Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) Poster

 

Written and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

As a Coen Brothers film, I don’t think Inside Llewyn Davis has their iconic sense of humour; however it does seem to be on par with the development of their works.  In comparison to my personal favourite, Raising Arizona, it would be difficult to draw parallels between the two, you can’t really see the same auteur traits, however in comparison to their later films such as True Grit and A Serious Man, and you can definitely see the darker style and ambiguous almost dissatisfying ending.

Llewyn, not necessarily the most sympathetic character as critics are quick to pick up, is a struggling folk musician in 1960s New York. We follow his journey, both literally and metaphorically, to make a living out of his music, and to be able to live with his music.

We are introduced to fellow musicians, fans of the TV show girls will be thrilled with the appearance of the show’s Adam Driver, as well as the lovely Carey Mulligan playing Jean, of Jim and Jean, Jim being played by Justin Timberlake. However in this pair, it is Jean that steals the show, arguably the most sympathetic character, going through an extremely human experience. Had we sympathised with Llewyn, the audience may have found her character annoying and loud, however though her constant referral to Llewyn as “Asshole”, we find ourselves agreeing with her, and also being able to find laughter in her anger.

Although this isn’t my favourite Coen Brothers film by far, I have had the soundtrack on loop all morning. For a film about a musician, it achieves making the music the main character. It is different to other films in the way music is presented; it allows the music to just play. There’s no huge introduction to each song, there’s not a massive production, its natural and it flows with the narrative rather than interrupting it.

You cannot talk about Inside Llewyn Davis without mentioning the cat. The cat is, personally, my favourite character. The care that Llewyn gives this cat also adds a certain bit of humanity to his otherwise cold and quite careless personality. He goes through the film insulting other people, whether on purpose or otherwise. This cat almost redeems him from this through some part of the film.

The unlikable protagonist can be seen as typical of the Coens.  Their crime thriller Fargo arguably has little or no likeable characters, neither doe A Serious man, however it’s their ability to create real characters and still make the audience want to watch their films that show their distinct and incredible ability as film makers.

365 Film Challenge

So I have decided to aim to watch 365 films in 2014. Most that I have looked at were done in 2013 or 2012 and use tumblr or imdb, but I’ll try it on here and would love to know of and follow anyone else who has decided to do it too. Also, should it include only films I havnt seen before or every single film I manage to watch this year?

I’ll try my best to post either a mini review with each film or a synopsis or at least a rating of the film so that it is in keeping with my review style blog. I’ll also try not to neglect my singular reviews as one of my new years resolutions is to keep up with my reviewing more!

Here goes..

#1 Gnomeo and Juliet (2011), Dir. Kelly Asbury

Love the alternative child- friendly ending to Shakespeare’s tragedy. Emily Blunt and James McAvoy give voice to the title characters in this lovable adaptation of this well known story.

#2 Much Ado About Nothing (2012), Dir. Joss Whedon

This just reminded me of how amazing this story was and how incredible Whedon is. Having laughed my head off at the typical Shakespearian style comedy, I am glad I bought this on dvd as this is a film I will want to watch over and over again.

#3 The Heat (2013), Dir. Paul Feig

Sandra Bullock is queen. That is all. Oh and Melissa McCarthy is pretty hilarious too.

There seems to be a comedy theme or a Shakespeare film going on here, looking forward to the rest of the year!

The Heat (2013) PosterGnomeo & Juliet (2011) PosterMuch Ado About Nothing (2012) Poster

The Cornetto Trilogy – Classico Flavour – Hot Fuzz (2007)

Written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright

Directed by Edgar Wright

This film will always hold a special place in my heart as the first rated 15 that I ever got into at the cinema. I was lucky enough to study it at film A Level and so gained so much more enjoyment from the repeated viewings which I was able to get away with as “revision” for my exam. The more I watched/ studied this film, the more I fell in love with it. The constant movie references means that each time I watched it, I gained more, understood more, laughed more. Its one of those films made by film fans for film fans and yet can be enjoyed on a surface level as well. It is because of Hot Fuzz that I watched Straw Dogs and Point Break, two amazing films that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Appearances from British comedy actors and favourites of the trilogy, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy and Steve Coogan just add to the classic British-ness of the film. The cameo from Peter Jackson as a bad Santa will make every film nerd chuckle to themselves.

Taking inspiration from heritage Britain films such as the Wickerman (1973) and big budget American cop films such as the mentioned Bad Boys 2, Hot Fuzz combines so many genres it will be hard not to find something you like. It is set in the small town of Sandford, which happens to be played by Wrights hometown of Wells, Somerset, and houses a true police bromance that is tested when the idealistic village of the year plays host to some suspicious accidents. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a top London cop sent to a small town police station because he is showing up the rest of the force. Upon arrival in Sandford, Nicholas angel gains a warm welcome by the village including Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), Mary Porter (Spaced’s Julia Deakin) and Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), and a not so warm welcome from his fellow police officers, the Andys (Paddy Constantine and Rafe Spall) and Sergeant Turner (Bill Bailey). As the film goes on, Nicholas realises the influence of the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance on the village’s upkeep and their focus on “the greater good”. These suspicious accidents seem to be connected and it is up to Nicholas Angel to uncover the truth about Sandford.

The bravest opening shot I’ve ever scene, one long almost static take of Nicholas Angel walking towards to camera, which I for one would have been too scared to make last that long, opens this film with high expectations of incredible camera work. You will not be disappointed. Along with the typical editing that we as an audience have come to expect from an Edgar Wright movie, there are plenty of quick cut montages to go around. A surprising turn of events allows us to revel in Pegg and Wright’s story telling abilities, as well as revelling in the amount of quotable lines that will get you every time.

As one of my favourite films, Hot Fuzz is a definite recommendation. This action/ heritage Britain parody will have to you in stitches as well as covering your eyes at shock gore moments. This is one for the film collection; it just gets funnier each time.

The Cornetto Trilogy – Mint Flavour – The Worlds End (2013)

Witten by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright

Directed by Edgar Wright

My most anticipated release of 2013 provided appearances, within the first 60 seconds, from Peirce Brosnan, Michael Smiley and Bloody Mary from Shaun of the Dead. My first thought: how am I going to afford all the repeated viewings I’m going to need to fully appreciate the brilliance of this film?

Determined to finish the ‘Golden Mile’ in his home town of Newton Haven, Gary King (Simon Pegg) rounds up his gang of friends, now family/ business men, to finish what their 18 year old selves could not. To reach The Worlds End. When they arrive, their town is not what it used to be, and the name of the final pub takes on a whole new meaning. Appearances from previous Wright/ Pegg/ Frost collaborations will not leave cult fans disappointed, and the mixture of Bromance, Rom-Com and Dystopian end-of-the-world sci-fi genres are guaranteed to reel in the imaginations of new fans.

I was lucky enough for my local cinema to be showing the full Cornetto trilogy along with the midnight release of The Worlds End and so my mind was refreshed and ready for the newest instalment of my favourite trio. I was happy to notice that the classic Edgar Wright montages are again present along with incredible performances from classic British actors, such as Martin Freeman and Rosamund Pike, and inside jokes that I know I will be sharing with my friends for a long time to come.

What sets this apart from the other two films in the trilogy is the much deeper back story to the main character, which some fans may find shocking as it is emotionally a lot darker than the other films. Also the much stronger willed character of Nick Frost, who plays T- total wingman turned business man Andrew Knightley as opposed to the unemployed Ed of Shaun of the Dead or inept police officer Danny of Hot Fuzz. As those of you who have seen interviews with Wright Pegg or Frost will know, the film also contains less direct references to other films which I have become accustomed to when watching a film by this trio, but it does not take anything away from the film, it was just a decision by Wright to pay a more subtle homage  to Sci Fi literature. Never the less,  The Worlds End has the funniest most unpredictable ending I have seen in years, relatable to everyone in the cinema, you will love this film.

As I have been waiting for this final instalment of the trilogy for so long it may come as a surprise that it actually met and exceeded my expectations! Although my favourite will always be Hot Fuzz, this is an incredible ending to my favourite zom-rom-com-police-parody-dystopian trilogy. I woke up with my ribs hurting from laughing so much from the screening last night, that’s the best way I can describe how much I adored the film. Literal rib cracking laughter. Words cannot describe how much I love this trilogy, but I have tried. For anyone who is yet to go and see The Worlds End, be prepared to wake up as I did, sides hurting from the continuous laughter, and for those who already have … Lets Boo Boo.