- 1. No Country For Old Men (2007)
- 2. The Big Lebowski (1998)
- 3. Blood Simple (1984)
- 4. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
- No Country for Old Men (2007)
- Fargo (1996) Coen Brothers films focus on dialogue What Fargo includes that many other Coen films don't is hope.
- A Serious Man (2009) A Serious Man • Trailer Where did A Serious Man come from? It made almost no splash amongst...
- The Big Lebowski (1998) Dialogue in Coen...
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- Fargo (1996) Fargo is elemental. There's good, there's evil, and then there's the Earth, dusted white, dying to be splattered with blood. Like all great Coen brothers movies, the "snow-oir" kicks off with an idiotic decision: Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) hires two hitmen, Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare), to kidnap his wife.
- Raising Arizona (1987) "That night I had a dream..." In its closing moments, Raising Arizona takes on a deeply philosophical bent: what if we have alternate selves who live different lives?
- Miller's Crossing (1990) The images linger: the forest, the leaves, the hat, the tommy gun, the robe, the pencil-thin mustache, the hands raised in defense.
- No Country for Old Men (2007) Like a blast from Anton Chigurh's cattle gun, No Country for Old Men came out of nowhere. In 2007, following a four-picture run of lesser works that ended with semi-clunkers Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers, it seemed like the Coens had lost a step, sinking into an era of gentle self-parody.
- Fargo. No film better signifies the power and prevailing uniqueness of the Coenesque as thoroughly as Fargo. Roger Ebert famously said that Fargo was "one of the best films" he'd ever seen as well as a reminder as to why he loved film in the first place.
- No Country for Old Men. The work of Cormac McCarthy is notoriously difficult to adapt, but the Coens made it seem almost pathetically easy with No Country For Old Men.
- Barton Fink. The Coen brothers utterly dominated the 1991 Cannes Film Festival with Barton Fink. The movie no only won the top prize, the Palme d'Or, but swept the major awards for Best Actor and Best Director, something that almost never happens and is actively discouraged by the festival.
- A Serious Man. Following the big stars and box office prowess of Burn After Reading, 2009's A Serious Man felt like the Coens were taking a break to make a movie for themselves and nobody else.
- Fargo (1996) In 1996, the Coen Brothers created the movie Fargo, their first movie to see widespread success at the Oscars. Frances McDormand starred as Marge Gunderson, a pregnant Minnesota police chief who is investigating a series of roadside murders.
- No Country For Old Men (2007) In 2007, the Coen Brothers reached their highest level of success with the movie No Country for Old Men. This was a crime film based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy that eschewed most of the brothers’ comic sensibilities and played out as a grimly dark western crime thriller.
- The Big Lebowski (1998) The most popular Coen Brothers movie is easily The Big Lebowski. Jeff Bridges plays Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a slacker who wants to do nothing but go bowling and drink White Russians.
- Barton Fink (1991) Barton Fink remains one of the Coen Brothers’ most brilliant films. John Turturro stars in the movie as Barton Fink, a playwright who is trying to catch a break.
Feb 05, 2016 · A weak Coen Brothers film is still probably better and may well endure longer than half the movies that will be winning Oscars in a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, here they are: The Coen Brothers ...
- FARGO (1996) Written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Harve Presnell, John Carroll Lynch.
- NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007) Screenplay by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garrett Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Barry Corbin, Stephen Root, Rodger Boyce, Beth Grant.
- THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998) Written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, John Turturro, Tara Reid, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara, David Thewlis, Peter Stormare.
- BLOOD SIMPLE (1984) Written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Starring John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, Samm-Art Williams, M. Emmet Walsh. The Coens made their feature debut with this twisting, violent, darkly comic thriller.
- The Ladykillers
- Intolerable Cruelty
- Hail, Caesar!
- True Grit
- The Hudsucker Proxy
- The Man Who Wasn’T There
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
- Burn After Reading
- Raising Arizona
- Inside Llewyn Davis
- Blood Simple
- Barton Fink
- No Country For Old Men
- Miller’s Crossing
- The Big Lebowski
- A Serious Man
I still don’t know what happened here. Tom Hanks, who was practically born to deliver the Coens’ wry, furiously odd dialogue, plays career crook Professor G.H. Dorr like Yosemite Sam gone to grad school. This remake of a 50-year-old British Alexander Mackendrick comedy has clever notes but no center. It’s one of the only—maybe the only—Coens films with no subtext. (It’s also one of the rare films from the brothers with significant parts for black actors.) Tonally, this just isn’t their milieu...
There isn’t much I remember from this, one of the Coens’ few contemporary-set stories, about a wily divorce lawyer (George Clooney) and the woman who’s one step ahead of his every move (Catherine Zeta-Jones). But that “Objection!” T-shirt, worn by Paul Adelstein’s Wrigley, is one of the funniest sight gags the brothers have ever put on screen. It’s a fitting metaphor for the whole enterprise, which feels obsessed with rat-a-tat rom-coms of the ’40s and ’50s, including Born Yesterday and the a...
Funny movie. It’s aging well—one part period-piece satire, one part inside baseball, with a dash of Russian conspiracy. Were this, say, a Ron Howard movie, it would be harkened as a thrilling reinvention, a masterful ode to old Hollywood with a fondness for Busby Berkeley musicals. For the Coens it was just fine. This is the burden of success—reinvention and homage is no longer enough.The MVP: Ralph FiennesThe Key Text: Gold Diggers of 1933
It’s notable that the Coens’ two remakes are among their least inspired works. Not that True Grit is unsuccessful—on the contrary, it stands as their biggest box office hit by a wide margin and earned 10 Oscar nominations. However, it won none, a rarity for a film with that many nods. And maybe that explains something about True Grit—it rights the wrongs of Henry Hathaway’s original, more faithfully adhering to Charles Portis’s revisionist Western, elegantly capturing the author’s crooked ton...
Can a movie be an exceptional achievement and a failure at the same time? This somewhat troubled, rewritten, achingly zany screwball comedy has some of the Coens’ highest highs (like this bravura sequence) and also has pacing problems you almost never encounter in a Coens movie. It’s cowritten with the filmmaker Sam Raimi, who gave Joel his start working as an assistant editor on The Evil Dead, but is also notably the last time they shared a writing credit on a movie they’d directed. (It was...
A Bogart movie for Nietzsche freaks. This sumptuously photographed black-and-white potboiler slowly roils until it evaporates into a faint mist of delusion and regret. It’s probably the least rewatched great Coens film, and deserves more attention. The MVP: Tony ShalhoubThe Key Text: In a Lonely Place
Overwhelmed at the time of its release by its blockbuster soundtrack—remember when 8 million people paid money to listen to Depression-era bluegrass?—this is perhaps the most obvious of the Coens stories. Which is to say, it’s based on Homer’s greatest Greek epic and Preston Sturges movies. Closest in tone to Raising Arizona, O Brother has lost some of its resonant iconography over time. (Though George Clooney’s wide-grinned mug still haunts my dreams.) Twenty years on, it feels like a vibe m...
An odd duck, with purpose—these six individuated short stories comprise the Coens’ first project for Netflix and they’ve used the streaming giant’s willingness to spend on great filmmakers’ passion projects to intriguing effect. Though the concept of death unites all of the stories—and most of the Coen brothers’ work, frankly—each is a stand-alone in its own right. My favorite is a nearly wordless, man-alone fable about greed and survival featuring a dirtied, white-bearded Tom Waits. This is...
This movie has more to say about Russia, Trump, international conspiracy, local buffoonery, self-importance, and doxxing culture than anything you’ve read in The New York Times this week. It’s also funny.The MVP: Brad PittThe Key Text: The Parallax View
Here’s Roger Ebert on Raising Arizona in 1987: Whoops!The MVP: Holly HunterThe Key Text: The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
A winning film about losing. The authors of history aren’t just victorious, they’re tireless. They never stop winning, or telling about the wins. But life is filled with Llewyn Davis-es, too—self-sabotaging talents and self-regarding assholes who look for ways not to succeed for fear that it might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Or maybe just worried that they’ll have to hang out with winners. This is a hugely perceptive movie about the journeys that come with a life searching for artistic...
As first efforts go, this one will make you rethink that screenplay you’ve been noodling with. Their work with Raimi gave the Coens (and their cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld) a sense of how to balance the ghoulishly violent with the darkly comic. But rather than the undead unleashed from hell, this story finds our monsters in the heart of Texas. It might be the best noir of the 1980s, barring Body Heat. And it set a template for the future: good guys can be killed, bad guys are even worse...
Barton Fink is a persuasive allegory about the rise of fascism, a compelling mock-vision of the Hollywood travails of playwright Clifford Odets, and a terrifying exploration into “the life of the mind.” But it’s also a chilling movie about what happens when you move to Los Angeles. You are alone, more isolated than you’ve ever been. When you meet a hero, they inevitably turn out to be a genius, although a completely self-destructive genius. When you make a friend, they want to eat your time,...
It’s a Western and a bag-of-money movie. But it’s also the best monster movie of the century, and as close to pure horror as the Coens are likely to get. Though there are routinely cataclysmic spiritual themes embedded in their movies, even the comedies, there’s something fascinating about how grounded they chose to make Cormac McCarthy’s most accessible novel. What could have been a movie about Satan—in the form of the bolt stunner–wielding Anton Chigurh— often feels more like Frankenstein o...
Every community deserves a Marge Gunderson—smart, sensible, decent, and in charge. In other words, a hero. There aren’t many heroes in the Coens’ filmography. And this one isn’t wearing a cape or cowl. Fargo, like Blood Simple before it, is unvarnished—it is shot in unflashy movements, observant of details, marking patterns of speech and disquiet in rooms. But Marge, played by Joel’s wife Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning turn, is what catapulted the Coen brothers out of the respected cat...
Call me tomorrow, this might be no. 1 then. Rival gangs, love triangles, shoot-outs, convoluted lingo, dames, goons, sharps, bosses, and the big blank sitting at the center of it all. This is a dense, circuitous film, with dead ends and false fronts all around. It isn’t hard to understand, per se—just difficult to fully absorb in one sitting. It demands multiple viewings, over many years. I’ve always seen Miller’s Crossing as a movie about figurative fathers and sons—Leo and Tom, Caspar and t...
The best damn movie of the 1990s. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man. The MVP: John GoodmanThe Key Text: The Long Goodbye
I like to rewatch the Coen brothers’ films late at night, so when I inevitably ask myself, What am I doing with my life? at their conclusion, I know I’m probably not the only person in the world asking that question. That is never more true than when I watch A Serious Man, the most hilarious apocalyptic prophecy or the scariest comedy ever made. It’s a little hard to know which one the Coens are angling after, if it isn’t both at the same time. A Serious Man has always been regarded as the Co...
- Sean Fennessey
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