Nobody Makes Cormac McCarthy Revise

Okay, so, wow: I don’t think any of us expected a Cormac McCarthy-penned, Ridley Scott-directed, Bardem-and-Fassbender-and-Pitt-and-Cruz-and-Diaz-starring film like The Counselor to be quite so stupid. I mean sure, Scott may not have directed an interesting movie since Hannibal, but what was going on with that script, Cormac? It was almost like he took one pass at the thing and washed his hands of the entire project. Did that grizzled old bastard novelist totally punk Hollywood on this one?

With a narrative so undercooked but also this pompous and prosey (which, to be fair, is how everything tends to sound in McCarthy books like Blood Meridian and Outer Dark, but those are stylized Gothic period pieces set centuries ago, not contemporary narco-violence thrillers), you might assume that the screenwriter here in fact put too much into the story, word-wise; didn’t let the characters breathe. And it’s true that the actors are often struggling to make these baroque lines sound at all plausible—to say nothing about the scene where Cameron Diaz has sex with a car. But I have a different theory.

You see, McCarthy wasn’t always an entity in the land of movies. Suddenly, however, the Coen brothers blew us away with an adaptation of No Country For Old Men, and people were sufficiently horrified by a film version of The Road—a post-apocalyptic novel, mind you, that McCarthy was inspired to write because of his own new very young son. Seeing that he had a chance to score another jackpot for his family before he died, he signed on to write The Counselor, then handed over a slim treatment sprinkled with a bunch of crummy dialogue he’d cut out of his superior fiction over the years.

“Brilliant!” said everyone at the studio. “We can’t wait to see the next draft.” To which McCarthy no doubt replied: “What next draft?” while flying away in a private jet made of money, back toward his desert ranch or wherever it is he holes up and ignores everyone not worth his time. Well, Cormac, I have to admit, I fell for your name, hook, line, and sinker; I paid a theater to see a movie that would’ve been better screened on an 18-hour flight cramped in coach or in a morphine haze on a hospital bed. I’m not even mad, really—I just aspire to one day give as few fucks as you do. Bravo.

 

What You Should Be Seeing at This Year’s New York Film Festival

With the forceful hand that took you captive and refused to let go, Paul Greengrass’s thrillingly tense Captain Phillips premiered on Friday, kicking off the 51st annual New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. And for the next two weeks, 2013’s film slate will continue to roll out some of the most acclaimed features of the year—from the best of international cinema to the features that have been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for months. Alongside their incredible line-up of new films— Spike Jonze’s Her and the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis to Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin and  Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father, Like Son—NYFF will also be hosting an expansive Jean-Luc Godard retrospective, a series of beloved revivals from the likes of Leos Carax and Apichatpong Weerasetakhul, HBO Directors Dialogues, an in-depth look at the best of avant-garde cinema, various gala tributes, and much more.

After celebrating the festival’s opening night with a wonderful party at the Harvard Club on Friday, the events are now in full, glorious swing—and you’re going to want to see as much as you can. From their vast array of features, we’ve whittled down what we’re most anticipating from this year’s showcase; so peruse our list, check out the full slate, get your tickets fast, and enjoy.

Her, Spike Jonze 

Spike Jonze’s magical, melancholy comedy of the near future, lonely Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his new all-purpose operating system (the voice of Scarlett Johansson), leading to romantic and existential complications. 

Abuse of Weakness, Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat’s haunting film about her 2004 stroke and subsequent self-destructive relationship with star swindler Christophe Rocancourt, starring Isabelle Huppert.

Manakamana, Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez 

The new film from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, shot inside a cable car that carries pilgrims and tourists to and from a mountaintop temple in Nepal, is both literally and figuratively transporting. *The Holy Motors of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab* 

Bastards, Claire Denis 

Claire Denis’s jagged, daringly fragmented and deeply unsettling film inspired by recent French sex ring scandals is the rarest of cinematic narratives—a contemporary film noir, perfect in substance as well as style.

Blue Is the Warmest Color, Abdellatif Kechiche 

The sensation of this year’s Cannes Film Festival is an intimate – and sexually explicit – epic of emotional transformation, featuring two astonishing performances from Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. 

Gloria, Sebastián Lelio 

A wise, funny, liberating movie from Chile, about a middle-aged woman who finds romance but whose new partner finds it painfully difficult to abandon his old habits. 

The Immigrant, James Gray 

In James Gray’s richly detailed period tragedy, set in a dusty, sepia-toned 1920s Manhattan, a young Polish immigrant (Marion Cotillard) is caught in a dangerous battle of wills with a shady burlesque manager (Joaquin Phoenix).

Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel & Ethan Coen

Directors Joel and Ethan Coen, composer T-Bone Burnett, and stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Adam Driver, Alex Karpovsky, John Goodman, and more in person on September 28! Joel and Ethan Coen’s picaresque, panoramic and wryly funny story of a talented and terminally miserable folk musician is set in the New York film scene of the early 60s and features a terrific array of larger-than-life characters and a glorious score of folk standards. 

Like Father, Like Son, Hirokazu Kore-eda Hirokazu

Kore-eda’s sensitive drama takes a close look at two families’ radically different approaches to the horribly painful realization that the sons they have raised as their own were switched at birth.  

Boy Meets Girl, Leos Carax 

Leos Carax’s debut feature, a lush black-and-white fable of last-ditch romance drawn from a cinephilic grab bag of influences and allusions, instantly situated the young director as a modern-day heir to the great French Romantics. 

The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh 

Filmmaker Rithy Panh’s brave new film revisits his memories of four years spent under the Khmer Rouge and the destruction of his family and his culture; without a single memento left behind, he creates his "missing images" with narration and painstakingly executed dioramas. 

Nebraska, Alexander Payne

This masterful film from Alexander Payne, about a quiet old man (Bruce Dern) whose mild-mannered son (Will Forte) agrees to drive him from Montana to Nebraska to claim a non-existent prize, shades from the comic to multiple hues of melancholy and regret.

12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen

Tim’s Vermeer, Teller 

A bouncy, entertaining, real-life detective story about one man’s obsessive quest to re-paint Vermeer’s "The Music Lesson" according to David Hockney’s controversial theories. 

Un film comme les autres, Jean-Luc Godard

Two 54-minute segments, with identical successions of images but different soundtracks. Students from Nanterre (where May 68 more or less began) sit on the grass (shot from the neck down) and discuss where the movement will go next; two Renault workers discuss their own ideas of a revolutionary future—their images are intercut with black and white footage of May 68, their words mingle with Godard’s own rhetoric. When the film was shown at the 1968 New York Film Festival, Godard told the projectionist to flip a coin and decided on the spot which 16mm reel to begin with. According to D.A. Pennebaker, the American distributor, the audience “began to tear up their seats.”

Mysterious Object at Noon, Apichatpong Weerasetakhul

A camera crew travels the length of Thailand asking villagers to invent episodes in an ever-expanding story in the first feature from Apichatpong Weerasethakul: part road movie, part folk storytelling exercise, part surrealist party game.

Chris Marker – Description of a Struggle 

Screening with Redemption (Miguel Gomes, Portugal/France/Germany/Italy, 2013, 26m)

Nobody’s Daughter, Haewon Hong Sang-soo 

A young student at loose ends after her mother moves to America tries to define herself one encounter and experience at a time, in reality and in dreams, in another deceptively simple chamber-piece from South Korean master Hong Sang-soo.

Norte, The End of History, Lav Diaz 

Filipino director Lav Diaz’ twelfth feature – at four-plus hours, one of his shortest – is a careful rethinking of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, whose tortured anti-hero is a haunting embodiment of the dead ends of ideology. 

Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch 

Jim Jarmusch’s wry, tender and moving take on the vampire genre features Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as a centuries-old couple who watch time go by from multiple continents as they reflect on the ever-changing world around them.

Stray Dogs, Tsai Ming-liang 

Tsai Ming-liang’s fable of a homeless family living the cruelest of existences on the ragged edges of the modern world is bracingly pure in its anger and its compassion, and as visually powerful as it is emotionally overwhelming. 

La Chinoise, Jean-luc Godard 

A brightly colored, politically sharp, and quite poignant film. "Godard is the only contemporary director with the ability to express through graceful cinema what young people are feeling at this time in world history," wrote Andrew Sarris. 

Program 32: Max Ophuls

Sans Lendemain Sans Lendemain (Max Ophuls, France, 1939-40, 82m)

Mauvais Sang, Leos Carax 

Leos Carax’s swoon-inducing portrait of love among thieves offers an ecstatic depiction of what it feels like to be young, restless and madly in love.

A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhangke

Jia Zhangke’s bloody, bitter new film builds a portrait of modern-day China in the midst of rapid and convulsive change through four overlapping stories of marginalized and oppressed citizens pushed to murderous rage. 

They Live By Night, Nicholas Ray 

Nick Ray’s feature debut, adapted from Edward Anderson’s 1935 novel Thieves Like Us, is at once innovative, visually electrifying, behaviorally nuanced, and soulfully romantic. 

Comment ça va, Jean-Luc Godard

A lovely, muted film-video hybrid work, in which a need to inquire about the nature of audio-visual communication and to understand it on a personal level is split between multiple characters. Screening with shorts. 

Program 33: Stan Brakhage

Anticipation of the Night (Stan Brakhage, USA, 1958, 40m)

Window Water Baby Moving (Stan Brakhage, USA, 1959, 12m)

The Dead (Stan Brakhage, USA, 1960, 11m)

The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki 

The great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s new film is based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the Zero fighter. An elliptical historical narrative, The Wind Rises is also a visionary cinematic poem about the fragility of humanity.

From John Waters to the Coen Brothers, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in New York

Sundays may be a "wan, stuff shadow of a robust Saturday" or a day of "forced leisure for folks who have no aptitude for leisure," according to Tom Robbins, but a weekend is still a weekend. The pleasure of a Friday night, the knowing the burdens of work week have a brief respite carry themselves into the following two days of leisure, and what better way to indulge in that leisure than heading to the cinema.

And this weekend, there are more than enough wonderful films showing around New York for you to disappear into. Whether it’s your favorite John Waters, the best of NYFF, or some of the most stunning new releases, there’s surely something to satisfy every cinematic appetite. I’ve founded up the best of what’s playing around the city, so peruse our list, and enjoy.  

 

IFC Center

Shepard & Dark
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Blue Caprice
Dark Touch
The Big Lebowski
Frances Ha
The Network
Slacker
Red River
Una Noche
Wild Style

Film Forum

After Tiller
Newlyweeds
Antoine and Antoinette
Speedy
Lost…Now Found

BAM

Female Trouble
Blue Jasmine
Enough Said
Charles Bradley: Soul of America 
Polyester 

Film Linc

Manakamana
A Touch of Sin
Alan Partridge
At Berkley
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wind Rises
Child of God
Le Week-end
Norte, the End of History
Platform Agnostic, Brand Specific
Particle Fever
The Cosmonaut
In the Dark Room

Nitehawk

Donnie Darko
In a World…
Revenge of the Cheerleaders
Don Jon
Salinger
Thanks for Sharing
Back to the Future
Metropolis

Landmark Sunshine

Thanks for Sharing
Haute Cuisine
Short Term 12
We Are What We Are
Brazil

MoMA

Ginger e Fred
The Job/The Sound of Trumpets
Titus
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
Todo Modo
Medea

There’s Not Going to Be A ‘Lebowski’ Sequel, And That’s Okay

It’s been a good week for the Coen Brothers. Although their new folk-revival-focused film Inside Llewyn Davis didn’t take the top prize at Cannes, it did win the Joel and Ethan Coen the Grand Prix, the festival’s runner-up (not their first time taking home silverware at the Cannes either). And with all the press they’re inevitably getting about this new film and the award, reporters, like one from the Toronto Star, are asking the question that’s on a lot of fans’ minds, “Will there ever be a Lebowski sequel?”

In short, the answer is no. There had long been rumors about a sequel to the Coens’ beloved stoner-caper The Big Lebowski, their biggest film, which has inspired bathrobe-wearing would-be Zen slackers around the world to come together, bowl and quaff White Russians at annual Lebowskifests. The rumored sequel would focus on an auxiliary character, John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana, the slimy rival bowler who delivers the iconic line, “Nobody fucks with the Jesus.” Turturro has been big on this idea of a sequel and even pitched it to the brothers, but they’re just not down with it right now.

“[Turturro] even has the story worked out, which he’s pitched to us a few times, but I can’t really remember it,” Ethan Coen told the Star. “No, I don’t see it in our future.” Joel Coen added that he “doesn’t like sequels.”

And you know what? That’s fine. In fact, it’s probably better this way. The Coens have gone on to do even better films, most notably Fargo and No Country For Old Men, and worked in a variety of styles and genres. The film’s star, Jeff Bridges, may be The Dude forever ad infinitum, but he’s also gone on to have some other acclaimed starting roles, including his turn as a grizzled singer in the widely praised Crazy Heart.

Lebowski is still a delight, a movie worth seeing over and over, a bit of cinematic comfort food for fans that know every line by heart. And like any good film, there’s something new to be discovered with every viewing. But it’s run its course. It’s in a good place in movie history. There’s a special place for it, but most of the people involved have gone on to bigger and better things. It just wouldn’t be the same. And honestly, could a character like the Jesus sustain a full-length film and keep it interesting? Results are a little hazy.

And as much as it would be fun to see Turturro (also the star of the Coens’ Cannes favorite Barton Fink, which many consider the brothers’ best work) work with the directors again, and rumors of a Barton Fink sequel have also made the rounds, it doesn’t have to be in the form of a Lebowski sequel, or a sequel at all. It would be really cool if they worked together again. Just… not as a Lebowski sequel.

And, if you don’t agree, that’s fine, because you know what? That’s just your opinion, man.  

Enjoy a New Red Band Trailer for the Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Film lovers everywhere perked up back in January upon getting a first look at the Coen brothers’ latest film Inside Llewyn Davis. Now set to premiere at Cannes in just a few short weeks, the film is based on the memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk, and stars Oscar Isaac titular character. The Coen brothers are known for their idiosyncratic films, rich with characters whose mix of dry humor and intelligence always guide the narrative along and exist in a very specific world of their own making. And with Llewyn Davis, we’re excited to say it looks like little has changed in that respect. 

The film reunites Isaac with Carey Mulligan (who we saw together in Drive) , as well as Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, and Garrett Hedlund rounding out the cast of characters in the story of a singer-songwriter making his way through the 1960s folk scene in New York City. And although we’ve already seen a trailer for the feature, today we get another look with a red band cut of the preview. It’s not a whole lot different from the original but you’ll want to check this out. 

The Stunning Covers of Midnight Maurader’s Criterion Collection Series

More than just possessing the best in international, avant-garde, rare, and classic cinema, the Criterion Collection provides us with an artifact. We get to enjoy a beautiful mastering of a film, bonus materials and critical analysis of the work, with the actual casing of the film a treasure in itself. The covers for Criterion films are a unique art, visually stunning, small-scale works of graphic design intended to entice and highlight the visual and thematic aspects of the film. And designer Midnight Marauder has used his own creative muscle to give us another look at Criterions films from his unique perspective—covers that could have been and those that may never be.

With a sharp vision that encapsulates the essence of the films, Midnight Marauder has a deep love for cinema, and calls his imagined Criterion Collection covers an "artistic exercise" that allows him to work through different aesthetics and have fun in the process. When I asked Midnight Marauder to describe what fuels his work, he replied, "I get my kicks from truly great filmmakers and their enduring legacy on us all—directors who curse at a studio head to get their final cut." We’ve put together some of our favorites from his series. Click through and enjoy.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

"Hands down one of my favorite films of all time. It’s so beautiful, so pure and so poetic."

The Conversation

"It’s as much a Walter Murch film as a Coppola film. The music is divine! 

Fight Club

"I was blown away the second I saw the trailer. What shocked me the most was not the blood and the fights; it was the idea of mental disorder and how you can reinvent yourself in the chaos of it all."

Wild at Heart

"I love the energy of the film, the music is magical, and Dafoe is grotesque."

Revolutionary Road

"Decaprio’s finest hour."

All the President’s Men

"I love journalism and the power of the press. They can bring down the most powerful of crooks."

Mean Streets

"The first student film from a big studio. I think it’s even more powerful today then when it first was projected in New York."

Planet Terror

"A pretty bold move from Robert Rodrigez and Quentin Tarantino. They took a massive gamble on the entire Grindhouse film. Planet Terror is a fun ride for all of us who grew up on cheap VHS Horror Films."

Network

"Sidney Lumet gave us a satirical look into television programming. The first five minutes of the film leave you speechless."

Rosemary’s Baby

"Roman Polanski at his most devilish, and he paid the ultimate price for making it."

Annie Hall

"The ultimate romantic experimental comedy. When I hear Diane Keaton singing at the end…I cry."

No Country for Old Men

"The Coens gave us a modern Western masterpiece. Those brothers can do no wrong."

Jackie Brown

"It’s Quentin Tarantino’s most complete film to date: an adaption of Elmore Leonard’s famed Rum Punch. The characters are whole and seem to sing Tarantino’s dialogue."

Drive

"It’s a modern-day Jean-Pierre Melville picture, with Gosling reminiscent of Alain Delon’s Samurai."

The Exorcist

"Friedkin in my opinion is the most misunderstood director of the ’70s."

Dressed to Kill

"Pure Brian De Palma. I wonder if he’s over his obsession with Hitchcock?"

The Long Goodbye

"I am convinced that the Coen brothers watched this while writing The Big Lebowski."

‘True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld on Her Screen Debut & the Coens’ Amazing Synchronicity

Here’s at BlackBook, we’ve been on a little bit of a Hailee Steinfeld kick. We included the 14-year-old actress in our 2011 New Regime, and last week, put her toe-to-toe with Elle Fanning to determine who gave the best tween performance of 2010 (apologies to Chloe Moretz). Steinfeld won, and since that victory, she’s continued to rack up accolades for her screen debut as the plucky Mattie Ross in the Coen brothers’ square-jawed Western, True Grit. Last week, the Screen Actors guild nominated her for Best Supporting Actress – despite the film centering on her character’s quest for revenge – and she also won the Chicago Film Critics award for Best Supporting Actress. At this point, an Oscar nomination seems more like a probability than a possibility. Here’s Steinfeld speaking about how she beat out 15,000 girls for the role and what it’s like working with the brothers Coen.

Are you getting used to all this new attention? I don’t know if I’m getting used to it. It’s still a first for me. I guess it’s something I have to get used to, but it’s definitely something I enjoy. This is such a huge journey for me, and it’s such an amazing time in my life, and every day is a new day and I have something to look forward to.

How has your life changed on a day-to-day basis? I’m much busier, but my life at home with my family, that hasn’t changed, and I don’t think it’s going to change. I think everything is practically perfect in every way, and I just want to keep it that way.

Why did you choose to be homeschooled instead of attending a typical school? It was actually half and half. Some of it had to do with the acting— the school was really not supportive of me leaving to shoot–and the other half was social issues. Now that I’m homeschooled, it’s been a lot easier, a lot more flexible.

What was the path like that led you to True Grit? Were you trying to land a part like this? Honestly, when it came along, it was just kind of that idea that whoever gets this, it’s like winning the lottery. It felt like that one-in-a million opportunity. I don’t think I really thought it through. You would think that from me doing a couple shorts and a couple of guest stars, I would work my way up to doing a movie like True Grit, but it really felt that I went from A to Z with this one.

What made you want to be an actress? Up until I was 8 years old, I had tried every type of dance and every kind of sport, but I didn’t stick with anything, I just kind of jumped from one thing to the next, and it was hard for my parents because they invested a lot of time and money. But I had an older cousin who at the time did some Barbie doll commercials, and that was absolutely all I was into. It was a huge inspiration for me.

Did you leave your final True Grit audition feeling confident? You know, I went in that room feeling like what I thought was Mattie Ross. I was dressed in character, I was prepared, and I think that was the first time that I didn’t doubt myself in the 5 or 6 years that I’ve been doing this. There was something about this project, something about having the connection right there with the guys, that didn’t make me doubt myself. I was really confident walking out, and I had that idea in the back of my mind that if it wasn’t this, I’d be seeing them soon anyway.

How familiar were you with the Coen brothers’ work before this? Of course I knew who the Coens were, but I hadn’t seen too many of their movies. Most of them are really bizarre. But the ones that I have seen are really incredible. And now after working with them for as long as I did, and seeing really what it’s like behind the camera and how things really go down, it’s more fun for me to watch Coen brothers films now. I know what to look for.

Has making a film like this changed the way you watch them? Yes, it’s hard. I’ll go to the movies with my friends and they’ll literally tell me, Hailee, don’t say anything, just let us watch the movie. I’ll be pointing out everything there is to know about everything. But I try my hardest not to pay attention to the little things. image

People still consider you a child actress, but you’re already a teenager, so you won’t be playing children for much longer. Are you prepared for that? Yeah, I am, actually. It’s not exactly a problem, but I have this thing where I’m very tall for my age, so I’ve kind of been pushed to go for the older roles. When I was 12, I did a pilot where I played a 15 year old. I have an older brother—this has nothing to do with it—but my brother used to play football, and I would cheer for his team, but he’s 3 years older than me, so I would always be with older girls. I think I’m a little bit more mature, well, so I’ve been told.

How did the Coens treat you compared to the other actors on set? They were very patient with me, and they were very open to working with any idea that I had, which was amazing. They never made me feel intimated, and always made me feel like I was part of the team. Honestly, I feel like they treated me exactly like they treated the other actors. Maybe they would give me a bit more… what’s the word?

Pointers. Exactly. But other than that, they were just—god, the way they work is so amazing/ The way they work together as brothers, and their connection as brothers is incredible.

Can you describe how they work together, and how it related to you? Joel did most of the directing, at least with me. I would go one-on-one with Joel if I ever needed help with anything. I love my brother to death, but I don’t think I could ever direct a film with him. Nothing would ever get done. They’re always on the same page, they always agree with each other. If one of them has an idea, the other one encourages it. You’ll ask a question and they’ll both answer the same exact thing.

What was the biggest learning curve for you on set? The entire thing. I know that’s not the answer you were looking for, but I see where exactly where I want to be. I have a vision now for my career, to have one like all of my costars have had.

What is it like working with those three guys? Those are three of the best actors working today and you got to work with all of them. From day one, they really made me feel like I was one of them. I feel like I learned more from their actions than I did from any of their words. And I feel like what I’ve learned will come out in my next performance. It’s hard when I get that question–what have you learned –because you just take it all in. If you were to spend 10 minutes with one of the guys, you would get it. They just leave such an impact on you. All of them have such an incredible presence.

I would imagine you’re getting a lot of scripts sent to you by people who haven’t even seen the film. Yeah, it’s crazy because I’ll go to these events and I’ll go to some general meetings, and these people are like, We heard you’re amazing. And it’s like, oh my god, you haven’t seen anything, I don’t want you to be disappointed or anything.

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Photography by Santiago Sierra.

Doug Liman the Latest to Consider Coens’ ‘Gambit’

Counter-intuitive though it may seem, it’s quite possible for a Coen Brothers script to float around Hollywood for a few years without gaining much traction. Their rewrite of the 1966 caper film, Gambit, to which they’re unattached as directors, has started and stalled multiple times, despite the variously rumored involvements of Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Ben Kingsley, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston. Now Deadline Hollywood is reporting that director Doug Liman, whose Valerie Plame drama Fair Game is scheduled to compete at Cannes, is looking to pick up the pieces. Yay?

The original Gambit was directed by Ronald Neame (The Poseidon Adventure), and starred Michael Caine as a cat burglar intent upon robbing a priceless statue from “the world’s richest man” (Herbert Lom). Unfortunately, his plan depends largely on the cooperation of a hapless showgirl (Shirley MacLaine), who just happens to look like Lom’s late wife, but nothing goes according to plan.

This sounds like it’s right in the Coen Brothers wheelhouse, but I’m less sure that it’s in Liman’s. For me, his reputation stands firmly on The Bourne Identity, which was some rock-solid thriller work that’s often and unfairly lumped in with Paul Greengrass’ lesser (and spatially incoherent) sequels. After that, I found Mr. & Mrs. Smith just passing fair for what it was, and had no kind words at all for Jumper. Perhaps Fair Game will restore my faith, but for the time being, I’m a little leery of anyone turning over a precious, precious Coen Brothers script to the man I blame for Samuel L. Jackson’s worst hairstyle ever.

New ‘Burn After Reading’ Trailer from the Brothers Coen

Now that the Coen Bros. have proved Fargo was no fluke, they’re out to do the same with their cult bro-pus, The Big Lebowski. That’s the kind of vibe we’re getting from the new trailer for Burn After Reading, their star-crammed CIA dark comedy. Brad Pitt and George Clooney in a movie that isn’’t Ocean’s Fourteen is promising enough, but tack on Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, and J.K Simmons, and you’ve got an early favorite for SAG’’s Ensemble of the Year award. And the trailer proves that Pitt, who already looks like a mimbo, was born to play one too.