Ballad of Buster Scruggs Review

It can be tough to take the Coen Brothers at their word – after all, the duo claims (seemingly in jest) that they never read Homer’s The Odyssey despite basing O Brother, Where Art Thou? on it. But if they were forthright about the origins of their latest work, the anthology film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, then it serves as a kind of career compendium. They wrote the film’s first segment, a comedic musical western, decades ago when their work had a more overtly comical bent. They wrote the final segment, on the other hand, just before starting production on the film in order to put an adequate bow on the project.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs functions like a greatest hits album for the Coens, though somehow with songs we’ve never heard before. It spans and encompasses the many styles of filmmaking they mastered over decades behind the camera. Their expert wielding of tone and mood has rarely been so evident as it is within each yarn they tell, all from a book of stories complete with color plates. Read More »

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Trailer

Fresh off debuting at the Venice Film Festival, where it won Best Screenplay, Netflix has released the first trailer for Joel & Ethan Coen‘s Western anthology film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. What started out as a Netflix series became an anthology film starring the likes of James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Kazan, Tom Waits, Stephen Root and many more. Get a taste of each of the stories in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs trailer below. Read More »

the old man and the gun trailer

Robert Redford recently announced his retirement, but before he sails off into the blissful life of a retiree, he’s starring in The Old Man the Gun. The crime comedy is based on the true story of Forrest Tucker, a career criminal who escaped from prison 18 times. David Lowery, Redford’s Pete’s Dragon director, helms the film, which also stars Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, and Tika Sumpter. Watch the new The Old Man and the Gun trailer below.

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Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Coen Brothers were headed to Netflix with their anthology series The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which was set to tell six Western stories in six episodes. Now, things have changed. Buster Scruggs will still hit Netflix, but the Coens have re-edited the series into a feature film instead, just in time to premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

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Guillermo del Toro always has a big handful of projects in various stages of development. That means, unfortunately, that as certain things come to the fore, others fall away. Sometimes they’re due to his commitments to projects such as Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak. Others might go away due to various forces in the entertainment industry that help and hurt projects as part of the normal run of things. Seems line one particular animated film has fallen prey to those forces.

Over the past couple years we’ve heard about a stop-motion version of Pinocchio that del Toro was developing with The Jim Henson Co., with GDT and Gris Grimly writing and Grimly set to direct. There was concept art and some images of the puppets, and even a planned cast. Tom Waits was lined up to voice Gepetto, which just sounds lovely.

But now it looks like that project is dead, or at least sleeping.  Read More »

Funny as the first Seven Psychopaths trailer was, as a green-band trailer it could only get across so much of director Martin McDonagh‘s twisted, decidedly R-rated sensibility. This, after all, is a guy whose first feature picked up in the aftermath of a hitman killing a child — and only got bloodier and more foulmouthed from there. A new red-band trailer allows things to get a little more profane, and a little more violent, to great effect.

Colin Farrell leads the cast as a struggling screenwriter who gets caught up in his best friend’s (Sam Rockwell) dog-napping scheme: take the puppy, return it to its owner, and collect the reward. But when they target the wrong man, a maniacal gangster named Charlie (Woody Harrelson), they find themselves in way over their heads. Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Gabourey SidibeAbbie Cornish, and Olga Kurylenko also star. Watch the video after the jump.

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I’ve made no secret of my disdain for the recent Total Recall remake, but thankfully Colin Farrell‘s 2012 isn’t looking like a total bust. This fall sees him reuniting with his In Bruges director Martin McDonagh for Seven Psychopaths, in which Farrell plays a screenwriter who gets tangled up in a dog-kidnapping scheme gone awry.

Farrell’s In Bruges co-star Brendan Gleeson sits out the nuttiness this time around, but Farrell’s joined by a host of other interesting talents including Sam Rockwell, Woody Harelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Christopher Walken, and Tom Waits. Watch the entertaining first trailer after the jump.

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After years of planning, Guillermo Del Toro jump-started his 3D stop-motion animated take on Pinocchio last week when he announced that he’d be co-directing with Mark Gustafson, with production to get underway next summer. Now one of the team’s next steps will be picking out a voice cast.

While no one’s locked in just yet, del Toro said he does have a few names in mind. He revealed that Christopher Walken and Tom Waits were on his wishlist, and let slip that Daniel Radcliffe had already expressed an interest in joining the project. More details after he jump.

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My favorite thing this week, without question,  is this short documentary about the artist John Baldessari, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the guys who made Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3.

A Brief History of John Baldessari is a wonderfully lively little doc that successfully straddles the line between providing info on the subject and establishing itself as a distinct work. The choice of music doesn’t hurt, but really it is the narration from Tom Waits — his presence demanded by Baldessari, says the film —  that gives life to this short. Waits pronounces words in the same way that small animals burrow into the earth, and listening to him read this script is just a joy. Read More »

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Seven Psychopaths, directed by In Bruges writer/director and playwright Martin McDonagh, is one of my most-anticipated movies of 2012. (A list which, as predicated, is already completely in need of an update or revamp after Sundance.) The reason is simple: McDonagh has a unique and compelling voice, and the film features a killer cast: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Tom Waits, Gabourey Sidibe, Abbie Cornish, and Olga Kurylenko.

We haven’t yet seen any footage from the movie, but here are the first images. And for those who haven’t tracked down the screenplay we’ve got some new details as well, which might do a little bit to enhance interest in the movie. Read More »