Ethan Coen and his brother Joel hop from film genre to film genre and make it their stylish, postmodern own. Two of the most brilliant guys making movies today, they bring independent films to mass audiences in ways that everyone seems to adore.
The Ladykillers (2004) -- Co-directed with Joel Coen (for some reason--they usually just seem fine using Joel's name as director and Ethan's as producer, though both seem to do both). This movie seems to be a combination of all of their "screwball" movies: the outrageous characters of Raising Arizona, the voice affectations of The Hudsucker Proxy, the bumbling element of The Big Lebowski, and everything else (the smooth-talking Southerner, the gospel music, the mythological Mississippi setting) from O Brother, Where Art Thou? Unfortunately, all of these components adds up to a movie that's less good than any one of those. This isn't a bad movie at all (it's certainly much, much better than Intolerable Cruelty), and it's even pretty funny, but there's nothing "classic" about it, like most of the rest. Everything's fun to watch (especially Tom Hanks, a little surprisingly since I thought his character would just get old), so there you go.
Paris, Je T'aime (2006) -- Directed with Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydès, Walter Salles, Jr., Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant. Eighteen five-minute shorts set in (and named after) different areas of Paris, all created by different directors. Most of directors apparently don't know how to deal with the short form and use the same pacing as a feature-length movie, not telling any real story in the process or setting us up for a story that we'll never get to see. The ones that stand out to me are the films by the Coen Brothers (which actually use some kinetic camerawork to wake us up), Christopher Doyle (another wake up), Alexander Payne (which is a mix of offensive and almost-touching), and Sylvain Chomet (with a mime). The rest are either average or make you say "Well, at least it was short." (See individual directors for a review of their short.)
Tuileries (2006) -- Directed with Joel Coen. From Paris, Je T'aime, one of the few highlights of that movie, with Steve Buschemi's character being pretty funny while the camera is going nuts. We actually get a decent, quick, exaggerated look into how it might feel like to be this particular form of tourist.
No Country for Old Men (2007) -- Directed with Joel Coen. The "get back" movie for the Coen Brothers after two average (or below) films. This one goes way back to the grit of Blood Simple and cranks up the desperation and hopelessness. Many tense scenes abound.
Copyright (c) Sep 2004 - May 2008 by Rusty Likes Movies