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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis

Is it the media industry that’s in the shitter? Or is it the content itself that’s stuck to the back of the toilet? Who knows, maybe we’re to blame for digesting this garbage. Because quite frankly, I don’t think public relations, commercialism, and technology has ever been so abundant, profitable, advanced…essentially, easy. The ones who’s jobs it is to shove this over-saturated, bland, overcompensating drivel down our throats until we choke are succeeding, they’re doing their job. And sure, the ones who create the pollution are at fault to an extent, but the crap they conjure up is kind of intentional isn’t it? I mean, if we keep gobbling it up and spewing currency into their wallets like a volcano, who can blame them, right? So doesn’t that mean the reason for quality’s collapse stems from us, the consumers? Who do you think is to blame, the creators, the sellers, or the swallowers?

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Sorry about that rant, I’m just out of “Inside Llewyn Davis” and it’s making me wish things were better nowadays. And I’m not just talking about music either. I had to travel quite aways to catch this flick because it wasn’t playing in my area. And this is happening all to often recently. The only place showing the film is a small art-house downtown that’s a bit of a hassle to get to for me. I have no problem travelling to see a movie, especially one of this caliber. It’s just that, I have quite a few cinemas in my surroundings…big, new, expensive theatres and you’re telling me not one of them bothered to pick this up ? I know the reasons are obvious, for example, compared to the big-budget flicks staring A-listers screening, “Inside Llewyn Davis” would earn mere peanuts. Which is where the problem begins I guess. It’s not like the Coen brothers are unheard of to cinephiles. I mean, would people rather watch mindless trash or sappy romance flicks than this towering achievement? Maybe it’s just me, I’m probably just preaching or being stupid. Anyway…

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As I previously stated, the film we’re discussing here is the Coen brothers latest masterpiece, “Inside Llewyn Davis.” It opens on a lonely microphone surrounded by  a disheartening silence. Llewyn soon breaks this soundless void with a haunting, melancholic folk ballad that sets the tone for the rest of the film. If you’re searching for a flick with hope, laughter, and happiness, this is not the experience for you. “Inside Llewyn Davis” is about as depressing, honest, and real as it gets. Soon after, we set off accompanying Mr. Davis, a young folk musician, as he struggles to sell himself and find work. Llewyn then begins to implode under the weight of his own principals and broken relationships. Down and out, Llewyn makes one last push to rise above it all and hitches a ride to Chicago in hopes of jump-starting his career. Making new friends, losing old ones, and accidentally alienating those who love him. Llewyn suffers under our greatest fear, loneliness, as he tries to stay true to himself.

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Granted it’s not the Coen’s most complex, exhilarating story. It’s but a brief moment in a young, talented, ambitious man’s life that they depict, every high and low with staggering accuracy and sparkling authenticity. There’s no doubt you’ll experience, sympathize, and feel more with “Inside Llewyn Davis” than any other film this year. Spotted with gloomy skies, dirty sunsets, harsh weather, and the unforgiving, breathtaking countryside. The Coen’s continue to utilize poignant, terrifying visuals to create unfathomable depth and atmosphere. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more masterful use of what the Earth offers naturally. The dialogue isn’t as memorable as some of the Coen’s more comedic, violent films, but offers up some genuine humour and heartbreaking quips. Alongside this, a series of original and classic folk songs by Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Bob Dylan, and others lay an assault upon your body. “Inside Llewyn Davis” has the best soundtrack of the year, hands down, enough said.

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Finding a cast that is as talented on the screen as they are musically inclined is a hell of a feat. A task that the Coen brothers seemed to relish undertaking and one they achieved beyond words. Starring Oscar Isaac in the title role, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garret Hedlund, and Justin Timberlake. “Inside Llewyn Davis” offers up one of the best ensembles 2013 has to offer. Without question, Isaac leads the way here. He gives a phenomenal portrayal of an invested, skilled, worn musician fighting with his artistic mindset and conforming to survive. There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be picking up quite a few accolades come award season. Mulligan is as striking as ever and quite easily leaves the viewer smitten. It’s a real shame she doesn’t get the recognition she deserves. Hedlund and Goodman, although sparsely used, form a charismatic, obnoxious duo that’ll leave you grabbing your sides and clenching your heart. Hedlund closely matches Isaac stride for stride and hopefully will break through with this role. Timberlake brings his talent to the film and not much else, which isn’t any fault of his own. His character is short and not given a chance to develop.

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Right now, the Coen brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis” is battling Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” for my favourite film of the year…that should speak to how good this film truly is. I mean, I’m not a fan of musicals or dance flicks, and I’m not claiming that this film is either of those, but it does have similar elements. I’m merely saying that this expressionistic, impressionistic piece is so bloody brilliant, down right transcendent that it envelopes the screen and radiates life. It may or may not be the Coen’s greatest achievement, but it’s pretty damn close.

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Inside Llewyn Davis: 9.5 out of 10.

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The Great Gatsby (2013)

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Although it may lose track of its source material, feel ostentatious and overly feign. The Great Gatsby’s breathtaking visuals, captivating performances, and superb direction are enough to rescue it from becoming a complete disaster. No doubt those who’ve read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless novel, like myself, will have a harder time appreciating Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation than those not familiar with the text. However, if you’re able to separate from it and Fitzgerald’s unparalleled take on decadence, the American dream, and idealism. You’ll find that regardless of its primary focus on cynicism and extravagance, Luhrmann’s rendition isn’t all vanity and indifference. Sporting an array of high-profile actors and a substantial amount of glam and glitter. The Great Gatsby is a party you weren’t invited to, yet can’t help but enjoy.

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Nick Carraway (McGuire) is a Yale graduate and a veteran of the first World War. Also a depressed alcoholic, Nick visits a psychiatrist and continually talks about a man named Gatsby. When Nick begins to struggle describing Gatsby, his doctor suggests writing his memories down. Recalling events beginning in 1922, Nick describes how his relationship with Mr. Gatsby came to be. Taking a job as a bond salesman in New York, Nick rents out a small house on Long Island in the village of West Egg. Soon after, Nick travels across the bay to visit his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) and her husband Tom (Edgerton). Afterwords, Tom and Nick go to an apartment which Tom keeps for his affair with Myrtle (Isla Fisher), George’s (Clarke) wife. Later on, Nick receives a party invitation from his mysterious neighbour Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio). As more time passes, Nick and Mr. Gatsby grow close. Soon, Jay has an unusual request for Nick and what follows is a gripping tale of love and loss.

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It is certainly frustrating to watch Luhrmann’s portrayal of the Roaring Twenties without the consequence and disintegration that Fitzgerald so elegantly masked. That being said, if Luhrmann’s discarding of social politics is inadvertent or not, there is no denying that he poignantly and potently captures the surface story of distanced lovers. While it may not provide, nor portray the downfall of the American dream. This adaptation of The Great Gatsby does brush a certain element that made the original text so relatable and distinguished. Luhrmann absorbs Fitzgerald’s relentless facet of reckless and uninhibited youth. While overall it may miss the mark on the underlying themes. The Great Gatsby does hit some of Fitzgerald’s plot points dead on and proves to be a worthy adaptation.

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Starring the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Toby McGuire, Joel Edgerton, and Jason Clarke. The Great Gatsby definitely has the eccentric, ecstatic, enthusiastic cast to illuminate the decadence and excess of the rich, wayward youth. Their dialogue and phantasmic appearances may appear to lack authenticity, but I assure you it’s accurate. Though everyone and everything seems staged, it never dwindles The Great Gatsby’s brightness.

Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t miss a beat in his accurate take on the eloquent and mysterious Jay Gatsby. Even though it’s not as formidable as his other, more impeccable roles, it’s certainly as memorable, old sport. Joel Edgerton, arguably only outdone by DiCaprio, exudes the diabolical deviance that plagues Tom Buchanan’s warped mind. Popping up for only a few minutes at a time, it’s difficult to judge Clarke’s performance. However, in limited time, Clarke’s role is significant and he, typically, makes good use of his screen time. As for McGuire, in the lead role caught between friendship and morals, there is nothing to nitpick over. Finally, the spellbinding Carey Mulligan gives another weightless, enduring performance.

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Setting aside the power of its performances, the absence of social-political themes, and the plausibility of certain viewers likeness of it. The real strength of The Great Gatsby lies within its costume and set designs. However one may feel towards Luhrmann’s adaptation, there is no ignoring the entrancing beauty of the visuals. Accompanied by an odd mixture of classical and current music, the striking sets and Luhrmann’s direction form a sedating toxin that weaves through the viewers veins.

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With each passing day, the more it grows on me. The highest praise I can give at the moment is that, The Great Gatsby is near impossible not to enjoy. Set aside the literary comparisons and take it for what it is.

The Great Gatsby: 7 out of 10.

Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2013

All right, now, not to be confused with last week’s “Top 10 Films of 2013 Predicted.” This week’s Top 10 will consist of the 10 most wanted films set for release in 2013. Judged by budget, publicity, and overall excitement stemming from the general public, this Top 10 will feature, in a general sense, crowd pleasers. Without any further ado, let’s begin.

Honourable Mentions: Anchorman 2, Monsters University, The Wolverine, Elysium, Sin City 2, Kick Ass 2, Evil Dead.

10: Thor: The Dark World. The hotly anticipated follow up to 2011’s smash hit Thor. This soon to be blockbuster stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins.

9: The Great Gatsby. From visionary director Baz Luhrmann and starring a plethora of stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan. and Jason Clarke. The Great Gatsby seems primed for stardom.

8: The Green Inferno, V/H/S 2, and The Conjuring. This is for all of you who need your horror fix, a lot like us. Coming from modern horror master such as James Wan, Eli Roth, and Adam Wingard. This trio of frightening delights is sure to leave your pants wet and in need of a wash.

The Conjuring Trailer:

V/H/S 2 Trailer:

The Green Inferno: First official picture.

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7: This is the End and The World’s End. Here to get you prepared for the apocalypse are these two doomsday comedies. Brought to you by the guys behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The World’s End reunites Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. Also starring Martin Freeman, The World’s End looks like to become another cult favourite. As for This is the End, starring a multitude of comedies best such as Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Jonah Hill. This hilarious heavyweight film should be interesting to say the least.

This is the End: Red Band Trailer.

The World’s End:

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6: World War Z. Brad Pitt, Zombies, and based off of Max Brooks highly addicting novel, need I say more?

5: Iron Man 3. The Third entry into the Iron Man trilogy. It features an army of iron men and Ben Kingsley as a villain. Your argument is invalid.

4: Pacific Rim. Directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Idris Elba. This monster vs man picture features the use of gigantic robots controlled by humans battling humongous aliens, I’m sold.

3: Man of Steel. Produced by Christopher Nolan and starring Michael Shannon as General Zod. Man of Steel is the highly anticipated reboot of the Superman franchise.

2: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The follow up to An Unexpected Journey. Peter Jackson’s The Desolation of Smaug should be a much improved film and appease those disappointed by the first.

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1: Star Trek Into Darkness. I have nothing to say, I am beyond words with anticipation. Just enjoy the trailer.

Top 10 Films of 2013 Predicted

To make the directive of this list clear. The films contained are what myself and cinema2033 believe to be the best hopes for cinema in 2013. Again, these are our preferential films, not that of the general viewing public. We are simply predicting what we think will be our favourite or preferred films of the year. We will be creating a separate list with what we believe to be the most anticipated films of 2013. That list will be our perceived notions from discussing and judging the amount of publicity, budget, and overall excitement of the general public. Without further delay, Enjoy another chapter of our top 10 series.

Let’s begin this list with the honourable mentions. Stoker, A Single Shot, The Look of Love, American Hustle, Don Jon, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, The Fifth Estate, Out of the Furnace, Kill Your Darlings, and Before Midnight. We would also like to insert Terrence Malick’s 2013 film, even though its cast, story, and release date are kind of up in the air at the moment.

10: Inside Llewyn Davis. Directed and written by the Coen brothers and starring Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, and John Goodman. Inside Llewyn Davis is sure to be another Coen brother smash.

9: Mud. Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols, the mind behind Shotgun Stories and the hauntingly epic Take Shelter. Mud stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Michael Shannon.

8: Trance. The new film from the brilliant Danny Boyle. Trance is a mind-bending thrill ride featuring outstanding performances from James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel.

7: The Counselor. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s incredible novel and helmed by none other than Ridley Scott. With its outstanding cast that features Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Javier Bardem. The Counselor is ripe with genius and ready for viewing.

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6: The Place Beyond the Pines. Directed by Derek Cianfrance and starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Rose Byrne, and Ben Mendelsohn. The Place Beyond the Pines is an intricate gem.

5: The Way, Way Back. What seems to be an endearing coming of age romantic comedy. The Way, Way Back looks to have another outstanding performance from Sam Rockwell and an unusual role for Steve Carrell.

4: Nymphomaniac. Directed by the creative and controversial Lars von Trier. Nymphomaniac appears to be a fresh take on sexual addiction with Shia LaBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Stellan Skarsgard leading the way.

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3: The Wolf of Wall Street. Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, need I say more?

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2: Only God Forgives. The Duo of Gosling and Refn appear to be stealing the spotlight from Scorsese and DiCaprio, and rightfully so. This follow up to their 2011 hit Drive is one of the most anticipated releases of 2013.

1: Twelve Years a Slave. Steve McQueen, director of Hunger and Shame, teams up once again with Michael Fassbender for this mid-1800 slavery epic. Also starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, and Scoot McNairy. Twelve Years a Slave has all the key facets to take top spot as our best film of 2013 predicted.

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If you think we overlooked a film or made a grave error on our list, please comment below. Also, if you have recommendations for future top 10’s, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Shame (2011)

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If you have any inquiries regarding your sexual orientation or if you think you masturbate too frequently, this film will answer all your questions. Of course I am kidding, to an extent. Shame is an uncensored look at sexual addiction and the strain it places on social interactions, careers, and personal and formal relationships. Shame stars the always incredible Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank), Carey Mulligan (Drive), and James Badge Dale (The Departed). Shame is directed by the emerging rock behind the camera Steve McQueen (Hunger), who has one of the most highly anticipated films of 2013, Twelve Years A Slave.

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Brandon (Fassbender), is a New York office worker in his thirties. On the outside, Brandon appears to be any ordinary New Yorker, social, formal, and active. It is these very qualities that allow Brandon to carry out his sexual needs and desires in a consistent and secretive manner. However, when Brandon’s sister Sissy (Mulligan) arrives unexpected and begins to live with him, Brandon’s sexual addiction starts to become unveiled. After a night out with David (Dale) to watch Sissy perform, boundaries are crossed and Brandon and Sissy’s personal lives begin to disintegrate.

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If you plan on watching Shame with family or on a first date, I would reconsider. If you feel uncomfortable viewing nudity or sex in private or public, this film is not for you. After seeing this film at the Toronto International Film Festival, I would urge you to reconsider however. Set aside your morals and pride for a couple of hours and watch this film. This unflinching look at sexual addiction is the first film of its kind. Fassbender goes all out, literally and figuratively with no restrain. This is Fassbender’s most invested role since Hunger, also directed by McQueen. Fassbender and McQueen are the future Scorsese and DiCaprio. Carey Mulligan’s portrayal of a wild, unforgiving, depressed sibling was one of the best supporting actress performances of 2011. McQueen, who has been relentless since directing his first full length feature Hunger, sheds a necessary light on film censorship and the need for less of it. There is no hiding behind the curtain of appropriateness in this film. The world is a harsh environment and McQueen displays it beautifully.

Shame: 8.5 out of 10.