Reviewed: Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

intolerable-cruelty_posterLike so many people who live in the world and watch movies, when a new Coen Brothers film comes out, I get a little wet in the pants. These guys are consistently good at what they do whether it be drama, comedy, thriller or more commonly – a combination of all three. My first exposure to them came in the form of Fargo but it was The Big Lebowski where the love affair began. After that I made the effort to track down all they’ve ever done and consume it with relish*. There were a few key flicks that I missed however and this was one of them.

A romantic comedy starring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones may at first glance be a bit of a turn-off for many but a Coen Brothers film is a Coen Brothers film no matter what flavour of the hour it may happen to be toting.

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The story follows hotshot lawyer Miles (Clooney) and gold digging socialite Marylin (Zeta-Jones) whose paths cross in a courtroom on opposite sides of a divorce case. Miles represents Marylin’s husband and makes every effort to make sure she doesn’t get a cent. But… it’s love at first sight and the next time she finds herself in a similar situation, she gets him to represent her. It’s a tale of two-facedness, double crosses and deception with a plot that twists and turns in the gratifying way expected when the Coen lads are at the helm. And as per the norm, the supporting cast is thoughtful and includes Geoffrey Rush, Cedric the Entertainer, Richard Jenkins and Billy Bob Thornton.

In terms of the development of this story, the Brothers Coen came on board considerably late in the process and I can only guess that without their input, this may have been a very bland film. Anyway, it is what it is and that’s a perfectly cast film with a memorable climax.

As a Coen afficionado, I recommend that you check this one out.


*Health Warning: Do not eat video media – even with relish.

Reviewed: Step Brothers (2008)

step brothersIf you have not seen this movie yet, drop everything immediately, head to your local video store/Netflix/place what they get movies from, grab a copy and watch it ASAP!

Re-watching this reminded me that Step Brothers is one of those gems of pure fun with a threadbare story that obviously serves as just a vehicle to get from one sketch to the next for Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly to play in and it’s awesome! This is the second time we get to follow this pair under the direction of Adam McKay (the first instance being Talladega Nights) who really lets them do whatever they want to make us laugh.

The story follows Dale (Reilly) and Brennan (Ferrell), two thirty-something-year-old men who still live at home with their single father Robert (Richard Jenkins) and mother Nancy (Mary Steenburgen) respectively. The parents meet and it’s love at first sight; they get married and decide to move in together much to Dale and Brennan’s dismay.

At first, Dale and Brennan don’t get on but soon realise that they are so alike that they can’t help but be best friends. Happy that they’re connecting, Nancy and Robert think home life will be better but the fact that they’ve got two grown men under one roof behaving like children takes a toll on their relationship. They try to instil a little responsibility in the boys’ lives by getting them jobs but they’re not up to the challenge. The stress becomes unbearable and they break up.

Dale and Brennan are devastated and each blames the other for their parents’ falling out. They essentially break up as well.

Months down the track the boys have finally learned some responsibility and know how to get by on their own in the real world when a chance comes up for them to make amends and get their parents back together.

Reilly and Ferrell are the reason most people will watch this movie but the supporting cast put in just as much effort (special note goes to Steenburgen and Jenkins) with a hilarious performance by Adam Scott as Dale’s dickish brother Derek that is also worth mentioning.

Look, just watch the movie. It’s consistently funny and won’t let you down.