Archive for the ‘Joel & Ethan Coen’ Category

61st BAFTA Awards

THE  61st BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 10th February 2008 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

atonement

Best Film: Atonement

no_country_for_old_men

Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen – No Country for Old Men

there_will_be_blood_ver2

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis – There will be Blood

la vie_en_rose

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard – La Vie en Rose

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men

michael_clayton

Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

this_is_england

Best British Film: This is England directed by Shane Meadows

juno_ver3

Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody – Juno

diving_bell_and_the_butterfly

Best Adapted Screenplay: Ronald Harwood – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Costume Design: La Vie en Rose

lives_of_others

Best Foreign Language Film: The Lives of Others (Germany) directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Source: 61st BAFTA Awards

 

80th Academy Awards

80th Academy Awards

24th February 2008

Oscar Winners at the 80th Academy Awards

no_country_for_old_men

Best Picture: No Country for Old Men

Best Director: Joel & Ethan Coen –No Country for Old Men

there_will_be_blood_ver2

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis – There will be Blood

la vie_en_rose

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard – La Vie en Rose

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men

michael_clayton

Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

juno_ver3

Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody – Juno

Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen – No Country for Old Men

counterfeiters

Best Foreign Language Film: The Counterfeiters directed by Stefan Ruzowitsky (Austria)

Best Documentary Feature: Taxi to the Dark Side directed by Alex Gibney and Eva Orner

atonement

Best Original Score: Dario Marianelli – Atonement

Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit – There will be Blood

elizabeth_the_golden_age

Best Costume Design: Alexandra Byrne – Elizabeth: The Golden Age

bourne_ultimatum_ver2

Best Film Editing: Christopher Rouse – The Bourne Ultimatum

golden_compass_ver2

Best Visual Effects: The Golden Compass

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80th_Academy_Awards

Revenge is a Snake Pit

True Grit

true_grit_ver7

Joel and Ethan’s Coen rendition of True Grit is a classic Western with the cowboys unshaven, filled with whiskey swigging gun-slinging characters who all appeared to have been beaten by the harsh environment of Arkansas in the 1870s frontier towns.

True Grit is a revenge tale with pitfalls both figurative and literal and as the old Chinese saying goes, when seeking revenge, it’s always best to dig two graves. At the centre of this Western, is Mattee Ross a determined 14 year old girl who is beset on avenging the death of her father.

Hailee Steinfeld delivers a superb performance, rightfully getting an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Ross hires Rooster Cogburn, an unsavory US Marshal who drinks too much whiskey and is not very fond of personal hygiene. Cogburn in his rough and scraggly demeanor is brilliantly portrayed by Jeff Bridges. A third character who makes up the unlikely trio of adventurers is La Boeuf, a dandified Texas Ranger, played with panache and egotism by Matt Damon, who quite frankly looks like a fellow who takes pride in his appearance.
This darkly comic journey reminiscent of the Coen brothers earlier film Oh Brother Where Art Thou? is more richly textured with symbolism and myth, complimented by beautiful cinematography by Roger Deakins. With the occasional spats of violence which as always in Coen Brothers films are swift, untimely and always shocking are tapered down in comparison to their Oscar winning masterpiece No Country for Old Men, which was drenched in the suspense of inevitable violence and pervading menace.

A Gritty Game of Rancher and Outlaw

As Westerns goes, this is not 3:10 to Yuma, James Mangold 2007 action packed gun tottering film featuring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as the cattle rancher and captured outlaw, but True Grit is closer to a period piece, shot in sepia colours complimented with stark black costumes and musing more on the legends of the Old West as opposed to the violence that characterized the era.

True Grit is more a homage to the film genre, a respectful and beautifully directed representation of a mythical error of the Wild Frontier, where the only real law of the land was each individual’s right to seek revenge where injustice had occurred, whatever the consequences. Nominated for 10 Oscars, unfortunately True Grit was beaten at the Academy Awards by the more technically brilliant film, Inception and the popular David Fincher film, The Social Network. In the acting stakes, Hailee Steinfeld is definitely a rising star, since receiving an Oscar nomination at age 15, a testament to her talent. Of all the Oscars True Grit should have won, it should have been for cinematography which was flawless.

Besides the accolades not heaped on the latest Coen Brothers film by this past Awards season, True Grit is nevertheless a terrific film about revenge, mortality and the myth of the Wild West. Watch out for a great cameo by Barry Pepper, all disheveled and wearing sheepskin chaps as the outlaw leader Lucky Ned Pepper.

Texas is No Place for Survivors

No Country for Old Men

It is a difficult nut to crack. No Country for Old Men initially purely for its shock value, then for Joel and Ethan Coen’s take on morality in border town Texas. Even the second viewing was hard to contemplate. From its relentless scenery to its unrelentless take on the Mexican-Texan drug trade, the Coen brothers never compromise of their  vision of an America without any heroes and essentially its Superb!

Rich in imagery and dark in imagination coupled by great performances from the cast from Javier Bardem to Josh Brolin and Kelly McDonald. The Coen brothers seminal work is a masterpiece in psychological immorality and genuine disconnectedness of the main characters. From Tommy Lee Jones’s cynical police chief to the cold blooded ruthlessness of Javier Bardems psychopathic killer Anton Chiqua the film betrays a sense of ruthlessness and immorality little before seen on the big screen. Panoramic visions of Texas and neighboring Mexico make little t0 assuage the view. To make the viewer feel better.

Not for the faint-hearted

Even in the second viewing the Coen brothers disturbing point of view is fascinating and simultaneously appalling for those who watch it, but in a true Cinematic tradition, their film is both a masterpiece and a harrowing account of the cost of greed and revenge. Its a tough showdown but ultimately rewarding tale of disillusionment, disgrace and courage faltered in a land ravaged by death and destruction.

Javier Bardem’s performance is intimate and contained, rich in evil and retribution, filled with that abysmal sinister quality of a man which clearly operates outside the law. He is a non-conformist, who is bound by his own sense of justice and revenge. A sense not grounded in reality but pure evil, unadulterated.

Josh Brolin is equally brilliant as a man who makes a conscious decision not to redeem himself in any way possible and accept the consequences however grotesque for  a man who crosses a moral boundary with no way of turning back.

Tommy Lee Jones mirrors the path of the psychopathic killer, from drinking the same milk to staring at the same emptiness of a TV screen not quite tuned into the world. A cynical sheriff, a man who has becomes speculative, a watch on all the macabre episodes, not realizing the gravity of the events, but only its significant consequences…

Utlimately, there is no sense of redemption in a film like No Country for Old Men, no cathartic assurances, just a deep valued sense of tragedy which its dark vision never compromises on, leaving the viewer wasted, but realizing that they have watched a film exceptionally profound. No Country for Old Men won four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay from the novel by Cormac McCarthy and of course Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem’s spine chilling portrayal of a hitman.

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