Thursday, December 6, 2012


Written & Directed By: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen Cinematography By: Roger Deakins Editor: Joel Coen & Etahn Coen (As Roderick Jaynes) Cast: Tom Hanks, Irma P. Hall, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, Tzi Ma, Ryan Hurst, Diane Delano, Jason Weaver, Stephen Root, Greg Grunberg A remake of the 1955 comedy, the story revolves around a Southern professor who puts together a group of thieves to rob a casino. They rent a room in an old woman's house, but soon she discovers the plot and they must kill her, a task that is more difficult than it seems. This is the first Coen brothers film where Joel Coen and Ethan Coen are both given directing and producing credits. They have shared these duties on all of their films, but Joel has always been listed as the director, and Ethan as producer. A goofy cartoon of a movie that seems like the actors all came to try and do ridiculous characters and accents but soon the fun and crazyness becomes infective and you find yourself transfixed joining in on the fun. The film has a certain dark humor that is also goofy and dead pan Though Tom Hanks is top billed and certainly makes a impression. As it is the first time it seems to be him having fun with a role in a long time. Since it is rare he gets not only a challenge playing a part, but such a off the wall character seems to be liberating for him, but the true star of the film is Irma P. Hall. I can see why the Coen Brothers choose to remake this. It’s certainly a Hollywood film for them with a big star, but they also subvert the film to their type of humor and have the film be inhabited by the type of characters who are common in their type of films. It was made during what I like to call their Hollywood years. After the success of O, BROTHER WHERE ART THOU they seemed to be making fluff with big stars which may have been a strategic plan. So in the future if they wanted to make more personal films they could get better budgets or at least enough financing based on their record of hopefully hit studio films. At least this film lets them further explore southern culture and satirize it with a bit of nostalgic heart. Like their hit O, BROTHER WHERE ART THOU the film reminds the audience how successful that film was and explores similar territory not as philosophical or deep. There is enough room for the stylistic choices. If there is one thing that is right above this film it’s the rich atmosphere and warm colors that fill the screen. Like a southern gothic tapestry. You could almost taste the scenes. Memorable characters that you have to see go. Each could have been a start of there own movie or adventure. As always with the Coens the film has a great soundtrack, Full of southern charm with gospel hits, Bluegrass and hip hop. Prior to filming, Tom Hanks had not seen The Ladykillers as he did not want it to prejudice the way he acted in the remake. I almost like to think of the Hollywood movies they make as experimental at least for them. With an original idea but in the mode of old Hollywood classic films. The filmmakers are at home with the wild and wacky. Where as with studio films they have the technicality down pat but when it comes to the more mundane slightly less outrageous aspects to story and character they can do it easily but you can see it makes them uneasy. It shows they are trying to do something completely foreign to them thus experimental GRADE: C+

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