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Year: Stars: Rating: Reviewer:

Barton Fink (1991)

The Coen brothers (director Joel, producer Ethan, writers both) cut right to the heart of the role of the artist in Hollywood. They are too much artists themselves, however, to abide any idealizing or universalizing of their proxy on screen: a Broadway Bolshevik (modelled roughly and rudely on Clifford Odets) ... (R)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bernie (2012)

Jack Black is the life-based but rather cartoonish Bernie, a sweet, dapper, fussy (read: gay) undertaker in Carthage, Texas. He is an angel disguised as an oddball, loved by all, even (for a time) the mean widow Marjorie (Shirley MacLaine). Director Richard Linklater provides a cozy jacket of style, is ... (PG-13)

3.0 starsDavid Elliott

The Big Lebowski (1998)

There are actually two Lebowskis, a big one and a little one, a multimillionaire philanthropist and a lazy, laid-back bowler, both christened Jeffrey; and when the latter — who prefers to be addressed as "the Dude" — is mistaken for the other by a pair of dim-bulb thugs, he is ... (R)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bound (1996)

Sapphic mating dance between an ex-con handywoman and a gangster's moll ("I have a tattoo. Would you like to see it?") is prelude to a plot to steal $2 million from the Mafia. Flashy first film from the Wachowski brothers, Larry and Andy, who are not the Coen brothers but ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Call it Mr. Donovan goes to East Berlin. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks team up for a handsome piece of very pointed nostalgia (with help from the Coen Brothers and Matt Charman, who handled the script, and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, lens set to "stately."). Hanks is ... (PG-13)

2.0 starsMatthew Lickona

Burn after Reading (2008)

The Coen brothers revisit their favored stupidity theme: Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Fargo, The Big Lebowski (that one above all), O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the secondhand Ladykillers, at least the Llewellyn Moss protagonist in No Country for Old Men. Back to the well once more. The placement of this ... (R)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Clay Pigeons (1998)

A cuckold, too chicken to take revenge first-hand, kills himself in such a manner as to frame the lover for murder. (The ungrieving widow is no help: "Leave me out of this.") Black-ish, noir-ish crime comedy calls to mind the Coen brothers, or their Fargo at any rate, if only ... (R)

1.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

The appropriate cartographical co-ordinates are easy to fix: the Coen brothers' Fargo, for its Minnesota setting, accents, and idioms (one of the unsung stars of that film, Kristin Rudrüd, has a cameo as the TV spokesperson for the St. Paul Pork Company, and is permitted to keep her own surname ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Eight-Legged Freaks (2002)

Wised-up, camped-up creature feature about overgrown arachnids overrunning Prosperity, Arizona. Incestuous horror-film allusions abound: a parrot who squawks, "I see dead people!"; a clip from Them! in a TV Monster Movie Marathon; a shopping-mall fortress similar to the one in Dawn of the Dead; and on and on. Although it ... (PG-13)

0.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Fargo (1996)

Above and beyond all else, around and through all else, the Coen brothers have assembled here a timeless document on their native state, Minnesota. On its notorious winters. On its snow shovels and its ice scrapers (implement of an uproarious temper tantrum). On its parkas and mittens and gloves and ... (R)

5.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Remember movies? The Coen brothers do. Westerns, romances, musicals, dance extravaganzas — the works. (All of which are on gorgeous, indulgent display here.) Millions of people used to look to them for — in the words of Capitol Pictures’ Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) — “information, uplift, and yes, ... (PG-13)

3.0 starsMatthew Lickona

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

Though this is as different from previous Coen brothers movies as all of those are different from each other, it nonetheless picks up the interest of Barton Fink in the issues of commercialism, success, popularity -- the whole American, and particularly Hollywooden, ethos. That earlier movie confused a lot of ... (PG)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

The Coen brothers, as successful a pair as any in show business today, consider the fate of a '60s folk duo after one of them jumps off a bridge. (This being the Coen brothers, it is of course the wrong bridge: the George Washington instead of the Brooklyn). Surprise, surprise: ... (R)

2.0 starsMatthew Lickona

Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

The Coen brothers film with the widest, the broadest, the massiest appeal to date, or in the common phrase their "most accessible." Two glamorous A-list movie stars of opposite sexes, George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones, looking their respective bests, sugar-cured and honey-glazed, and none of the Coen "regulars" -- no ... (PG-13)

4.0 starsDuncan Shepherd

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014)

File under "Lost in Translation." Or maybe just "lost." Antisocial, aging Tokyo office lady Kumiko (29 and not even dating!) lives alone with her bunny Bunzo and her newly found VHS copy of the Coen Brothers' Fargo, a film that famously starts with the claim, "This is a true story" ... (NR)

2.0 starsMatthew Lickona

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