Top Ten Video Games of 2010

As another year comes to a close it’s time to look back at the media that helped us get through it and will remind us of it in the distant future. This was meant to be the first week of a three week event, although Nancy seems to busy to post and Kevin is having his own troubles. Regardless, look for music next week and movies the week after that.

2010 was an interesting year for games, with a really spread out release calendar. Usually I have to wait for November to play my most anticipated games, but it seemed like there was a big release coming out every month right up until December, which, as we all know, is too late in the year for anyone to release anything good.

10. God of War III

The number 10 spot is always a tricky one. Do I reward a franchise for reinventing itself (Splinter Cell: Conviction)? Do I single out an amazingly fun, but stupid game (Just Cause 2)? Do I talk about some of the great downloadable games that came out this past year (Pac-Man CE DXLimboSuper Meat Boy)? How about one of the most competent games of the year instead? Kratos is angry, and so he’s going to kill everybody. That seems to be the entire plot of God of War III, which picks up right after the second game and then kicks our “hero” around enough that he just doesn’t seem to care anymore. Kill the Gods, kill the Titans, kill the innocent people caught in-between. And enjoy some exceptionally pretty visuals and solid combat along the way. You could complain about the weapons being too similar or other unessential nitpicks, but at the end of the day I enjoyed putting an end to a story that started back while I was still in high school.

9. Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is not a great movie or work of fiction, but it’s one hell of a compelling gaming experience that sticks with you like glue from outer space. I can’t think of any title before this one that worked so hard at making you care about the characters you play as, making you experience the minutia of their lives. While not all of that pays off in the end, what does work works really well, and in a way no one has seen before. Sure, it’s easy to laugh at the ridiculous accents and some of the moments can be ruined by silly gamers, but can you think of anything as thrilling as the segment driving on the freeway in the wrong direction? The finger chopping scene? The murder? Did you even get those moments? Was my experience totally different from yours? It probably was, and that’s another reason why Heavy Rain is a game that helped make 2010 worth remembering.

8. Bayonetta

I really liked that first Devil May Cry. The third one was good too. The fourth one was alright, I guess. But this new game, Bayonetta, well, that’s something special. She’s a hyper-sexualized witch/stripper/librarian on a journey of revenge and self-discovery, but the why doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Bayonetta kicks some stylish ass, and then shoots it, and the cuts it with a sword. Watching Bayonetta play out was among the most mind-boggling experience I’ve had, and that’s not a bad thing. I mean, where else but in video games do you get to see a woman turn her skin-tight leather suit, which is actually made of her hair, into a giagantic demon dog head that goes on to devour a spear wielding angel monster while said lady does sexy dance moves on rubble falling a seemingly infinite height? Where, I ask you.

7. Rock Band 3

And so the music genre of video games comes to an end, not with a whimper but with a glorious chorus of keyboards and vocal harmonies. Rock Band 3 is the logical conclusion of this legendary franchise, which not only adds a new instrument but modes to actually teach people to play their instruments all by themselves. Learning a new instrument for the game is an experience we haven’t had in years and while it has been a struggle it has also been a lot of fun and somehow a little bit nostalgic. The UI makes all the necessary improvements and of course you can play all the songs in your massive song library. I just wish I didn’t have to buy songs all over again. Now that Harmonix is independent again, I hope the can just go on making DLC for, I don’t know, the rest of my life.

6. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Assassin’s Creed II was a helluva game. Brotherhood is better. The Desmond stuff is better than it has ever been, actually turning the rag-tag crew of futuristic assassins into people I didn’t mind talking with and rooting for. Ezio is just as badass as ever, taking up the mantle of leadership in the assassin’s guild of Renaissance Italy. Rome is an amazing city to run around and kill people in. Ubisoft has gone so far from the first title in the series. Earlier complaints of repetition have been destroyed by a robust collection of addictive sidequests and the sheer number of collectibles hidden all over the city. Plus, what other game let’s you hang out with Da Vinci and Machiavelli in-between murder sessions? It’s even got multiplayer that is actually pretty fun and is being supported by free DLC, or as I like to call it “free-LC.” That sounds better when said than when written.

5. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

“Hell, it’s about time.” One of the most anticipated games in recent memory finally made it to store shelves this summer, and has become a fact of life for gamers all over the world since then. While I’ll never be good enough to truly enjoy what most people come to StarCraft II to play, spending more than a month going through the singleplayer campaign, the ingenious challenge mode and even a few matches with friends made it totally clear that this is a landmark game. It’s also the most watchable game I’ve ever seen, as I’ve probably spent more time watching matches on YouTube and uSteam than actually playing StarCraft II at this point. Yeah, that’s right, I’m talking about eSports. Deal with it. South Korea’s cool with them, why can’t I be? Watching pro-level StarCraft II is like watching professional 3D chess in fast forward, but with blood.

4. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

As soon as I got to fly in the Burning Crusade expansion, I’ve been waiting to fly in Azeroth proper. “But we’d have to remake the world,” Blizzard said. “So do it, you makes crazy money every month,” I said. So they did. And Cataclysm is the best work they’ve ever done. Questing is crazy fun, the new races are great and while the level 85 cap is dumb, thinks are looking bright for the endgame as well. I genuinely enjoyed watching my druid gain tens of thousands of HP as he gained those last five levels, and the simplified talent trees allowed me to actually build my spec on my own instead of looking up a guide on the Internet (which I probably should have done). Blizzard has definitely reshaped the game to be simpler, more fun, and yet more tactical and skill-based than ever before. There’s never been a better time to hop into the World of Wacraft.

3. Halo: Reach

The beloved Halo franchise bids farewell to its creator with Reach, the best game in the franchise. I know that’s kind of hard to swallow, what with Master Chief being sidelined in favor of dudes and a lady we’ve never met before, but the concept of a planet being taken over by aliens while humanity desperately tries to fight back, and later simply survive, is more compelling than the intergalactic stories we’re used too. It helps that we dealt with a much smaller cast of characters who were more willing to take off their helmets and let you get to know them. But now they’re dead. Plus space battles, jet packs and the most robust multiplayer suite thus far, with all sorts of great armor customization, gameplay mode flexibility and even the Forgeworld, a land you can alter any way you wish. This is the definitive Halo experience, and my current online FPS of choice.

2. Red Dead Redemption

Cowboy’s never got their just reward in video games. Every once in a while, someone would take a shot at the old west, but it never quite paid off. Rockstar changed that with Red Dead Redemption, which is not only the best cowboy game ever, but possibly the best game the studio has ever put out. John Marsten is a tremendous character to play as, and his version of the old west is fully realized. This is simply one of the best stories I’ve ever played, with a remarkable cast and a satisfying series of endings that delivers a profound sense of closure. It’s also worth pointing out that this amazingly robust game also includes a complete mutliplayer package that I hear is a lot of fun, but haven’t touched myself. There’s so much to do, to see, to experience in Red Dead Redemption you could probably play is for the rest of next year too.

1. Mass Effect 2

The sequel to 2007’s Mass Effect came out in January and I could still play it right now. That’s after three substantial DLC releases and multiple attempts at playthroughs. Hell, I’ve even thought about replaying the first game to set up the ideal Mass Effect 2 run. The new combat system is terrific, making the game a competent third person shooter made exceptional by the biotic and technical powers that you and your squad can use. I love how Bioware streamlined the RPG systems, making character leveling substantially less complex and turning armor into a fun cosmetic experience instead of a constant battle against your inventory. The story is great too, crushing you with the gravity of your suicide mission right through the end. Mass Effect 2 is everything I love about video games and a reminder of why the medium remained my favorite in 2010. Now let’s get that Mass Effect 3 already.

Speaka De Kinglish

The King’s Speech

It could have been easy to write The King’s Speech off as Oscar bait. A British monarchy movie and a World War II movie? Come on, give someone else a chance. But, whether you want to like it or not, The King’s Speech is a damn fine film that will warm its way into your heart until you’re smiling like the chief idiot at ye olde idiot factory.

King George VI (Colin Firth) has a problem. Well, he’s not king yet, but we’ll get there. He’s a good man, smart and respectful, but he has a terrible stammer. Early on we are shown his attempts to speak to a large audience, and it is brutal. Fortunately for His Highness, he’s got a loving wife (Helena Bonham Carter) who will do whatever it takes to find her husband some counsel. Eventually she finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist who is confident he can cure the King. While his techniques are unorthodox the duo form an unlikely friendship during the years leading up to King George VI receiving the crown and a German tyrant rises to power (Hitler).

I know it doesn’t sound that inspired and there are a few cliche moments, but The King’s Speech is propelled by some great performances. Firth’s stammer is brutal, yet he always carries an air of elegance and respectability. Rush does no such thing, but he’s a lot of fun and the interaction between the two, which makes up the majority of the film, is a lot of fun to watch. Helena Bonham Carter, who I’ve become accustomed to playing dark, evil characters, is here full of support and love for her husband. The rest of the supporting cast is top-notch and fully British.

The King’s Speech is probably a little too long, and there are some plot points that aren’t handled well (The Prime Minister and Parliament are underdeveloped, the subplot about Logue’s acting career is dropped) but taken as a story of friendship and perseverance it’s quite good. Now I just wish they wouldn’t give the R rating for a silly scene of swearing.

Marky Mark and the Punchy Bunch

The Fighter

Some kinds of stories never die, we may see them over and over again, but that’s cause we love em. There’s nothing original about another underdog boxer story, but it can still provide the kinds of highs and lows we never tire of in the movie going experience. What we should feel fortunate for with a movie like David O. Russell’s The Fighter, is that it made it it’s business to be more than another flash in the pan sports movie. It’s got a good script, good direction, and most importantly, great acting. So when all these little elements are in the right place, you can bet you’re gonna have a good time at the movies.

The Fighter, is the true story of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), a struggling boxer who lives in the shadow of his older half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), the “Pride of Lowell, Massachusetts” for supposedly once knocking out Sugar Ray Leonard. Though Micky can take a punch like no one’s’ business, he’s weighed down by his controlling mother (Melissa Leo) and his now crack addicted brother Dicky. Things get heated as Micky falls for Charlene (Amy Adams) a saucy bartender who tries to convince Micky that his family is holding him back. Yep, it’s a roller coaster of emotions (and annoying Boston accents), that results in a whirlwind of laughs, tears, and cheers.

“Acting” (say it like James Lipton) is really what makes this overly familiar sports movie worth watching. Christian Bale sacrifices his physical appearance once again to play the edgy, drugged out, Dicky and all the award buzz is well deserved. Amy Adams, who’s always good is another standout, playing against type and Melissa Leo fits perfectly into the role of a pushy, Boston, mother. Mark Wahlberg plays well, Mark Wahlberg, which as far as I’m concerned is pitch perfect for this kind of movie. You just couldn’t ask for more in such a solid class, especially in a movie called “The Fighter.”

Already swept in awards fare, it’s hard to say how The Fighter will fare. Christian Bale seems to be the front runner for Best Supporting Actor, but who know’s if he’ll get that K.O. come February. All I know is that The Fighter is a rip-roaring good time, must be a helluva time to be from Massachusetts right now.

C.A.T: Elephant

The White Stripes- Elephant (2003)

Seems uninspired to do such a popular album, but at the same time it makes me realize something. It’s only been about seven years and this album is already considered a classic. Time flies I suppose, but I have so many fond memories of this album. I can clearly remember it’s popularity and how ti affected the youngins’.

“Seven Nation Army”, more or less the “Smoke on the Water” of it’s time. Almost everyday in my Junior High guitar class someone just had to be playing that hypnotic riff. I was cool, I was more into playing “The Hardest Button to Button” with Ryan Moore. Not many albums give me such distinct memories of yesteryear, but this does. It’s also amazing that it has such staying power, perhaps it’s just the raw simplicity of this garage rock duo.

Jack White is just so unlike any rocker before or after him. His playing and singing or so distinct and he can really tap into some primal emotions with his songwriting. Leave it to his ability as a songsmith to weave together such an eclectic batch of songs. You got punk, blues, rock, a Burt Bacharach cover and yet I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s a real joy re listening to this after so many years, but it’s just as good, if not better than ever.

Favorite Tracks: “Girl You Have No Faith in Medicine”, “The Hardest Button to Button”, “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself”

Season’s Beatings

“Married Christmas!” As I once declared in my younger and more vulnerable years. Today of course being that time of year that Jesus rises from the grave to feed upon the flesh of the living. No, I don’t have anything of particular note to announce, nor do I have a disturbing message of our watchful omniscience (as Sean posted last year), all I have to proclaim is “Happy Holidays!”

P.S. You can expect to see some “Best of 2010” lists in the following weeks and all sorts of other absurdities, so keep reading and once again, “Married Christmas!”

No Country For Fat Old Men

True Grit

As John’s retrospecticus has pointed out, the Coen brothers have already done novel adaptations as well as remakes. Their latest film, True Grit sees them taking on a project that is both a remake of the 1969 John Wayne film, but also an adaptation of Charles Portis’s novel. Now you’d think that a film with so many ties to earlier material might diminish that signature Coen brothers style. But make no mistake about it, this film feels like about exactly what a Coen brothers Western should feel like.

The film’s premise is about as simple as it gets, as it chronicles a young girl’s search for Tom Chaney (Josh Brolan), the man who killed her father. In order to track down this killer, she hires U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, a role made famous by the late John Wayne, now played with laconic crustiness by the always reliable Jeff Bridges.
True Grit in many ways does feel like the Coens taking on more commercial material, with it’s all-star cast and fairly linear story. And yet you’ve got all the hallmarks of what makes a Coen brothers film a pleasure to watch. You’ve got that great obtuse dialogue, some wonderfully odd supporting characters, and some absolutely breathtaking cinematography from the masterful Roger Deakins.
I haven’t seen the original True Grit, so I can’t really say how Jeff Bridges stacks up against the Oscar-winning performance of The Duke, but I’d say it ranks among Bridges’ better performances. However, the biggest stand-out of the film for me is the 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, who despite her age manages to carry much of the film. Matt Damon and Josh Brolan also turn in solid performances, but I’d say it’s the dynamic between Steinfeld and Bridges that really drives the film.
So True Grit doesn’t quite see the Coens reinventing the Western, but merely approaching it in their own unique way. So now that they’ve officially crossed off the western on their list of genres, I can only imagine what genre they take on next. Sci-fi perhaps?

Retrospecticus: The Coen Brothers

For over twenty years, Ethan and Joel Coen have defied modern conventions with some of the most unusual, bold, and inventive films around. They’ve tackled countless genres and reinvented themselves time and time again, making them some of the most innovative filmmakers of their era. In preparation of True Grit i have assembled this list of the duo’s complete filmography, which I will discuss in varying lengths. Just remember that these are like, my opinions man, so don’t take it too seriously.

Blood Simple (1984)

Where it all started, the eerie, neo noir, thriller, that is Blood Simple. It’s an impressive first film in many areas. The Cinematography (By future director Barry Sonnenfeld is increasingly ingenious), the score by Carter Burwell is excellent , the cast featuring; Frances McDormand, John Getz, Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh (easily the best) to name a few are thrilling, and the suspense is never ending. The perfect film to begin a career of masterful filmmaking.

Raising Arizona (1987)

After their brooding debut, the Coen’s took on what would be their first of many genre blurring films, the dark comedy Raising Arizona. In any other hands this film could of been a huge misfire, but instead it went on to be one of the Coen’s most enduring comedies.

It’s a great setup when ex-con Hi McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) and ex-cop “Ed” (Holly Hunter) decide to kidnap one of the five sons of a wealthy furniture salesman, Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson). I mean in any other hands this project would sound like an instant failure, but the Coen’s were ahead of the curb with this one. From the dialogue, to the setting, to the supporting cast of nuts (John Goodman, William Forsythe, Randall Cobb) this film still stands out as a delightfully different comedy.

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

One of my rare departures from the general consensus, I find Miller’s Crossing to be a challenging film. Inspired by the hard boiled fiction of Dashiell Hammett, Miller’s Crossing is an intricately woven mystery thriller, but I find the dense plot hard to get into.

Though I’m definitely in the minority on this one, as the critics really fell for this gangster flick. One thing I think everyone can agree on is the performances. A shining moment for character actors like Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, and John Turturro as apposed to casting bigger names.

Barton Fink (1991)

I don’t know how the hell you’d classify this movie, but man what an experience. John Turturro is hilarious as the young and nervous title character, stressing over a script while inhabiting a dreary L.A. hotel that seems to have a life of it’s own. John Goodman is equally amusing as the mysterious insurance salesman Charlie and what follows is chaos of the best kind.

Masterfully layered, acted, and photographed. The ambiguity of all the visual symbolism leaves you with a lot of questions, but I like that. It gives you the opportunity to personally dissect all the details and make your own connections, very compelling.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

I think when people heard the Coen’s were taking on the absurdities of the business world they were anticipating something a tad, well smarter. Possibly a razor sharp satire or something more insightful, not an over-the-top, screwball comedy that knows no bounds. It’s penchant for being silly is in my eyes both it’s gift and curse. Either you’ll laugh at quirks like Jennifer Jason Leigh’s fast talking delivery and Tim Robbin’s air headed demeanor, or you won’t.

I can see why some dislike it’s silly nature, as it does tend to hamper the latter half of the film. Though I think it’s style and humor saves it, how could you not like Tim Robbins as a bumbling mail clerk who becomes the CEO of a big whig company? Anything with Paul Newman can’t be that half bad either, ooh or Coen Brother’s pal Bruce Campbell. The Coen’s probably didn’t win any new fans with this one, but they definitely furthered their reputation for being unconventional.

Fargo (1996)

If you could take one film to sum up the Coen’s entire career, it would probably be Fargo. For no other Coen film features the duo’s trademark humor, suspense, and atmosphere as well as this classic dark comedy. Frances McDormand stars in the role of her life as the likable, humble and humorous police chief Marge Gunderson and shines in almost every scene. The supporting cast is equally impressive with the likes of William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi and the very creepy Peter Stormare.

The laughs are big, the thrills are nonstop, the setting is beautiful, and the story is timeless. This film is more or less the definition of dark comedy and never fails at entertaining, while giving you something to think about, oh ya you bet cha.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

I don’t think many would argue that this is the Coen’s most popular film and why not? The characters are refreshingly unique and ridiculous and are constantly put into completely unpredictable situations. It’s the little details more than anything that fans remember; The Dude’s interests, Walter’s stories about faith and war, Donnie’s incessant questions and all the other quirks. It’s spawned an entire culture of swanky fandom and burrowed itself deep into pop culture with it’s quotes and overall style.

The Big Lebowski essentially plays out like a stoner mystery movie. It’s a dysfunctional, rambling, series of events that perfectly suits it’s dysfunctional characters. You never know what The Dude will encounter next and although that results in a bit of a sloppy storyline, it’s a whole bag of fun to watch. Jeff Bridges is arguably in the role of his life and yet he’s still almost upstaged by the immensely talented John Goodman. There’s so much to talk about with this film that I won’t even try. Just kickback with a White Russian, blast some Creedence, and then watch The Big Lebowski

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Homer’s Odyssey meets the Great Depression in the deep south? Now that’s a recipe for a comedy of epic proportions. O Brother Where Art Thou may have been and still may be the most daring Coen production assembled. A period piece set against such a vast setting, would mainstream audiences be ready to see the Coens take on such a big Hollywood project? Thankfully they did and more! George Clooney leads a great cast of misfits, the visuals are jaw dropping, and the story has a timeless feel to it.

This is a film you can enjoy on many different levels. One, you could just enjoy it as a comedy about three bumbling convicts (George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson) running into a series of misadventures, or two, as something rich with visual metaphors and parallels to classic literature, it’s surprisingly complex. Can’t forget that soundtrack arranged by T-Bone Burnett either, classic.

The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)

The fact this film is constantly overlooked and perhaps the least known Coen film is almost too perfect. It’s a subtle film and title practically sums up the whole thing. A subdued Billy Bob Thornton plays barber Ed Crane, a simple man who inexplicably becomes involved in both blackmail and murder. Set against the back drop of 1940s Santa Rosa, California and filmed in stunning black and white, The Man Who Wasn’t There is a chilling tribute to film noir. The mood is quiet but unnerving and I have to say this may be my favorite Carter Burwell musical score for a Coen Brothers movie.

It’s pacing is slow and its payoff may not bewhat you’d expect, but the story is compelling and the acting is pitch perfect. Thornton doesn’t even have to say anything to bring you into the scene and seasoned pros like Frances McDormand, James Gandolfini, and my favorite Michael Badaluco as Ed’s overly talkative brother-in-law, keep it very interesting.

Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

Sometimes it seems like the Coens wont rest until they’ve tackled every genre. Intolerable Cruelty just happens to be the duo’s stab at the romantic comedy, often considered one of their weaker efforts, it’s fluff but it’s fun. George Clooney turns up the Clooney charm as divorce attorney Miles Massey, infamous as the inventor of the “Massey Prenup”. Though things get messy when he starts to fall for his clients wife Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jone), which only further tailspins into deception.

The story that develops here is actually fairly original, for it’s not so original premise. The twists and turns are well devised and it’s two beautiful celebrities are entertaining to watch. The supporting cast is a mixed bag, I mean I love Edward Herrmann as Miles’ client and Geoffrey Rush is fine, though his role feels small, but Cedric the Entertainer wasn’t doing it for me and Billy Bob Thornton is okay, but his character is a little hard to swallow. Intoelrable Cruelty is easy on the eyes, but no more than a footnote when looking at the rest of the Coen filmography.

The Ladykillers (2004)

Even when the Coen’s misfire, they do it with style. The Ladykillers is easily the duo’s worst film; the characters are broad with one note personalities, the laughs are far too few, and there doesn’t seem to be much heart to it. Really it was hardly necessary as the original 1955 heist film is considered a classic. That all said this film still has the pleasure of being coated with that Coen shine. Roger Deakins cinematography is top notch, Carter Burwell and T-Bone Burnett’s score is befitting and it’s just approached with such a unique manner. Plus it’s got Tom Hanks, and even Hank’s in a bad movie is fun to some extent.

No Country For Old Men (2007)

Razor sharp thriller, faithful literary adaptation, Oscar winner, what else is there to say about No Country for Old Men? It’s a modern American classic that goes for the jugular while simultaneously operating on a philosophical level. It’s talented novelist Cormac McCarthy’s words brought to life in such a thrilling way, that it actually surpasses his original work. The Blue collared banter between Llewelyn (Josh Brolin) and his wife Carla Jean (Kelly McDonald ) is priceless and Tommy Lee Jones is strong in the role of the old school Sheriff Tom Bell. Although it’s Javier Bardem who steals the show, in his academy award winning role as villainous hitman Anton Chigurh, gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

This has quickly become the Coen brothers film dearest to my heart. It doesn’t quite have the humor of past Coen works, but it’s one of the best thrillers of it’s era and my favorite film of the 2000s, god I wanna watch it right now!

Burn After Reading (2008)

Following up their big Oscar Win, the Coens returned to form with the typical, quirky, dark comedy that is Burn After Reading. More or less a spoof on the espionage thriller genre, Burn After Reading features all your usual Coen collaborators, playing your typical oddball Coen characters. It’s hard to pick a favorite when you have so many talented stars acting so silly. You got George Clooney as the sickeningly smug former U.S. Marshall, Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt as a pair of bumbling gym employees, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton as the icy cold couple, it’s all the stuff you love to see in a Coen Bros. flick.

A Serious Man (2009)

Perhaps the most personal work from Ethan and Joel yet, set in their homestate of Minnesota during the 1960s, A Serious Man is an offbeat comedy about life, death, sex, faith and everything else that can go sour when you’re simply trying to live a just life.

Michael Stuhlbarg gives an unforgettable performance as professor Larry Gopnik, who despite his efforts, always seems to get the short end of the stick. His wife (Sari Lennick) wants a traditional jewish divorce, his reckless brother Arthur (Richard Kind) wont leave the couch, one of his students maybe blackmailing him and Larry can’t seem to get any answers to his woes on life.

Upon first viewing I was actually disappointed by this film. I loved the humor and style, but the ending seemed so abrupt and dark, but as I’ve come to understand more of what’s under the surface, I’ve really come to love this film. It’s so unlike any other comedy about dysfunctional families, with it’s rich metaphors and meanings permeating through the tension of it’s characters. It just goes to show that even after 20 odd years, the Coen’s haven’t skipped a beat.

What Lies Ahead?
True Grit is the latest from the duo and I’m sure it will be another interesting entry in this diverse filmography. Look for a review from Colin coming soon.

I’m yet to see the Coen’s short for the the film Paris, je t’aime, but not for long, Otteni out.