Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

He stares into the camera, so shaken by the beauty of the music he’s just discovered that he appears to be in anguish. This music, he says, was “filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling.”His name is Salieri, and in Milos Forman’s beloved film Amadeus, he is played by F. Murray Abraham.Why am I talking about Amadeus when this is supposed to be a review of Inside Llewyn Davis? Stay with me. It’s important. … [Read more...]

Netflix Brings Back the Coen Brothers’ Most Underrated Comedy

The Coen Brothers' Intolerable Cruelty is, by my lights, their most underrated film.It was almost directed by Ron Howard. It was almost directed by Jonathan Demme. Thank the silly gods of Hollywood, it ended up with Joel and Ethan, even though it wasn't their script.Originally written by Robert Ramsey and Matt Stone, the film never quite feels like a true Coen Brothers concoction. The comedy takes turns toward the crass  and sophomoric, turns that the brothers have never taken in their o … [Read more...]

A Coen Brothers Easter

It's Easter — hallelujah! — and signs of life and hope are rising up all over.They're even rising in unexpected places like indieWire, where Matt Zoller Seitz abides... and where he oversees the relentlessly intriguing Press Play blog. Matt recently invited me to talk with him about whether or not we can find God, goodness, and hope in the movies of the Coen Brothers.And the result was posted this morning... … [Read more...]

O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)

It's been more than 12 years since O Brother, Where Art Thou? opened. But the movie is on my mind on this Good Friday in 2013.I've been giving a lot of thought to the films of the Coen Brothers lately, and revisiting many of their films, due to a surprise invitation from one of my favorite film reviewers: Matt Zoller Seitz. He's asked me to join him in exploring some intriguing questions: Are the Coen Brothers moralists? Do they believe in God? Do their films present a compelling vision of … [Read more...]

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Five years ago today, No Country for Old Men played in the U.S. for the first time. The buzz had begun at the Cannes Film Festival a few months earlier, and anticipation was high.It went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, surprising some by winning over Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood and Tony Gilroy's Michael Clayton; the Coens won the Best Directing award and the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay; and Javier Bardem won Best Supporting Actor.Meanwhile, my first draft of … [Read more...]

True Grit (2010)

Pieces of this review were originally published in Image and Response.-The Coen Brothers’ first Western gives us three important stories to consider.The first is the story of what happens when a young justice seeker, Mattie Ross, hires the ruthless manhunter Rooster Cogburn to track down the vigilante who shot and killed her father. It’s a compelling story. Can 14-year-old Mattie make a journey into the violent, lawless wilderness and achieve justice without losing her soul, her inn … [Read more...]

A Serious Man (2009)

This review was originally published at Good Letters, the blog hosted by Image.-There’s an envelope full of cash on Larry Gopnik’s desk.He didn’t put it there. But he can guess who did. A student in Larry’s physics class has been begging him for a good grade. This money looks like a bribe. Nevertheless, when Larry goes seeking a confession, he’s given a confounding answer....“Accept the mystery!”Larry is a play-by-the-rules kind of guy. He cares about precise measurements; he … [Read more...]

Reader!!!! Mail!!!!

This week's blue-ribbon-winning letter from a reader comes in response to my review of No Country for Old Men, which was published at CTMovies.The reader writes: … [Read more...]

The Browser, 5/9: Evangelical Manifesto; Koehler on Cannes; Dude still abides!; Neil Young hates mp3s; book reviews; Marion Ravenwood

The Evangelical ManifestoOn the remote chance that you may not already have read it, I should post the news that An Evangelical Manifesto was published and presented earlier this week, on May 7.The Steering Committee for the document includes...Timothy George Dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University Os Guinness Author/Social Critic John Huffman Pastor, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, CA Chair, Christianity Today International Rich Mouw President, … [Read more...]

The Coen Brothers Put Clooney and Swinton in Bed Together

These pics promise a return to the wild and wacky side of the Coen Brothers' world. … [Read more...]