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The Ladykillers

The 2004 Coen Brother's movie

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They didn't kill them with humor or suspense, thats for sure.

  • Oct 14, 2010

I felt something a little amiss with this movie as it started.  It started okay, not great but then I saw it and it was a harbinger of things to come....

Tom Hanks......

in a comedy role......using a corny accent.

The last time I remember Tom Hanks with the accent was in The Volunteers, a Peace Corps comedy from years ago where Tom Hanks played a New England blue blood who is escaping his debtors and talked the whole movie with a hoidy toidy accent and it's the thing almost everyone remembers about that movie when it comes up.  When this, a sadly weak movie, one of the Coen's worst is gone by in a few years, the only thing that people will remember other then it's a Coen Brothers movie, is Tom Hank's accent.

Tom Hanks plays Professor Goldthwaite Higginson Dorr PhD, a silver tongued devil who uses a widower's room for rent to play as a base for where Goldthwaite can assemble a group of men to put together a heist of a Riverboat Casino.  The group plans on digging under the house and into the vault, rob the casino and seal the hole before anyone notices.  The group is composed of a strong silent elder Asian man who has experince in digging, a trash talking black man who works as an inside man in the casino, a stuck up would be expert at explosives and equipment, and a big dumb football player who will be used as muscle.  In short, a big room of bad stereotype cliches.  Goldthwaite is the ringleader to manage the men and they're heist as well as keep company with the widower so that things don't get too suspicous.

What is the biggest failing with this movie?  It's...average.  It's an average movie.  The humor mostly comes from Marlon Wayans as the Casino employee and his verbal sparring with J.K. Simmons as the equipment man and the only other joke coming from Simmons and his real job making props for TV commercials.  What else is the movie is a remake of an older movie and not an original work that Joel and Ethan made.  The only thing I can take away from this is that this will at least give Joel and Ethan experience before they made True Grit which opens later this year.  There is some drama but when things get ugly, the issues get covered up a little too easily and there isn't much tension.  The widower just saw something fishy going on, why am I not scared?  For what I said about Tom Hanks above, it is a little funny to see him act silly and mug a little, it comes off looking real broad.

The only thing that I was interested in was seeing how it ends and again, tense things happen but there isn't much consequence and little to see me invest in the actions and since so much of what goes on hits one after the other there is no time for the impact.  I've got two more Coen Brother movies to watch before I've seen all of they're work.  Each of them I've seen pieces of and those pieces I can already tell will more then equal the sum of this whole.


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December 11, 2010
I watched this last night. I'll post it once I've seen or re-watched all of the Coen Brothers films (which shall be in a couple weeks, prior to True Grit's release). I felt the same way. This film was only mediocre. It wasn't insulting to my intelligence, but it didn't respect it either. Too goofy for me. The original is better. Nice work on the review.
December 12, 2010
Yeah, this will probably go near the bottom of my list of favorite Coen movies. I still need to see Hudsucker Proxy and all of Intolerable Cruelty. The only other one of they're movies I've seen that I didn't really like is The Man Who Wasn't There and that at least gets points for trying to be arty.
December 12, 2010
I personally enjoyed "The Man Who Wasn't There", but it wasn't one of their best films. I didn't like "The Hudsucker Proxy", I mostly enjoyed "Intolerable Cruelty", and so on and so forth.
November 09, 2010
Yeah, this was lackluster if you love the Coen bros. Nice review!
November 09, 2010
Oh yeah. Really lame for the most part. It had it's moments but nothing special.
October 21, 2010
I actually kinda liked this flick, I do need to rewatch it. Great review.
October 21, 2010
It's not the worst thing I've seen but I love the Coen brothers and this was a movie that really fell short for me. I think it was more "fun" then The Man Who Wasn't There.
More The Ladykillers reviews
review by . April 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
So I'm progressing through the Coen Brothers movie panoply and I come here, where once again (as in Intolerable Cruelty (Widescreen Edition) the Coen Brothers rely on a big name lead (Tom Hanks here, George Clooney there) to carry the movie while frankly it seems they coast a bit.    I'd say they should stay away from borrowed material (this is a nominal remake of a 50's crime caper), except for the excellent No Country for Old Men which I know is coming soon in my journey and …
Quick Tip by . October 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Coen Brothers in a very underwhelming (for them) movie about a silver tougned con man and his gang of criminals to rob a Casino and use an old woman's house as cover. This is not the Coen's best work.
review by . September 09, 2004
The Coen Brothers versus The Ladykillers could be a more appropriate title for this mixed bag of a film. Based loosely (very) on the Alec Guinness classic, this seems yet another outlet for the Coens to parody the South. The plot is known: a fancy speaking Professor of the Ancient Languages (Tom Hanks) gathers miscreants from a small town in the South to rob the quasi-legal money from a gambling boat on the Mississippi. The staging facility is a room rented from a heady gospel-infatuated yet strong …
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John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


Remake of the 1955 film.

If you've never enjoyed Alec Guinness in theclassic 1955 British comedythat inspired it, the Coen brothers' remake ofThe Ladykillersmay well prove hilarious. For starters, it's got Tom Hanks in a variation of the Guinness role, eccentrically channeling Colonel Sanders, Tennessee Williams, and Edgar Allan Poe in his southern-fried performance as Prof. Goldthwait Higgins Dorr, Ph.D. (named after an actual arts institute curator from the Coens' native Minnesota), a deliciously verbose con man who needs a secret headquarters for his five-man plot to rob a riverboat casino moored on the Mississippi. In the film's funniest and least-caricatured role (and even she can't elude the Coens' comedic stereotyping), Irma P. Hall plays the churchgoing widow who rents a room to Dorr, whose crew of "musicians" (in keeping with the original's plot) use the lady's root cellar to tunnel to the casino's cash-rich counting room. Rampant mishaps ensue, the body count rises among Dorr's band of idiots (including Marlon Wayans, spouting nonstop profanities), and the Coens put their uniquely stylish stamp on everything. It's a funny movie, allowing for some nagging flatness to the material, but if you've seen the original (and other vintage comedies from the heyday of Britain's low-budget Ealing Studios), you'll eventually wonder,what were they thinking? Accounting for all the qualities that grace any Coen ...
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Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: March 26, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: William Rose, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Runtime: 1hr 44min
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
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First to Review

"A VERY Mixed Bag"
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