The Coen brothers stage a bit of a comeback after last year’s mediocre Intolerable Cruelty
. A remake of the 1955 caper comedy starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, the Coens manage to make it feel like it was their idea from the start. They move the action to the Deep South, which paves the way for some decent Gospel music. Tom Hanks stars as Professor G.H. Dorr, looking like a chubby John Wilkes Booth and speaking with a strange Southern accent. He and his gang move into a cantankerous old lady’s house, using her root cellar as the base for a tunneling expedition into a casino boat, where a large cash bounty awaits. Hanks is hilarious, relishing the chance to do broad comedy in much the same way Jeff Bridges did in The Big Lebowski
, another Coen masterpiece. Irma P. Hall steals some scenes as the bossy woman who wants no “hippity-hop” music in her house. Also stars Marlon Wayans.