Jumanji

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All Coen Brothers Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Since their 1984 neo-noir debut Blood Simple, brother directors Joel and Ethan Coen have danced amok across American cinema with mordant tales of wayward souls and their crimes and misdemeanors. Among their achievements include making a generation-defining comedy (The Big Lebowski), revitalizing the Western (True Grit), and winning Best Picture (No Country For Old Men). They even brought back bluegrass, achieved through cultural Trojan horse O Brother, Where Are Thou?. Recently, Joel Coen struck out on his own with The Tragedy of Macbeth, included in this guide to all Coen brothers movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#19

The Ladykillers (2004)
54%

#19
Adjusted Score: 60979%
Critics Consensus: Hanks' performance in the lead role is inspired, but this is a relatively minor offering from the Coen brothers.
Synopsis: Professor G.H. Dorr (Tom Hanks), a courtly Southern gentleman, arrives at the home of devout, elderly Marva Munson (Irma P.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 60643%
Critics Consensus: Intriguingly strange and visually distinctive, The Hudsucker Proxy is ultimately almost -- but not quite -- as smart and absorbing as it needs to be.
Synopsis: Greedy executive Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman) hopes to take control of the company he works for by purchasing a... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 81382%
Critics Consensus: Though more mainstream than other Coen films, there are still funny oddball touches, and Clooney and Zeta-Jones sizzle like old-time movie stars.
Synopsis: Miles Massey (George Clooney) is an exceptional divorce lawyer who specializes in saving cheating husbands from having to pay expensive... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#16
Adjusted Score: 82824%
Critics Consensus: Though not as good as Coen brothers' classics such as Blood Simple, the delightfully loopy O Brother, Where Art Thou? is still a lot of fun.
Synopsis: Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) is having difficulty adjusting to his hard-labor sentence in Mississippi. He scams his way off... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 88209%
Critics Consensus: With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Synopsis: When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of Linda Litzke (Frances... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 87177%
Critics Consensus: Stylish but emotionally distant, The Man Who Wasn't There is a clever tribute to the film noir genre.
Synopsis: A dark tale of infidelity and murder, crime and punishment. Set in a small northern California town of the late... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#13

The Big Lebowski (1998)
83%

#13
Adjusted Score: 89049%
Critics Consensus: Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.
Synopsis: Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#12

Hail, Caesar! (2016)
85%

#12
Adjusted Score: 108008%
Critics Consensus: Packed with period detail and perfectly cast, Hail, Caesar! finds the Coen brothers delivering an agreeably lightweight love letter to post-war Hollywood.
Synopsis: In the early 1950s, Eddie Mannix is busy at work trying to solve all the problems of the actors and... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#11

A Serious Man (2009)
89%

#11
Adjusted Score: 97606%
Critics Consensus: Blending dark humor with profoundly personal themes, the Coen brothers deliver what might be their most mature -- if not their best -- film to date.
Synopsis: Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a physics professor at a 1960s university, but his life is coming apart at the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#10
Adjusted Score: 103035%
Critics Consensus: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs avoids anthology pitfalls with a consistent collection tied together by the Coen brothers' signature blend of dark drama and black humor.
Synopsis: An anthology of six short films that take place in 19th-century post-Civil War era during the settling of the Old... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#9

Barton Fink (1991)
90%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94552%
Critics Consensus: Twisty and unsettling, the Coen brothers' satirical tale of a 1940s playwright struggling with writer's block is packed with their trademark sense of humor and terrific performances from its cast.
Synopsis: Set in 1941, an intellectual New York playwright Barton Fink (John Turturro) accepts an offer to write movie scripts in... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#8

Raising Arizona (1987)
91%

#8
Adjusted Score: 95570%
Critics Consensus: A terrifically original, eccentric screwball comedy, Raising Arizona may not be the Coens' most disciplined movie, but it's one of their most purely entertaining.
Synopsis: An ex-con and an ex-cop meet, marry and long for a child of their own. When it is discovered that... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 95306%
Critics Consensus: Though possibly more notable for its distinctive style than an airtight story, this Coen brothers take on the classic gangster flick features sharp dialogue, impressive cinematography, and a typically quirky cast of characters.
Synopsis: When the Italian Mafia threatens to kill a crooked bookie (John Turturro), Irish mob boss Leo O'Bannon (Albert Finney) refuses... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 102851%
Critics Consensus: Smart, funny, and profoundly melancholy, Inside Llewyn Davis finds the Coen brothers in fine form.
Synopsis: In 1961 New York City, folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is at a crossroads. Guitar in hand, he struggles... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 105279%
Critics Consensus: Led by a stellar Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth strips the classic story down to its visual and narrative essentials.
Synopsis: Power-hungry Macbeth sets his sights on the Scottish throne after receiving a prophecy from three witches.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 105781%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by powerful lead performances from Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men finds the Coen brothers spinning cinematic gold out of Cormac McCarthy's grim, darkly funny novel.
Synopsis: While out hunting, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) finds the grisly aftermath of a drug deal. Though he knows better, he... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#3

Fargo (1996)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100374%
Critics Consensus: Violent, quirky, and darkly funny, Fargo delivers an original crime story and a wonderful performance by McDormand.
Synopsis: "Fargo" is a reality-based crime drama set in Minnesota in 1987. Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is a car salesman... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#2

Blood Simple (1984)
94%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102888%
Critics Consensus: Brutally violent and shockingly funny in equal measure, Blood Simple offers early evidence of the Coen Brothers' twisted sensibilities and filmmaking ingenuity.
Synopsis: "Blood Simple" was the first feature film from Joel and Ethan Coen. This is the newly restored and re-edited director's... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#1

True Grit (2010)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 105673%
Critics Consensus: Girded by strong performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and lifted by some of the Coens' most finely tuned, unaffected work, True Grit is a worthy companion to the Charles Portis book.
Synopsis: After an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

In Bruges

(Photo by Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail image: New World/courtesy Everett Collection; Neon / courtesy Everett Collection.)

The 60 Best Black Comedies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Let’s say you’re the type to laugh while handling the darkest subject matters: Murder, doomsday, blackmail, and maybe even a lil’ tasty cannibalism. If so, twisted friend, you sure have arrived at the right spot to get your gallows guffaws: The 60 Best Dark Comedies, Ranked by Tomatometer!

All this dark material ranges in variation of glib macabre glee, different styles that we’ll touch upon in our selection of the best-reviewed funny black comedies. Most common are movies about murder and the subsequent covering-up, especially when the corpses have a habit of popping up at the most inconvenient times. Think Best Picture-winning Parasite, Fargo, Burn After Reading, and Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry.

Another style of the black comedy movie: Mining jokes out of political fallout when millions of lives are at stake, as seen in Dr. Strangelove, In the Loop, and The Producers. Or how about movies that get you on the serial killer’s side, like being on the ride for The Voices or Monsieur Verdoux. They twist you around enough to make you feel amusingly guilty hoping they’ll get away with it all.

The emergence of the black comedy movie seemed to come around in the 1940s, when filmmaking had evolved enough to artistically interpret real-world horrors (e.g. World War II) with mordant humor, as seen in To Be or Not to Be and Arsenic and Old Lace. Of course, how would they have known their groundbreaking path through the dark side would eventually come to the taboo of cannibalism, as seen in appetizing films like Delicatessen and Eating Raoul? And lest you assume we’re not in touch with our more subtle side when it comes to comedy of the damned, we’ve included philosophical destroyers Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?, Carnage, and the brilliant Withnail and I.

Major players in the realm of dark comedies include status quo-defecating John Waters (Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos), Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Todd Solondz (Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse), and the devilish Danny DeVito (The War of the Roses, Ruthless People). Our final stipulation for their movies and everything else on the list is that each had to be rated Fresh, and have at least 20 reviews, to ensure enough critics have shared in the gleeful discomfort.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad (feel free to keep adding more) world out there these days: Grab life by the ruffled lapel and throw it into the wood chipper with The 60 Best Black Comedies, Ranked!

#60

Adam's Apples (2005)
70%

#60
Adjusted Score: 70571%
Critics Consensus: Good and evil collide with interesting results in Adam's Apples, a dark Biblical allegory that's alternatively funny and shocking.
Synopsis: Following a stint in jail, Adam (Ulrich Thomsen), a former neo-Nazi, is temporarily assigned to live in a religious enclave.... [More]
Directed By: Anders Thomas Jensen

#59

Carnage (2011)
70%

#59
Adjusted Score: 77315%
Critics Consensus: It isn't as compelling on the screen as it was on the stage, but Carnage makes up for its flaws with Polanski's smooth direction and assured performances from Winslet and Foster.
Synopsis: When some roughhousing between two 11-year-old boys named Zachary and Ethan erupts into real violence, Ethan loses two teeth. Zachary's... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#58

The Ref (1994)
72%

#58
Adjusted Score: 75276%
Critics Consensus: Undeniably uneven and too dark for some, The Ref nonetheless boasts strong turns from Denis Leary, Judy Davis, and Kevin Spacey, as well as a sharply funny script.
Synopsis: Bickering spouses (Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey) annoy the cat burglar (Denis Leary) who takes them hostage in their Connecticut home.... [More]
Directed By: Ted Demme

#57

The Voices (2014)
74%

#57
Adjusted Score: 77392%
Critics Consensus: The Voices gives Ryan Reynolds an opportunity to deliver a highlight-reel performance -- and offers an off-kilter treat for fans of black comedies.
Synopsis: A mentally unhinged factory worker (Ryan Reynolds) must decide whether to listen to his talking cat and become a killer,... [More]
Directed By: Marjane Satrapi

#56

Better Off Dead (1985)
76%

#56
Adjusted Score: 77438%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
Synopsis: Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda... [More]
Directed By: Savage Steve Holland

#55

Used Cars (1980)
77%

#55
Adjusted Score: 78210%
Critics Consensus: Robert Zemeckis' pitch-black satire of American culture doesn't always hit the mark, but it's got enough manic comic energy to warrant a spin.
Synopsis: Rudy Russo (Kurt Russell) is an unscrupulous car salesman who aspires to become a politician. In the meantime, however, Rudy... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#54

Freeway (1996)
77%

#54
Adjusted Score: 78079%
Critics Consensus: A modern update on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Freeway is an audacious black comedy with a star-making performance from the young Reese Witherspoon.
Synopsis: Following the arrest of her mother, Ramona (Amanda Plummer), young Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) decides to go in search of... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Bright

#53

Bad Santa (2003)
78%

#53
Adjusted Score: 85678%
Critics Consensus: A gloriously rude and gleefully offensive black comedy, Bad Santa isn't for everyone, but grinches will find it uproariously funny.
Synopsis: In this dark comedy, the crotchety Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner (Tony Cox) reunite once a... [More]
Directed By: Terry Zwigoff

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 88209%
Critics Consensus: With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Synopsis: When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of Linda Litzke (Frances... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#51

Catch-22 (1970)
79%

#51
Adjusted Score: 81496%
Critics Consensus: Catch-22 takes entertainingly chaotic aim at the insanity of armed conflict, supported by a terrific cast and smart, funny work from Buck Henry and Mike Nichols.
Synopsis: This scathing war satire follows Capt. John Yossarian (Alan Arkin), a pilot stationed in the Mediterranean who flies bombing missions... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#50

Killer Joe (2011)
80%

#50
Adjusted Score: 86092%
Critics Consensus: Violent, darkly comic, and full of strong performances, Killer Joe proves William Friedkin hasn't lost his touch, even if the plot may be too lurid for some.
Synopsis: A cop (Matthew McConaughey) who moonlights as a hit man agrees to kill the hated mother of a desperate drug... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#49

Pink Flamingos (1972)
81%

#49
Adjusted Score: 85347%
Critics Consensus: Uproarious and appalling, Pink Flamingos is transgressive camp that proves as entertaining as it does shocking.
Synopsis: A bizarre fat woman (Divine) and her misfit family compete with a Baltimore couple (David Lochary, Mink Stole) to be... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 84383%
Critics Consensus: A high-concept high school reunion movie with an adroitly cast John Cusack and armed with a script of incisive wit.
Synopsis: After assassin Martin Blank (John Cusack) has trouble focusing on his work, resulting in a failed assignment, he returns to... [More]
Directed By: George Armitage

#47

Happiness (1998)
82%

#47
Adjusted Score: 83169%
Critics Consensus: Happiness is far from a cheerful viewing experience, but its grimly humorous script and fearless performances produce a perversely moving search for humanity within everyday depravity.
Synopsis: This dark ensemble-comedy is centered on the three Jordan sisters. Joy (Jane Adams) moves through lackluster jobs with no sense... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#46

T2 Trainspotting (2017)
81%

#46
Adjusted Score: 99786%
Critics Consensus: T2 Trainspotting adds an intoxicating, emotionally resonant postscript to its classic predecessor, even without fully recapturing the original's fresh, subversive thrill.
Synopsis: First there was an opportunity, then there was a betrayal. Twenty years later, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 91298%
Critics Consensus: Seven Psychopaths delivers sly cinematic commentary while serving up a heaping helping of sharp dialogue and gleeful violence.
Synopsis: Boozy writer Marty (Colin Farrell) is a man in search of a screenplay. He has a catchy title but no... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 85121%
Critics Consensus: The Brand New Testament takes a surreal, subversive, and funny look at Biblical themes through a modern -- and refreshingly original -- lens.
Synopsis: God is discovered living in Brussels with his daughter.... [More]
Directed By: Jaco Van Dormael

#43

Men & Chicken (2015)
84%

#43
Adjusted Score: 86857%
Critics Consensus: Men & Chicken's bizarre setup only skims the surface of a challenging, well-acted comedy with a warm heart to match its grotesque visuals and dark themes.
Synopsis: Two outcast brothers get to know their biological family and discover the horrible truth about themselves and their relatives.... [More]
Directed By: Anders Thomas Jensen

#42

Four Lions (2009)
83%

#42
Adjusted Score: 86988%
Critics Consensus: Its premise suggests brazenly tasteless humor, but Four Lions is actually a smart, pitch-black comedy that carries the unmistakable ring of truth.
Synopsis: A group of young Muslim men living in Sheffield decide to wage jihad, and they hatch an inept plan to... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Morris

#41

Harold and Maude (1971)
85%

#41
Adjusted Score: 89691%
Critics Consensus: Hal Ashby's comedy is too dark and twisted for some, and occasionally oversteps its bounds, but there's no denying the film's warm humor and big heart.
Synopsis: Cult classic pairs Cort as a dead-pan disillusioned 20-year-old obsessed with suicide and a loveable Gordon as a fun-loving 80-year-old... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 92896%
Critics Consensus: The Art of Self-Defense grapples compellingly with modern American masculinity -- and serves as an outstanding calling card for writer-director Riley Stearns.
Synopsis: After getting attacked on the street, Casey enlists in a local dojo that's led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei.... [More]
Directed By: Riley Stearns

#39

In Bruges (2008)
84%

#39
Adjusted Score: 91012%
Critics Consensus: Featuring witty dialogue and deft performances, In Bruges is an effective mix of dark comedy and crime thriller elements.
Synopsis: After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 87883%
Critics Consensus: The War of the Roses is a black comedy made even funnier by hanging onto its caustic convictions -- and further distinguished by Danny DeVito's stylish direction.
Synopsis: After 17 years of marriage, Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) want out. The trouble is, neither one... [More]
Directed By: Danny DeVito

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 92176%
Critics Consensus: Tongue-in-cheek satire blends well with entertaining action and spot-on performances in this dark, eclectic neo-noir homage.
Synopsis: Two-bit crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an audition for a mystery film while on the run from... [More]
Directed By: Shane Black

#36

Game Night (2018)
85%

#36
Adjusted Score: 99577%
Critics Consensus: With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise -- and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists -- Game Night might be more fun than the real thing.
Synopsis: Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party... [More]

#35

Eating Raoul (1982)
86%

#35
Adjusted Score: 86133%
Critics Consensus: Eating Raoul serves up its spectacularly lurid tale with a healthy heaping of pitch-black humor and anarchic vigor.
Synopsis: The absurd Blands (Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov) lure swingers home to be conked by a skillet, robbed and removed by... [More]
Directed By: Paul Bartel

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 89320%
Critics Consensus: In Order of Disappearance's black comedy doesn't always hit its targets, but on the whole, it still adds up to a sly, entertaining revenge thriller.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland

#33

Ingrid Goes West (2017)
86%

#33
Adjusted Score: 99466%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, Ingrid Goes West delivers smart, topical humor underlined by timely social observations.
Synopsis: Following the death of her mother and a series of self-inflicted setbacks, young Ingrid Thorburn escapes a humdrum existence by... [More]
Directed By: Matt Spicer

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 85403%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Writer and notorious marriage detractor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) falls for girl-next-door Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), and they tie the... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#31

Female Trouble (1975)
88%

#31
Adjusted Score: 89817%
Critics Consensus: Director John Waters' affection for camp brings texture to societal transgression in Female Trouble, a brazenly subversive dive into celebrity and mayhem.
Synopsis: An obese woman (Divine) gives birth to an obnoxious child and embarks upon a bizarre and violent life of crime.... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#30

Cheap Thrills (2013)
88%

#30
Adjusted Score: 91699%
Critics Consensus: Gleefully nasty and darkly hilarious, Cheap Thrills lives down to its title in the best possible way.
Synopsis: A series of escalating bets pits recently reunited friends against each other.... [More]
Directed By: E.L. Katz

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 92407%
Critics Consensus: World's Greatest Dad is a risky, deadpan, dark comedy that effectively explores the nature of posthumous cults of celebrity.
Synopsis: When the son of high school English teacher Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) accidentally kills himself, Clayton writes a fake suicide... [More]
Directed By: Bobcat Goldthwait

#28

The Lobster (2015)
87%

#28
Adjusted Score: 102624%
Critics Consensus: As strange as it is thrillingly ambitious, The Lobster is definitely an acquired taste -- but for viewers with the fortitude to crack through Yorgos Lanthimos' offbeat sensibilities, it should prove a savory cinematic treat.
Synopsis: In a dystopian society, single people must find a mate within 45 days or be transformed into an animal of... [More]
Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos

#27

After Hours (1985)
89%

#27
Adjusted Score: 93557%
Critics Consensus: Bursting with frantic energy and tinged with black humor, After Hours is a masterful -- and often overlooked -- detour in Martin Scorsese's filmography.
Synopsis: In a Manhattan cafe, word processor Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) meets and talks literature with Marcy (Rosanna Arquette). Later that... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#26

Delicatessen (1991)
89%

#26
Adjusted Score: 92930%
Critics Consensus: Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet deftly combines horror, sci-fi, and humor in Delicatessen, a morbid comedy set in a visually ravishing futuristic dystopia.
Synopsis: Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) is a butcher who owns a run-down apartment building in post-apocalyptic France. The building is in constant... [More]

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 92962%
Critics Consensus: An outstanding sophomore feature, Welcome to the Dollhouse sees writer-director Todd Solondz mining suburban teen angst for black, biting comedy.
Synopsis: Middle-school student Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) faces degradation at school -- where she is teased constantly -- and at home.... [More]
Directed By: Todd Solondz

#24

The Producers (1968)
90%

#24
Adjusted Score: 98636%
Critics Consensus: A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.
Synopsis: Down and out producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), who was once the toast of Broadway, trades sexual favors with old... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#23

A Serious Man (2009)
89%

#23
Adjusted Score: 97606%
Critics Consensus: Blending dark humor with profoundly personal themes, the Coen brothers deliver what might be their most mature -- if not their best -- film to date.
Synopsis: Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a physics professor at a 1960s university, but his life is coming apart at the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#22
Adjusted Score: 121116%
Critics Consensus: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri deftly balances black comedy against searing drama -- and draws unforgettable performances from its veteran cast along the way.
Synopsis: After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 88598%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a local man's corpse appears on a nearby hillside, no one is quite sure what happened to him. Many... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#20

Polyester (1981)
93%

#20
Adjusted Score: 93582%
Critics Consensus: As proudly tacky as its titular fabric, Polyester finds writer-director John Waters moving ever so slightly into the mainstream without losing any of his subversive charm.
Synopsis: A frustrated housewife, Francine Fishpaw (Divine), tries to maintain her sanity while taking care of her dysfunctional household. Elmer (David... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 90214%
Critics Consensus: The Firemen's Ball is an uproarious comedy of incompetence, mining laughs and sharp satire from an allegory that is amusing and distressing in equal measure.
Synopsis: In Milos Forman's satire on Communism set in a small Czechoslovakian town in the 1960s, the local firemen decide to... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#18

Trainspotting (1996)
91%

#18
Adjusted Score: 95293%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, often times funny, other times terrifying portrayal of drug addiction in Edinburgh. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth viewing as a realistic and entertaining reminder of the horrors of drug use.
Synopsis: Heroin addict Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) stumbles through bad ideas and sobriety attempts with his unreliable friends -- Sick Boy... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#17
Adjusted Score: 105954%
Critics Consensus: A thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman is an ambitious technical showcase powered by a layered story and outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.
Synopsis: Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life... [More]

#16

Heathers (1989)
93%

#16
Adjusted Score: 96433%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Synopsis: Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#15

Fargo (1996)
94%

#15
Adjusted Score: 100374%
Critics Consensus: Violent, quirky, and darkly funny, Fargo delivers an original crime story and a wonderful performance by McDormand.
Synopsis: "Fargo" is a reality-based crime drama set in Minnesota in 1987. Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is a car salesman... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#14

Withnail and I (1987)
94%

#14
Adjusted Score: 94625%
Critics Consensus: Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann prove irresistibly hilarious as two misanthropic slackers in Withnail and I, a biting examination of artists living on the fringes of prosperity and good taste.
Synopsis: Two out-of-work actors -- the anxious, luckless Marwood (Paul McGann) and his acerbic, alcoholic friend, Withnail (Richard E. Grant) --... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Robinson

#13

Ruthless People (1986)
93%

#13
Adjusted Score: 96663%
Critics Consensus: It's sometimes crude and tasteless, but Ruthless People wrings acid-soaked laughs out of its dark premise and gleefully misanthropic characters.
Synopsis: Sam Stone (Danny DeVito) hates his wife, Barbara (Bette Midler), so much that he wants her dead. He's ecstatic when... [More]

#12

In the Loop (2009)
94%

#12
Adjusted Score: 99598%
Critics Consensus: In the Loop is an uncommonly funny political satire that blends Dr. Strangelove with Spinal Tap for the Iraq war era.
Synopsis: During an interview, British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) delivers an off-the-cuff remark that war in the Middle East... [More]
Directed By: Armando Iannucci

#11
Adjusted Score: 100088%
Critics Consensus: Led by a volcanic performance from Elizabeth Taylor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a scathing adaptation of the Edward Albee play that serves as a brilliant calling card for debuting director Mike Nichols.
Synopsis: History professor George (Richard Burton) and his boozy wife, Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), return late one Saturday night from a cocktail... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 108998%
Critics Consensus: The Death of Stalin finds director/co-writer Arnando Iannucci in riotous form, bringing his scabrous political humor to bear on a chapter in history with painfully timely parallels.
Synopsis: When tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin dies in 1953, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to become... [More]
Directed By: Armando Iannucci

#9

Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
97%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102023%
Critics Consensus: Charles Chaplin adds an undercurrent of malice to his comedic persona in Monsieur Verdoux, an unsettling satire that subverts the tramp's image to perversely amusing effect.
Synopsis: Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin) is a dapper Parisian family man who loses his job as a bank clerk. In order... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 100310%
Critics Consensus: A complex and timely satire with as much darkness as slapstick, Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not To Be delicately balances humor and ethics.
Synopsis: Acting couple Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) are managing a theatrical troupe when the Nazis invade Poland.... [More]
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch

#7

Brazil (1985)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 100777%
Critics Consensus: Brazil, Terry Gilliam's visionary Orwellian fantasy, is an audacious dark comedy, filled with strange, imaginative visuals.
Synopsis: Low-level bureaucrat Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) escapes the monotony of his day-to-day life through a recurring daydream of himself as... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#6
Adjusted Score: 106035%
Critics Consensus: Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.
Synopsis: A film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button -- and it played the situation... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#5

Parasite (2019)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 127464%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Synopsis: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#4

Multiple Maniacs (1970)
100%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101532%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Cavalcade of Perversion, a traveling freak-show, is a front for a band of psychotic kidnappers and murderers.... [More]
Directed By: John Waters

#3

The Ladykillers (1955)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102466%
Critics Consensus: The Ladykillers is a macabre slow-burn with quirky performances of even quirkier characters.
Synopsis: Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) likes to report suspicious behavior to the police. Unaware of her reputation, the dapper thief Professor... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Mackendrick

#2

A New Leaf (1971)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103262%
Critics Consensus: Elaine May is a comedic dynamo both behind and in front of the camera in this viciously funny screwball farce, with able support provided by Walter Matthau.
Synopsis: A spoiled and self-absorbed man who has squandered his inheritance, Henry Graham (Walter Matthau) is desperate to find a way... [More]
Directed By: Elaine May

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 104434%
Critics Consensus: Performed with chameleonic brio by Alec Guinness, Kind Hearts and Coronets is a triumphant farce.
Synopsis: When his mother eloped with an Italian opera singer, Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) was cut off from her aristocratic family.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hamer

This week on home video, we’ve got a handful of brand new releases, but once you cycle through those, there isn’t much left to be had. Sure, there are a few Blu-Ray reissues, but not too many that folks are chomping at the bit for, so as a result, we dug deep to find a couple of interesting items that may or may not be good conversation pieces. The most prominent release this week is the latest from the Coen brothers, the Oscar-nominated A Serious Man. Then, we’ve got a few misses with titles like Couples Retreat, Serious Moonlight, and The Time Traveler’s Wife. But hopefully our classic collection and off-the-wall wild card choice will be interesting enough to merit a look. See what we’ve come up with below!



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A Serious Man

After crafting an Oscar-winning thriller in 2007’s No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers took a step back and returned in 2008 with a slightly wacky dark comedy, Burn After Reading. Though the latter didn’t wow audiences the way the former did, it seems the Coens found the proper balance in 2009 with A Serious Man, another dark comedy blending several themes into a story about a Jewish man dealing with the various failed circumstances of his life. Critics felt that this was a return to form for the Coens, and furthermore, that this could be their most mature and most personal film to date, rewarding it with a Certified Fresh 89% Tomatometer. In addition, the film has already won a handful of awards (including Best Original Screenplay wins from the National Board of Review Awards and the Critics Choice Awards) and has been nominated for a handful more, including a Best Picture Oscar. If you missed this potential Academy Award winner when it was in theaters, you’re in luck; it hits home video shelves this week.



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Couples Retreat

It seems unfair to bring up A Christmas Story every time Peter Billingsley’s name is mentioned, but what can you do? He’ll always be little Ralphie with the BB Gun. Except now, he’s directing movies instead of starring in them. His debut effort was last year’s Couples Retreat, a tropical rom-com about a struggling couple who convinces three of their married friends to bring their spouses to an island resort. When they arrive, however, they all discover that the resort’s marriage therapy sessions are mandatory, and of course, hilarity ensues… or does it? The talented cast includes old pals Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, as well as Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman, Malin Akerman, and Faizon Love, but for whatever reason, critics felt that they failed to elevate the picture past its convenient premise. What could have been an insightful and biting examination of relationships and matrimonial issues unfortunately devolves into rom-com formula and less than subtle attempts at humor, but again, it may work for some, so for those interested, it comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week.



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The Time Traveler’s Wife

Time travel is a tricky proposition for any storyteller. Once you start futzing around with history, you have to take into account the consequences of your characters’ actions and how they shape the future, and things tend to get messy. Handled properly, however, the inherent loopholes in such plots may become moot, minor quibbles in otherwise compelling stories. Audrey Niffenegger’s novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, won a couple of awards and was praised for its treatment of its characters. Robert Schwentke’s film adaptation of the book, however, didn’t meet with such positive results, failing to garner much critical acclaim. The story revolves around a married couple who experiences some relationship difficulties because of the husband’s unique genetic disorder, which causes him to leap through time without warning. Unfortunately, most felt the story was too schmaltzy and illogical to elicit much emotion from its audience, but if you’re in the mood for a romantic drama with an unusual premise, this could be one to rent for V-Day.



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The Stepfather (2010)

The original 1987 film The Stepfather was a moderate success, as far as slasher thrillers go, even earning its star, Terry O’Quinn (better known as John Locke on hit TV show LOST), an Independent Spirit Award nomination. It’s too bad, therefore, that the 2009 remake failed to live up to its predecessor’s reputation. The plot revolves around a serial killer who assumes new identities and forms new families, ultimately only to end up murdering them when his secrets begin to unravel. Whereas the original cult classic was a taut thriller with ample tension and some horror elements thrown in, the remake resorts to clichés and far too demanding suspensions of disbelief. It’s one thing to remake a bad movie in hopes of making it better, but Stepfather ’87 was a good movie, so one can only wonder how the makers aimed to achieve something above it.



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Serious Moonlight

Critics didn’t know what to make of Cheryl Hines’ directorial debut. Onetime American sweetheart Meg Ryan plays a jilted wife who takes her husband (Timothy Hutton) hostage when she discovers him preparing a rose petal welcome for his young girlfriend (Kristen Bell). Unfortunately, the mix of comedy and tragic circumstances fails to blend very well, and the whole film comes across muddled and confused. Adding to the sadder elements is the fact that the film’s writer, Adrienne Shelley, who wrote, directed, and co-starred with Hines in 2007’s indie darling Waitress, was killed in her home shortly after Waitress was accepted at Sundance. Hines therefore felt very close to this project, so it’s unfortunate it wasn’t a stronger picture. If only to see what could have been, however, you can pick this up this week as well.



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Bronson

If you guessed that this film was a biopic, you’d be right. If you guessed that it was a biopic about the American actor arguably best known for his Death Wish movies, then you’d be wrong… mostly. In fact, this small British film chronicles the life and times of Michael Gordon Peterson, a notorious criminal who spent most of his time in prison and established a name for himself as a dangerously volatile inmate and a bare-knuckled boxer nicknamed “Charles Bronson” (yes, in reference to the actor). Though the film only opened in limited release on this side of the pond, it received widely positive reviews, earning a Certified Fresh 78% on the Tomatometer for its compelling and inventive retelling of Peterson’s story. Tom Hardy, who plays the titular anti-hero, is particularly notable for his portrayal, and most felt the film successfully delved into comedy, horror, and drama all at once. You can pick this one up on DVD or Blu-Ray this week.



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The Running Man – Blu-Ray

During another week when quality home video choices are relatively few and far between, we’re happy that there are still some favorites being reissued on Blu-Ray. One such classic is 1987’s The Running Man, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and based on a novel by Stephen King. Let’s be honest here: there are few combinations theoretically more awesome than Schwarzenegger and Stephen King. The film itself, about a not-so-distant-any-more future in which criminals engage in death games on live television, is not universally loved by critics (63% ain’t all that bad either), but Arnie fans won’t even let you tell them that. As long as the Governator is spouting his one-liners and clearing out baddies (like Predator co-star Jesse Ventura) in tricked out roller derby uniforms, I think everyone’s happy. Pick this one up and you’ll also get two commentary tracks, two featurettes, and one of the original theatrical trailers.


David Lean Collection Box Set

When it comes to epic filmmaking, David Lean is a force that towers over most in cinema history. The man made Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Doctor Zhivago, for cryin’ out loud. Still, Lean’s work is by no means compromised when he works on a more intimate scale, which is why a brand new South Korean-imported box which contains several Lean pictures that have long been unavailable on DVD is such a treasure. The David Lean DVD Collection has several well-known classics, including the heartbreaking Brief Encounter and the moody, gothic Great Expectations — but it also sports some lesser known Lean works, including This Happy Breed, Blithe Spirit, and Madeleine. In all, the box gives a fascinating overview of a great director in his nascent years.


The People Speak

Howard Zinn was not everyone’s hero, but his influence on the American political psyche is undeniable. The People Speak is particularly timely, considering Zinn only passed away a couple of weeks ago, but this is no low-budget, small-scale production. Based on Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States book series, The People Speak is a collection of speeches, songs, letters, and other pieces written by various figures from America’s past but performed by a star-studded cast of musicians and actors. Some of the celebs acting and performing in the film include Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Don Cheadle, John Legend, Morgan Freeman, David Strathairn, and Eddie Vedder, just to name a select few. As this is more a representation of historical documents than it is an examination of Zinn or his philosophy, even those who disagree with his politics may find this of interest.


Midgets vs. Mascots

If there’s no other indication that this week was a paltry one for new home video releases, let this entry be the proof. We found this one hidden waaaay down the list of new DVDs, and in all honesty, that’s probably where it belonged, but it was so bizarre that we figured it’d make a good discussion piece. There’s no mystery to the concept here; a title like Midgets vs. Mascots leaves very little to the imagination, and if you thought this was anything besides an inane combination of Jackass and Road Rules, then this is probably not for you. However, if the prospect of seeing Gary Coleman beating the snot out of everyone he can get his hands on, then yeah, this is right up your alley.

For more than two decades now, Joel and Ethan Coen have been thrilling critics — and, here and there, audiences — with their distinctive blend of dark humor, colorful violence, and singular visual flair. Not all of the Coens’ films have been critical darlings (alas, poor Ladykillers), but with lifetime Tomatometers above 80 percent, the brothers are easily two (or is that one?) of the most respected directors in the business. Their latest effort, A Serious Man, is another winner, currently Certified Fresh at 87 percent on the Tomatometer, and to celebrate, we’ve freshened up our previous look at their filmography, Total Recall style!


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10. Burn After Reading

After the resolute darkness of No Country for Old Men, the Coens made a 180-degree turn — of sorts — and plunged into cockeyed, misanthropic comedy for 2008’s Burn After Reading. Brad Pitt sets the film’s (rather convoluted) plot in motion as Chad Feldheimer, a buffoonish personal trainer who stumbles across the memoirs of a disgraced CIA agent (John Malkovich) and, mistakenly believing them to be classified material, tries to earn a payday by selling them to the highest bidder. Populated with self-centered dimbulbs, dripping with black humor, and punctuated with death, Reading failed to entertain some critics (Michael Dance of the Cinema Source described it as “unlikable characters who do stupid things”), but the majority agreed with Karina Montgomery of Cinerina, who applauded, “It’s like a spy thriller, but with no spies and no thrills.”


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9. The Big Lebowski

Though many of the Coens’ films can be labeled cult classics, perhaps none embody the term more than The Big Lebowski. Jeff Bridges stars as pot-smoking slacker hero Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, who seeks restitution for his rug, urinated on by a pair of gangsters who mistook him for a different Lebowski — namely, the “big” one (played by Charles Durning). Along with his bowling buddies, The Dude embarks on a wild chase that’s as funny, depraved, and plain unpredictable as Los Angeles always feels like it should be. Not all critics were willing to join The Dude’s steadily growing cult — Todd McCarthy of Variety sniffed that the movie “Adds up to considerably less than the sum of its often scintillating parts” — but in the end, as Chuck O’Leary of FulvueDrive-in.com wrote, “It’s pretty much impossible not to love The Dude.”


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8. The Man Who Wasn’t There

Though the brothers have flirted with the shadowy realms of film noir, The Man Who Wasn’t There is the closest they’ve yet come to making a headlong plunge into the genre. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a classic fall guy, and playing the character as a deeply emotionally repressed square, Thornton is at his most controlled, wringing pathos out of an increasingly dire scenario. Featuring sharp, evocative black and white cinematography and an excellent supporting cast, The Man Who Wasn’t There is an existential nightmare replete with odd touches; it’s arguably the brothers’ most emotionally pained work. “Once again,” wrote Judith Egerton of Louisville’s Courier-Journal, “Ethan and Joel Coen have twisted a film genre into something new.”


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7. A Serious Man

After branching out into broad espionage comedy with Burn After Reading, the Coens went back to their roots for A Serious Man — quite literally, in fact: It takes place in an ordinary Jewish home in the suburban Midwest of the late 1960s, leading many critics to proclaim Serious the brothers’ most personal film to date. Still, these are the Coens we’re talking about — A Serious Man might be based loosely on their own childhoods, but the Job-like struggles faced by the movie’s central character, Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) are classic indignities to which any of Joel and Ethan’s unfortunate protagonists could relate. In the words of Brian Orndorf, it’s “a classic black comic strangling by the Coens, who leave no domestic discomfort behind. In fact, all this film contains is unease, making it a perfect itchy sweater film for those who enjoy their cinema on the suffocating side.”


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6. Raising Arizona

The first Coen brothers film to display their knack for quirky comedy, Raising Arizona helped seal the filmmakers’ reputation and cement their loyal following. Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter are brilliantly cast as a cop and ex-con husband/wife who resolve their infertility with kidnapping. Though not their biggest hit, it’s infinitely quotable (“Edwina’s insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase”), and the original score by Carter Burwell is not to be ignored. As the New Times’ Luke Y. Thompson ruefully sighed, “Nic Cage may never be better.”

 

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5. Miller’s Crossing

As an homage to classic gangster movies, Miller’s Crossing is hypercharged; the language is harsher, the violence more brutal, the plotting more labyrinthine. Albert Finney and Gabriel Byrne star as Irish mobsters, threatened externally by the Italian mob and internally by their shared love of a woman (Marcia Gay Harden). This intriguing tale of loyalty features impeccable 1920s decor and a streak of dark humor; it’s arguably the Coens’ most straightforward work. Combustible Celluloid’s Jeffrey M. Anderson concluded, “it’s one of their best, most cohesive films and it holds up to repeated viewings.”


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4. Barton Fink

Legend has it the Coens had such a bad case of writers’ block while writing Miller’s Crossing that they took three weeks off to script Barton Fink, a 1930s-set black comedy about — what else? — a Hollywood scribe with writer’s block. A fledgling New York playwright who sells out (at the cost of…his soul!) and moves to the City of Angels, Barton Fink (played marvelously by Coen regular John Turturro) holes up in the seamy Hotel Earle, where exquisitely dismal wallpaper peels off the walls as a heat wave sweats the city. The mercury rises further when Barton’s gregarious neighbor (John Goodman) is around; almost hellishly so, you might say. But as every smart filmmaker is wont to do, the Coens offer no overt explanations of what’s really going on — just a well-told tale with visual imagery aplenty, and an ode to the sometimes infernal nature of the creative process. Describing it as “gnomic, claustrophobic, hallucinatory, just plain weird,” Time’s Richard Schickel lauded Barton Fink as “the kind of movie critics can soak up thousands of words analyzing and cinephiles can soak up at least three espressos arguing their way through.”


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3. Fargo

Prior to No Country For Old Men, the macabre, pitch-black comedy Fargo was the Coens’ most decorated film, with seven Oscar nominations and two wins: Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Original Screenplay. Fargo details a ransom kidnap scheme gone wrong, with very pregnant cop McDormand investigating the crime as the bumbling perpetrators attempt to cover their tracks. The Coens’ bleak humor and taste for blood and violence never mixed as well as it did in Minnesota. According to Kevin N. Laforest of the Montreal Film Journal, “This is truly a brilliant film, the kind you don’t see often. Intelligent, raw, funny, daring and unique, pure cinematic delight from start to end.”


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2. No Country for Old Men

Though the Coens have long been revered for their intermittently manic and macabre storylines, they’ve never made Oscar bait. It’s perhaps logical, then, that the massive Academy sweep they enjoyed with No Country for Old Men seemed like overdue praise. In No Country, based on the stoic anti-western novel by Cormack McCarthy, Josh Brolin’s protagonist sees a way out of his trailer in a bag of bloodied bills. Chance and destiny are invoked in the most resonant, least pretentious way in the sinister form of Anton Chigurh (Best Supporting Actor Javier Bardem), the hit man who coldly and relentlessly hunts Brolin’s Llewelyn. No Country is impeccable: the cinematography is breathtaking, the dialogue efficient, and the direction assured. Yet instead of the terse comic punch we’ve come to expect from the Coens, No Country takes a more dangerous tack with its morbid themes. With all the cards (and coins) falling tidily into place, this film presented the brothers as a truly mature filmmaking team, possibly at the peak of their careers — a sentiment echoed by Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix, who proclaimed, “No Country for Old Men is the brothers at their most polished, austere, and humorless.”


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1. Blood Simple

Combining the shocks of a slasher film with the moral ambiguity and twisty plotting of film noir, the Coens’ debut, Blood Simple, shook American independent cinema to its core. Creepy and deliriously malevolent, it’s the story of a bar owner who hires a sketchy private eye to kill his cheating wife (Frances McDormand); double and triple crosses and bloody mayhem ensues. With their first film, the Coens show an aptitude for the stylistic quirks that would become their trademark — namely, a love of the ghoulish balanced with a loopy sense of humor. The Palo Alto Weekly’s Jeanne Aufmuth identified what would become recurring themes in their work when she wrote, “The Coens’ complicated sense of the surreal is consistently entertaining, down to the fleeting, oddball cameos and distinctly weird scripting.”


Take a look through the Coen Brothers‘ complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for A Serious Man.

Finally, here’s the Coen Brothers’ segment from Paris, Je t’aime:

Written by Jeff Giles, Tim Ryan, Alex Vo, Sara Schieron, Nicholas Hershey, and Jen Yamato.

This week at the movies, we’ve got zombie zaniness (Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg); derby dolls (Whip It, starring Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page); funny falsehoods (The Invention of Lying, starring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner); financial follies (Michael Moore‘s Capitalism: A Love Story); and a pair of Pixar classics (Toy Story and Toy Story 2, both in 3-D). What do the critics have to say?



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Zombieland

For those who think there’s nothing left on the carcass of the zombie subgenre to pick over, guess again. Critics say Zombieland is a hilarious send-up of films about the undead — with enough blood and guts to satisfy the gorehound set. Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg star as a pair of non-zombies who team up for a road trip across an American landscape that’s overrun with walking corpses. It’s a simple enough setup, but pundits say what makes Zombieland such a good time at the movies is its boundless energy and inventiveness — and the fact that it features one of the funniest celebrity cameos in quite some time.



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Whip It

With Whip It, Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut with a girl-empowerment sports comedy. And the critics say this roller derby flick is sweet and sparky, with a breezy, unsentimental tone that compensates for the predictable script. Ellen Page stars as a beauty pageant regular who decides to try her hand in the rough-and-tumble world of roller derby — and break out of her small-town routine in the process. The pundits say Whip It is loaded with sports movie clichés, but so what? Featuring a veritable army of top-notch actresses (including Kristen Wiig, Eve, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden and Barrymore herself), the film is both fleet-footed and good-natured.



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The Invention of Lying

Calling Ricky Gervais’ brand of comedy self-deprecating doesn’t go far enough — self-immolating is more like it. And though Gervais is undeniably talented, the pundits say his latest, The Invention of Lying (which he co-scripted and co-directed with Matthew Robinson) is ambitious but uneven. The film takes place in a parallel world in which everyone tells the whole truth and nothing but all the time, until Mark (Gervais) discovers that bearing false witness will get him ahead in the world — for a while, anyway. The critics say this is thought-provoking, inventive stuff, but despite some big laughs, The Invention of Lying eventually jettisons its originality for romantic comedy convention.



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Capitalism: A Love Story

A few documentaries have tried to grapple with the events that lead to the current economic crisis. Michael Moore goes a step further, indicting our economic system itself with Capitalism: A Love Story, and the pundits say the result is his most personal (if not his best) since Roger & Me. As usual, Moore blends stock footage, interviews, and gonzo stunts, taking aim at the system that spawned our recent financial collapse. As with many of Moore’s films, some critics feel his research is thin, and that his biases overwhelm the facts, but most say his brand of cinematic rabblerousing is in fine form, with affecting tales of fiscal woe and a few big laughs. (Check out our interview with Moore here.)



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Toy Story and Toy Story 2

This week, two of Pixar’s crowning achievements — Toy Story and Toy Story 2 — get rereleased in glorious 3-D. Let us put it to you in the simplest terms possible: these are two of the best-reviewed films in the history of this site. If you’ve never seen them before, now’s your chance to experience the magic on the big screen — while wearing 3-D glasses, no less.


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Abel Ferrara‘s Chelsea on the Rocks, a documentary about New York’s legendary boho residence, the Chelsea Hotel, is at 91 percent.
  • The Coen BrothersA Serious Man, which follows a Jewish college professor and family man who’s struggling to find the meaning of life, is at 81 percent.
  • Afterschool, a dark drama about a youngster whose fascination with internet videos pulls him in sinister directions, is at 73 percent.
  • More Than a Game, a doc about NBA superstar LeBron James and his high school teammates, is at 62 percent.

Finally, props to RunAmok for coming the closest to guessing Pandorum‘s 34 percent Tomatometer.

Happy Friday Harvest, a weekly round-up of the
best pictures, posters, and videos that have become available for
viewing/download on Rotten Tomatoes. Each section features the favorite or most
interesting item we’ve
added for the week, along with several other new highlights. Enjoy!


Pictures


Picture Gallery of the Week:
A Serious Man

Now that the September doldrums are over, it’s time to get serious.
And what’s an awards season without the Coen brothers to add a little spice
to it? Their newest movie, A Serious Man, is out October 2, and tells
a dark comic tale about a guy trying to be a good mensch as the walls of his
social and professional and religious life start closing in.
Browse the gallery.

More New Pictures












Emmys

Event pics
Get Low
Bill Murray drama
Fame
Red carpet
Law Abiding Citizen
Explosive!
Men Who Stare at
Goats

Newest images


Posters


Poster of the Week:

The Tooth Fairy

Just look at that thing. View
the poster
.

More New Posters












Fantastic Mr. Fox
Character posters

Men Who Stare At Goats
First poster
Princess
and the Frog

Fun and fancy-free poster
Transylmania
Vampire spoof
Couples Retreat
Minor poster redesign


Videos


Video of the Week:


Up in the Air trailer and clip

Of the newest wave of American filmmakers, Jason Reitman’s probably the
most interesting one working. His movies are earnest and generally free of
violence or visceral thrills, and he can easily navigate comedy and drama
(something Judd Apatow nobly tried at recently and failed). His latest,
Up in the Air
, looks to add to a growing, impressive body of work.
Watch the videos.

More New Videos











Fame

Clips and interviews


Capitalism

Clips



Transylmania

Trailer



From Paris With Love

From Taken director


Want to keep up to date on ALL the pictures, posters, and videos that are added to Rotten Tomatoes throughout the week? Then check out the
Trailers & Pictures page,
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