’ career is to get caught in the loop,” Nayman writes in the Introduction, “like riding a merry-go-round through a house of mirrors.”
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Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The filmography of Joel and Ethan Coen is untouchable. Of their 17 films, at least a dozen of them are arguably great films and more than a few of them are genuine masterpieces. Ranking them is a fool’s errand. I know this because I have tried. Within a year, I wanted to erase the whole thing. Their work sticks with you, attaches itself to your mind and grows with you. Minor films become masterpieces over time. Little moments reveal their layers, their profundity, upon repeat viewings. The Coen brothers filmography feels alive – it’s always growing, always changing. Even their newest film Hail, Caesar (out today) threw me for a loop. I literally have no idea how I’ll feel about it tomorrow or six months from now.
So I’ve assembled a list of ten perfect scenes from the Coen canon. They are unranked, presented in chronological order, because I do not want to impose rigid form on something that I know will shift and change within a year or two. But right now, these scenes sum up why they’re special and their work should be celebrated. Few modern artists have showcased such range and fewer have dabbled in so many different genres and forms while maintaining their voice at every moment. These scenes represent a sublime partnership and the best modern cinema has to offer.
Spoilers follow, of course.
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Posted on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 by Angie Han
No year in cinema ever shapes up exactly the way we’d expect. In fact, it’d be boring if one did. Still, when faced with the promise of a whole new year of movies, I can’t help try and predict which ones I’ll love or hate. I put my best guesses in list form last year, and I did it again this year.
Now, in the spirit of journalistic integrity (or, less charitably, critical solipsism), it’s time for me to look back at my most anticipated films of 2013 and see just how reality measured up to expectation. Hit the jump to see how great or terrible I was at guessing what’d be my favorite films of 2013.
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When Joel and Ethan Coen were assembling their new film Inside Llewyn Davis, they realized the film posed a unique challenge: their script featured a lead character who needed to be able to play and sing just as well as he had to act, and there are other side characters who need to be able to play and sing as well. The brothers lucked out with Oscar Isaac, who turned out to be a more than competent musician in addition to being an actor of no small skill.
Three new featurettes talk about the creation of the film specifically with respect to the music — one features music producer T-Bone Burnett discussing the creation of the song ‘Please Mr. Kennedy,’ which features Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver. One focuses on finding Isaac and working with him, and is backed by a lot of early rehearsal footage. The last is about finding some of the supporting cast, including Timberlake and Carey Mulligan. Read More »
Posted on Monday, December 30th, 2013 by Angie Han
Thanksgiving was over a month ago, but now seems as good a time as any to thank the cinema gods for the fantastic films we got in 2013. With the usual caveats that this is more of a personal “favorites” list than an objective “best of” list, and that there are plenty of great films that weren’t included for the simple and shameful reason that I never got around to seeing them, here are the movies that made me laugh, howl, jump, and/or weep over the last twelve months.
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More than in most of the Coen Brothers films, the music of Inside Llewyn Davis is essential to the story. Character facets are revealed through the songs various musicians play, and the actors’ musical performances are as essential as their dramatic turns.
The SoundWorks collection has turned its attention to the film to create a video in which production mixer Peter Kurland and re-recording mixer Greg Orloff talk about the practical aspects of capturing and presenting the performances. Then there’s a long interview with the film’s music producer T-Bone Burnett, who discusses his work with the Coens. Read More »
Looking back on 2013, it’s hard to spot one overriding trend other than “great.” Like any other year, the superhero movies, sequels, adaptations and remakes were present, but most of them were disposable and forgettable. The greatness in 2013, not surprisingly, was from the original and unexpected movies. Films born out of the mind of talented, creative people which were executed to delightful and sometimes heartbreaking perfection. Those unique wonders of cinema make up the majority of my top films of the year, but don’t fret. There are some adaptations and sequels on there too. It’s a list that hopefully represents 2013 as one of the best in recent memory.
Over the course of the year, I saw almost 150 films that had theatrical releases. Below you can read about my ten favorites. Read More »
Posted on Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 by David Chen
Dave and Devindra discuss the latest films from Adam McKay and the Coen Brothers.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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Posted on Friday, December 20th, 2013 by David Chen
The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis (which rolls out to more cities today) begins with a folk singer getting beat up in an alleyway, a scene that served as the inspiration for the whole film. From that idea, the Coens came up with a story that would “fit around that and explain that incident.” The resulting film is small in scope, but one that actively subverts genre expectations, and that’s loaded with pathos and tragedy.
Check out my video review of Inside Llewyn Davis after the jump.
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Posted on Thursday, December 12th, 2013 by Angie Han
While most of the West Coast was still curled up in bed, Aziz Ansari, Zoe Saldana, and Olivia Wilde got up bright and early this morning to announce the nominees for the 71st annual Golden Globes.
12 Years a Slave and American Hustle led the film nominations, with an impressive seven each. The latter didn’t get nearly as much recognition at yesterday’s SAG awards announcement, but the former is crystallizing its status as the one to beat this year. Nebraska also came in strong with five nominations, while Captain Phillips and Gravity picked up four apiece.
Meanwhile, House of Cards and Behind the Candelabra topped the list of TV nominees, with four nods each. Breaking Bad, if you were wondering, got three. On the comedy side, Parks and Recreation, Girls, and newcomer Brooklyn Nine-Nine picked up two each.
Read the full list (with announcements still in progress) after the jump.
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