In last month’s New York Times story on the Coen brothers’ first film since True Grit, Joel Coen said that Inside Llewyn Davis–their movie about a folk singer in the ’60s (Oscar Isaaac, Drive)–shares something with the Broadway-cum-cinematic hit Les Misérables. Sure, there will be singing (No “I Dreamed a Dream,” though, fortunately), a love triangle and even a cretinous villain, but what does New York’s burgeoning folk-rock scene have in common with the French Student Rebellion?
After suffering through the fetid Relatively Speaking, my pain must have shown in the scowl on my face as I trudged toward the exit at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. “To get it, you have to be Jewish,” said a woman ahead of me. What nonsense. Since when do you have to be gay to see the truth in The Boys in the Band, or black to be moved by the universal humanity of Lorraine Hansberry or August Wilson? My date was Jewish, and she didn’t laugh either. Well, she later admitted over a badly needed post-theater nightcap, she did laugh at a couple of lines. O.K., two laughs in a 2½ hour evening of three alleged one-act “comedies” is not what I call much of a success, and Relatively Speaking is a vulgar, poker-faced failure of dire proportions. You don’t have to be Jewish to know bad writing, hysterical overacting and lame direction when you see it, even if the guilty perpetrators include Elaine May and Woody Allen, two of my heroes, actors such as Marlo Thomas and Steve Guttenberg, and director John Turturro, who should stick to acting. All of them have triumphed on previous occasions. This is not one of them.
Monday: From Dusk Till Dawn
Now that vampires have taken over the pop culture universe, it might be time to revisit the glorious insanity that is From Dusk Till Dawn. Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by his longtime friend Robert Rodriguez, the film splits nicely into two halves: the first deals with the Read More
How do we know fall is officially here? Because not only are the temperatures dropping—we needed to pull out shirts with long sleeves this week, people!—but the movies are finally getting good. Four potential gems hit theaters today, and as usual, there is something for everyone. As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide Read More
A Serious Man
Running time 105 minutes
Written and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring Michael Stuhlbarg
Growing up going to Hebrew school every day and synagogue every Saturday may not be a prerequisite to overcome the bleak confusion of A Serious Man, but my guess is that it sure would help. This is Read More
Michael Stuhlbarg is about to become A Serious Man for Joel and Ethan Coen. The brothers have penned a new movie and he’s going to be their star. Mr. Stuhlbarg has been a fixture on New York theater stages, receiving a Tony nomination for his role in The Pillowman and recently starring as Hamlet for Read More
The Coen brothers’ follow-up to No Country for Old Men is headed to the City of Water this summer, according to the Associated Press. Their film, the spy comedy Burn After Reading starring George Clooney, John Malkovich and Brad Pitt, will open this year’s Venice Film Festival on Aug. 27. Not ready to Read More
The Coen Brothers join Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron and Billy Wilder in the list of directors that have received three awards for a single film at the Oscars. Their brooding, bloody tale of violence No Country for Old Men won best picture, director and adapted screenplay. Javier Bardem also won a best supporting actor Read More
Ethan Coen’s playwriting debut, Almost an Evening, sold out before previews began on January at the Atlantic Theater Company. So if you missed now, here’s your second chance to cop tickets: The three short plays will transfer to an Off-Broadway run at The Bleecker Street Theatre starting March 20 and ending June 1. The limited Read More
It must be fun to play God. F. Murray Abraham, the 68-year-old actor, would know, as he plays “God Who Judges” in “Debate,” one of the triptych of short plays written by Ethan Coen at the Atlantic Theater Company’s staging of Almost an Evening. “It’s a treat,” Mr. Abraham told The Observer over the phone. Read More