The Coen Brothers Collection 2010 [DVD]
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A septet of films from the Coen brothers. 'A Serious Man' (2009) is set in 1967. Michael Stuhlbarg stars as Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics professor whose settled and secure life begins to spiral after his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) reveals she is leaving him for his arrogant associate Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed). Larry struggles to cope with the failure of his marriage and the unlikelihood of his unemployed brother Arthur (Richard Kind) getting a job and moving out of his house. At the same time, his son Danny (Aaron Wolff) is in trouble at school while his daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) is stealing money from his wallet. John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney and Brad Pitt star in the crime caper 'Burn After Reading' (2008), which concerns the whereabouts of a sensitive disc containing the incriminating memoirs of alcoholic CIA agent Osbourne Cox (Malkovich). Cox's wife, Katie (Swinton), who is having an affair with married federal marshall, Harry Pfarrer (Clooney), is making plans to leave her husband, and is advised by her divorce lawyer to copy his personal files onto a disc. The disc finds its way via a circuitous route to the Hardbodies fitness gym, where two unscrupulous employees, Linda (McDormand) and Chad (Pitt) decide to exploit their find for all they can get. The Coen brothers' seventh film 'The Big Lebowski' (1997) is a typically bizarre mix of mistaken identity, hippy philosophy and ten-pin bowling. Jeff 'the Dude' Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is a bowling buff, laid-back to the point of horizontal, who gets mixed up in a blackmail plot involving a millionaire namesake. Roped into delivering the ransom to secure the release of the millionaire's kidnapped wife, the Dude's karmic balance is really put in a spin when his gun-toting buddy Walter (John Goodman) decides to help out. 'The Hudsucker Proxy' (1994) follows the unlikely adventures of Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins), a college graduate who secures a job in the post room at Hudsucker Industries just as its chairman is jumping 50 floors to his death. The chairman's scheming aide, Mussburger (Paul Newman), decides to hire Norville as chairman, presuming he is a dunce whose new position will frighten the stockholders into selling all their stock cheaply, thus allowing him to consolidate his hold on the company. A cynical journalist, Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh), masquerades as Norville's secretary in the hope of scooping a feature, but ends up falling for Norville, who in the meantime invents the hula-hoop, makes a fortune and revives the company's stock. In 'Barton Fink' (1991), successful young playwright Barton Fink (John Turturro) goes to Hollywood. He immediately obtains a contract, only to develop writer's block when he discovers he is to write a wrestling movie for a faded 1940s star. The Los Angeles heat, his dingy hotel and a noisy neighbour (Goodman) combine to increase the pressure on him, and Barton soon begins to lose his grip on reality. 'Intolerable Cruelty' (2003) stars Clooney as Miles Massey, a divorce lawyer who always wins his case until he comes head to head with the scheming, money-grabbing, yet alluring, Mrs Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Miles and Marilyn each embark on their own ruthless romantic missions to outdo one another and amass great wealth. The Coens' debut feature, 'Blood Simple' (1983), is a knowing homage to 1940s film noir. A Texan bar owner (Dan Hedaya) hires a hitman (M. Emmet Walsh) to kill his wife (McDormand) and her lover (John Getz). The plan backfires when the contract killer, having already collected his fee, executes a variation on the hit and a series of nightmarish murders ensue.
From the Back Cover
A Serious Man. Languages: English, Spanish; Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish.
Burn After Reading. Languages: English, Spanish; Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish.
The Big Lebowski. Languages: English, French, German, Spanish; Subtitles: English SDH, French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, Portuguese.
Hudsucker Proxy. Language: English. Subtitles: English SDH, French, Dutch.
Barton Fink. Language: English. Subtitles: English SDH.
Intolerable Cruelty. Language: English. Subtitles: English SDH.
Blood Simple. Languages: English, Spanish; Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish.
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Top Customer Reviews
I was only able to compare 4 of the discs to DVD as I already have 'A Serious Man' on Blu-ray. My review of it is on Amazon - here's the link (or get to it easier by going via my Amazon profile); it is dated 23 Nov 11 :
A Serious Man [Blu-ray][Region Free]
As to the others, not all really 'justify' an upgrade to HD picture/sound but nonetheless are (as expected) an improvement. 'Barton Fink' gains significantly, being much sharper/brighter (probably because it is the oldest film) but it shares a similarity to 'Intolerable Cruelty' in that there are no extras whatsoever, not even the short featurette/trailer or deleted scenes that are present on the DVDs...
I've added a photo of the back of the box, which details the specification of each disc, to the main Amazon page for this Blu-ray boxset.
Happily, the standard Blu-rays of the remaining 3 movies ('The Big Lebowski', 'Burn After Reading' and ''A Serious Man') do contain extras; to avoid any confusion, they are the standard retail discs devoid of their respective Blu-ray boxes.Read more ›
I thought that it might be useful to advise other potential purchasers of this Blu Ray collection that (despite what the packaging might tell you, or indeed any other advice that you might receive),
I can reliably inform you that all of the discs are 'Region-free' EXCEPT FOR Blood Simple which uniquely has 'Region A' encoding.
The other Blu Ray titles are of course excellent and quirky and probably familiar to Coen fans.
Unfortunately, I cannot comment on Blood Simple, as I must either purchase a hardware mod for my Sony BDP-S780 to make it 'Region-free' for Blu Ray, or (for much the same price), purchase a USA Blu Ray player...
So please bear this in mind if considering purchasing this item.
The Coen Brothers are perfectly capable of producing dud movies, but for me, this is a small price to pay for a phenomenon that produces such a diversity of left-field stuff. The perfect antidote to the 'Hollywood blockbuster' feeding frenzy, in my estimation.
The individual films is this package divide themselves into excellent and good, though I admit that I didn't really get Raising Arizona, though many people do. Blood Simple is a fun neo-Noire, with a caper, a bad guy, and a pretty heroine. It is good, but not particularly memorable.
Fargo, on the other hand, is an absolutely first-rate film, one of my all-time favorites in fact. You have Macy, who is a hapless guy locked into an extended family that assigns him an awful role, that of the bumbler who must be tolerated. His father-in-law is a perfectly awful man, with his condescension and the over-reaching arrogance that comes from success in business. He uses people, is blatantly insensitive to anyone else's feelings, and thinks he is the center of the universe. Macy's wife is as ineffectual as her husband, feeding into his rage with her soulless cheeriness and outwardly good intentions. So Macy hatches what can only be called a harebrained scheme, which brings a pair of stupid and funny criminals into the mix and then McDormand, an extremely competent and very pregnant sheriff. The mix is as calamitous as it is hilarious.
Miller's Crossing is a gangster flick, but of a superior quality and humor, with first rate acting in comparison with similar films. Byrne, an advisor to a capo, has a serious gambling problem and is being chased by enforcers at the same time that he is involved in a violent intrigue.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These are just wonderful films and can be watched more than once. Amazing value.Published 2 months ago by jpm
This was bought as a Christmas present. Both of the first two DVDs we tried to play got half-way through then locked and couldn't be watched or advanced any further. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Paul of London
Great box set of films. Very reasonably priced for the movies you get.Published 6 months ago by Sharon Kemp