No Country for Old Men

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There’s a moment about halfway through Denis Villeneuve’s sprawling, occasionally brilliant yet sharply uneven film Prisoners that finds Jake Gyllenhaal’s Detective Loki do something that we’ve seen so many detectives do in movies before: in a bout of frustration, he swipes his arms across his cubicle desk, violently sending his evidence and other materials into a labyrinthine clutter. But this fit of anger ends up leading to a serendipitous discovery – the chaotic new arrangement of papers on the floor reveals for the detective a clue that had been hiding under his nose in plain sight the whole time. This is moment is, in short, a cliché. Yet on the other side of cinematographer Roger Deakins’s lens, the moment takes on a plentiful, foreboding, and eerie quality. The muted tones, carefully composed yet slightly agape mise en scène, and rich depth of field collectively transform a moment we’ve seen so many times before into something considerably more. Through brilliant lensing, a cliché is elevated into the possibility that something, anything can happen in the detailed and uncertain world of this film.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly entertainment news column that keeps it brief, kicks it into high gear without mercy and delivers all the news that you may or may not have seen elsewhere, depending upon how hard you’ve been looking. We begin this evening with Zombie Spock. No, there’s not much of a good reason for it. It was found via /Film and can be purchased on a t-shirt, which you can then wear around and show off to your friends. Don’t ever say that we don’t provide valuable public service announcements.

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Alec Baldwin: Coffee is for Closers

Monologues are to actors what analogies are to bullshit writers who have no idea how to start their list article about monologues. What I mean is that every actor should have a really good understanding on how to perform a monologue – at least I assume so considering that they are the most common tools for auditioning for a part. To someone like myself, who couldn’t act even if Hitler’s death depended on it, I really have no idea what goes into a monologue – however I do know what comes out of a good one. So when I judge the talent of these I’m really just judging how effective they seemed to be, not necessarily the amount of artistic effort that was put into it. Simply put, these are some terrific monologues.

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Sound Works Collection has done a panel interview with the sound team of True Grit that is an interesting listen for a couple of reasons. They’ve gathered together longtime Coen collaborators Skip Lievsay, who is the Sound Re-recording Mixer and Supervising Sound Editor, Greg Orloff, who is also a Sound Re-recording Mixer, and Byron Wilson, who is a Dialogue/ADR Editor. Much of the interview centers on their work on True Grit, complete with clips of key scenes and their analysis of what they did and why to create the sound of the film. They go into not just the technical aspect of how they got the job done, but also explore the themes of the film and why they made the choices that they did in order to support the storytelling as a whole. It’s an interesting listen in that respect for audiophiles and prospective filmmakers.

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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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Let me set the scene for you. Majestic Australia. True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten. Modern Western. Revenge. If you’ve become slightly aroused or entirely interested in Red Hill, no one’s blaming you. In fact, I’m right there with you, which is why I slipped myself into a screening of writer/director Patrick Hughes’ debut feature as soon as possible. In Red Hill, Ryan Kwanten stars as Shane Cooper, a young police constable who moves to the small town of Red Hill, Australia, with his wife, looking for peace and quiet. What he finds is a surly police Captain in “Old Bill,” a no non-sense law enforcer and town patriarch who doesn’t take a shine to the fresh faced Cooper. After a slow moving morning that involves horses and a potential panther attack, the sleepy town wakes up in a panic when former resident bad boy and convicted murderer Jimmy Conway escapes prison and sets his sights on vengeance.

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With movie websites getting clogged with stories and reviews about movies that will never reach the public, are film festivals more ado about nothing than we’d like to admit?

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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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Link Jones has turned from a life of outlawing and is trying to take the straight and narrow path in a small town. That doesn’t last long.

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This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has changed the way members will vote on the Best Picture. Here’s a dirty explanation of how it works that will either clear it all up or make it far, far more confusing for you.

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With this weekend’s release of Angels & Demons, Culture Warrior looks at what types of books make good movies and why.

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culturewarrior-80sonfilm

This week, Landon asks why some recent movies have treated the Reagan era so damn seriously.

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

Brian Gibson loves to buy DVDs. Come with him on his weekly journey into the depths of credit card debt as he tells you what to buy, rent and avoid.

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Officially Cool

Why not take two of 2007’s best films and infuse them together to make one great super-badass trailer?

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If there is one thing we can’t seem to stay away from here at FSR, it is a good discussion about what is the best or the worst movie in any particular category…

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George Clooney and Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading.

Archibald Cox is fired from the CIA because he has a drinking problem. Here’s your chance to sympathize with him while watching the movie.

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Movie Style Guy: Sukiyaki Western Django

Everyone wants to play cowboy. By following this simple guideline, you too can be a maverick with bad ass style.

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No Country for Old Men

I finally see now the masterpiece so many others have heralded the movie as, it just took a couple of extra viewings for me to open my eyes.

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No Country for Old Men

This year’s Oscar Best Picture winner finally shows up on DVD, friend-o.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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