Oh my god you guys! Disney totally asked me to go to prom!!!
Like all Coen Brothers movies, True Grit is a solemn blend of comedy and murder, populated by more quirky, funny characters than you can fit in a woodchipper. Obviously, each of their movies is a unique snowflake, and has a slightly heavier balance of one than the other, but it's amazing how they consistently manage to deliver a similar mix of subject matter, or, rather, are drawn to material that has that mix. You could call it formulaic, but when the formula is so delicious, and you drink a big glass of it every time it's put in front of you, all you're doing is calling yourself a big baby. I must be such a baby.
When you go see a Coen Brothers film, you know what you're going to get, inasmuch you can always expect at least a few of their recurring themes to rear their heads. A man constantly burdened by setback after setback. An unfaithful woman. Shady financial dealings. The bullying of the weak by the strong. Murder. With each successive movie incorporating some or all of these elements, you have to wonder what happened in the Coens' lives to continually draw them back to these staples... aside from the fact that they're the stuff of great movies, of course. You also have to wonder why the Coens hate their own characters so much, that they would heap such troubles upon them until they break. All of the above tropes (even murder, kind of) are present in A Serious Man, which is about a Jewish family living in the Midwest in the 1960s, and was actually filmed in locations near where Joel and Ethan Coen grew up. While not autobiographical, it does draw heavily from their childhood and upbringing, so it's as much of an insight into the team's origins as we're likely to get.
The Venice Film festival (that's the Venice in Italy, if you didn't know) is the world's oldest film festival, and it got underway yesterday for the 65th time. Emceed by Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport, known in Italy for her turn in the film The Unknown, the opening day of the fest featured an afternoon screening of Vittorio De Sica's 1948 classic The Bicycle Thief. But no one really gives a damn about any of that crap, because George Clooney and Brad Pitt were there, omigod!
Tommy Lee Jones is suing Paramount for money (specifically, $10 million) he wasn't paid on the back-end of No Country For Old Men, and while I usually don't have a lot of sympathy for actors, what with all their money and perks and luxury, I have even less for movie studios. Plus, it sounds like Paramount is trying to get out of giving Jones the kind of money they used to lure him into being in the film.