O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000): An Underrated Gem

O Brother Where Art Thou 2000 Movie Poster
 

 

Director:

 

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

 

Trailer:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

In the Deep South during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

 

Review:

 

Having given the world such classics as Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), No Country For Old Men (2007), True Grit (2010), and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen managed to firmly solidify their place in cinema history as one of its most notable and creative directing masters. However, as with many other notable directors, a few of their masterpieces seem to have gone by the way side, forgotten by most film lovers. One such film is their magnificent 2000 motion picture, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The movie is a signature Coen brothers production as it features the perfect fusion of comedy and drama, driven by an energetic script that makes every spoken word exciting. This effortless and mesmerizing piece of cinema is given further power by a trio of outstanding performances provided by George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson. Clooney (Everett McGill) gives what is perhaps his finest comedic act in his eclectic career. While Turturro, a mainstay figure in multiple Coen films, continues to prove that he is a fine character actor as he seamlessly inhabits the role of Pete Hogwallop, providing the film with most of its funny and heartfelt scenes. The acting trifecta is completed by Tim Blake Nelson (Delmar O'Donnell) who shows how to depict a mentally-challenged man in a caring, respectful, and loving manner that draws audiences closer to him, not away. There is also the music in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which is composed by the superb T Bone Burnett (Inside Llewyn Davis), another frequent Coen brothers collaborator, that breathes life into every scene. That is all without forgetting the film's gorgeous cinematography, taken by the legend Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, Skyfall), that captures the imagination of viewers, easily suspending their belief.

But, it is ultimately Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's distinctive ability to merge all of these elements together that results in a fascinating and unforgettable cinematic adventure that elevates O Brother, Where Art Thou? to greatness, making it a criminally-underrated gem of a film that begs to be visited by everyone.

 

Outstanding Performances:

 

  • George Clooney (as Everett McGill)
  • John Turturro (as Pete Hogwallop)
  • Tim Blake Nelson (as Delmar O'Donnell)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 46 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Crime

 

Stills:

 

O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 1
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 2
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 3
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Roger Deakins
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 4
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Scene 2
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 5
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Scene 3

 

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In Bruges (2008): An Underrated Gem

In Bruges Movie Poster
 

 

Director:

 

Martin McDonagh

 

Trailer:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.

 

My review:

 

I have to admit that when it comes to Colin Farrell, I have been quite disappointed by his overall selection of film roles as they have failed to make use of his unique charisma in a way that should have produced long-lasting and memorable performances. However, in Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, he defies such low expectations and delivers what is perhaps his career-best performance. As the reluctant and shaky hitman Ray, Colin Farrell manages to connect with audiences from the get-go, showing Ray as a tormented criminal who has done a terrible mistake that deeply haunts him psychologically. What makes Colin impressive in the film is how natural his performance is; there is no hint of pretentiousness and arrogance in his character but instead a lot of warmth and humor, giving us a fully-dimensional character. He is joined on screen by Brendan Gleeson, who plays Ray's partner-in-crime and veteran hitman Ken. As with Farrell, Gleeson manages to be lovable as he steals every scene he is in, striking a winning partnership with Colin Farrell that is among the many reasons why In Bruges is such a delight to watch. But, if I were to choose one major aspect of the film's effectiveness it would have to be its setting, the city of Bruges, Belgium, the quiet and small town these two characters seek refuge to in order to avoid suspicion from the authority after a murder attempt goes awfully wrong. Through his calm, assured, and confident directing style, Martin McDonagh's camera allows the film to flow without a single hitch, resulting in quite the pleasant experience. The film might have been overlooked during its release due to Colin Farrell's dreadful track record but it does more than enough in the acting, writing, and directing departments to warrant special attention, in my eyes. Suffice to say, In Bruges is most definitely an underrated gem which almost all film-lovers will greatly enjoy.

 

Outstanding Performances:

 

  • Colin Farrell (as Ray)
  • Ralph Fiennes (as Harry)
  • Brendan Gleeson (as Ken)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 47 minutes

 

Rating:

 

R

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Crime / Drama

 

RoboCop (1987): A Guilty Pleasure

Robocop 1987 Movie Poster

 

Synopsis:

 

In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

 

Guilty Pleasure Qualities:

 

Creative visual effects. Cheesy and cringe-worthy dialogue. Peter Weller as RoboCop. The soundtrack. The campy atmosphere.

 

Guilty Pleasure Level:

 

Moderate (Revisited once every two years)

 

Director:

 

Paul Verhoeven

 

Cast:

 

  • Peter Weller (as Officer Alex J. Murphy / RoboCop)
  • Nancy Allen (as Officer Anne Lewis)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 42 minutes

 

Genres:

Action / Crime / Sci-Fi

 

American Hustle (2013): A mini-review

American Hustle Movie Poster
 


 

Synopsis:

 

A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.

Review:

 

The past few years have seen a lot of crime films with only a few doing enough to be called great. The latest from the genre is American Hustle, about a con man in 1970s America. The biggest attraction of the film is undoubtedly the fantastic cast that director David O. Russell has managed to assemble. Christian Bale fully transforms himself as the middle-aged and desperate Irving Rosenfeld delivering yet another brilliant performance; Bradley Cooper is absorbing as the eccentric FBI Agent Richie DiMaso; Jennifer Lawrence continues to deliver roles that defy her young age as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, Irving's out-of-control wife; Amy Adams once again provides understated yet strong acting through the mysterious Sydney Prosser; and Jeremy Renner as the gullible and naive Mayor Carmine Polito reminds us why he is one of Hollywood's most underrated actors working today. All of these wonderful actors do their parts well enough, despite some minor shortcomings in character developments, which they try to overcome admirably. But, when coupled with a blistering, fast-paced, funny and witty script from Russell and Eric Singer, as well as a fine soundtrack featuring some remarkable '70s music, what viewers end up getting is a highly-entertaining motion picture that I see as one of 2013's most memorable films.

 

MATM Rating:

 

 

Director:

 

David O. Russell

 

Trailer:

 

 
 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Christian Bale (as Irving Rosenfeld)
  • Bradley Cooper (as Richie DiMaso)
  • Amy Adams (as Sydney Prosser)
  • Jeremy Renner (as Mayor Carmine Polito)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (as Rosalyn Rosenfeld)

 

Runtime:

 

2 hours and 18 minutes

 

Rating:

 

R

 

Genres:

 

Crime / Drama

 

Stills:

 

Amy Adams Bradley Cooper Jeremy Renner Christian Bale Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle Ensemble
Bradley Cooper Amy Adams
Christian Bale Amy Adams Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper Christian Bale
Jennifer Lawrence

 

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): A review

 

 

The Wolf of Wall Street Movie Poster

 

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Breaking Bad (2008-2013): A Moe’s TV Guide Future Classic review



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Ocean’s Eleven (2001): A Guilty Pleasure



Ocean's Eleven Movie Poster


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