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items tagged with Joel Coen

Bee Prepared: "Bad Words," "Enemy," and "Sabotage"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-03-31 14:41:47

Rohan Chand and Jason Bateman in Bad WordsBAD WORDS

It’s not impossible to make a comedy centered on an angry, sullen, emotionally inaccessible bastard, as Oscar Isaac recently proved in Inside Llewyn Davis. In that film, however, Isaac had a Coen-brothers script and a bunch of sensational folk songs to help carry him through. In Bad Words, director/star Jason Bateman merely has a half-workable comic conceit and access to unlimited profanities. The anger, sullenness, and inaccessibility, I’m sorry to say, win out.


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Plains Spoken: "Nebraska," "Gimme Shelter," and "I, Frankenstein"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-01-26 23:52:43

Will Forte and Bruce Dern in NebraskaNEBRASKA

After opening nationally (in larger markets) in November, Alexander Payne’s comic elegy Nebraska – nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Director – finally hit Quad Cities cineplexes this past weekend. I actually saw the film in Chicagoland over the holidays, and ordinarily, when preparing to review a film I first viewed a month prior, I’d take in a second screening to reacquaint myself with the images, dialogue, and performances. But I didn’t with Payne’s latest. I took in a second screening just for the sheer pleasure of the experience. Memories of Nebraska’s marvelous images, dialogue, and performances, thank you very much, were still wonderfully fresh.


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Folk Yeah!: "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Lone Survivor"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-01-13 03:18:31

Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver in Inside Llewyn DavisINSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

There are some Coen-brothers movies – Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou? and True Grit come immediately to mind – that, because they exude such palpable filmmaking energy and are so spectacularly quotable, I wanted to talk about immediately after first seeing them. Then there are the rarer Coen-brothers movies, among them The Hudsucker Proxy and Intolerable Cruelty and Burn After Reading, that I didn’t feel much like talking about afterward, mostly because I didn’t enjoy them much on a first go-round. (Though I’ve consequently become a big fan of Joel’s and Ethan’s Hudsucker and Burn, in the case of Intolerable Cruelty, second and third go-rounds did nothing to improve matters.)

And then there are Coen-brothers movies such as the new Inside Llewyn Davis, a work that is, I think, so good that I don’t want to discuss it for fear of not coming close to doing it justice.


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The Flicks Are All Right: Mike Schulz’s 10 Most Enjoyable Movies of 2010
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2011-01-03 12:00:00

Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg in The Social NetworkBefore commencing with the annual fawning, I thought I’d begin by exercising one of my God-given rights as a reviewer: the right to bitch about the sorry state of movies. I think it’s supposed to go something like this:

Boy, are the movies in a sorry state!


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Hello. My Name Is Mattie Ross. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die.: “True Grit” and “Yogi Bear”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2010-12-23 17:43:50

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in True GritTRUE GRIT

Over the course of their careers, the films of Joel and Ethan Coen have, of course, inspired a wide variety of responses: amusement (and quite a lot of it), excitement, fascination, terror, confusion, astonishment, mortification. (Oh, the depressing spectacle of Intolerable Cruelty ... .) But while we audiences have laughed and gasped and occasionally scratched our heads, we haven’t, prior to the Coen brothers’ True Grit, been moved to tears by scenes of unbridled yet honestly earned sentiment. Guess we can now scratch that one off the list, too.


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