A new film from Joel and Ethan Coen is always a big deal, and the marketing push for Hail, Caesar! juiced anticipation, at least among the cinephile community. A kidnapping comedy (whatever “comedy” means when the Coens are concerned) set in the studio-centric days of Old Hollywood starring George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, and more seems like the perfect recipe for a great movie.
Just two months ago I remarked on the ubiquity of World War II-as-setting in cinema. That was in my review of Fury, starring Brad Pitt. Well, now Brad’s wife Angelina Jolie is getting in on the action with her latest directorial effort: Unbroken, about the life of Olympic athlete and prisoner of war Louie Zamperini. Jolie is probably known more for her acting career than her directing, but she hopes to change that with Unbroken, a film that has been screaming “awards bait” at the top of its lungs since the first trailer dropped a while back.
Fargo (the movie) is one of the Coen Brothers’ best films. Sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying, sometimes tragic, and always deeply entertaining, it is an excellent example of the misanthropic, biting morality Joel and Ethan Coen are so fond of depicting. (Tasha Robinson wrote an excellent essay about this idea back in January, when Fargo was The Dissolve‘s Movie of the Week.) Fargo (the tv show) is an interesting novelty. On the one hand it is a clear attempt at grabbing the brand recognition of a previously established property, while on the other it is executive produced by the Coens for FX, a cable network that is currently killing it on the original series front. It is hard to say how involved the brothers are in the series, but whoever is in charge has managed to produce something that feels pretty true to their vision of the world.