Tag Archives: The Coen Brothers

Hillbilly Elegy: Logan Lucky, reviewed.

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Logan Lucky, Steven Soderbergh’s return to features after a four-year “retirement” in prestige TV, is a lot of fun, though I’m not as high on it as some. I have the same reservations about it that I do about the Coen Brothers films it most readily recalls. Anyway, here’s my review.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour No. 283: Hail, Caesar! and Backstage Stories

No Dames!

I’m very happy to be on the panel for this week’s Hail, Caesar!-inspired Pop Culture Happy Hour, my first with my Washington City Paper pal Bob Mondello. In it, Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon tells Bob he “beat [him] to the Hamlet punch,” which is a funny phrase, if you think about it.  Continue reading

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Why Any Viewing of the 148-Minute SPECTRE Now Takes at Least Three Hours

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I suppose if you haven’t seen SPECTRE (or at least Skyfall) and Hail, Caesar! (or at least one of its trailers) this won’t make much sense to you.

Friends, Coens, Countrymen: All Hail Hail, Caesar!

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No one in the world can possibly appreciate the way the narrator of the new Coen Brothers picture, Sir Michael Gambon — the man who once declined the role of James Bond because, quoth he, “I’ve got tits like a woman” — says “in westerly Malibu” as much as I do. But just about everyone seems to like the movie. I do, too. My NPR review is here.

Homeless, by Which I Mean Unpaid-for, Thoughts on Bridge of Spies

Billy Magnusson, Mark Rylance and Tom Hanks in

“Radical Decency” might be a fancy new name for the old-timey philosophy governing Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg’s earnest, burnished, thoroughly gripping account of a notable episode of Cold War diplomacy. Compressing events that unfolded between 1957 and 1962, the film is primarily about the relationship between Manhattan insurance lawyer James B. Donovan and Rudolf Abel, née Col. Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher, the Soviet spy he was court-appointed to represent.

Though reluctant to accept Abel’s case, Donovan defends his client with more zeal than anybody, including the judge, wants, on the grounds that it’s the only way to show the world that innocent-until-proven-guilty American justice is superior to its totalitarian Soviet counterpart. Though unable to persuade a jury of Abel’s innocence, Donovan convinces the judge to spare his life—leaving the U.S. with a bargaining chip when C.I.A. pilot Francis Gary Powers’ top-secret U-2 spyplane is shot down over Soviet territory and Powers is captured three years later. Appreciating that Donovan foresaw the need for a captive to trade, the C.I.A. dispatches him to freshly walled-off East Berlin to try to negotiate Powers’ release in exchange for Abel. Continue reading