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PCR #400 (Vol. 8, No. 47) This edition is for the week of November 19--25, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"No Country For Old Men"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Holiday Film Preview  by Mike Smith
"No Country For Old Men"  by Mike Smith
Happy #400 & Thanksgrave-ing, VHS Grindhouse  by Andy Lalino
Show Review: Renningers Antique & Collector Extravaganza  by ED Tucker
Happy Thanksgiving....The Big 400....Famous Monsters of Filmland Coming to an End  by Matt Drinnenberg
Age Is Only Relative .... Passing On .... Strike! Strike! Strike! .... How Come I've Known This Since I Was A Kid? .... Happy 400! .... .... .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 34: Robby Benson  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Ethan and Joel Cohen
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 2 mins

“Blood Simple.” “Raising Arizona.” “Miller’s Crossing.” “Barton Fink.” “Fargo.” “The Big Lebowsky” “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?”

These seven films represent some of the best ever made in the past quarter decade. Though any film maker would be proud to have one of these films on his resumé, all seven of them were created by two very clever brothers from Minnesota. You should see what Mrs. Cohen’s little boys Joel and Ethan have done now!

While hunting in the Texas desert, Llewelyn Moss (Brolin) stumbles across the remains of an all out war. Pick up trucks are pocked with bullet holes while the bodies of dead drug dealers (and their dogs) lie outside them. Opening one of the trucks, Moss finds a survivor, who begs him for water. He also finds a satchel full of cash. $2 million to be exact. Human nature being what it is, Moss does what most people would do. He takes the cash and heads to his trailer.

In another part of the state, a young deputy has apprehended a stranger (Bardem). Proud of his arrest, he seats the man on a chair and foolishly turns his back on him. Minutes later the stranger is pulling over an unsuspecting citizen with the deputy’s car. Minutes after that, he’s back on the road. And back on the trail of his money.

In his small office, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Jones) sits and spins stories at his desk. He’s been in this job for many years, like his daddy before him and HIS daddy before him. Not much excitement in this town, which is just the way he likes it. Unfortunately, this town is where everything comes together and where the excitement is just beginning.

Adapted from the novel by Cormack McCarthy, “No Country for Old Men” is film making at its finest. Though they have often been credited separately (i.e. Ethan directs, Joel produces though they both share editing duties under the alias Roderick Jaynes), “No Country for Old Men” is the work of two men who not only understand each other’s weaknesses but know each other’s strengths. As with all great films, the strength lies in the story and the characters who tell it. The casting here is perfect. In fact, so perfect that I can’t imagine anyone else in these roles. Texas born Jones has quietly become a bonafide screen treasure. If I could compare his talent and range to anyone it would be his “Lonesome Dove” co-star, Robert Duval. Brolin adds another feather in the cap that is 2007. Following outstanding performances in “Grindhouse” and “American Gangster,” this film gives him a hat trick of performances that should put him on any director’s “A” list. As the quiet, intense stranger trying to recover the loot, Bardem terrifies. If I had to compare him to another screen character it would be the Terminator. Emotionless and intent on his mission, Bardem just barrels his way through scenes much like the T-1000. Whether he’s deciding a victim’s outcome by the toss of a coin or methodically killing those in his way with a pneumatic cattle prod, Bardem’s Anton Chiguhr is all fury and intensity, stacked in a compact package of a man who barely speaks above a whisper.

The rest of the supporting class is just as excellent, with special praise to Harrelson and long time screen cowboy Barry Corbin, whose brief appearance is a true highlight of an already outstanding film, one that is sure to receive several awards and nominations in the next few months. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give “No Country for Old Men”

This week's movie review of "No Country For Old Men" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.