Tag Archives: no country for old men

Wicked Wit of the Grit

Usually I count the days in anticipation for the release of the latest Coen Bros’ film but since their first remake, Ladykillers, didn’t kill, this time around I was a bit dubious after seeing True Grit‘s too revealing trailer and cliche “wanted” font poster. But as it began I was immediately drawn in by the precocious 14yr old girl, Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) and her no nonsense determination to catch her Father’s killer to see him hang. But I felt like hanging myself when seeing how the Coen’s staged the typical western town without a speck of grime anywhere, (almost rivaling the Boardwalk Empire set) and DP Deakin’s clean, streaming pools of light.

(Fort Smith, Ark 1878)

The only redeeming aspect of the town scenes was Mattie’s bargaining with town businessman (the scene also read for their open auditions) and her witnessing a brutal yet comical hanging of three men – though local P.C. film critic, J. Hoberman, begs to differ.

“The Coens are still themselves. As one colleague remarked—unprompted—upon leaving the screening where True Grit was previewed for New York critics, “They always do something to make you hate them.” (In my case, the moment happened early on with a gag based on the hanging of a—dare one say—Native American.)”

Hey J, most of John Wayne’s movies portray Indians like shit and far worse, that’s one of the reasons why I’m not a fan of The Searchers. Though he does redeem himself in his review by citing the influence of Night Of The Hunter and it’s fable qualities he’s still more of a pompous douche than I am, I mean just look at his top ten list! From the likes of Alice in Wonderland to Little Red Riding these fables and fairy tales capture the innocence and fears of a young girl’s coming of age and so does Coen Bros. treatment and approach to their western. The Coen’s foray into this genre is not exactly groundbreaking (unlike No Country for Old Men) but they do infuse it with their usual eccentric brand of humor while being faithful more to the novel than Wayne’s version.

The casts’ delivery of dialogue are perfectly paced, Bridges as a drunk washed up sheriff, with insight from The Dude’s, and Matt Damon an overly confident Texas Ranger, like Space Ranger, Buzz Lightyear. The only fault in the film’s casting is the 40 year old Mattie Ross, who appears to look like a 60 year old Agnes Moorehead rather than the young Hailee. I know the western frontier and a snake bite will age you but talk about a country bumpkin!

But this tiny blemish is nothing compared to the sappy soundtrack. Nevertheless the Coens continue their prolific output and again leave me wanting more.

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Inception Intervention

Well, I can’t tell lies, ’cause they’re listening to me. And when I fall asleep, bet they’re spying on me…” – Cheap Trick

After a slew of lame blockbusters since last summer’s Star Trek, Nolan revives a “new hope” among audiences that commercial entertainment can be fun again. Inception, proving to be a crowd pleaser for even those with a brain, starts as a complex plot of exposition and rules in a world addicted to shared dreaming and those in the business of dream thieving when Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a pro at exploring and extracting secrets through the subconscious, is hired by Saito (Ken Wantanabe) to infiltrate and sabotage his corporate rival Robert Fischer Jr’s (Cillian Murphy) mind though the theory of “Inception.” Cobb, should he be able to complete this convoluted dream mission, accepts when promised his freedom and to be reunited with his children – currently in his “Father’s” (Michael Caine) custody (who speaks British unlike anyone else in the fam). As this all star cast continues with accompanied dashing point man Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a charismatic forger Eames (Tom Hardy), and a prying, know-it-all, student architect Ariadne (Juno), this sci-fi turns full into the ultimate heist through a maze of multilevel dreams, and a series of kick queues. However problems soon erupt when Jr’s dream goes into autodefense mode and Leo washes up on Shutter Island again and is haunted by his over possessive, desperate, dead wife Mal (Marion Cotillard), who also makes a comeback as Edith Piaf.

Sound confusing? As Winston Churchill said in a 1939 radio broadcast, just a few weeks after England declared war against Germany, “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” And one of the keys to this conundrum of a movie is the number 528. Kidding. I’d hate think that unlocking the code to this movie comes down to some quasi mathematical frequency or equation or even worse, numerology, (I mean try sitting through Jim Carrey’s The Number 23!). But if 528/Love is at the heart of the matter, then it’s just yet another similarity to The Matrix. I say, if both Neo and Cobb’s dilemma and motivation is sacrificial love then that’s just pathetic. Churchill was right, I say fuck Mother Russia and let the Cold War begin!

Like No Country for Old Men, a man would have to put his soul at hazard and like Sheriff Ed Tom Bell say, “O.K., I’ll be part of this world…” And in this world Nolan creates a notion that turns into a concept and then an idea that grows into a virus that is resilient and hard to eradicate. So maybe just take a leap of faith and go along for the ride.

“You’re waiting for a train to take you somewhere.

You hope you know where the train takes you,

But you aren’t sure if it will go there –

But it doesn’t matter because you are together.”

Either way in the end is the glass half full or half empty?

I say it’s half…

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Burn After Review

“Explanations come to an end somewhere.” – Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (Philosophical Investigation)

 

Despite negative buzz, The Coen Brothers’ 13th movie, Burn After Reading, when compared to their other works may not be considered groundbreaking and original but given the high expectations following No Country for Old Men and the repeat summer comedies of Farrell, Rogen, Stiller, and Jack Black it at least makes you appreciate that there are still real filmmakers out there. This time around they add DC to their list of cities to expose where we find new quirky characters plotting and scheming with reckless and random abandonment. From the opening overhead shot zooming thru the clouds (accompanied by the usual mission impossible type soundtrack) and into the secret insipid interior of CIA headquarters we are instantly thrown into this spy movie spoof black comedy. There we are introduced to agent Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) and his superiors in the act of firing him for his drinking problem. We then follow his plight into the paranoiac espionage nature of DC and it’s scandal ridden sexual infidelities only to clash with bimbo Hardbodies employees, Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) and Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) when they accidently obtain a disk of Cox that was “just lying on the floor” in the women’s locker room and their subsequent involvement in blackmailing him to pay for Linda’s numerous cosmetic surgeries and liposuction. To add to these blackmailing amateurs, Cox’s marriage is falling apart as his wife, Katie Cox (Tilda Swinton), unbeknownst to him is having divorce papers drawn up and an affair with a married man, Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney), who is a compulsive womanizer and sex toy inventor hobbyist and is also dating Linda. How the Russians get involved in this post Cold War circus is attributed by Osbornes’s disc which is what every spy thriller needs, the MacGuffin.

While the movie was marketed for it’s star studded cast, this cast proves to be more than just good looks. George Clooney caps off his Coen Brothers trilogy of playing an idiot with his boyish bravado of seducing women while Botox Brad and Frances, who literally lets it all hang out, pair up as a comic duo. But it is the meeting of the minds of Pitt and Malkovich that truly reveal the absurdity and comedy of this plot while Tilda Anteater Face continues to play the ultimate cold, stuck up bitch.

In the end, the Coen Brother’s have again succeeded in fighting the idiots we’ve been fighting our whole lives as they join the top of the box office along side these hollywood blockbusters that are consistently praised by retards.

 

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