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I am completely smitten. I have long admired Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
and what they have offered the realm of cinema. I am in love with
"Fargo" still until this day, and they've provided solid efforts on
nearly every outing since. Their newest endeavor that focuses on the
folk scene in 1961 is an absolute dream. Everything from the impeccable
Oscar Isaac to the music that enriches the deepest trenches of the
soul, "Inside Llewyn Davis" is one of the best pictures of the year,
plain and simple. It's the Coen Brothers finest film since "Fargo."
Our story begins with a folk singer, Llewyn Davis that has continued to pursue a music career in 1961 despite being penniless and lacking any real stability. Migrating from couch to couch, we get a deep look into a character with a dream that just won't die. As he fights for his chance to share his voice with the world, following an unexpected loss of his singing partner, Llewyn is hard to love. He makes poor choices and seems to lack any responsibility in his life. It's a wonderful creation of a character that offers insight into a changing time in our history.
First of all, I can't get the amazing music out of my head. All the songs used are absolutely brilliant. Oscar Isaac's richly matured tone is so soothing and authentic; I'm surprised a music company hasn't nabbed him up to make a record yet. His opening and closing songs are his, as well as the film's, pivotal moments that encapsulate the endearing message and theme. "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" and "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)" are astonishing records that may not just fall into an Oscar race but a Grammy wouldn't shock me in the least. It has the same magical effect as "Searching for Sugar Man," two films that seemed to capture the innocence and culture of a generation that seems lost. In terms of performance, Isaac is incredible. So raw and genuine, it's one of the year's finest performances by any actor. He has made himself one of the most exciting actors to watch in the coming years. This will lead him into more challenging and accessible roles. This guy could become one of our finest actors in just five years' time. This is something that should land him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. It's very much deserved.
In their respective but short screen times, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and Carey Mulligan are all infectious and notable. Goodman plays a character similar to his "Harling Mays" from Robert Zemeckis' "Flight" and makes the most out of his appearance. Mulligan is volatile and I loved every second of her. She brings lots of dark humor and fire to a role that shows the depth of her abilities as an actress who can perform impeccably in any genre. We even get her singing again which had me melt two years ago during her "New York, New York" in Steve McQueen's "Shame." Hedlund comes and goes but makes his mark as he often does.
Justin Timberlake has made a seamless transition from musician to actor and back to musician. Great in roles like "The Social Network" where his star power doesn't distract from the story at hand, in a Coen Brothers film, where he sings (in a very current pop way), he becomes a bit distracting. I was very aware that Timberlake, probably this generation's Michael Jackson, was sharing the screen. More than likely not his fault, it could be a case of being "too big" for your movie.
One thing that the film has taught me we need to give Adam Driver more movie roles. Timberlake, Isaac, and Driver put their marks on one of the songs "Please Mr. Kennedy," and make it one of the year's most fun and remarkable numbers.
Joel and Ethan Coen continue to show their ranges in directing and writing. Flawlessly executed in character understanding and keeping our story moving. Llewyn Davis is such a complex and interesting man and their screenplay gives Isaac room to breathe and explore the subtle nuances that make his character unique and real. As their alter ego Roderick Jaynes, the film moves like a smooth monorail, hitting all its marks and picking up new and exciting quirks along the way.
An almost silver-green canvas evokes the dark and grey tones of the New York scene in 1961. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel masterfully captures the ticks and beats of Isaac as he sings with heartbreaking emotion and walks through the frigid cold streets. Jess Gonchor's production design places us all in the folk scene, with intimate bar settings, old-time music studios, and even the classic feel of a Greenwich Village apartment building.
CBS Films has a gem on their hands with "Inside Llewyn Davis." A sure- fire Oscar contender in several categories including Best Picture. If there's any justice in the film world, Oscar Isaac would firmly sit near the top of the finest performances of 2013 in Best Actor and nab nearly every award he comes in contact with. "Inside Llewyn Davis" is sensational and an instant classic to be remembered.
Read Oscar Predictions @ The Awards Circuit (http://www.awardscircuit.com)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the mixed up world of Coen works, Inside Llewyn Davis stands as a
rather unique piece against the hilarious misadventures of films such
as The Big Lebowski (1998), Raising Arizona (1987) and O Brother, Where
Art Thou (2000). I'm tempted to compare this latest work to No Country
For Old Men (2007), but even then, No Country's morbid tone is at odds
with the poetic soul of Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). The film follows a
week in the life of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a mildly known folk
singer, embodying a Bob Dylan-esque sort of life in 1960's New York, as
he plays little-attended shows at The Gaslight Café in the West
Village. Painted as the unsung genius, Llewyn is at a standstill in his
life as he struggles to survive on what little money he has, and on
what few friendships remain. One such friendship that draws particular
focus is the complex ties between Llewyn, and fellow musicians, Jean
(Carey Mulligan) and Jim (Justin Timberlake). While Llewyn holds the
raw roots of his soulful folk above all else, Jean and Jim test the
waters of mainstream accessibility and stardom, a life that Llewyn
holds in little regard. At the risk of revealing too much about the
plot, Llewyn is loaded down with constant rejection, grapples with his
relationship with his father, and eventually drives to Chicago in a
last-ditch effort to salvage his meagre career.
Though Inside Llewyn Davis is at its heart, a beautifully understated profile, it has some wonderfully funny moments as well - the best of which concerning the tabby cat who more than once, manages to derail Llewyn's already arduous life. One brilliant scene observes a shouting match over the cat's lack of scrotum.
There are a few fresh faces to the Coen-verse with Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and Oscar Isaac in the titular role, but there's one Coen regular whom I'm always jazzed to see. Barging unapologetically into this reflective space, is the coked-up, crutch-wielding, ass hole jazz man, Roland Turner, played by the large and loud John Goodman. Toss in Steve Buscemi and I'd feel right at home!
Like their 2000 film, O Brother, Where Art Thou, the Coen Brothers took on the talent of T-Bone Burnett to arrange their collection of folk covers. With every soulful performance or every toe- tapping rendition, it's the music of Llewyn Davis that will send you head over heels for the film. Acting as a stark contrast to the grey, frost-licked New York City, the warm passion of the soundtrack is the lifeblood of this beautiful film.
In its running time of 105 minutes, few definite conclusions are drawn in regard to Llewyn's career and with the film ending in the same place as it started, it seems unlikely that he will break free from his cycle of obscurity. But then, the film really isn't about Llewyn's 'career' or his friends, because this is a film about Llewyn. The beginnings of the film highlight a raw, unabashed view on rejection and obscurity accompanied by this nagging expectation that Llewyn's life might blossom into a success story. But ultimately, that's not what the film is about and it's goal is not to satisfy filmic convention. Inside Llewyn Davis is very simply, a soulful and beautifully drawn portrait of a man and his music.
Inside Llewyn Davis is a hard film to quantify. It is very much a Coen
Brothers movie, and it is very much its own thing. I did not know the
history of the story. I did not know the story behind the Gaslight club
in New York nor did I know of the famous figure who started at the bar
back in 1961 when the film takes place. I found out after the film was
over. However, not knowing that, I still thought this was an incredible
There are oddly poetic scenes in the film. There is a scene where the main character Llewyn Davis hits a cat with his car. As he watches the cat limp away into the darkness injured, I felt that it was an interesting image that seemed to mirror Llewyn's life in the film. Although I was aware of the poetic aspect of the film, I did not feel that they were forced moments. In interviews the Coen Brothers always seem to play dumb. In an interview for this film the Coen Brothers talked about the cat in the movie, and how they didn't know what to do with the story, so they threw in a cat. Anybody who has seen a Coen Brothers movie can appreciate that this is far from the truth. Every moment and image seems to be very specifically placed, and that was the case for this movie as well.
You can't judge this movie the same way you would judge every other film this year. It's almost as if the Coen Brothers have their own language that they are speaking, that the audience does not fully understand. We catch some things, and even with those few moments, I was mesmerized. Sometimes I really notice their style like in their film A Serious Man, and I find myself confused and bored, but this film felt very true to me. I sympathized with the main character and his struggles, perhaps because I consider myself a creative person as well, so I know how hard it is. At one point Llewyn says, "I'm just so f-ing tired," this line says a lot more than just I want to sleep. It is something we can all relate to, a feeling of just wanting to give up, and in this way, the story is a universal one, but then again it's the Coen Brothers, so automatically I know some people might not like it, but I loved it.
Saw the prescreening at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI with
average expectations, this is my reaction:
This film is an experience, but not for any sort of superficial special effects, action or CGI. It's an experience in which you will feel fear, joy, hate, hope, sorrow and contempt all within an hour and 45 minutes that feels more like 15 minutes. We are sidelined, watching a short snippet of Llewyn's seemingly dismal life, drudge on by, yet we are drawn. We connect with Lleywn's anger and struggles, as if we too are burdened by his failures and challenges. But amongst the bad, there are moments of cheer, and laughter and peace reminding us that good still exists. What dominates is power, balanced by music, money and pride, yet this movie is better served as a reminder that life is an experience, and individualistic. We are reminded that more often than not, things do not fall into place and luck is rarely on our side. But no matter how many times people fail you, one should never fail, before one's self. This movie is an experience, it indirectly breaths life into each of our souls, and should appeal to anyone in touch with the most crucial human emotions: compassion and empathy. Hold on tight, because it is one experience that will remain with you long after the credits are through. Perfectly casted, perfectly scripted, perfectly filmed; perfectly entertaining.
this movie is fantastic, saw it in Paris theater UGC Bercy Village, close to the François Mitterrand library.
another diamond from the Cohen Brother...the character study is impressive the decoration is marvelous and second character are delightful...
this is a road trip, Llewyn is a mouse trap inside the brain of the Cohen brother... no sugar no salt...each scene is a call to your judgment..
the movie play on the edge like a tightrope walker crossing ...
run to see it...
la policy d'IMDb m'oblige a accouter Des ligneous Fin DE fare prairie ma critique Du film Des frees Cohen (a la Francaise) 10 ligneous...10 ligneous...
Sometimes when you are with your friends you will go into those 'what
if' scenarios. You know things like what if you found a million
dollars, or what if you only had one week to live? I always remember
someone asking me what would be the one thing you would grab if your
house was on fire. Well I want to change that question to this: if you
could only choose one filmmaker to always make movies, which would you,
choose? How do you decide, when there are so many great filmmakers?
Well my choice would be the Coen Brothers. Now I know what you are
thinking, I said one filmmaker, and my answer happen to be brothers,
but my response to that would be, when they direct and write their
films they are like one incredible creative force.
I choose the Coen's because they march to their own drummer and tell stories that always seem special, and memorable. They don't make movies that exist in the normal world; instead they invite you into their world. Now in the Coen's world there tends to be a lot of anger, but with that anger you also get passion and the most unique kind of humor as well. In their new film "Inside Llewyn Davis", they tell a story about a young folk singer trying to navigate Greenwich Village in 1961. That singer's name is Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), and if you couldn't guess by the name the story is about him. Llewyn is trying to cope with being on his own after his musical partner jumped off the George Washington Bridge. Although extremely talented things just don't seem to go right for Llewyn, and it is mostly his fault. You see Llewyn does not have the best attitude and always relies on the generosity of others to survive. It could be crashing with his friend's girlfriend Jean (Carey Mulligan) or getting work with Jim (Justin Timberklake) to help pay his debts. No matter how bad his life can get though, Llewyn can always escape into his music.
I know why I love a Coen Brother's movie; to me it is just like comfort food. As in comfort food, you know what you are getting; you will get great characters, a great story, and a little added "Coeness" that makes their stories so special. While their movies have those central elements in common, their stories and themes are never the same. With "Inside Llewyn Davis" everything is there and as with "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" we get a great soundtrack to boot. Oscar Isaac is brilliant as Llewyn Davis, who learned to play guitar for this role. In fact all of the musical scenes where actually recorded live during filming for an authentic sound. Everyone has a favorite Coen movie, because no two seem to ever be alike. The only thing they have in common is they are always seem to be one of the better movies of that year, and with "Inside Llewyn Davis" that trend remains.
read this and other reviews @ http://the2cinemen.blogspot.com/
I have seen the movie last Saturday. My expectations were not too high,
because I don't really fancy folk music.
I left the theater impressed. Although music is a main element, the focus is on Llewyn. He carries the movie.
Symilar in tone with "Barton Fink" and "A Serious Man", "Inside Llewyn Davis" stands out with its beautiful visuals and melancholic narrative.
The titular character and the glimpse we have in his life remind me of "The Catcher In The Rye"'s Holden Caulfield , but I can't help to compare it to the Norwegian movie "Oslo, August 31st", which shares the same tone but in a slightly more depressive manner.
Do not set your expectations high or low, just go into it with a clear head. This is as different from True Grit as "No Country For Old Men" is different from "A Serious Man".
An 8 out of 10 for me.
And one more thing: the trailers make the movie look visually gloomy to an exaggerated extent, which is not the case in the movie theater.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just come out of viewing it in Paris. It is typical Coen's, wonderfully
created and performed, especially the 'minor' roles, so typical of
their attention to detail. No spoiler but there is a start and finish
repeat scene which sets the film in context. It has also a few horrific
scenes, again typical and the soundtrack is used to perfection to wake
one up, if you were ever going to sleep!!
Cat lovers will love it and will be sad and happy.
So, what's the decision. Good Coens, good story well told, good characterisations, wonderful ambiance of NY in the 60s.
However, I'm of the generation when the 60s was the 60s for me, out of school in the late years, into Beatles and Stones - living in Ireland, when the folk scene let us escape from the stifling 'traditional Irish music' scene. The Clancy's were the start on mass media, but there were hundreds of lesser mortals who were better.
I ask, what are the Coens saying? Are they (just) reliving their youth, or part of it? Are they indulging their film interests, making a musical? Are they just "doing it" ? Either way a very entertaining 2 hours, not Oscar stuff in my opinion, and anyway 2014 will be Hanks..... gung ho stuff.
I give it seven/ten, because it is them and it relives part of my life, good enough reasons.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*** SPOILERS APLENTY! ***
This is one of those movies that I can't review unless I go into why I didn't like it. So, yes, there will be extensive spoilers.
After seeing this, I wonder if the Coen's have been hanging out with Woody Allen. That's because "Inside Llewyn Davis" is as purposefully depressing as Allen's "Blue Jasmine." I give this movie one more star than the other, since the music is pretty good. But, that's the only reason.
Right from the outset, Llewyn Davis, the folk singer main character, is shown to be self destructive and depressed. We wonder why this is as the movie goes on. We do learn a key reason why that is, the sudden suicide of his singing partner. And, we can sympathize with that to an extent. But, apart from that, Davis gives us no reason to care any further. He does have to deal with a hyper angry girlfriend, who is only able to yell the same line at Davis again and again.
We are given little bits of hope for Davis here and there. Mainly in how he takes care of a cat that got out of an apartment where Davis was crashing. Davis loses the cat, and finds who he thinks is the right cat, but isn't. When he returns to the apartment with the wrong cat to where the original cat lived, we get one hilarious joke that had me really laughing. Davis leaves with that cat who wasn't the apartment dweller's.
But, that seemed to be a turning point in the movie, as the quirky, funny moments that came before stopped. From there, it got more and more dark and depressing.
When the Coen's have the scene where Davis leaves that wrong cat in a car along the road, it's as if the Coen's are telling the audience to go @#$% themselves. It's as if we are being made fun of for actually caring about Davis this whole time. We are shown that he really doesn't care about anyone but himself. So, why should we care? The end wraps this up, where Davis is playing on a night when the New York Times is in attendance. Davis performs passionately, for what seems like the first time. But, as it turns out, Bob Dylan follows Davis, on the historic night when Dylan received a positive review from the Times. So, we are led to believe that Dylan is the one discovered, while Davis is again left out in the cold.
I don't know if this film is supposed to be challenging somehow, or if it is just purposely depressing. My guess is that it is supposed to be depressing. I don't think that the Coen's really care about their audience in this circumstance. It is only that I saw the movie at a free preview that I'm not more agitated.
As for the rest of the movie, the music is good, but fairly low key. T. Bone Burnett, the man behind the music in films like "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," does well again here. But, the music isn't as memorable.
The cinematography in many recent Coen films has been by the great Roger Deakins. Here, it is by Bruno Delbonnel. It has heavily desaturated color, and is pretty diffused. So, it isn't at all attractive.
I would avoid this film until it is on disc or on cable. Paying $13 or whatever to see it is way too much. I am glad that my cost was $0. That seems like an appropriate amount.
***** (5 Out of 10 Stars)
Inside Llewyn Davis is an intimate, well-executed, and honest slice of
life. It features a humanistic, heartfelt performance by Oscar Isaac as
the titular folk singer, arresting cinematography, and a sharp,
tight-fisted script by the Coen brothers, who also directed.
It's Greenwich Village in the early sixties, when folk music was either coming into its own or ready to be usurped by a more mainstream genre. Llewyn has no home, drifting from gig to gig and crashing on couch after couch as a matter of design; is vagrancy is his life's plan. Llewyn is at turns a noble soul who exists for the sake of making the music he wants to make and a resentful twerp who mooches off friends just to sustain his unsustainable lifestyle.
The movie is only somewhat linear, with closing scenes mirroring opening scenes, and it is told entirely from Llewyn's point of view. The Coen brothers masterfully show us not only Llewyn's perspective but also an outside perspective; this allows us to feel both empathy and loathing toward him.
Llewyn is nothing if not complex. The movie does a terrific job of avoiding the usual clichés, such as a down-on-his-luck musician catching a lucky break, or a bitter man having a quick change of heart. It's not that Llewyn is constantly sneering at everyone, holding his poverty up as both a shield and a trophy, it's that he is so multilayered that when he does a kind act or offers some praise or thanks, we don't feel that his doing so is in any way out of character. Llewyn is a self-tortured soul, but unlike caricatures of wandering folkies, he is at his center a realist, albeit a prideful one.
During his travels and travails, Llewyn encounters people ranging from the genuine (his singing friends Jim and Jean, played by Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan) to the absurd (a rotund, blustery John Goodman). Oh, and a cat that travels with Llewyn - at least until he can get him or her back to the owner. The encounters with the genuine folks feel just as normal as if you or I encountered them; those with the more absurd of the lot feel perfectly surreal, and when they do end one almost wonders if we've all imagined the encounters through Llewyn himself.
The music is beautiful and moving. Isaac himself performs Llewyn's songs, with a sweet, vulnerable voice that offers a touch of soul to Llewyn's otherwise-bleak surroundings. When Llewyn is really on, you can feel his pain leap right off the screen into your brain; when he appears to be going through the motions and not singing from his heart, you can feel the lack of depth that his intended audience also feels. Isaac is just flat-out terrific.
Ultimately, it is Isaac and the music that push this film into the territory of great cinema. The story itself is stark, moody, unyielding - just like a New York City winter, really. And the movie, like Llewyn's own life, appears to have no point - except to illustrate just how pointless Llewyn is making his life, through his stubborn marriage to his craft and a desire to stay uprooted
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