Last week, as Hail, Caesar! -- the Coen Brothers lovely, loving look at Hollywood's post-World War II studio system -- arrived in theaters, Joel and Ethan Coen found themselves facing sharp questions about diversity in their movies, and sharp judgment for their responses.
99 Homes, directed by Ramin Bahrani (R, 112 minutes)
An unclear cinematic season got a little foggier on Saturday with Alejandro Inarritu’s Directors Guild win for his harrowing frontier epic The Revenant, with only weeks to go before the Academy Awards on Feb. 28. Even the guilds are divided in their top awards.
The prolific brothers’ latest arrives amid debate over their greatest. This isn’t it.
Earlier this week, GQ put out an admittedly meaningless list of all the Coen brothers' movies, ranked in order of excellence (if you care about such things, they have Raising Arizona at no. 1). The hashtag #filmtwitter immediately went into uproar about the list and its rankings, as critics and film lovers all over the country (and free world) weighed in on their personal favorite. (For the record, with Anton Chigurh's air gun to my head, I'd probably go with Barton Fink, but instantly feel bad for Miller's Crossing, A Serious Man and The Big Lebowski, to say nothing of Inside Llewyn Davis.)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 78 PG-13 A mashup (aka "reimagining") of Jane Austen's classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th-century England and the zombie apocalypse, with Austen's feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) as a master of martial arts and weaponry and the handsome Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) as a fierce zombie killer. With Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, Charles Dance, Lena Headey; directed by Burr Steers. (108 minutes)
This probably isn't the worst time for casual moviegoers. There are plenty of good films left from last year still in theaters, and if you haven't yet caught The Revenant, Room, The Big Short, Youth or Carol, you still have time. And I expect that in the next couple of weeks you'll be able to see Mustang, 45 Years, Son of Saul, Anomalisa, The Lady in the Van and maybe Mojave, which was a movie I liked at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. (Caveat: I am the only one I know who liked Mojave.)
Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg (PG-13, 135 minutes)
Alejandro Amenabar's 1996 debut Tesis was a smartly crafted, intelligent, claustrophobically moody film about the elasticity of what we call "the truth."
Deadpool, R A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary (Ryan Reynolds), subject of a rogue experiment that has left him with accelerated healing powers, retains a dark, twisted sense of humor as he hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. With Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Leslie Uggams; directed by Tim Miller. Feb. 12
Late at night sometime on the last Tuesday of this year's Sundance Film Festival, during the critics' party, a group of film critics, punchy from lack of sleep and most likely boozy, hatched a hilarious scheme: They would all go to their Twitter feeds and start proclaiming the screening of a fictitious Kristen Wiig film named Abracadeborah as the unquestioned triumph of the festival. Each critic in on the joke contributed another telling detail: It was Wiig's best performance; the character was a magician's assistant; she was blind; someone objected to her use of blackface. Others complained anxiously about the inevitable huge lines at the next morning's 8:30 Press & Industry screening.
LOS ANGELES -- Kung Fu Panda 3 kicked its way to the top of the North American box office with about $41 million, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that most people will do anything to make money. And really, who's to blame the editor at Quirk Books who first suggested to author Seth Grahame-Smith (he of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter infamy) that there was great potential in mashing up Jane Austen's enduringly popular 19th-century novel Pride and Prejudice with the living dead genre? Ladies must live, bottom lines must be met and the trends of the moment must be exploited.
1. Rhett, Scarlett, Ashley (novel/film)
DEAR HELOISE: Reading about travelers with electronic chargers, I wanted to add one note: Always carry your chargers with you. If your luggage gets lost, then you have these essential tools with you.
Happy birthday. You'll put yourself in a better position, and then start seeing things clearly. A friend helps with this. A single decision will lead to a completely new you by April. May brings money, applause and emotional support. July puts a vendetta to rest.