Bathtubs Over Broadway is pure pleasure, both in its exploration of a hidden and uniquely American corner of show business and its portrait of the charmingly nerdy Young and his singular path toward rescuing this sub-sub-sub-genre while many of its executors are still alive to tell their stories.
Maybe it was the massive reshoots — directorial credit is shared by Lasse Hallstrom, who shot the first go-round, and Joe Johnston — or perhaps the script by first-timer Ashleigh Powell was always muddled and convoluted, but the results are singularly dispiriting.
It gives Steve Coogan one of his finest screen roles to date and for Reilly, it’s another triumph right on the heels of “The Sisters Brothers.” Whether you adore Laurel and Hardy or have never seen them in action, this film celebrates both the artist and the tenacity it takes to remain one.
As an inducement to dig into the Queen back catalog, Bohemian Rhapsody is an unqualified success. But when it tries to be a genuine biopic of a groundbreaking band and its singular lead singer, it’s more like a little silhouette-o of a man.
The Sisters Brothers gallops on screen with a lot of ambitions, and it fulfills them all. It’s a sprawling Western that’s also an intimate character piece; it has moments of wit but also devastating tragedy; it delves into larger themes like the impact of fathers upon sons, and how greed and industrialization lead to environmental devastation, and yet it offers the hope of redemption.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs will be, at best, a charming footnote in the Coens’ career, a project they enjoyed doing, and possibly even more enjoyed turning into a film so they can keep their résumé free of episodic television.