Can you believe we haven't devoted a post to the Coen Brothers until now? It was just too obvious. Often called 'the two-headed director' because any question that you ask of either of them, you get an identical answer. They burst onto the scene in 1984 with Blood Simple and haven't looked back. Definitely not to everyone's taste, but chances are good that if you like even one of their films, you will like others. Be warned that their films almost always contain some sort of extreme violence, often in a humorous context.
Big Lebowski Excepting Johnny Stecchino, this is Mel's favorite comedy of all time. See Moe's review in the Jeff "The Dude" Bridges post. Julianne Moore has a great role as a 80s performance artist. This is a safe intro to the Coens and a good movie if you need a lift.
Barton Fink - "I'll show you the life of the mind" John Goodman in his best role alongside John Turturro, a struggling screenwriter whose preoccupation with his writer's block distracts him from the trouble around and pointing to him.
Blood Simple - This juicy modern film noir was the brothers' directorial debut and Francis McDormand's acting debut. The screenplay does a wonderful job up keeping the audience in the know, while the characters remain clueless.
Serious Man - Just watched this one on the weekend and I really enjoyed it. Quietly profound story of a man's search for meaning in his life, set in 1960's Minnesota suburbia.
The Man Who Wasn't There - The Coens pay homage to 1940's style film-noir in this beautifuly photographed Black and White film. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a surburban barber who gets mixed up in a complex blackmailing scheme. A sadly underrated film with great supporting performances from Frances McDormand & James Gandolfini.
Paris, je taime - The Coen's wrote and directed a short film ("Tuileries") for this collection of shorts set in and around Paris. "Tuileries," is a comic short involving Steve Buscemi's wait for a train at the Paris Metro Station.
The Hudsucker Proxy - A tribute to the '40s screwball comedies of Sturges, Hawks, and Capra. A highly stylised film, starring Tim Robbins as a mail clerk who gets an overnight promotion to CEO. Over-the-top and silly ... but still kind of fun.
Intolerable Cruelty - One of the brothers weaker efforts. George Clooney stars as a womanizing divorce layer with eyes for one of his rich clients (Catherine Zeta Jones). Nevertheless, this romantic comedy was popular with wider audiences.
No Country For Old Men - Winner of the 2007 Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. This is the story of a hunter who stumbles across $2 Million from an apparent drug deal gone bad. Brilliant and disturbing, with great performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem.
Burn After Reading - A star cast including Pitt, Clooney, McDormand, Malkovich,Tilda Swinton and Richard Jenkins (who, you ask? you'll know him when you see him, you just didn't know his name). This is darkly funny and classic Coen. Lots of plot lines converge around a woman who's "gone as far as she can with what God gave her" and now needs some surgical intervention. This is Moe's fave.
Raising Arizona - Still one of Nicolas Cage's best movies. See our Nicolas Cage Revisited post.
Oh Brother, where art Thou? One to rewatch. Technically it's a musical and some say a reworking of Homer's Odyssey through the depression era Southern States. George Clooney's best role still. He and his jailbird companions escape the law and various snares.