Josh Brolin

Film Review: Hail, Caesar!

by Chad Liffmann on February 5, 2016

A silly, subversive, colorful day in the life of a 1950s Hollywood studio fixer — as only the Coens can envision.

Channing Tatum the singing, dancing sailor.

Channing Tatum the singing, dancing sailor.

Expectations were high for Hail, Caesar! the new film from the modern great American filmmakers, Joel and Ethan Coen. Three years after their award-winning triple play of 2009’s A Serious Man, 2010’s True Grit, and 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis, the sparkling musical trailers for Hail, Caesar! began hitting the web, and suddenly Coen fever began spreading again. However, unlike the washed-out colors and quiet dramatic quality of the former titles, Hail, Caesar! seemed to promise bright colors, outlandish musical numbers, and an unbridled sense of fun. The question I found myself asking was — would Hail, Caesar! embrace the darkly comic bizarreness of early Coen films such as Raising Arizona and The Hudsucker Proxy, or the cynical chastisement of Hollywood in Barton Fink? Well, the answer is really ‘no’ to both. The most wonderful thing about Hail, Caesar! is that it has its own new brand of Coen humor, one of PG-13 lightweight, sarcastic and playful tones, but still filled to the brim with the filmmakers’ unparalleled attention to detail and love of subtle and not-so-subtle references.

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Film Review: Everest

by Carrie Kahn on September 18, 2015

Everest tragedy comes alive in stunningly shot, absorbing new film

A breathtaking but precarious route up Everest awaits its climbers.

Readers of a certain age may remember the spring of 1997, when the must-read, buzz generating new release was Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, his account of the tragic Mt. Everest climbing expedition from the year prior. With Everest, Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur has crafted a cinematographically stunning and emotionally powerful dramatization of the events of that climb. Basing the film not just on Krakauer’s book, but also on other published survivor accounts, screenwriters William Nicholson (Gladiator; Unbroken) and Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours) bring us another a heart-pounding, riveting story of both the best and worst of the human spirit.

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Weird. Beautiful. Funny. Convoluted. Meandering. Forget it Jake, it’s Pynchon.

 

Joaquin Phoenix and Katherine Waterston in P.T. Anderson's Inherent Vice

Joaquin Phoenix and Katherine Waterston in P.T. Anderson’s Inherent Vice

 

Paul Thomas Anderson has made his name with movies that feel very important, and are chock full of big ideas about life. If you come looking for that in Inherent Vice, you’re going to leave disappointed. This movie is essentially a comedy, full of visual gags and walk-o- length comedic performances by a series of excellent actors. The story isn’t much to hang  your hat on, but the cast, the dialog and gorgeous images should keep you entertained, as long as you keep your expectations in check.

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Stark, Bloody, and two smoking Marvs

Josh Brolin and Eva Green gets black and white and red all over.

Josh Brolin and Eva Green gets black and white and red all over.

It’s a little bizarre that Sin City: A Dame to Kill For took this long to get made.  Creative differences, production and casting issues, and the usual onslaught of headlines and rumors supposedly got in the way of this film getting off the ground.  But nearly ten years later, we have A Dame to Kill For, and there are many disappointing elements that the filmmakers, with ten years to play with, should have gotten right.  The Sin City film franchise nevertheless continues to showcase some of the most impressive visuals in movies — but has the novelty worn off? The black and white psychedelic neo-noir tone is fun, yet a lacking depth of emotion and a shortage of character variety (compared to 2005’s Sin City) spoils the return to Frank Miller’s dark seedy world.

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Film Review: Labor Day

by Carrie Kahn on January 31, 2014

A little corniness forgivable in Reitman’s affecting new drama

James Brolin's Frank shows Kate Winslet's Adele and Gatlin Griffith's Henry how to make the world's best peach pie in Labor Day.

Josh Brolin’s Frank shows Kate Winslet’s Adele and Gattlin Griffith’s Henry how to make the world’s best peach pie in Labor Day.

Director Jason Reitman returns to the screen this weekend with Labor Day, the new film that he also co-wrote with Oakland writer Joyce Maynard, author of the book of the same name. The film has already received much advance buzz (and laughs) regarding its pie-baking scene (think not of the infamous American Pie apple pie sequence, but of the pottery scene in Ghost, and you’ll have an apt comparison), but the film deserves attention for more than just that brief snicker-inducing scene. Markedly different in tone from his previous breezy, often darkly comic pictures (Young Adult, Up in the Air, Juno), Labor Day is Reitman’s warmest, most straightforward, earnest film to date. The film is not perfect by any means – it is filled with plot points that strain credulity, and contains its fair share of corny dialogue – but if you can suspend some disbelief for two hours, you will be rewarded with an arresting, well-crafted story of almost unbearable tension. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: Gangster Squad

by Jason LeRoy on January 10, 2013

Gangster-Squad

starring: Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, Michael Peña, Mireille Enos, Giovanni Ribisi

screenplay: Will Beall

directed by: Ruben Fleischer

MPAA: Rated R for strong violence and language

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Film Review: “Men in Black 3”

May 25, 2012

starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson written by: Etan Cohen directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content

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Film Review: “True Grit”

December 21, 2010

starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld, Barry Pepper directed by: Joel & Ethan Coen MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of western violence including disturbing images.

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