The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

ETHAN COEN, JOEL COEN Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  USA, 2018.  Annapurna Pictures, Annapurna Television, Mike Zoss Productions.  Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, segment All Gold Canyon based on a story by Jack London, segment The Gal Who Got Rattled inspired by a story by Stewart Edward White.  Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel.  Produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen,…

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Hail, Caesar!

B.5 (out of 5) It’s 1951 and the post-war boom that has made America the leading industrial country in the world is reflected in the glorious movies being made in Hollywood. Josh Brolin plays the problem solver for a fictional movie studio whose job is to keep stars in line and their projects on track,…

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Inside Llewyn Davis

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Another terrific example of how magical the Coen Brothers can be when they let go their desire to be cute about their favourite movie genres.  This indelibly perfect tribute to the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village has a superb Oscar Isaac as the title character, struggling and failing to…

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True Grit (2010)

BBBB (out of 5) Hailee Steinfeld is excellent as a fourteen year-old girl who leaves her rural county to head to the big city and find the man who shot her father. Having deduced his name and the direction in which he has headed, this young spitfire works a miraculous deal with a banker in order…

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The Man Who Wasn’t There

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Brilliant Coen brothers film about a placid barber (Billy Bob Thornton) who tries to arrange a simple scam to get himself out of the boredom of his life. When a colourful entrepreneur comes to his small California town with the idea to start up a new retail scheme in something called…

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

BBBB (out of 5) Set in the rural American south of the thirties, but still retaining the main events from Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey upon which it is based, the Coen Brothers use authentic bluegrass music and Roger Deakins’ golden-hued photography to tell the story of three convicts who escape jail and are on…

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Intolerable Cruelty

BB.5 (out of 5) George Clooney plays a cutthroat divorce attorney who never loses a case and makes sure his opponents get taken for every dime they’re worth. He meets his match when he represents a rich businessman (Edward Herrmann) and has to protect him against a money-grubbing ex-wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who has every intention of…

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The Ladykillers (2004)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Hilarious remake of the Alec Guinness classic has been reset by those crafty Coen Brothers in modern-day Mississippi. Irma P. Hall steals the show as a traditional, God-fearing, church-going widow who has rooms to rent in her home. When double-talking, gentlemanly Tom Hanks shows up at her door with his mint-julipy Southern-fried breeding…

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Burn After Reading

BBB (out of 5) After getting fired from a relatively low-level job at the CIA, irate former agent John Malkovich decides that the best plan of action is to write a tell-all memoir about the agency. Sexy wife Tilda Swinton downloads his finances from his computer to use against him in divorce proceedings and accidentally includes a…

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A Serious Man

BBB (out of 5) Larry Gopnik’s quiet life as a physics professor is going perfectly until things begin to unravel in record time. His gambling-addicted, unemployable brother (Richard Kind) has moved in with the family and is driving everyone crazy. Gopnik’s wife reacts by announcing that she’s leaving him for another man. His son’s behavioural…

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No Country For Old Men

BBBBB (out of 5) Every once in a long while, the brothers Coen put aside their desire to make us watch their take on one of their favourite old movies and instead create something vibrant and original. For the first time since Fargo (though I really did enjoy The Man Who Wasn’t There) they accomplish this task,…

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