Based loosely on legendary folk singer Dave Van Ronk's posthumously published memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street, the Coen Brothers' highly anticipated drama (aren't they all?) Inside Llewyn Davis is an open love letter to the Greenwich Village folk music scene "that spawned Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mimi and Richard Farina," and, of course, Van Ronk.
Here's a trailer for Joel and Ethan Coen's upcoming adaptation of the famed Western revenge novel (which was turned into a famous John Wayne Oscar-winner), starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and some new girl who talks funny.
With the exciting news that Brad Pitt has won his second best actor chalice today at the Venice Film Festival—for what the judging committee deemed his "indomitable spirit both on and off the screen, his effortless embodiment of the American masculine ideal, and the way sucking up to him will facilitate future access to his impossibly fertile and glamorous life partner, Angelina Jolie"—we thought it time to finally time to take a look at the movie which ushered him to victory. We speak, of course, of the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading, which had its world premiere tonight at the festival. If Pitt, as Javier Bardem did before him, could win top accolades with a hairstyle this ridiculous looking, then this truly must have been another masterwork from the sibling geniuses. Let's see what the critics are saying. (And yes, spoilers ensue.) · The Guardian uses the word "triumph" and gives it four stars out of five, calling it "a tightly wound, slickly plotted spy comedy that couldn't be in bigger contrast" to No Country for Old Men, but that the Coens film it most closely resembles is "the divorce-lawyer comedy Intolerable Cruelty." Everyone gets a chance to shine comically, but "Pitt, in fact, gets the best of the funny stuff, [though] has by some way the least screen time of all the principal cast." [The Guardian]· Counterpoint! Variety hated it. Calling it a "dark goofball comedy about assorted doofuses in Washington, D.C.," Burn "tries to mate sex farce with a satire of a paranoid political thriller," with "with arch and ungainly results." Further, a "seriously talented cast" has been "asked to act like cartoon characters," with everything turned up to a "grotesquely exaggerated extent." [Variety] · Yeesh. That last one didn't go so well. Let's go back to loving it again! The Times Online also gives it four stars. Noting it's the first Coen-penned screenplay since 2001's The Man Who Wasn’t There, they compare it to Raising Arizona and Fargo (yay!) in its "savagely comic taste for creative violence and a slightly mocking eye for detail." Carter Burwell’s score is a "brilliant...paranoid piece of film music," though if the movie lacks for anything, it's "warmth." [Times Online]
· The Coen brothers have cast Broadway actor Michael Stuhlbarg and veteran sitcom loudmouth Richard Kind in A Serious Man, a black comedy set in the Midwest of 1967. Gentlemen: you may now commence crapping your pants with excitement, followed 11 months later by the public at large. [Variety] · Toronto Film Festival organizers were thrilled to receive RSVPs from the likes of Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Ontario's own Rachel McAdams. Seven world premieres are scheduled for next month's festival, including Pride and Glory, Dean Spanley, and The Lucky Ones. [Variety] · The Office writer Michael Schur signed a seven-figure deal with Universal Media Studios that will include shared showrunner duties on this mysterious Amy Poehler not-an-Office-spinoff whose arrival will bring an end to all injustice and world suffering. But no pressure, Amy and Michael. [Variety] · Subway Sandwich 911-caller doppelganger F. Gary Gray has signed on to direct Julius, a "contempo urban crime" graphic novel based on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Maybe it will star Mark Anthony and Lil' Romeo! [Variety] · After a summer test run in which they were pleased to see the host plunging two thumb-talons into Omarosa's eye-sockets in an impromptu display of thrilling daytime bloodsport, Fox has decided to launch The Wendy Williams Show nationally. [TV Week]
The closest we ever came to God while watching a Coen brothers film was the time we thanked Him when The Ladykillers was over, but that's not to say we wouldn't give a fair shake to Cathleen Falsani's new book: The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers. Follow the jump for a few key dots Falsani apparently plans to connect — some a little more plausible than others — and then reach into your own filmgoing soul for the ones she sure as Hell better not leave out:
It's official: the world-saving baby-making duo of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are no longer mere entertainers. They are "heroes and pioneers." At least according to the categorical rankings of Time's 100 Most Influential List released today. And not only are they the most influential heroes, they're apparently more influential than Oprah Winfrey. And Tony Blair. In any case, among the "artists and entertainers," the mag happily ranks Lorne Michaels and Robert Downey Jr. high above icky Suze Orman and preachy George Clooney, but we do take issue with several other entries, after the jump.
· The Coen brothers' Burn After Reading, a "dark spy comedy" starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Frances McDorman, and Tilda Swinton, will open the Venice Film Festival August 27, and open in the U.S. on September 12, whereupon everyone will agree that it lies somewhere between Intolerable Cruelty and No Country For Old Men in quality. [Variety]
· ABC won its 10th consecutive Sunday in a row, thanks to new episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers and Sisters. [Variety]
· The Simpsons writers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein will executive produce a new animated series for Fox, called Sit Down, Shut Up. Originally written by Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz, it's based on a live-action Australian sitcom, and revolves around "the lives of seven staff members at a dysfunctional high school in a small northeastern fishing town." Oh God, another one?! [Variety]
· THR has had some drastic plastic surgery, and we're having a hard time adjusting. We've never seen them happier, though, so just smile and tell them they look great! [THR]
· 90210 casting confirmation! Living MILF legend Lori Loughlin will play former Olympics cycling champion mom Celia Mills. [THR]
Some people's underwear cinches at the mere thought of foreign-language film snubs, "In Memoriam" montage omissions and other Oscar-night transgressions, but one eagle-eyed blogger appears to have found the sure-to-be-controversial Achilles' heel that could have — nay, should have — stopped the No Country For Old Men juggernaut in its laconic Texas tracks:
Post gossip great-aunt Cindy Adams got the fresh dirt from Hollywood mega-producer Scott Rudin as to how, exactly, that crazy Oscar-nommed "No Country For Old Men" came to be. "Look, you never know when something great's going to come through the transom. I do movies, plays. I'm always looking. My office covers lots of material. I have people who read books and manuscripts all the time. There was no great aha! moment. This didn't come by wrapped in a big pink ribbon and ushered through with great fanfare from some superimportant VIP with a 'must read' sticker on it. The thing came to us simply. As an unpublished manuscript." Yes. A real Hollywood fairytale, optioning novels by world famous, award-winning, ICM-managed authors is. Then Rudin took a chance on a couple of complete unknowns from far away Minnesota named Joel and Ethan Coen, and the rest is history. (After the jump, for kicks, the Hollywood Reporter story announcing the NCFOM deal.) [NYP]
· In what could be a dream match of creative team and quirky literary material, Joel and Ethan Coen will adapt Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union for Columbia, a "noir-style murder mystery in which a rogue cop investigates the killing of a heroin-addicted chess prodigy who might be the messiah" set in a Jewish settlement in Alaska. (Are we allowed to get pre-excited about this one?) [Variety]
· Though Ugly Betty was among the nine series ABC picked up for next season on Monday, the network ruined executive producers Marco Pennette and James Hayman's back-to-work party by dropping them from the show. [THR]
And The George "Fat Clooney" Clooney Memorial Oscar For Suffering In The Name of Award-Winning Art goes to No Country for Old Men's Javier Bardem, whose willingness to be saddled with Anton Chigurh's instantly iconic bowl-cut had serious psychological repercussions for the actor. Says co-star Josh Brolin: "He was depressed during the process...He felt like he wouldn't have sex for three months. Full-blown depression. I mean, bad. (He) didn't like the way he looked. He'd stay home for hours on end. He wouldn't go out."
· Realizing that he's only played a lawyer once (Fatal Attraction), Michael Douglas quickly signs on to fill the courtroom-drama-shaped hole in his career by starring in Tragic Indifference, based on a landmark case against Ford over its "indifference to flaws in its SUVs." Scene-chewing delivery of a stirring closing statement to follow. [Variety]
· Chinese Pirates 1, Sony 0: China's camcording brigade has already made pirated copies of Spider-Man 3 available on the streets of Beijing, nearly two weeks ahead of the movie's U.S. debut. Didn't that flashy Tokyo premiere teach the scofflaws anything about respecting copyrights? The MPAA's next step: dispatching piracy-hating stuntman Manny Perry to smash some black market DVD stalls with a Louisville slugger. [THR]
· The Coen Brothers will make the Fargoesque dark comedy A Serious Man for Working Title and Focus Features. Lantern-jawed muse George Clooney has yet to be attached. [Variety]
· Should ABC pick up the much-discussed Grey's Anatomy spin-off for the fall, creator Shonda Rhimes has selected Krista Vernoff to run the Grey's mothership and Marti Noxon for the satellite; Rhimes will oversee both, which will primarily involve ensuring that both shows' characters have properly overwrought speeches about their impossibly complicated love-lives to deliver and collecting enormous paychecks [THR]
· Lifetime proves its admirable commitment to keeping the female television drama stars of the 90's off the streets, signing up 90210's Jennie Garth and Party of Five's Lacey Chabert for made-for-TV movie gigs. [Variety]
· An executive think-tank composed of movie and TV heavyweights proposes that the studios and the unions jointly fund an independent report to examine the residual and new-media compensation issues that could lead to a strike, described as a "a showbiz version of the report from the Iraq Study Group." Get ready for a prolonged, bloody, and disastrous war, Hollywood! [Variety]
·Brad Pitt joins Ocean's 13 BFF George Clooney in a project in which he may actually be called upon to act, the Coen Brothers' Burn After Reading. [THR]
· NBC's Kevin Reilly indicates that his network is pushing towards a year-round development schedule, an attempt at filling the creative pipeline with projects that can take over the timeslots of next fall's Studio 60/Black Donnellys-style disappointments once they're yanked at midseason. [Variety]
· And in other NBC programming news, the network will throw a May sweeps Hail Mary by broadcasting movies on Sunday night, realizing that an all Deal or No Deal schedule is probably not going to solve its ratings woes. [THR]
· You know what Hollywood's got too many of? Those damn meetings. Who's with us, people? [Variety]