by Terry Hunter
The new movie, "A Serious Man," is from Joel and Ethan Coen whose last film, "No Country For Old Men," won four Oscars including best picture. Their new film is something completely different.
"A Serious Man" is a dark comedy about a Jewish college professor whose life is completely falling apart. His story is tragic, but it's presented as a farce....One catastrophe after another comes down on him, and the rabbis he consults are no help at all. The movie is well made and very well acted, but not everyone will think it's funny.
Broadway actor Michael Stuhlbarg really captures the helplessness of Larry Gopnik, the professor and family man whose life suddenly goes terribly wrong on all fronts. “I need help,” he tells his rabbi’s secretary. “I've had marital problems, professional problems; you name it.” One example: his wife has taken up with his supposed best friend, a pompous fool who has the audacity to think he can still be friends with Larry.
"A Serious Man" is set in the Midwest in the mid sixties, in exactly the kind of Jewish community where the filmmakers grew up. They want us to laugh at the absurd humor of Larry's mountain of woes. But I cringed as much as I chuckled. You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate “A Serious Man,” but it undoubtedly helps.
If you’re looking for a movie that’s more in the mainstream, you should check out “This is It.” I was never one of Michael Jackson's biggest fans, but this documentary is exhilarating to watch. It was made from rehearsal footage shot as the "King of Pop" prepared for his last concert. If you like Michael's music at all, chances are you'll really enjoy the energy and talent of "This Is It," his very last curtain call.
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