September 21, Gramercy Pictures Ethan Coen turns 60 years old today, if you can believe it. Since bursting onto the scene in with the cult classic Blood Simple, the younger half of arguably the most dynamic moviemaking sibling duo in Hollywood has helped create some of the most memorable and quirky films in cinematic history, from Raising Arizona to Fargo and The Big Lebowski to No Country For Old Men.
Idiosyncratic and postmodern, surreal and ironic, their films pay homage to film genres—in particular film noir and the screwball comedy—while also reinventing staid conventions, often creating surreal, highly stylized work in the process.
One particular trademark is their frequent—dominant, even—period pieces.
But perhaps their greatest talent is in blending genres, resulting in dark humor in their dramas and pathos in their comedies, often giving their films a surreal quality that very few directors could recreate even once, much less multiple times, to great success.
Working in different capacities across their films, often as co-screenwriters with Joel taking the directing title and Ethan billed as producer though working closely throughout the productionthey are a singular team the likes of which may never be repeated again.
And although many of their films are incredible—some even outright masterpieces—they have made a few disappointing movies in their career. Keep in mind that lists of this nature are always subjective enterprises, and that more often than not they succeed at creating dynamic films.
The Ladykillers The Coen Brothers are heavily influenced by classic comedies, and their original work often pays homage to this inspiration. Up until the early s, the brothers only worked on films based on their own material, but in they released their first remake: Using the cover that his music ensemble needs to use the basement for rehearsal, Higginson and his crew tunnel into the vault and pull off a sizeable heist.
Munson comes across their operation, they each attempt to kill her off before she ruins their plans. But through what seems to be divine protection, each fail at their attempt, coming to their own demise instead.
A modest hit upon its release, today critical consensus for this films has dropped significantly, and even for Coen Bros.
Intolerable Cruelty When they swing for the fences, the Coen Brothers will at the very least make an interesting film: Starring the reliable George Clooney and charming Catherine Zeta-Jones, Intolerable Cruelty details the improbable romance that stirs between fierce divorce attorney Miles Clooney and a notorious serial-marrying golddigger Marilyn Zeta-Jones.
While both should be more savvy when beginning a romance with their sworn enemy, they throw caution to the winds and soon find themselves married.
Something the Coens know a lot about both personally and professionally is the business of making movies, and when they turn their satirical ability towards the subject, as they did to memorable success with Barton Fink, great comedy and pathos is unearthed.
Turns out he was kidnapped by some communists who are trying to ransom the studio so their leader can return to Russia, but enough about that: It also looks like the Coens had a lot of fun making the movie, playing around with a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of a movie studio in the s.
The Coens found a surprise hit with True Grit: Both Bridges and Steinfeld were widely praised for their portrayals as the hard-headed Mattie and the drunken but principled Cogburn, and the film is a well-made if not dark Western.
But it also feels like a movie a number of directors could have made.These siblings are two of America’s premiere directors, and it seems the American spirit is represented in their work: always reinventing genres while also mixing seemingly incongruous ones together to form a melting pot of ideas, styles, and stories, the Coen Brothers’ films can best be described as eccentric.
Raimi took tips about filming A Simple Plan from the Coen brothers, who had recently finished Fargo (both films are set in blindingly white snow, which reflects a lot of light and can make metering for a correct exposure tricky).
Their movies can be described as complex plots developed around simple character extremes, whether that character be an actual person or the time period or the geographical location. Blood Simple was the premiere of both the Coen Brothers as writer/directors and Frances McDormand, wife of .
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Coen Brothers Clips attheheels.com clips from The Big Lebowski.. Coenesque: The films of Joel and Ethan Coen Straightforward film analysis and biographical information. The Coen brothers narrow in on this elemental evil by keeping a strong focus on the three main characters—Bell, Chigurh, and Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), who gets caught out of his depth in dealing with the pitiless Chigurh.
I can’t think of a more Coen Brothers-y a subject for a film. Between this and Altman’s “The Player,” Robbins put in some of his best work .