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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
As I walked out of the theater where my friend and I had just paid $11 each to see this film, I thought to myself, "Well, maybe next time they'll actually make a movie." Because I would not really consider this a movie. It is a half-baked, moody character sketch of an unbelievable character. As another reviewer pointed out, Llewyn Davis is quite good looking and capable of performing passionately. To think that not one of the women in the clubs he plays would offer him a place to sleep for the night is absurd. That is only one example of how the film favors contrivance over believability. John Goodman's character is another big one.
The movie is a pointless waste of time, a dreary faux-odyssey about a character who is such an awful, self-centered person that you could not possibly care what happens to him. But don't worry, because nothing happens to him. The film ends as it begins, with him getting beaten up for being a selfish jerk. As many have pointed out, this movie does not capture the heady, vibrant spirit of the early 60s folk scene in NYC. If you want that, read Bob Dylan's wonderful Chronicles, Vol. I.
I've enjoyed many of the Coen Brothers films, but they just phoned this one in, I guess. Or they've become so enamored with their own Hollywood brilliance that they can't tell good from bad. And Hollywood is so shallow and moronic that I would not be surprised if this gets nominated for "Best Film." Yeah, right.
I enjoy a lot of folk music, from early Dylan to Nick Drake and many others, but the songs in this film were long and boring and unmemorable. Huge amounts of the film are devoted to Llewyn singing ENTIRE SONGS (like five or six minute long songs) that are in no way remarkable. I guess that's the point, since he's supposed to be failure. Instead of devoting film time to character or plot development, to comedy or entertainment, we are supposed to be entranced somehow by the emotion of this fake music. I guess it worked magic on professional film critics. The "Please Mr. Kennedy" novelty song was beyond stupid. And when Davis abandoned the cat in the car with the passed out, possibly even dead, Goodman character, I thought, "Screw this guy! I hate him. I hope he gets beaten up again. I'll beat him up."
As a work of art, which it clearly aspires to be, this movie lacks intricacy, depth, or insight. The Coens already covered this material with Barton Fink, which I've always enjoyed, but BF was a much more satisfying and entertaining film. I'd rather go see a mindless Star Trek movie than something this pretentious and intentionally pointless. I don't want to see it again, not even for a buck at Redbox. This is the worst Coen Bros movie I've seen.
Entertaining, if you don't think about it too much: CONTAINS SPOILERS!
I've really enjoyed reading all of the negative reviews here at IMDb. In some ways, it's been as entertaining as the film. I enjoyed watching the film, but ultimately it's a dumb movie, very poorly written and conceived. Visually it's quite fine (though not as stunning as Avatar), but the characters' actions, as many reviewers here have stated, are nonsensical and the whole film seems like a cheap set up for the next in the lucrative series.
Agreed: There is no reason or motivation for Charlize Theron's character. She's sexy as hell; guess that has to be good enough. Makes no sense that they would open the door for the zombified geologist; only reason was to create the ensuing action sequence. Dr. Halloway acts like a petulant frat boy when he learns that the Engineers are long dead-- yeah, I guess discovering the race that visited ancient human civilizations isn't very exciting. How did the guy who was in charge of the sophisticated mapping orbs (the geologist) get lost in the structure, especially when in contact with the ship, which has a detailed map of the whole structure? Makes no sense at all. Why don't Charlize and Noomi run left or right instead of the way the spaceship is rolling? How did the Engineer get so quickly out of the crashed ship to chase after Noomi and why is he so intent on killing the remaining human? How does the decapitated David know what's going on in the space pod while he's laying on the control room floor? What was the point of Weyland keeping his presence a secret? Why wouldn't you perform psychological and personality tests on the crew before sending them on such an expensive mission? Why would a biologist be such a scaredy- pants? These are not "mysteries"; these are holes in the writing. Horrible script, just horrible. I guess if you truly believe in Xenu and the Body Thetans, though, as Scott supposedly does as a Scientologist, then your need for things to be logical or believable is at a much lower level than most people. All the Christian and Jesus stuff seemed out of place, too, as if setting us up for a sequel in which Jesus is an Engineer, etc.
Great visual effects and design. Terrible writing.
Les herbes folles (2009)
Waste of Time
Last Year at Marienbad is one of my all-time favorite films. I like Hiroshima, Mon Amour, too, but find it less compelling (I know others would disagree with me). I am no stranger to anti-realist, surrealist, and experimental film. I thought it would be interesting to see a recent Resnais film that was actually available at Redbox! I was wrong.
Wild Grass is neither amusing nor interesting. It is tedious, ridiculous, and nonsensical (and not in a good way). It "hints" at many aspects of the main character's past and personality, playfully suggesting he was a convicted murderer or rapist who has served his time. In addition to that, he acts in completely contradictory ways, is usually irrational and petulant, and is lecherous, dumb, and abusive to women. He slashes the woman's tires and she eventually finds this kind of behavior irresistible? He sexually assaults her business partner/friend in the latter's car, and the friend enjoys it? Can you say "misogyny"?
And we're supposed to believe this beautiful young woman is his wife? I kept thinking: I must have gotten it wrong; this must be his daughter who is, for some reason, pretending to be his wife. A colossal casting error this alone. Maybe she was identified toward the beginning of the film as his daughter, but I couldn't bring myself to care enough to go back and re-watch the beginning.
The main characters seem to have a lot of money, suggesting some level of responsibility (the woman, after all, is a dentist), but they act worse than teenagers, and even more irrationally and self-destructively. I felt compelled to see how it would end, but was, predictably, annoyed with myself for having wasted so much of my time. This is a very stupid film and I would not recommend it to anyone.
And one reviewer here gave us the "key" to the film: the dentist represents Death! Wow. As if Ingmar Bergman never existed? If I have to read the film metaphorically in that way, then it depends entirely on a secret "key" that 99 percent of viewers will not get. I could think of nothing more pretentious than that. No thanks.