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Critic’s Choice: The Coen brothers get a mini-retrospective and a fresh critical appraisal

Critic’s Choice: The Coen brothers get a mini-retrospective and a fresh critical appraisal
Michael Stuhlbarg in the Coen brothers' 2009 movie "A Serious Man." (Wilson Webb / Focus Features)

Early on in his superbly written new book, “The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together” (Abrams), the critic Adam Nayman acknowledges the difficulty of considering Joel and Ethan Coen’s pictures in isolation, so intricately constructed are they individually and as an overarching body of work. He concludes that “for all their focus on random mischance, nothing in the brothers’ vise-tight, magisterially engineered movies could possibly be happening by accident.”

The American Cinematheque will offer a welcome opportunity for audiences to test this thesis with June 21-23 retrospective screenings of “No Country for Old Men,” “Blood Simple,” “The Big Lebowski,” “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” “Fargo” and “A Serious Man,” all at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. Nayman will introduce the films and sign copies of his book beforehand; the screening of “A Serious Man” will be introduced by the actor Fred Melamed.

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‘Tying the Coen Brothers Together’

Where: Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica

Tickets: $12 ($8 with membership)

Friday, June 21, 7:30 p.m.: “No Country for Old Men,” “Blood Simple”

Saturday, June 22, 7:30 p.m.: “The Big Lebowski,” “The Man Who Wasn’t There”

Sunday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.: “Fargo,” “A Serious Man”

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