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Hail, Caesar! Review

Excellent

An intelligent ode to a time when Hollywood made wildly inventive movies without pressure from focus groups, there's a serious edge to what superficially looks like a madcap comical romp. But this isn't one of Joel and Ethan Coen's nutty comedies. It's a pointed exploration of the collision between art and commerce, assembled as a sprawlingly entertaining ensemble movie packed with lively, often hilarious characters.

It's set over 24 hours at Capitol Pictures in 1951 as studio minder Eddie (Josh Brolin) tries to keep several movies in production despite a series of hitches, while twin gossip columnists (two Tilda Swintons) try to get a scoop. Top movie star Baird (George Clooney) has been kidnapped by communist writers from the set of his Roman epic. Water-ballet diva DeeAnna (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant and unapologetically unmarried. And rising-star Hobie (Alden Ehrenreich) is struggling to make the transition from Western action hero to chamber room drama, clashing with his demanding new director Laurence (Ralph Fiennes). Meanwhile, song-and-dance man Burt (Channing Tatum) is up to something on the set of his sailor musical. With all of this, Eddie begins to think that maybe he should take the offer of a job outside the film industry.

As the movie darts between these various productions, the Coens gleefully reinvent this series of genres that have essentially died out. Yes, the film is a pointed depiction of how Hollywood used to make a wide array of movies for much broader audiences. Each sequence is written and directed with witty details that perfectly catch the way the chaos of a film set can be transformed into a glamorous motion picture in time for the starry red-carpet premiere. And the entire cast rises to the challenge. Clooney is terrific as the dim-witted star who hasn't a clue what's happening around him. Ehrenreich shows real charm as a smart kid struggling in an insane situation. Brolin holds things together in a surprisingly sympathetic role, while Swinton, Johansson and Fiennes add plenty of spark, and the film is stolen by Frances McDormand as a spiky film editor.

Continue reading: Hail, Caesar! Review

Ethan Coen - The 66th annual International Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) - Opening Gala & Hail, Caesar! - Premiere at Berlinale Palace in Potsdamer Platz - Red Carpet Arrivals at Berlinale Palace - Berlin, Germany - Thursday 11th February 2016

Ethan Coen

Ethan Coen , Joel Coen - 66th annual International Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) - Hail, Caesar - Photocall at Grand Hyatt Hotel - Berlin, Germany - Thursday 11th February 2016

Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

Ethan Coen , Joel Coen - 66th Annual International Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) - 'Hail, Caesar! - Photocall - Berlin, Germany - Thursday 11th February 2016

Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
Ethan Coen
Ethan Coen

Ethan Coen - 66th Annual International Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) - 'Hail, Caesar! - Press Conference - Berlin, Germany - Thursday 11th February 2016

Ethan Coen

Bridge Of Spies Review

Very Good

Steven Spielberg takes on the Cold War with a stately, sentimental thriller that gurgles along with quiet intensity, only occasionally finding a real spark of energy. Most intriguing, and important, is the way the film refuses to indulge in the usual moralising, allowing its characters to be complex and confused as they try to do the right thing. Even the Russians are depicted as real people rather than shady villains. And this makes what happens utterly riveting.

Set in 1957 New York, the story centres on lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), who is hired to represent Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) as he is tried for being a Soviet spy. But James is fighting a losing battle against a culture that's determined to convict Rudolf, regardless of the evidence against him. Three years later, an American U-2 spy plane is shot down over Russia, and its pilot Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) captured. So now James is drafted in by the CIA to negotiate a swap: Rudolf for Gary. He heads to Berlin to orchestrate the hand-off, and there decides that he also wants the East Germans to free an American student (Will Rogers) who was wrongfully detained as the Berlin Wall was being built.

Donovan was a remarkable man who tirelessly went far beyond the call in everything he did. He's also a terrific movie character, and Hanks plays him with deadpan honesty, adding shadings to every scenes that make him easy to identify with. This is a likeable person who represents today's political ideal: a tenacious man who ignores partisan politics to do the right thing. The characters around him are less developed, although Rylance offers some strong support as an honest, perceptive man who accepts his fate with dignity. And Ryan has some pointed moments as Donovan's observant wife. All of the actors benefit from the strong screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen and Matt Charman, which stirs plenty of edgy humour into the Cold War tensions.

Continue reading: Bridge Of Spies Review

Hail, Caesar! Trailer


Eddie Mannix is a fixer who works in Hollywood where he tames celebrities and keeps theirs, and movie studios', secrets out of the press - no matter how big the story. It's not the easiest job in the world, and it's certainly not always the most morally fulfilling, but it's about to get a whole lot harder when one studio, Capitol Pictures, presents him with a major problem the likes of which could be career destroying. They're working on a huge production epic entitled 'Hail, Caesar!' starring Hollywood sensation Baird Whitlock, but things go particularly awry when he is kidnapped and held for ransom by a mysterious group known only as The Future. They want $100,000, and after 24 hours, the studio aren't looking any more hopeful. Mannix enlists a feisty and beautiful female star to procure the money, while Whitlook finds himself in a most unusual situation.

Continue: Hail, Caesar! Trailer

Tom Hanks On Working With The Coen Bros & Steven Spielberg On ‘Bridge Of Spies’: ‘It’s Like A Lottery Win’


Tom Hanks Steven Spielberg Joel Coen Ethan Coen Mark Rylance Alan Alda

For Bridge of Spies, Tom Hanks was given the opportunity to work with the Coen brothers and Steve Spielberg. Hanks may be a global superstar, as much admired for his warmth and personality as he is for his diverse acting, but in a recent interview he revealed he was still delighted at being given the opportunity to work with the well-respected screenwriters and the legendary director.

Tom Hanks and Steven SpielbergTom Hanks and Steven Spielberg during filming for Bridge of Spies.

Read More: Tom Hanks Close To Sealing Role As "Sully" Sullenberger In Clint Eastwood's New Movie.

Continue reading: Tom Hanks On Working With The Coen Bros & Steven Spielberg On ‘Bridge Of Spies’: ‘It’s Like A Lottery Win’

Coen Brothers And Co Choose 'Dheepan' As Palme D'Or Winner


Ethan Coen Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival jury headed by the Coen brothers and including Jake Gyllenhaal and Sienna Miller has awarded Jacques Audiard the Palme d'Or for his movie Dheepan. The gritty drama tells the story of refugees fleeing post-civil war Sri Lanka. 

Jacques AudiardJacques Audiard won the Palme d'Or for his gritty drama Dheepan

Elsewhere, holocaust drama Son of Saul won the Grand Prix - essentially the runner-up prize - while Vincent Lindon won Best Actor and Rooney Mara and Emmanuelle Bercot shared Best Actress.

Continue reading: Coen Brothers And Co Choose 'Dheepan' As Palme D'Or Winner

Coen Brothers Mock Streaming Services At Cannes Press Conference


Ethan Coen Joel Coen

US film directors Joel and Ethan Coen mocked the influence of streaming services in the movie industry at a press conference for this year's Cannes Film Festival. The Coen brothers head the jury for the annual event, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Sienna Miller and Sophie Merceau also on the panel.

Coen brothersThe Coen brothers head the jury at the Cannes Film Festival

Asked at the presser about the recent surge of film companies like Netflix, Joel gave a rather deadpan response.

Continue reading: Coen Brothers Mock Streaming Services At Cannes Press Conference

Unbroken Review


Excellent

With a true story that's almost hard to believe, this inspiring biographical drama is made with attention to detail and a remarkable resistance to sentiment. And strong acting helps bring the characters to life, even if everything feels a little too carefully staged. But it's the real-life aspect that grabs the attention, and a central figure who's a remarkable example of the indomitable human spirit. The film also marks an auspicious step forward for Angelina Jolie as a director, telling a big story without giving in to the usual sappy moviemaking pitfalls.

Son of Italian immigrants, Louie Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) grew up in 1920s Southern California and by the time he hit his teens is on the way to becoming a criminal. But his brother Pete (Alex Russell) helps him channel his energy to running instead, and his natural skill make him a local champion as well as an American record-holder at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. When the war breaks out, he enlists and serves as a bombardier in the Pacific, surviving a plane crash before later going down at sea and drifting with two colleagues (Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock) for 47 days before being captured by the Japanese. From here he endures a horrific stint in a prisoner of war camp, taunted by the cruel commandant everyone calls The Bird (Miyavi), who takes particular notice of Louie simply because he refuses to break.

Jolie assembles the film as a big-budget epic, with massive set pieces as the plot cycles through several outrageous episodes before settling in on the prison years. Cinematographer Roger Deakins carefully contrasts Louie's sunny California youth with the much starker visit to Nazi Germany and the astoundingly bleak Japanese prison camp, with those endless days baking at sea in the middle. So the film looks terrific, drawing us into each chapter in Louie's story while building a sense of momentum. It's not quite as complex as it looks; Louie's darker moments feel a bit superficial. But O'Connell adds some weight to each scene, offering a kick of emotion as well as the charisma that convinces the men around him to draw inspiration from his tenacity.

Continue reading: Unbroken Review

The Next 'Breaking Bad'? 'Fargo' Ep. 1 Is A Must-See [Video]


Martin Freeman Billy Bob Thornton Joel Cohen Ethan Coen

New television series Fargo premiered last night on FX, giving American audiences a first taste of the adaptation of the Coen Brothers famed 1996 dark comedy. Starring Martin Freeman ('The Hobbit') and Billy Bob Thornton ('Armageddon'), the new show has been developed by Noah Hawley ('Bones') but has received the blessing of Joel and Ethan Coen, who are acting as executive producers.

Martin Freeman Lester Nygaard Fargo
British Star Martin Freeman Adopts A Minnesotan Drawl For His 'Fargo' Character.

With plenty of black humour and often shockingly overblown violence, the show has been described by Hawley as more like ''a ten hour movie'', than a traditional series. Set in snowy Minnesota, Fargo is a furtherance of the '90s crime classic and has already been tipped by some as the next Breaking Bad in terms of its must-watch factor. Colin Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Oliver Platt, Kate Walsh, Keith Carradine, Adam Goldberg, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele all take supporting roles in the show.

Continue reading: The Next 'Breaking Bad'? 'Fargo' Ep. 1 Is A Must-See [Video]

'Inside Llewyn Davis' Wins Big At US Critics Society Awards


Coen Brothers Joel Coen Ethan Coen Chiwetel Ejiofor Robert Redford Cate Blanchett James Franco Jennifer Lawrence

Inside Llewyn Davis took home the top honour at the National Society of Film Critics Awards last night, winning the majority of votes from the panel made up of some of America's top film critics from the nation's best-known publishers. Having already found success at the Gotham Awards last month, the latest win for ...Llewyn Davis might further outline the credentials of the latest Coen Brothers film as a potential Oscar contender, having largely been overlooked by most commentators.

Oscar Isaac
The film's star Oscar Isaac was also honoured with the Best Actor award

The film was crowned Best Picture ahead of American Hustle, which came second in the overall voting, and 12 Years a Slave, which placed third. Despite winning yet another award, the Coen Brother's 'a week in the life' tale of a musician traveling through the Greenwich folk scene in 60's New York is still largely considered an outsider for major awards success, however if these gongs keep on piling up for the Coens then the Academy may be persuaded to change their mind somewhat when the votes are cast.

Continue reading: 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Wins Big At US Critics Society Awards

Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst Missed Out On 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Lead Role


Conor Oberst Oscar Isaac Joel Coen Ethan Coen Carey Mulligan Garrett Hedlund Justin Timberlake John Goodman

Now this is an interesting tidbit of movie trivia: Conor Oberst has revealed that he auditioned for the lead role in folk music comedy-drama, Inside Llewyn Davis. Although the Coen Brothers eventually cast Oscar Isaac as the titular folk singer, Bright Eyes' singer Conor Oberst was reportedly considered for the role.

Conor Oberst
Conor Oberst Auditioned For The Lead Role In 'Inside Llewyn Davis.'

"I know I told you this when we met, but I tried out for your role in Inside Llewyn Davis," Oberst told Isaac for Interview magazine. "Thank god for everyone that I didn't get it." Perhaps one of the main reasons Oberst failed to convince the Coen Brothers that he was best suited for the role was because of his non-existent acting C.V. which could have proved risky to take on in such a challenging lead role.

Continue reading: Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst Missed Out On 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Lead Role

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen Sunday 4th November 2007 at Arclight Theater Los Angeles, California

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Ethan Coen

Ethan Coen Quick Links

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Ethan Coen Movies

Hail, Caesar! Movie Review

Hail, Caesar! Movie Review

An intelligent ode to a time when Hollywood made wildly inventive movies without pressure from...

Hail, Caesar! Trailer

Hail, Caesar! Trailer

Ever since his wonderful appearance in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, we've been waiting...

Bridge of Spies Movie Review

Bridge of Spies Movie Review

Steven Spielberg takes on the Cold War with a stately, sentimental thriller that gurgles along...

Hail, Caesar! Trailer

Hail, Caesar! Trailer

Eddie Mannix is a fixer who works in Hollywood where he tames celebrities and keeps...

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Unbroken Movie Review

Unbroken Movie Review

With a true story that's almost hard to believe, this inspiring biographical drama is made...

Inside Llewyn Davis Movie Review

Inside Llewyn Davis Movie Review

The Coen brothers have a wry twinkle in their eyes as they take us on...

Inside Llewyn Davis Trailer

Inside Llewyn Davis Trailer

Llewyn Davis is a struggling folk musician attempting to find his place in the world...

Gambit Movie Review

Gambit Movie Review

Remade from a 1966 romp starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, this con artist action-comedy...

Gambit Trailer

Gambit Trailer

Harry Deane is a pretty hopeless British art curator who has suffered years of condescension...

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True Grit Movie Review

True Grit Movie Review

The Coen brothers return to the Charles Portis novel (rather than remaking the 1969 John...

True Grit Trailer

True Grit Trailer

True Grit is a 1968 Western book by author Charles Portis, Ethan & Joel Coen...

A Serious Man Movie Review

A Serious Man Movie Review

The Coen brothers take another sharp turn, catching us off-guard with this offbeat suburban drama...

Burn After Reading Movie Review

Burn After Reading Movie Review

In 24 years, they've directed only 13 films, so it's not hard to assume that...

No Country For Old Men Movie Review

No Country For Old Men Movie Review

The only good man to be found in Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for...

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