April 09, 2009


No Country for Old Men/ 2007

122 min. / United States / English-Spanish

Directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Written by Novel:Cormac McCarthy
Screenplay:Joel Coen andEthan Coen

Starring Tommy Lee Jones/Javier Bardem/Josh Brolin/Woody Harrelson
Kelly Macdonald /Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Roger Deakins
Editing by Roderick Jaynes

No Country for Old Men is a 2007 crime thriller film adapted for the screen and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin. Adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name No Country for Old Men tells the story of a botched drug deal and the ensuing cat-and-mouse drama, as three men crisscross each other's paths in the desert landscape of 1980 West Texas. The film examines the themes of fate and circumstance the Coen brothers have previously explored in Blood Simple and Fargo.
No Country for Old Men has been highly praised by critics. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "as good a film as the Coen brothers...have ever made." Guardian journalist John Patterson said the film proved "that the Coens' technical abilities, and their feel for a landscape-based Western classicism reminiscent of Anthony Mann and Sam Peckinpah, are matched by few living directors." The film was honored with numerous awards, garnering three British Academy of Film awards, two Golden Globes, and four Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Joel and Ethan Coen), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem).

It is 1980. In a West Texas police station, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) uses the handcuffs around his wrists to garrote the deputy who had arrested him. He steals a squad car and intercepts a random motorist. He kills the motorist using a compressed air gun then steals his car.Somewhere else in the desert, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across the carnage of a drug deal gone bad. Mexican criminals and pit bulls lie dead on the ground; only a mortally wounded driver remains alive. The driver asks for water but instead Llewelyn follows the trail of one of the criminals who had gotten away. Llewelyn tracks him to a tree where the criminal died. He finds a satchel filled with two million dollars. He takes the money and returns home to his wife, Carla Jean (Kelly McDonald) who is irritated that he has been gone all day and refuses to tell her where he found the guns and money he had brought home. That night, Llewelyn feels guilty for not giving the wounded driver water and resolves to take him a jug. He arrives around dawn and discovers that the driver has been shot and killed. More gunmen appear, disable his truck and fire on him, hitting him in the shoulder. They chase him to a river bank where Llewelyn tries to swim away. The gunmen's pit bull leaps in to the water after him. Reaching a far shore, Llewelyn is barely able to shoot and kill the dog before it is upon him. Realizing he is facing some dangerous individuals, he tends his wounds then sends Carla Jean to stay with her mother in Odessa while he travels separately with the money.At a service station, Chigurh becomes suspicious when the elderly clerk (Gene Jones) asks him if he's from Dallas. Chigurh flips a coin to decide whether or not to kill the clerk. The clerk correctly guesses that the coin came up heads. Chigurh gives the man the coin and tells him not to mix it with any other coins. Later that night, two well dressed men take Chigurh to the site of the failed drug deal. After he takes the VID tag from Llewelyn's truck and examines the corpses, the well dressed men give him a tracking device that he can use to find the satchel of money, which has a transponder in it. Chigurh then kills them.Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) and Deputy Wendell (Garret Dillehunt) find the motorist's burning car. They then follow another trail to the drug deal site. Ed Tom recognizes Llewelyn's disabled truck. He and Wendell perform a preliminary examination of the scene then decide to call in the federal authorities. Ed Tom is disturbed by what he sees.Chigurh uses the VID tag to find out Llewelyn's address. He uses the air gun to break in to Llewelyn and Carla Jean's trailer. He tries to intimidate the trailer park manager into revealing Llewelyn's place of employment but has to settle for a phone bill that reveals the couple make a lot of calls to Odessa, TX. Llewelyn gets a room at a motel and hides the satchel of money in the air ducts. He then purchases tent poles and shotgun at a local sporting goods store, which he fashions into a hook and sawed-off shotgun. He then rents another room behind the first room. Later that night when returning to the motel he sees the Mexicans' truck in front of his first room. He goes to his second room and begins to retrieve the money using the tent-pole hook to pull it through the air duct. Meanwhile, Chigurh happens past the motel and the tracking device goes off. He rents a room, determines which room has the satchel and uses his air gun to break into the room. He finds three Mexicans and kills them with a high powered rifle with a silencer. Meanwhile, Llewelyn has escaped with the money.In Dallas, the businessman who hired Chigurh (Stephen Root) is upset about the violence Chigurh is causing. He hires Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson) to neutralize Chigurh and get the money back.Chigurh tracks Llewelyn to a small border town, where Llewelyn has rented another room. Chigurh kills the desk clerk then finds Llewelyn's room. Llewelyn shoots at him with his sawed off shotgun and escapes through the window. Chigurh chases him and kills another driver who has stopped to help Llewelyn, causing an accident. Llewelyn uses the confusion to shoot Chigurh, forcing him to retreat. Wounded, Llewelyn hides the money along the banks of the Rio Grande then crosses into Mexico and pays some people to take him to a hospital.Ed Tom continues to be disturbed by what he saw in the desert and the apparently deteriorating state of morals in the world. He goes to visit Carla Jean in Odessa and asks her to put him in touch with Llewelyn. Almost absent mindedly, he tells her how a local farmer was nearly killed by an animal he was trying to slaughter, and how slaughterhouses now used compressed air guns to kill cattle immediately. In the border town, Chigurh steals medical supplies and, in a motel room, cleans his wounds.Carter visits Llewelyn in the Mexican hospital and suggests that he just hand over the money so Carter can protect him. Llewelyn refuses and Carter tells him which hotel he is staying. On the way back across the border, Carter sees the satchel from the bridge. Back at his hotel, the same one at which Llewelyn was staying, Carter is confronted by Chigurh. Carter pleads for his life but when Llewelyn calls Chigurh kills him. Chigurh tells Llewlyn that if he brings him the money, he won't kill his wife (though Llewelyn's life is forfeit). Llewelyn tells Chigurh he will kill him then hangs up. He calls Carla Jean and tells her to meet him in El Paso. Chigurh goes to Dallas and kills the businessman for hiring not only Carter but the other Mexicans well.The Mexicans have been watching Carla Jean in Odessa. They follow her and her mother (Beth Grant) to the airport. One of the Mexicans helps Carla Jean's mother who tells him she and Carla Jean are going to El Paso. In the airport, Carla Jean calls Ed Tom and tells him which motel Llewelyn is staying in El Paso. Ed Tom drives there but discovers that the Mexicans have beat him there and killed Llewelyn. All Ed Tom can do is comfort Carla Jean when she arrives. Later that night, Ed Tom and the local sheriff (Rodger Boyce) have coffee and bemoan the declining morals of American society. Afterwards, Ed Tom returns to the motel and nearly misses being killed by Chigurh who had been searching the room for the satchel of money.Ed Tom visits his uncle, Ellis (Barry Corbin) to tell him he's retiring because he is too disturbed by the violence he's seen. Ellis tells him he's being vain and relates the story about how Ed Tom's grandfather had died: shot by outlaws, he bled to death on his front porch as they watched. Meanwhile, Chigurh visits Carla Jean, who has just buried her mother. She understands why he's there but still finds it meaningless. Chigurh flips a coin but Carla Jean refuses to play his game. After killing her, Chigurh drives away. His car is struck by another car and he suffers a compound fracture. He buys a shirt from a boy to use as a sling then walks away.At home, Ed Tom tells his wife (Tess Harper) about a dream he had. In it, he was horseback riding with his long-deceased father. It was cold and his father rode ahead to prepare a fire for them.-----


The Beautiful Country ( 2004)
125 min. / U.S.A / Vietnamese, English, Mandarin, Cantonese

Directed by Hans Petter Moland
Written by Sabina Murray
Starring Damien Nguyen/Bai Ling/Tim Roth/Nick Nolte/Temuera Morrison
Music by Zbigniew Preisner
Cinematography Stuart Dryburgh
Editing by Wibecke Rønseth

The Beautiful Country is a 2004 Vietnam-related drama film set in 1990. It is directed by Hans Petter Moland and starring Damien Nguyen, Nick Nolte, Bai Ling, Chau Thi Kim Xuan, Tim Roth, Anh Thu, Temuera Morrison and John Hussey. The screenplay was written by Sabina Murray, a writer who teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst's MFA Program for Poets & Writers.

Plot summary
The film tells the story of a Binh, a "bui doi" Vietnamese boy (fathered by an American soldier during the Vietnam War). After a life of prejudice and servitude, Binh decides to leave his tiny Vietnamese village and search for his mother in Saigon. Binh finds his mother, Mai, and discovers he has a younger brother, energetic and precocious Tam. Mai is employed by Mrs. Hoa, the cruel mistress of a great house. After getting a job at the house with his mother, Binh discovers that she is sexually harassed constantly by Mrs. Hoa's son.

While dusting with his mother, Binh lifts a red glass statue of Buddha, a precious family heirloom, to allow his mother to dust. As Binh lifts the statue to see it glow in the sun, the mistress walks in and charges Binh, calling him a thief. As Binh tries to keep the Buddha safe in his arms, the mistress slips on a wet patch of the floor, falling to her death. Binh and his mother quickly escape the house back to their apartment. They frantically pack the belongings of Binh and Tam. His mother gives them American money, the address of Binh's American father, and passage on a boat.

Binh and Tam both make it onto a boat bound for the United States, but a storm knocks them off course and instead takes them to Malaysia. Stuck in a refugee camp, Binh and Tam adapt to their new circumstances and meet Ling, a Chinese prostitute whose passage to America was also detoured to Malaysia. Binh and Ling seem to develop feelings for each other, kissing after Ling sings a ballad in Mandarin and dances for him.

Ling had been selling sexual favors for some time (though she dreams of a life as a singer) and had managed to buy herself, Binh, and Tam's way out of the refugee complex and onto a barge captained by the British Captain Oh. During the voyage Binh, Ling, and Tam suffer under shortages of food and rationing of fresh water. A gambling game (two contenders shout off American brand names in succession) threatens the other passengers by unfairly winning their food, water, and money. Several people succumb to the conditions, as does little Tam. A heartbroken Binh and Ling give him a funeral at sea.

The immigrants finally reach the United States, but are quickly rushed into transport trucks, bound for Chinatown in New York City. Binh works at a Chinese restaurant as a delivery boy and Ling works in a Chinatown cabaret, though she still keeps prostitution as her main source of income. Ling eventually meets a wealthy businessman to support her. Binh's feelings for Ling go unanswered. Binh sends a letter explaining Tam's death to his mother, along with all the money he had saved thus far.

Binh finds out (over a poker game with his friends) that Vietnamese children born to American fathers are allowed free airplane passage to the United States and granted citizenship. Angry because he didn't have to lose his brother, he promptly leaves his job and hitch hikes toward Austin, Texas, meeting amputee Vietnam War veterans and a Hispanic family along the way. Upon reaching the address Binh finds a woman, his father's ex-wife. His father had relocated after their divorce, working as a handyman at a ranch in Sweetwater, Texas. Binh is finally confronted with his father, blinded after opening a crate filled with explosives he thought was beer during the war. While Binh doesn't confess that he's his son, his father realizes it and the film ends with Binh and his father joking and laughing as he cuts his father's haira