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By michael sragow and michael sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | September 12, 2008
The Coen brothers are fabulously talented filmmakers, but for my money, they come a cropper whenever they veer into the crazy- or extreme-comedy territory of Preston Sturges. Movies like Intolerable Cruelty and today's premiere, Burn After Reading, yearn to echo the homicidal laughter of Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours or the sprawling knockabout farce of The Palm Beach Story, but they just don't make the wacky grade. In Burn After Reading, the Coens lavish all their virtuosity on the silly shenanigans of a slice of contemporary America: a former CIA man, some gym workers, a U.S. Treasury agent and a children's-book writer.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2014
  I kept thinking as I was screening the new FX series, "Fargo," that it wasn't all that impressive. And then, I looked up and realized I had been watching for three hours straight. I guess it depends on how you define impressive. At best, it's one of the finest new series of the TV year. At worst, it's definitely worth an hour of your time to check out tonight at 10 on FX. But be careful, it's easy to lose yourself as I did in this world of endless snow, hopelessly flat lands, coffee shops, down jackets, small town facades, brutality, blood, drugs and slaughter.
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NEWS
September 8, 2008
Jessica Simpson makes her Grand Old Opry debut NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Pop star turned country singer Jessica Simpson told a crowd during her Grand Ole Opry debut that she burst into tears the first times she heard the song "Remember That" and knew God wanted her to sing it. "It's a very personal song for a lot of women," Simpson told the audience Saturday in introducing the track from her new album Do You Know, which hits stores tomorrow.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | June 4, 2009
Noncultists may ask, "The big the-whatski?" But The Big Lebowski, the Coen Brothers' 1998 cult film that defined a post-countercultural sort of slackerdom, is now bigger than ever, a hep hub for fan celebrations nationwide. And Lebowski fever is coming to Baltimore this weekend, with Dude- Fest! The Big Lebowski Tribute Party. It promises to make up in ingenuity what it lacks in scale. Lebowski fans, pay attention! Initiates, bear with me! Charm City's DudeFest will boast Wii bowling, so you can bowl and see the movie at the same venue.
FEATURES
By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | March 1, 1998
Topping the list of oxymorons created by the entertainment-industrial complex is a Coen brothers junket.Consider the Coen brothers: Ethan and Joel, a quirky filmmaking team that burst on the scene with their Texas-noir masterpiece, "Blood Simple," in 1985, then proceeded to charm, befuddle and sometimes enrage audiences with "Raising Arizona," "Miller's Crossing," "Barton Fink" and "The Hudsucker Proxy."Even when their 1996 film "Fargo" garnered seven Oscar nominations, they remained resolutely above-and-beyond Hollywood.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | October 10, 2003
In the Coen brothers' Intolerable Cruelty, George Clooney plays a Los Angeles divorce attorney, Miles Massey, who makes Corbin Bernsen's Arnie Becker in L.A. Law look like Clarence Darrow. As an actor, Clooney here makes Bernsen there look like Olivier. Hyperactivity and pseudo-suaveness - that's all Clooney has to offer in this mish-mash, with nothing in between. When he doesn't move every muscle in his face to express agitation or insecurity, he concentrates too hard on being debonair.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN REPORTER | June 20, 2008
Baltimore's reigning best film series, the Charles Theatre's six-month Alfred Hitchcock retrospective, wraps this weekend with 1955's To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant as John Robie, a reformed cat burglar who's being framed for a bunch of high-society jewel thefts in Monaco. Grace Kelly, in the film that introduced her to the tiny kingdom that would soon call her queen, is the stunning socialite who can't help but fall for his charms, even if she's not sure he can be trusted. Showtime is noon tomorrow at the Charles, 1711 N. Charles St., with encore screenings set for 7 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Thursday.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2014
  I kept thinking as I was screening the new FX series, "Fargo," that it wasn't all that impressive. And then, I looked up and realized I had been watching for three hours straight. I guess it depends on how you define impressive. At best, it's one of the finest new series of the TV year. At worst, it's definitely worth an hour of your time to check out tonight at 10 on FX. But be careful, it's easy to lose yourself as I did in this world of endless snow, hopelessly flat lands, coffee shops, down jackets, small town facades, brutality, blood, drugs and slaughter.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | June 4, 2009
Noncultists may ask, "The big the-whatski?" But The Big Lebowski, the Coen Brothers' 1998 cult film that defined a post-countercultural sort of slackerdom, is now bigger than ever, a hep hub for fan celebrations nationwide. And Lebowski fever is coming to Baltimore this weekend, with Dude- Fest! The Big Lebowski Tribute Party. It promises to make up in ingenuity what it lacks in scale. Lebowski fans, pay attention! Initiates, bear with me! Charm City's DudeFest will boast Wii bowling, so you can bowl and see the movie at the same venue.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | August 29, 2008
Stars like Will Smith may shine in hot-weather action comedies, cruising to box-office victory in souped-up vehicles with the top down. But the autumn movie season has always relied more on teamwork than on personal bests. The fall is when the major studios roll out multicharacter literary adaptations and entertainment that relies more on fresh observation and risky subject matter, less on formula and shtick. These movies require solid acting companies to put them over. On paper, the troupes assembled this autumn dwarf ensembles past in their quality and diversity.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Edward Gunts, Mary Carole McCauley, Rashod D. Ollison, Tim Smith, Michael Sragow and Sophia Terbush | March 5, 2009
POP MUSIC Black Lips The Georgia band the Black Lips filters punk-rock sentiments through a blues lens. On its new album, 200 Million Thousand, the band plays music that remains appealingly ragged and loose. The band plays at 8 tonight at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. N.W., Washington. Tickets are $13. Call 410-547-7328 or go to ticketmaster.com. FILM 'Barking Dogs' The new Hopkins film series, "Lovers and Liars: Contemporary Films From Korea," kicks off tonight with Barking Dogs Never Bite, a dark comedy about an adjunct college teacher with time on his hands who decides to quiet an irritating barking dog. Presented by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Office of Cultural Affairs, the screening starts at 7:15 p.m. at the Mountcastle Auditorium, 725 N. Wolfe St. Admission is free.
NEWS
By michael sragow and michael sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | September 12, 2008
The Coen brothers are fabulously talented filmmakers, but for my money, they come a cropper whenever they veer into the crazy- or extreme-comedy territory of Preston Sturges. Movies like Intolerable Cruelty and today's premiere, Burn After Reading, yearn to echo the homicidal laughter of Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours or the sprawling knockabout farce of The Palm Beach Story, but they just don't make the wacky grade. In Burn After Reading, the Coens lavish all their virtuosity on the silly shenanigans of a slice of contemporary America: a former CIA man, some gym workers, a U.S. Treasury agent and a children's-book writer.
NEWS
September 8, 2008
Jessica Simpson makes her Grand Old Opry debut NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Pop star turned country singer Jessica Simpson told a crowd during her Grand Ole Opry debut that she burst into tears the first times she heard the song "Remember That" and knew God wanted her to sing it. "It's a very personal song for a lot of women," Simpson told the audience Saturday in introducing the track from her new album Do You Know, which hits stores tomorrow.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | August 29, 2008
Stars like Will Smith may shine in hot-weather action comedies, cruising to box-office victory in souped-up vehicles with the top down. But the autumn movie season has always relied more on teamwork than on personal bests. The fall is when the major studios roll out multicharacter literary adaptations and entertainment that relies more on fresh observation and risky subject matter, less on formula and shtick. These movies require solid acting companies to put them over. On paper, the troupes assembled this autumn dwarf ensembles past in their quality and diversity.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN REPORTER | June 20, 2008
Baltimore's reigning best film series, the Charles Theatre's six-month Alfred Hitchcock retrospective, wraps this weekend with 1955's To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant as John Robie, a reformed cat burglar who's being framed for a bunch of high-society jewel thefts in Monaco. Grace Kelly, in the film that introduced her to the tiny kingdom that would soon call her queen, is the stunning socialite who can't help but fall for his charms, even if she's not sure he can be trusted. Showtime is noon tomorrow at the Charles, 1711 N. Charles St., with encore screenings set for 7 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Thursday.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun reporter | May 30, 2008
A film series spotlighting the work of Joel and Ethan Coen, whose No Country for Old Men dominated February's Academy Awards, will unspool Wednesdays through June in the Mountcastle Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Pre-Clinical Teaching Building, 725 N. Wolfe St. The series kicks off Wednesday with No Country for Old Men, starring Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson and Kelly Macdonald in the sordid tale of...
ENTERTAINMENT
By Edward Gunts, Mary Carole McCauley, Rashod D. Ollison, Tim Smith, Michael Sragow and Sophia Terbush | March 5, 2009
POP MUSIC Black Lips The Georgia band the Black Lips filters punk-rock sentiments through a blues lens. On its new album, 200 Million Thousand, the band plays music that remains appealingly ragged and loose. The band plays at 8 tonight at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. N.W., Washington. Tickets are $13. Call 410-547-7328 or go to ticketmaster.com. FILM 'Barking Dogs' The new Hopkins film series, "Lovers and Liars: Contemporary Films From Korea," kicks off tonight with Barking Dogs Never Bite, a dark comedy about an adjunct college teacher with time on his hands who decides to quiet an irritating barking dog. Presented by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Office of Cultural Affairs, the screening starts at 7:15 p.m. at the Mountcastle Auditorium, 725 N. Wolfe St. Admission is free.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler | September 8, 1991
Fall means that kids go back to school. It also means that films for adults are in the offing -- from Martin Scorsese's disturbing sexual thriller "Cape Fear" to John Sayles' drama of smoldering ethnic tensions, "City of Hope."The exception that proves the rule is that the first movie of the fall is really the last movie of the summer: "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare," which opens here Friday the 13th and will be the sixth -- and supposedly final -- installment of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series featuring dream slasher Freddy Krueger.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Reporter | February 25, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- Last night was a great time to be Joel and Ethan Coen, as the Minnesota-born brothers performed an Oscar hat-trick, collecting gold statuettes for producing, writing and directing 2007's best picture winner, No Country for Old Men. The film, the story of a drug deal gone horribly bad and the aftermath gone even worse, was the evening's most-honored film, winning four Oscars.
NEWS
February 24, 2008
Steve Yeager, 58, is a professional filmmaker who won the Filmmakers Trophy for Best Documentary at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival for Divine Trash, his feature on Baltimore director John Waters. Best Picture --No Country For Old Men. This tour-de-force is a faithful adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy's novel. ... Has there ever been a more fiendish assassin than Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh? ... Roger Deakins' cinematography beautifully conveys the isolation and barrenness of the Texas border town in 1980.
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