Tag Archives: coen brothers

Spike Lee gets critical in Cannes

CANNES — Spike Lee is in Cannes to promote his Italy-set war film “Miracle at St. Anna,” but he couldn’t resist taking a few swipes at some fellow directors, including Joel and Ethan Coen and Clint Eastwood.

Speaking about death in his World War II period drama, Lee said that, unlike the Coens, he was respectful in the way he portrayed death.

“I always treat life and death with respect, but most people don’t,” Lee said at a press briefing. “Look, I love the Coen brothers; we all studied at NYU. But they treat life like a joke. Ha ha ha. A joke. It’s like, ‘Look how they killed that guy! Look how blood squirts out the side of his head!’ I see things different than that.”

Speaking about the casting for his tale of four black American soldiers in Tuscany during World War II, Lee said that black actors appear in war films too infrequently.

“Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total and there was not one Negro actor on the screen,” Lee told reporters. “If you reporters had any balls you’d ask him why. There’s no way I know why he did that — that was his vision, not mine. But I know it was pointed out to him and that he could have changed it. It’s not like he didn’t know.”

Lee said that his film is in the final stages of post-production and will be complete by the end of July, with an Oct. 10 release date likely — exactly one year after shooting started. The film’s score and about 10 weeks of mixing remain before completion. He said the film is likely to premiere at a festival: either Venice or Toronto.

Lee also told the Hollywood Reporter he is starting work on an as-yet-unnamed documentary about basketball great Michael Jordan, set for release in early 2009. Lee and Jordan starred in a series of award-winning ad spots for sporting goods company Nike in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Coen brothers’ ‘Burn’ igniting Venice fest

ROME — Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Burn After Reading,” the duo’s next movie after the Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men,” will open the summer’s Venice Film Festival.

The dark spy comedy stars John Malkovich as an ousted CIA operative whose memoirs fall into the hands of two gym workers who set out to exploit their find. The film also stars Venice regulars including George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Brad Pitt.

The movie’s world premiere will immediately follow the opening ceremony for the 65th edition of the Venice event, on Aug. 27. The festival runs through Sept. 6.

“Burn After Reading” is a Working Title production, produced, written, and directed by the Coen brothers. Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Robert Graf are the film’s executive producers.

Venice officials said the film would open in the U.K. a week after its Venice screening, on Sept. 5. The U.S. premiere would follow a week later, on Sept. 12.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

‘No Country’ and Coen brothers win big at Oscars

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bleak drama “No Country For Old Men” won four Oscars on Sunday, more than any other film, including best movie, director and adapted screenplay for brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

The movie, based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel about a drug deal gone wrong in south Texas, speaks to the moral decline of society and was among a group of dark, somber films that competed for the world’s top movie awards.

The film’s fourth award, for best supporting actor, went to Spain’s Javier Bardem for playing a psychopathic killer of few words.

In other top awards, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored a wide range of movies, actors and actresses from several countries, highlighting a recent trend toward globalization in cinema.

But Hollywood’s biggest night belonged to the Coens — offbeat filmmakers who have shown a skill at taking what could be mundane stories, populating them with quirky characters and looking at troubling questions of human frailty.

Accepting his Oscar, Joel Coen talked about how he and Ethan had made films since they were kids and said his brother had taken a camera to the airport as a boy in the 1960s to make a movie about shuttle diplomacy called “Henry Kissinger, Man on the Go.”

“Honestly, what we do now doesn’t feel that much different from what we did then,” he joked.

British performer Daniel Day-Lewis won for best actor as a sadistic oil prospector in the early 20th century whose rise to wealth and power comes at a deep cost to his soul. He was heavily favored for an Oscar after winning a series of other industry awards for the role.

Another British performer, Tilda Swinton, took supporting actress honors as a shifty lawyer in the thriller “Michael Clayton” and France’s Marion Cotillard was named best actress for portraying singer Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose.”


These Oscars marked the first time since 1964 that the top four acting awards went to non-Americans, and Cotillard was the first French woman to win best actress since 1960.

“I’m speechless now,” Cotillard said on stage, visibly surprised and overjoyed. “Thank you life, thank you love. It is true there (are) some angels in this city.”

Bardem, the first Spanish ever to win an Oscar, took the occasion to thank his family in his native tongue, apologizing in advance to the Hollywood audience.

“This is for Spain and this is for all of you,” he said.

The Austrian Holocaust-era drama “The Counterfeiters” won the Oscar for best foreign language film. Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, it was the first win for Austria in the category.

In other key categories, best animated film went to audience favorite and box office hit “Ratatouille” about a friendly rat who becomes a chef in a Parisian kitchen.

Best original screenplay went to stripper turned writer Diablo Cody for the hopeful teen pregnancy comedy “Juno.”

Despite the talk of dark and pessimistic movies at this year’s Oscars, many winners offered statements of optimism.

Perhaps the most inspiring came from Marketa Irglova who, along with Glen Hansard, won for best original song with the tune “Falling Slowly” from the low-budget movie “Once.” Until the film won over audiences, Irglova and Hansard were unknown.

“This is just a proof that no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible,” said Irglova. “This song was written from a perspective of hope and hope connects us all.”

Director Alex Gibney of documentary winner “Taxi to the Dark Side” — a look at the use of torture by the United States — also offered a message of optimism. “Let’s hope we can turn away from the dark side and return to the light,” Gibney said.

Political satirist Jon Stewart returned as Oscar host and, in his opening monologue, made light of that pessimistic tone of many of the best film nominees.

“Does this town need a hug? What happened?” Stewart said.

What happened? Oscar hugged the Coens.

Source: Reuters