Tag Archives: the Coen Brothers

The Year End Review: Movies

Let me start off by saying that, if you don’t read this, I won’t hold it against you. I know this list is almost too small to even justifying being written, but I’ve been doing it for a few years now, and as the musical says, “Traaadiiitiooooon!!” I’ll say that I really enjoyed all three of these films and thought they were a cut above the standard A-Team crap we have thrown at us all year long. But still, this list feels a little like it looks the way it does more because of the movies I didn’t see this year rather than the ones I did see. Anyway, keep reading, if you dare!

Inception. It’s nice to see Hollywood taking a chance on an expensive sci-fi flick that actually makes you think, although they probably wouldn’t be if someone like Christopher Nolan weren’t in charge of the whole thing. This one also scores points because it managed to keep Leonardo DiCaprio out of a falling tank, shooting planes out of the sky. It was also one of Ellen Page’s first films that didn’t make me want to hit her. But seriously, folks, although the first half was a little exposition heavy, it was a great story that did a better job of incorporating its action scenes into it than most films. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Tom Hardy.

The Social Network. Everything Aaron Sorkin writes takes place in a sort of heightened reality where people have mountains of raw data and statistics at their fingertips, and almost everything they say is quotable. And if his cocaine habit is the price we have to pay for that, then I’m more than willing to make the sacrifice. I think we all understand that his version of Facebook’s creation was embellished just a little bit, but who cares? We expect that sort of thing, right? Major props to Jesse Eisenberg for snapping out of his Michael Cera funk, and Andrew Garfield, who just might make a proper Spiderman yet.

True Grit. I reviewed this one just a few days ago, so I’m not sure what else I could really add here. I’ll just say that nobody does it like Jeff Bridges. And nobody really does it like Jeff Bridges wearing an eye patch. And why haven’t we seen Matt Damon in more westerns?

I admit that this is a pretty generic list. But it does represent the best of what I saw this year. I don’t get to watch as many movies as I’d like, so some, like The Fighter, Winter’s Bone and Toy Story 3 passed me by. I’d apologize, but none of you are here to read my movie reviews. You check back every week in the vain hope that I’ll start LOSTWATCH!! back up. Well, who knows what 2011 will bring. More movies, definitely. More LOSTWATCH? Definitely maybe.

“I can do nothing for you, son.”

I feel like the Coen Brothers making great movies is one of the few constants in my life. That, along with death (although I’m not throwing in the towel on that one), taxes, and vacation constipation. Sure, every now and then they throw a Burn After Reading at us. But they make up for it with a Big Lebowski, a Fargo, and a No Country for Old Men. Yes, what a time to be alive.

And before you ask, you can go ahead and add True Grit to the pantheon of Coen favorites. As the last film I’ll see at the movies in 2010, it more than made up for the bitter disappointments the year opened with, with films like Daybreakers and Legion kicking me in the balls and leaving me curled in the fetal position.

The film — the second adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel — is narrated by Mattie Ross, a 14-year old girl whose father was murdered at the hands of outlaw Tom Chaney. After some questioning around town, Mattie seeks out Rooster Cogburn, whom she believes possesses the titular true grit to track Chaney down and bring him to justice. Accompanying them on their trek is Texas Ranger La Boeuf, who’s after Chaney for separate crimes. Together, the three learns lessons about each other, life and each other.

Those of you going into the theater expecting another No Country may be a little disappointed, as True Grit is a much more straight up western than that previous film, but at the same time it’s no less good. It’s superbly acted all around, which should come as no surprise. Tron notwithstanding, since when does Jeff Bridges not bring a healthy dose of badassery to the roles he plays? Matt Damon was a big surprise here. His portrayal of La Boeuf seemed to be one part Jason Bourne, two parts Mark Whitacre and Linus Caldwell. What was so great about it was that it was funny without trying to be funny. And oh, how wrong things could have gone there. I mean, how tired are we of the snarky sidekick who’s only snarky to be snarky?

But the real showstopper here is Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Mattie Ross. She’s come out of obscurity and proven in just two short hours how capable she is of rolling with the big dogs. Now, if you’re asking who Hailee Steinfeld is, I don’t imagine you’re much different from the rest of the world, and that’s including her parents. But fear not, because you’re probably going to be hearing her name much more in the future.

True Grit is definitely one of those the-journey-is-more-important-than-the-destination films. The relationship between Mattie, Cogburn and La Beouf and how it develops is what keeps you glued to the screen. The actual resolution to their journey, the reason they’ve all banded together in the first place is over so quickly you daren’t (DAREN’T!) blink for fear of missing it. And once it’s all over, the film peters out a bit, with its coda feeling more like a, “Well, we sure had some fun, eh?” than anything that really adds to the story. I’ve never read the book, so I couldn’t say how faithful this is to that, although I’ve heard that the film as a whole toes the line pretty close.

I really liked this one. The chemistry (as we say in the hard sciences) between the leads is more than enough to make up for whatever small shortcomings the story has. And at two hours, the whole thing goes by pretty fast. As westerns go, this is probably one of the purest we’re going to see in a while, which is a credit to the Coen Brothers and the tone they’re able to set in their films. Tickets cost about, what? $30 apiece now? Go out and spend it. It’s completely worth it.

5 Things We Love About Movies With Guns – The Big Lebowski

Up this week is the first R-rated movie I ever snuck into…

1. The endless quoting.

Head over to IMDB’s Lebowski quote page and you’ll find the entire script cut and pasted there. Some of our favorites…

“You mark that frame an eight, and you’re entering a world of pain.”

“What the hell is this?” — “My dirty undies, Dude.”

“Life does not stop and start at your convenience you miserable piece of s**t.” — “What’s wrong with Walter, Dude?”

2. Nihilists.

Any movie that reduces a nationality or ethnic group to it’s base stereotype is awesome on general principal. Yes, it might be smart or responsible to learn about the rich German culture, but it’s much funnier to think of them all as goose-stepping, bratwurst-eating National-Socialists who say things like, “Ya Lebowski. You give us ze money or vee cutoff your chonson.”

3. Bootleg porno.

Seriously, who’s making this stuff? Music, production, acting, story, whatever. This stuff is horrible, but the names are big, fat pieces of comedy gold, every time.

“Which one’s Logjammin’?”

4. Shomer Shabbos.

“Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means I don’t work, I don’t get in a car, I don’t f**king ride in a car, I don’t pick up the phone, I don’t turn on the oven, and I sure as s**t DON’T F**KING ROLL! Shomer Shabbos!”

5. The Jesus.

Did John Turturro licking his bowling ball get funnier after you find out he’s a pederast? Seeing him wearing a tight purple jumpsuit was both hilarious and oddly arousing. Everything about him, from his jewelry and hairnet to his thick accent was like a Perfect Storm of hilarity.

I know some of you might be saying, hey, aren’t there only a few scenes in The Big Lebowski with guns? Yes, that is correct. While this one might not fit in with our premise as well as other movies like The Departed, come on. It’s The Big Lebowski, and that’s logic you can’t argue with.

Something we missed? Movies you’d like to see reviewed? Write us at fuggidup@yahoo.com.

And the Oscar goes to…

I got took in the office Oscar pool, but it’s okay. I’m only out two thousand dollars. Tonight was all about Javier Bardem and Daniel Day-Lewis, so I’m going to bed a happy man. Here are this year’s winners…

BEST PICTURE
“Atonement” (Focus Features)
A Working Title Production
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight)
A Dancing Elk Pictures, LLC Production
Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
A Clayton Productions, LLC Production
Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
WINNER: “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production
Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers

“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

DIRECTOR
Paul Thomas Anderson – “There Will Be Blood”
WINNER: Ethan Coen & Joel Coen – “No Country For Old Men”
Tony Gilroy – “Michael Clayton”
Jason Reitman – “Juno”
Julian Schnabel – “The Diving Bell And The Butterfly”

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
George Clooney in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
WINNER: Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros.,
Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah” (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises” (Focus Features)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal)
Julie Christie in “Away from Her” (Lionsgate)
WINNER: Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in “The Savages” (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in “Juno” (Fox Searchlight)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There” (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in “American Gangster” (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement” (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone” (Miramax)
WINNER: Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.)
WINNER: Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (Universal)
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Brad Bird – “Ratatouille”
WINNER: Diablo Cody – “Juno”
Tony Gilroy – “Michael Clayton”
Tamara Jenkins – “The Savages”
Nancy Oliver – “Lars and the Real Girl”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Paul Thomas Anderson – “There Will Be Blood”
WINNER: Ethan & Joel Coen – “No Country for Old Men”
Christopher Hampton – “Atonement”
Ronald Harwood – “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Sarah Polley – “Away from Her”

COSTUME DESIGN
“Across the Universe” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
WINNER: “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)

ANIMATED FEATURE
“Persepolis” – (Sony Pictures Classics) Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
WINNER: “Ratatouille” – (Pixar; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Distribution) Brad Bird
“Surf’s Up” – (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

MAKEUP
WINNER: “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
“Norbit” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount) Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

VISUAL EFFECTS
WINNER:”The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners) Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

ART DIRECTION
“American Gangster” (Universal) Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners) Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
WINNER:”Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
“At Night” A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production; Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
“Il Supplente (The Substitute)” (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production; Andrea Jublin
WINNER:”Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (Premium Films) A Karé Production; Philippe Pollet-Villard
“Tanghi Argentini” (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production; Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
“The Tonto Woman” A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production; Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

ANIMATED SHORT FILM
“I Met the Walrus” A Kids & Explosions Production; Josh Raskin
“Madame Tutli-Putli” (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production; Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
“Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)” (Premium Films) A BUF Compagnie Production; Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
“My Love (Moya Lyubov)” (Channel One Russia) A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production; Alexander Petrov
WINNER:”Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production

SOUND EDITING
WINNER: “The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Skip Lievsay
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Matthew Wood
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

SOUND MIXING
WINNER: “The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

FILM EDITING
WINNER: “The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Christopher Rouse
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Juliette Welfling
“Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment) Jay Cassidy
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Dylan Tichenor

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Beaufort” – Israel
WINNER: “The Counterfeiters” – Austria
“Katyn,” – Poland
“Mongol” – Kazakhstan
“12” – Russia

ORIGINAL SONG
WINNER: “Falling Slowly” from “Once” (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
“Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush” (Warner Bros.) Nominees to be determined
“So Close” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

CINEMATOGRAPHY
“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.) Roger Deakins
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Seamus McGarvey
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Janusz Kaminski
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roger Deakins
WINNER:”There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert Elswit

ORIGINAL SCORE
WINNER: “Atonement” (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
“The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

DOCUMENTARY SHORT
WINNER: “Freeheld” A Lieutenant Films Production; Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
“La Corona (The Crown)” A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production; Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
“Salim Baba” A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production; Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
“Sari’s Mother” (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production; James Longley

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“No End in Sight” (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production; Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production; Richard E. Robbins
“Sicko” (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production; Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
WINNER: “Taxi to the Dark Side” (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production; Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
“War/Dance” (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production

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