A Serious Man

Fargo The Six Ungraspables

For an episode that rounds out the first half of a series, “The Six Ungraspables” is a surprisingly uneventful affair. I think it might be Fargo‘s worst, because as much as it moved the plot forward, it did so at a very slow pace and not in any way that added to the characters or their storylines. Or maybe I missed something. Maybe I didn’t grasp enough this time. Maybe I was too annoyed with the unnecessary opening sequence to appreciate much else in the hour that followed. One of my biggest issues with Fargo so far is its occasional hand holding. Another is its occasional lack of logic for the sake of convenience. This fifth episode was basically all about how Lester’s Macbethian hand injury fits into both of these criticisms. After last week’s opening, I got excited when it became apparent that this too was beginning with a flashback. And to a time without snow on the ground! Silly me even thought maybe there’d be a link to O Brother, Where Art Thou? this time because of the bluegrass music. Unfortunately, all this sequence did was show us how Lester (Martin Freeman) came to own a shotgun and illustrate as plainly as possible how that shotgun later caused the festering wound in his hand. Was there anyone who was watching and hadn’t understood what that injury was from or that there was still a pellet lodged in there, one that would easily lend itself as evidence that Lester was present during Chief […]

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Culture Warrior

It’s become common wisdom to say that the best remakes are those made of non-canonical, non-classic films; that is, it’s typically better to give a second go to a film that – while possibly venerated, is hardly deemed a work of perfection that can’t be improved upon – than to redo a classic. Such a rule isn’t set in stone, of course, but it can be argued through example via some of the most celebrated of remakes (like The Thing or, in a more modest and more recent example of improvement-on-imperfection, The Crazies), and are often a result of a genuine inspiration from the source material rather than a simple means of capitalizing from its name. With the Coen brothers’ quite popular and much celebrated remake of True Grit, however, the distinction of what kind of a remake it is isn’t exactly so clear, as what kind of movie the original is proves to be something of an enigma in of itself.

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Tonight, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hand out the 82nd Annual Oscars. And like any great movie site would, we will be updating our site live along with the ceremony. We will also be live-blogging the event, with much of the FSR staff providing up-to-the-minute commentary on the winners, the speeches, and everything in between. Come join!

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Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Read as we break down the films nominated for Best Picture and what their chances are of taking home the prize. We’re pretty sure it won’t be Crash.

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It’s Academy Awards time again, and even though we all know the awards are basically an irrelevant exercise in mutual masturbation it’s still fun to watch. This year sees a wide variety of films gain entry into Oscar history via nominations for Best Screenplay, Original and Adapted. Some deserve the honor, while others are based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire.

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As illustrated by this scene in the Coens’ latest Best Picture nominee A Serious Man, certainty – as stated in so many words by Sy Abelman – is subtle, clever, but ultimately unconvincing in an overwhelmingly uncertain world. The uncertainty principle, as articulated in this film, is evidence that even in the realm of mathematics – that discipline where logic, evidence, and patterns of order reign supreme – contains its degrees of the unknown, the indefinite, even the ambiguous.

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves eating tofu and protecting exiled Chinese revolutionaries from assassination. This week he visits with bodyguards, assassins, Jews, a notorious British convict, an unbelievably popular JAG-off, a time-traveling librarian, one very unbalanced stepfather, and more.

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We are back on schedule this week with yet another awesome round of This Week in Blu-ray. Did you miss having it show up on Tuesday morning? Of course you did. This week looks like a great week to catch up on a few winners that didn’t get very wide releases (Bronson, A Serious Man), as well as a great week to avoid absolute shit like The Stepfather and Couples Retreat.

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It is quite early in the morning, even here in the Central Time Zone. But so many of us in the movie world were up early, watching as Anne Hathaway unveiled the nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards, which will take place 33 days from now.

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Put simply, it’s going to be a populist kind of year. Once again, the likes of Avatar and Star Trek, along with The Hangover, are hanging around during awards season.

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In the last month of the past decade, we put our readership through the ringer. We unleashed list after list of our favorites of the decade and the year. And if you can suffer through one more round of awesomeness, it will all be over. For now.

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Perhaps one of the greatest honors, yet most difficult tasks of my year is the creation of my annual top ten list. As this site’s editor in chief (or whatever title suits me this week), I get to kick-off our Year in Review every year with my picks for best of the year.

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Earlier this week, the Gotham Awards kicked off award season, with the nominations for the Indie Spirit awards following shortly after. And today, we have our next round of honors and for the most part, the first major awards to be handed out.

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With Awards Season now in full swing, it is time for studios to spend the money to get their movies into the hands of voters across Hollywood and the world. Up first, its time for some ‘For Your Consideration’ posters…

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil meet up in the Magical Studio in the Sky to have a Fat Guy Smackdown to beat all Fat Guy Smackdowns. While they don’t come to odds so much with A Serious Man, they certainly disagree about Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

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Don’t worry, Landon is done arguing his case for Lars von Trier’s new film, but he has a bone to pick with critics who feel entitled to spoil it simply because they don’t like a movie.

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Do you remember the movie Stranger Than Fiction? There’s a scene where Dustin Hoffman explains to Will Ferrell the difference between comedy and tragedy and has him tally up events that would fit into either genre. The Coen Brother’s new film, A Serious Man, seems to live this debate as I can’t really tell if it’s a dark comedy depicting tragic events or a tragedy with comedic characters.

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On a very special episode of Reject Radio, mistake guest host Landon Palmer for Bill O’Reilly, get pissed at movie marketing, and Neil has one more margarita than is advisable.

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The Coen Brothers forthcoming film, A Serious Man, just got a trailer that you need to watch. Yes, it is as odd as you’d expect it to be. But at least the frustration is set to a crunchy beat.

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