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Barton Fink

4 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

Barton thinks highly of himself and claims to write about the common man and for the common man, when in truth he knows very little about the “common man” (he never listens – and he thinks Charlie is a nice guy when he’s actually a serial killer). And at any rate, the sad fact is that the common man doesn’t care about his “poetry of the streets” anyway. They’d most likely prefer a good wrestling picture.

The box is a metaphor for the ego – the mind. (After all, there may very well be a head inside.) The words “mind” and “head” are constantly said throughout the film. Barton has a big ego at the start of the film but by the end he realizes how naive he is. His favorite writer is even a fraud. When the woman on the beach asks what’s in the box, his reply is “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure.” He’s finally been humbled. The photograph of this woman on the beach represents the inspiration – “the muse” – that he needs to write. (He also seeks a real muse, Judy Davis, to help him.) Once he’s been through hell (some say literally) and been truly humbled – lived a little – he can finally sit down and write something real (the irony is that Hollywood doesn’t want it). Now that he’s enlightened, he sees things as they really are, both himself and the photograph are no longer fake.

Ultimately, I think it’s the Coens smartest and funniest script. The characters are hilarious (the producer and studio head kill me) and the sound, music and cinematography are all pitch perfect. A masterpiece.

Set in 1941, the story focuses on a New York playwright who moves to a seedy L.A. hotel and suffers from writers” block after being recruited to (more…)
88% liked it

R, 1 hr. 56 min.

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Released: Aug 21, 1991

DVD: May 20, 2003

Raising Arizona

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

Bizarre, hilarious and strangely engrossing. A one of a kind story with a wonderful cast.

A petty crook falls in love with the woman cop who always arrests him, but when they find out she can’t bear children, they steal one, hit the road, (more…)
82% liked it

PG-13, 1 hr. 34 min.

Director: Joel Coen

Released: Jan 1, 1987

DVD: Aug 3, 1999

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

Enjoyable and zany. George Clooney does a pitch-perfect Clark Gable impersonation. I suppose it kick-started the blue grass interest…

In the Depression-era deep South, three escapees from a Mississippi prison chain gang: Everett Ulysses McGill, sweet and simple Delmar, and the (more…)
87% liked it

PG-13, 1 hr. 42 min.

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Released: Dec 22, 2000

DVD: Jun 12, 2001

Burn After Reading

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

The Coens take a break from the darker material of No Country and release this very funny and zany comedy. In typical Coens fashion, the characters are highly original and the plot is ridiculously screwy. Clooney as a sex-addict is particularly hilarious. Ultimately though, this is light-weight Coens and I much prefer their material with greater substance. It was enjoyable but somewhat forgettable.

A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to benefit from the discovery. A (more…)
64% liked it

R, 1 hr. 35 min.

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Box Office: $4.1M

Released: Aug 27, 2008

DVD: Dec 21, 2008

The Ladykillers

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011
Goldthwait Higginson Dorr III is a charlatan professor who has assembled a gang of experts for the heist of the century. The thieves are experts in (more…)
40% liked it

R, 1 hr. 44 min.

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Released: Mar 26, 2004

DVD: Sep 7, 2004

Intolerable Cruelty

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011
A revenge-seeking gold digger marries a womanizing Beverly Hills lawyer with the intention of making a killing in the divorce.
43% liked it

PG-13, 1 hr. 40 min.

Director: Joel Coen

Released: Oct 10, 2003

DVD: Feb 10, 2004

The Thin Red Line

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

A Zen masterpiece on war. Malik has returned with such profound perspective and insight. The viewer gets three movies in one. First, it’s a riveting story with elements of suspense and intense action revolving around “seizing a bunker.” Second, there’s such a collection of strong actors and characters that linger with you long after the film is over. The unconventional narration helps identify emotionally with each soldier. Third, Malick takes us on an odyssey for the ages that is both meditative, spiritual and aesthetically beautiful. From man to nature to animals, we are constantly reminded of beauty and horror co-existing. After my fifth viewing, the film still feels fresher that most everything else in recent memory. Ultimately, this is a strong contender for the greatest war film ever made.

One of the cinema’s great disappearing acts came to a close with the release of The Thin Red Line in late 1998. Terrence Malick, the cryptic recluse (more…)
75% liked it

R, 3 hr.

Director: Terrence Malick

Released: Dec 23, 1998

DVD: Nov 2, 1999

The New World

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

Malick does it again. Not just a beautiful love story, but a film about “how to live.” Poetic, emotionally devastating, visually sumptuous and exquisitely written.

This epic adventure is set amid the encounter of European and Native American cultures during the founding of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607. (more…)
51% liked it

PG-13, 2 hr. 29 min.

Director: Terrence Malick

Released: Jan 13, 2005

DVD: May 9, 2006

Days Of Heaven

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

Visually Malick’s greatest achievement. The screenplay is also one of the most underrated masterworks. True visual storytelling. I particularly love the way Malick focuses so much attention on animals and nature – a true Buddhist. In the end the film is about how we are all human – flaws and all. Devils and angels. Gorgeous cinema at its finest!

Richard Gere works in a Chicago steel mill at the turn of the century, but must flee the city after accidentally killing a man. Heading for the wheat (more…)
88% liked it

PG, 1 hr. 35 min.

Director: Terrence Malick

Released: Sep 13, 1978

DVD: Mar 30, 1999

Badlands

4 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

Poetic, bold, haunting and profound. It’s a combination of Bonnie and Clyde and Natural Born Killers but with far more elegance. Perfectly cast and impeccably written. And this was his first film! Malick excels in understatement.

Still one of American cinema’s most powerful, daring filmmaking debuts, Terrence Malick’s Badlands is a quirky, visionary psychological and social (more…)
63% want to see it

PG, 1 hr. 35 min.

Director: Terrence Malick

DVD: Apr 27, 1999

2001: A Space Odyssey

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 05 2011

The greatest motion picture ever made. A truly cinematic experience. The more you see it, the more you see in it. Kubrick transcended all other science fiction films. There is nothing else like 2001. It is the story of the evolution of mankind. Talk about ambitious!

Story follows the ascent of mankind into the near-future space age through minimalist performances and a strong visual style.
86% liked it

G, 2 hr. 19 min.

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Released: Jan 1, 1968

DVD: Aug 25, 1998