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Entries in Coen Bros (33)


Beauty vs Beast: What is the Word?

Jason from MNPP here, on the verge of admitting something that might get me lynched a la Frankenstein's Monster round these parts -- I have never seen Grease. Yes, that Grease. The movie Grease. I think I'd get less incredulous looks from my fellow movie buffs (especially of the homosexual sort) if I were talking about grease-the-liquid when I say that, but I speak of the 1978 movie starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.

Oh I have seen bits and pieces, it's really quite unavoidable (I would know, I have tried!), but a full-on straight-through sit-down til Sandy & Danny ride off on their hot-rod chariot into the sky? Nope. Five minutes of it gives me the hives and the heebie-jeebies, folks. Send your hate mail to, well, I guess to the comments of this post. Anyway it's Olivia Newton-John's 68th birthday today and we know our host Nathaniel's a big fan (and hey, I love that "Physical" video) so here's your Grease-themed "Beauty vs Beast." Also you could all probably come up with better Pros & Cons for each character than I could so feel free to share those in the comments... alongside your vitriol, of course...

PREVIOUSLY I have to say I am really proud of you guys for our last edition - in our face-off between Tommy Lee Jones and Best Supporting Actor winner Javier Bardem for No Country For Old Men, you bucked the Oscar trend and gave your prize to Tommy Lee with 55% of the vote. He gets my vote too. Said Nick T:

"Every single time I've watched this I've loved Tommy Lee Jones more and more. Ed Bell and Marge Gunderson would have the loveliest conversation."


John Turturro Set To F--- With The Jesus

In the 7-10 split of having your cake and eating it too, John Turturro is trying for a spare. Which is to say, after nearly two decades of zealous celebration over his scene-stealing (and very small) performance in The Big Lebowski as the crotch-swaddling bowling-ball licker Jesus Quintana, he's doubling down on that legacy and directing a feature film that stars Jesus at the wheel. After a few years of Turturro's titters, he's finally making his own spinoff movie, Going Places, and he's already in production.

Currently starring in HBO's The Night Of, a very different kind of crime story, Turturro reprises his role as Jesus Quintana alongside a cast including Bobby Cannavale, Susan Sarandon, and Audrey Tautou. Notably absent from this project are the original creators of the role themselves, the Coen Brothers, but perhaps they'll attach their names as producers as they have for their last grand-brainchild, FX's Fargo.

If you could give any iconic supporting character their own standalone movie, who would you choose?


Frances McDormand: from Blood Simple (1984) to Olive Kitteridge (2014)

1984 is our year of the month for August. Here's Matthew Eng to talk about a treasured actor that made her on camera debut back then...

For the better half of her nearly four-decade film career, Meryl Streep has managed to compel generations of moviegoers to accept a self-styled character actress as not only an acting heroine for the ages but also a bona fide movie star with mass-market appeal and unimpeachable box office credentials. Like no other actress since Bette Davis, Streep has perfected a once-unfeasible practice of playing the sort of idiosyncratic women she has always drifted towards, but within the safe confines of midrange, studio-supported moviemaking that seems to satisfy audience expectations as well as her own.

Sometimes Streep’s projects—and, it must be said, Streep herself—can disappoint. For every quietly graceful gem (like her underrated Hope Springs performance) or skillfully uninhibited turn (as in the best passages of It’s Complicated), there are another two or three within Streep’s latter-day canon that could stand some sharper finesse or at least more dexterous directorial guidance. Whenever I’m let down to by Streep, I can’t help but wonder what one of her less-viable peers might do with the opportunities that are scarce for any actress born before the Kennedy administration and which Streep barely has to put up a fight for.

The Beginning: Blood Simple (1984); The Most Recent Triumph: Olive Kitteridge (2014)

For as long as I can remember, Frances McDormand has served as the purest and most intimidating embodiment of what a character actor should be. “That woman has no vanity,” my mom remarked with clear admiration after watching her in Lisa Cholodenko’s Olive Kitteridge, where McDormand delivers one of the decade’s most masterful star turns, a perfectly prickly meeting of actor and role that might have been a surefire Oscar winner had the project aimed for a bigger screen...

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The Furniture: Merrily We Dance in Hail Caesar!

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

Hobie Doyle is out of his element. Tossed from the great outdoors into the drawing room by the head of the studio, Alden Ehrenreich’s cowboy careens into words with hilarious indelicacy. It might be the single funniest scene in the Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar!, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, or at least a close second place to the hysterical clerical debate. It also has one of the most interesting sets, if not the flashiest.

The production in question is "Merrily We Dance," a genteel comedy by the director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes). A hodge-podge of George Cukor and Noel Coward, he stands in for the not-quite-closeted geniuses of the era. The film, which seems to fall somewhere between Private Lives and Dinner at Eight, sends a jilted lover to an upscale party from which the hostess has absconded to Lake Onondaga...

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Oscar Screenplay Records That Could Be Broken

Manuel here to talk Oscar nominated screenplays. We first greeted them by looking at their first lines of dialogue, we crunched the numbers about how 2015 was a good year for female scribes, ranked them by quotability, and this week we’re taking a more playful approach. Think of it as a way to find some levity as we near the Big Day.

Now, we know there are frontrunners (and some dark horses) but I put all of that aside and imagined a world where every screenplay nominee has a shot and offered some records that could be broken Sunday night.

IF Bridge of Spies wins
Joel & Ethan Coen would join the ranks of most awarded screenwriters of all time, tying Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, Francis Ford Coppola, and Paddy Chayefsky, all of whom have three wins, though Allen holds the distinction of winning all three for Original screenplays.

IF Ex Machina wins
It would be the first film with a Latin title to win (previous failed bids include Equus and Europa Europa)

IF Inside Out wins
It would be the first animated film to win a screenplay award (previous failed bids include Toy Story, Shrek, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up in the Original Screenplay category and Toy Story 3 in Adapted)

more after the jump...

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Box Office: Caesar wasn't quite hailed

A somewhat quiet week for moviegoing as all eyes turn towards the Superbowl. Well, not all eyes. I don't know who's playing other than Beyoncé. Kung Fu Panda had no trouble fending off newcomers. Star Wars recently crossed the $2 billion mark worldwide (though it's still behind Titanic and Avatar globally) but the new movies didn't make enough of an impression for ticket buyers. Unfortunately Hail, Caesar! opened significantly below the gross of the last widescreen comedy from the Coen brothers Burn After Reading.

01 Kung Fu Panda 2 $21 (cum. $69)
02 Hail, Caesar! $11.4 new Coen Brothers - 17 Films, Interview: Score
03 The Revenant $7.1 (cum. $149.7) Interview: CostumesInterview: Production Design 
04 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $6.9 (cum. $905.9) ReviewPodcast
05 The Choice $6 new
06 Pride & Prejudice & Zombies $5.2 new Review
07 The Finest Hours  $4.7 (cum. $18.3)
08 Ride Along 2  $4.5 (cum. $77.2) 
09 The Boy $4 (cum $26.8)
10 Dirty Grandpa  $4 (cum $29.3)

What did you see this weekend? 
I rewatched Silence of the Lambs (for our 25th anniversary celebration which starts tomorrow!) and also hit Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Some friends asked me to wait for them for Hail, Caesar! and I agreed. This is always a bad decision because they are never in the hurry that I am to devour new movies


Posterized: The Coen Brothers

Hail, Caesar!, opening in theaters nationwide today, marks the 17th feature film from the highly decorated and much cinephile-obsessed over sibling auteurs Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.  Joel is the elder by 3 years and after he worked as an assistant on Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, the brothers made their first feature, Blood Simple (1984) which caused a mini sensation at festivals and the arthouse. From there on out they slowly became more mainstream directors in the best way possible: they brought the mainstream to them rather than changing their genre-hopping singular ways. Thirty-two years later they're now a showbiz institution with four Oscars and actual big hits on their resume. 

Their seventeenth feature is only their second movie about movies. The first was the rather discomfiting Barton Fink (1991) which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Will Hail, Caesar! age as well? How many of their films have you seen? 

all the posters after after the jump...

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