REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! [2016]

“It’s all in the hips, the lips, the eyes, and the thighs” You don’t think much when you read the Coen Brothers have been bouncing Hail, Caesar! around since 2004. After all, they’re prolific auteurs that often write scripts for other directors, so a decade-long gestation period is nothing to scoff at. Only when you learn the idea was little more than an idea that you start wondering about the final product. Maybe they loved that initial pitch so much the words simply poured out over the last couple years.…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Cobbler [2015]

“I’m not gonna eat you!” Adults need fairy tales too and Thomas McCarthy—with cowriter Paul Sado—deliver one in The Cobbler. They don’t try to pretend it’s something more either as its opening prologue can attest thanks to older tradesmen on the Lower East Side speaking Yiddish around a table to think up a way to defeat the evil landlord raising their rent to drive them away. Cut to the local shoe man deemed their savior stitching up a pair of loafers with son in tow and we learn his machine…

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REVIEW: Inside Llewyn Davis [2013]

“Llewyn is the cat” Can I chalk my ambivalence to the Coen Brothers‘ newest film Inside Llewyn Davis up to knowing nothing about the Greenwich Village folk music scene of 1961? It is after all loosely inspired by the life of Dave Van Ronk, containing aspects of his autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street for authenticity. But how much should knowing the setting of a story impact the enjoyment of what’s unfolding in its space? Shouldn’t the success of what the Coens have accomplished live or die by my interest…

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Posterized Propaganda December 2012: A Cinematic Library with ‘Django Unchained’, ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Les Miserables’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Here we are at the end of 2012, ready for the release of the last few Oscar. It’s a time where story generally triumphs over mainstream appeal and where the…

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REVIEW: True Grit [2010]

“A saucy line will not get you very far with me” The Coen Brothers have been on such a roll the past four years. While they’ve gone serious for the most part, the trademark wit has not disappeared from the dramatic entries to their oeuvre. Still able to hit the funny bone full bore—see Burn After Reading—the comedies have gone subtler with a more dire tone, (A Serious Man), and the dramas have gone grimmer themselves, right into consistent Oscar contention, (No Country for Old Men). Going back to Charles…

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REVIEW: Blood Simple. [1984]

“I ain’t done nothin’ funny” It took Fargo—thirteen years later—for the Coen Brothers to finally get recognition at the Oscars with three nominations culminating in a win for Best Screenplay. Then it was another eleven before their first Best Picture win. And if you look at that victory with No Country for Old Men alongside their more recently acclaimed A Serious Man, you should force yourself to go all the way back to 1984 for a glimpse at their genetic originator. You can’t help but see the dark noir atmosphere…

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The 82nd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • NPH in sequins … i guess that’s something … The 82nd Annual Oscars ceremony begins, yet the hosts are nowhere to be found. Have we gotten to the point now where we need a lead-in for the most assuredly lame/very PC stand-up routine? We need to get the ball rolling for the ball that gets the show rolling? And they wonder why it always goes over its allotted timeslot. So, not only do we have to be introduced to all the lead acting nominees—because anyone watching doesn’t know…

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Picking Winners at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

Some Oscar nomination thoughts, the morning after: William Altreuter: Best Picture: The Hurt Locker. James Cameron backlash, plus Hollywood self-seriousness = victory! Best Actor: Jeff Bridges. Everybody loved Clooney, but he’s in something good every year. Supporting Actor: Stanley Tucci. Just a hunch. Best Actress: Sandra Bullock. Did you realize she’s forty-five years old? Not exactly the best argument against the proposition that there are no roles for women over twenty-four, since she plays at least ten years younger, but still. Plus the Streep movie wasn’t that good (even though she…

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Top 25 Films of 2009

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 153 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: An Education directed by Lone Scherfig #24: The Box directed by Richard Kelly #23: Sunshine Cleaning directed by Christine Jeffs #22: The Road directed by John Hillcoat #21: District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp #20: Fantastic Mr. Fox directed by Wes Anderson #19: Lebanon directed by Samuel Maoz. #18: The Hurt Locker directed by Kathryn Bigelow. #17: Los abrazos rotos[Broken Embraces]…

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Top Ten Films of 2009: Foreign Films Reign Supreme

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all, the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … Another year gone, another 100+ releases down. 2009 was one that included a lot of good directors and some great ensemble pieces. Out of all the inclusions to my top ten, plus honorable mentions, only three really contained a central figure worthy of mention above the work itself; the others truly were complete packages consisting of…

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REVIEW: A Serious Man [2009]

“Did he tell you about the Goy’s teeth?” Despite the prevalent use of Hebrew without translation and, I’m sure, many instances of Jewish culture that I am unfamiliar with, I really enjoyed the new Coen Brothers film A Serious Man. The film, while a bit odd and seemingly schizophrenic in tone, is vintage Coen, harkening to the days of Barton Fink with its dark subtlety. Following up an all-out comedy in Burn After Reading, the new movie would seem out of place for viewers unfamiliar with the directors’ work, however,…

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