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The Ladykillers (2004)

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Just a glimpse of the NEXT Coen Brothers flick, a remake of the Alec Guinness comedy The Ladykillers...

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Tom Hanks, Ryan Hurst, Marlon Wayans, Tzi Ma and J.K. Simmons in THE LADYKILLERS

JK Simmons! Woo hoo!!

These pics come from http://www.empiremovies.com/movies/2004/th...dykillers.shtml

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Interesting! I had no idea they were remaking it. I liked the original.

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Interesting pics.

Being that I just saw "The Ladykillers" not too long ago, I thought the weakest part was the last half-hour, where it all started to fall apart, based upon the same device in "Treasure of Sierra Madre"--whereas, there it worked, here it didn't. I think that is reason enough to warrant a remake. And with Raising Arizona through my brain, yeah, I can see the same team improving it...

Nick

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I dunno. When the original had such greats as Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers in the cast, the Ealing Studios name behind it and Alexander MacKendrick at the helm, you're really treading on sacred ground trying to remake it.

Can't say I have seen many of the Coen Brothers' films (that is probably sacrilege to most of you in itself), but they do seem to have a good reputation in the field, so I guess if anyone can make it work, they can.

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Gosh, I never thought you could be so cynical, Alan. laugh.gif

My posts on this thread have been slightly facetious. I am not totally against remakes, and disagree that they are necessarily just about money and career advancement. Of course those things enter into it, but then, it's the same with any film project, remake or original.

I admit, there have been some truly disastrous remakes in recent years--Gus van Sant's Psycho, for example--but if a director thinks he can do something new and original with an old film, why not?

Perhaps this would make a good separate thread...

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Whoa. The trailer for this happened to play before one of the movies I saw last night, and it's hilarious. And once again, it's got gospel music and the music supervisor is T-Bone Burnett.

FWIW, it occurs to me this could also be the Coens' biggest hit ever -- every single movie Tom Hanks has made in the decade since 1994's Forrest Gump has grossed over $100 million, with the exception of his 1996 directorial debut That Thing You Do!, and to judge from the trailer, Hanks is in peak form here. (I love that bit where he says he's not sure he heard anything at all.) So this could easily surpass the $45.5 million that O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coens' biggest hit so far (unless we count Bad Santa, which they co-wrote), made.

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Cool. I'm surprised to see they're sticking so close to the source material.

You all should see the original first. It's a hoot. You'll never look at Obi-Wan Kenobi the same way again.

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Well, all comedy trailers look hilarious.

I must say, snatches of the music sounded very Herrmannesque in a "North by Northwest" kind of way. I look forward to seeing this film.

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I must say, snatches of the music sounded very Herrmannesque in a "North by Northwest" kind of way. I look forward to seeing this film.

Actually, the music they snatched is from "Six Degrees of Separation (1993)". I used to own the soundtrack for that film.

Nick

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I'm with Alan on this one. I'm generally a big fan of the Coen Bros., and of Tom Hanks, but Alec Guinness's Ealing Studios comedies are close to sacred celluloid for me. I'm extremely skeptical.

I'll see it, because if anyone can possibly remake The Ladykillers half-hilariously, these guys probably can, but I'm going in with "Show me" on my lips.

A DVD set of Guinness's comedies is now available, including Kind Hearts & Coronets (the best black comedy ever), The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit, The Ladykillers, and The Captain's Paradise--which is one I've never seen.

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I saw the new Ladykillers trailer last night (just before House of Sand & Fog--talk about emotional disjunction!) and it did look pretty funny. My friend Caroline, who has never seen the original, was quite amused, and she sometimes has a Queen-Victorian sense of humor. But I remain unconvinced.

I wasn't all that pleased with the latest version of The Importance of Being Earnest, either--did it qualify as a "remake" under the PA&F definition? I forget. :wink:

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Spurred by this thread, I recently rented two of the Guinness Ealing comedies, Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Lavender Hill Mob. (My local video store doesn't have a copy of The Ladykillers.)

I tried to like both films, but I could muster enthusiasm for only one -- Kind Hearts and Coronets -- and even that film fell a bit short of the four-star reviews I'd read. It's a clever, witty film -- nothing particularly wrong with it -- but it's the kind of comedy that fails to leave a deep impression on me. The Lavender Hill Mob was just boring, frankly. I tried to convince myself that the wretched video transfer was responsible for my inattentiveness during the film, but no, the story just didn't interest me, and it certainly didn't make me laugh.

I think part of this is my bias against British comedies. Many of my peers love British comedy more than life itself, but I've always had a problem appreciating it. This can be traced to my early days, when I simply couldn't understand what the characters were saying, at least not quickly enough to appreciate the gag before the verbal banter had moved on to the next set-up. This criticism is truly "childish," something that most people easily outgrow, if they ever struggle with it to begin with. But I continue to struggle with it. I usually can follow rapid-fire British dialogue in dramatic films, but comedies continue to challenge me. For this reason, I've never been a big fan of Monty Python, or anything with John Cleese (except A Fish Called Wanda). I couldn't get into Absolutely Fabulous, and, as a pubescent young man, not even Benny Hill could win me over to the genre (poor example, but I wasn't very discriminating at age 13).

Nevertheless, I'm hoping that the Coen Brothers remake of The Ladykillers is enjoyable. Maybe their take on this sort of material will send me back to these comedies for a fresh look.

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Christian wrote:

: Spurred by this thread, I recently rented two of the Guinness Ealing

: comedies, Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Lavender Hill Mob.

Hey, doesn't this belong in the 'video rental' forum? wink.gif

: I tried to like both films, but I could muster enthusiasm for only one --

: Kind Hearts and Coronets -- and even that film fell a bit short of the

: four-star reviews I'd read.

I saw this once on video, years ago, and barely remember it. May have to refresh my memory.

: The Lavender Hill Mob was just boring, frankly. . . . I've never been a big

: fan of . . . anything with John Cleese (except A Fish Called Wanda).

Interesting, as both of those films were directed by the same man. smile.gif

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Christian wrote:

: Spurred by this thread, I recently rented two of the Guinness Ealing

: comedies, Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Lavender Hill Mob.

Hey, doesn't this belong in the 'video rental' forum?  ;)

ohmy.gif

: The Lavender Hill Mob was just boring, frankly. . . . I've never been a big

: fan of . . . anything with John Cleese (except A Fish Called Wanda).

Interesting, as both of those films were directed by the same man.  :)

Were they? Hmmm.

I finally got around to the trailer for "Ladykillers." (Thanks for the link, Peter). Looks promising, although my wife said the preview was "way too long" and had a "typical black grandma character" as well as a predictable plot arc.

My rebuttal: Yeah, but it's funny to see grandma slap that guy around near the end of the preview.

I guess I'm not much for sophisticated British wit, but I like physical, "Three Stooges"-type comedy.

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Christian wrote:

: : Interesting, as both of those films were directed by the same man. smile.gif

:

: Were they? Hmmm.

Yup. In fact, the first time I ever heard of The Lavender Hill Mob was when a review or preview of A Fish Called Wanda mentioned that it had been directed by that guy.

: My rebuttal: Yeah, but it's funny to see grandma slap that guy around

: near the end of the preview.

Yeah, and as one who doesn't care for that "hippity-hop music where they spell the words all funny" myself, I quite enjoy watching a member of the African-American community express her distaste for it. smile.gif

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Christian wrote:

: : Interesting, as both of those films were directed by the same man.  :)

:

: Were they? Hmmm.  

Yup.  In fact, the first time I ever heard of The Lavender Hill Mob was when a review or preview of A Fish Called Wanda mentioned that it had been directed by that guy.

My, my. I never would have guessed. Wanda seems much more in the "Python" vein, or at least more at the "Python" end of the British comedy spectrum.

And I like Wanda, too. But in a different way.

The mistake I'm afraid the Coens will make with The Ladykillers is confuse "big" with "funny." It's a fine line.

On the other hand, I don't like Benny Hill, either, nor Absolutely Fabulous, nor even the Three Stooges. What a surprise! smile.gif

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Like Jeffrey Wells, I've got a bad feeling about this:

"I'm just wondering if you've thought about adding Tom Hank's LADYKILLERS performance as well as TERMINAL to your potential Best Actor list. I obviously have not seen it yet but it seems like it might walk through the door that Johnny Depp opened this year. A kind of 'acting with abandon' thing (which is a quote from Jack Lemmon vioa Kevin Spacey on the WISEGUY DVD commentary track, via D.K. Holm...if that makes any sense)." -- Christopher Kopkowski

Wells to Kopkowski: Yeah, I've thought about it, but you never know. There's something odd going on about this film, although I would never for a second doubt the Coen brothers. It's just that Disney hasn't shown it yet and it opens in three weeks, and there's not even a junket set up, according to BFCA information. I'm detecting a lack of promotional enthusiasm, at the very least.

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Kirk Honeycutt chimes in at The Hollywood Reporter. His "Bottom Line":

"The Coens' remake of a comedy classic flounders amid extreme caricatures and stained humor."

The Hanks performance "will divide critics and admirers. Some will find hilarity in its artifice and fussiness others will chafe at its complete self-consciousness. Let's start with the stilted accent: It sounds like an all-purpose Southern accent performed by a bad English actor. Then there are Hanks' clothes and florid manners, which are positively antebellum. Finally, the Coens' flowery 19th century dialogue doesn't exactly throw Hanks, but it does him no favors either."

I guess we know which side of the debate Honeycutt falls on. However, he's got nothing but praise for Irma P. Hall.

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I'm seeing this tonight, and I'll give some kind of report either late tonight or tomorrow morning. But I may be the biggest fan of the Coens on the board, so my review will probably be more positive than most, even if I'm disappointed. I'm a sucker for goofy dialects, I guess.

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I don't know, I'm a pretty huge Coen Bros. fan myself (probably liked Intolerable Cruelty better than most here), and I think that trailer is the funniest thing I've seen all year. I can't wait to hear what you think Jeffrey!

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Guest Russell Lucas

Also a big Coen fan (have seen every one except Crimewave and counting Intolerable Cruelty, and have seen each of them multiple times), but that trailer leaves me really not interested.

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Saw it Friday morning. Did not see the original but enjoyed this for what it was. Some bits didn't work but overall, an amusing turn on the crime caper genre. Nice to see Tom Hanks return to broad comedy. He's great as is JK Simmons and Irma P. Hall.

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Here's a good overview of the Coens' career, with background on how they came to direct The Ladykillers.

Jeffrey, I feel the same way about the missing elements in the last few Coen films, but I don't have much hope that their work is going to progress in any substantive way. I think their stories will sometimes work well, sometimes not so well, but all will be full of strange characters, gross-out moments, and witty dialogue. That combination -- even when it's successful -- started to wear thin for me when I read Ethan Coen's collection of short stories a few years ago. I didn't much care for it, and I'm no longer confident that the Coens will ever recapture my imagination the way they did in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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I'm so depressed! :cry:

But I have to see the movie anyway, so I can disparage it in a truly knowledgeable way. tongue.gif

Then I can go back to watching Alec Guinness in peace. :wink:

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