Much like the somber melodies that float throughout its 105-minute runtime, Inside Llewyn Davis will remain lodged in your head weeks after you and the film first meet. With Oscar Isaac's "Fare thee we-e-ell..." ringing daintily in your ears, you'll shuffle out from the grasp of the Coen Brothers' wonderland of gray, but you won't soon be able to relieve yourself of what is arguable the pair's best film yet. Llewyn's is a story so outstandingly simple — he's a man who's s**t out of luck, and not especially deserving of any. He wakes up, loses his friend's cat, plays some music, and wishes things were better. And yet his is the Coens' most invigorating and deftly human tale yet.
Llewyn Davis makes the bold, but practical, choice of never insisting that we love its hero. He's effectively a jackass, justifying all the waste he has incurred with the rudeness he showers on the majority of those in his acquaintance. But Llewyn Davis isn't the villain here, either. The villain is the industry, and all the uphill battles inherent to its machinations. The villain isn't Llewyn's substantially more successful contacts — an old pal Jim (Justin Timberlake) and new fellow couch-surfer Troy (Stark Sands), but the listening public that prefers their saccharine pop to his dreary drips of misery. The villain isn't Llewyn's resentful old flame Jean (Carey Mulligan), no matter how many volatile admonitions she might shoot his way, but the act of God surrounding their unwitting adherence to one another. And it's not even the cantankerous and foul Roland Turner (a delightfully hammy John Goodman), but the endless, frigid open road of which each man is a prisoner (if the film has one flaw, it's that this segment carries on just a bit too long, but that might very well be the point). The villain is the cold.
Call it all a raw deal. But the real dynamism isn't in the challenges that happen outside Llewyn Davis, but in the determined toxicity brewing inside as he meets each and every one.
But this isn't the Coen Brothers' Murphy's Law comedy A Serious Man — we don't watch a chaotic pileup of every imaginable trick that the devil can manage to pull. Llewyn is steady throughout, not burying Llewyn deeper but keeping him on the ground, with the fruit-bearing branches forever out of his reach. In its narrative, Llewyn Davis is as close to natural life as any of the filmmakers' works to date. Perfectly exhibited in a late scene involving a trip to Akron, Llewyn isn't a cinematic construct, but the sort of person we know, so painfully, that we are very likely to be... on our bad days.
Still, working in such a terrific harmony with the grounded feel of Llewyn himself, we have that Coen whimsy in their delivery of 1960s New York City — rather, a magic kingdom painted in the stellar form of a 1960s New York City. And not the New York City we're given by the likes of Martin Scorsese or Woody Allen. Closer, maybe, to Spike Lee or Sydney Lumet, but still a terrain unique to moviegoers. A New York that's always recovering from a hostile rain, and always promising another 'round the bend. One that flickers like a dying bulb, with its million odd beleaguered moths buzzing around it against the pull of logic. There is something so incredibly alive about the Coens' crying city; this hazy dream world's partnership with half-dead, anchored-to-earth portrait like Llewyn is the product of such sophisticated imagination at play.
And to cap this review of one of the best features 2013 has given us, it's only appropriate to return to the element in which its identity is really cemented: the music. Without the tunes bobbing through the story, we'd still likely find something terrific in Llewyn Davis. But the music, as beautiful as it is, is the reason for the story. As we watch Isaac's hopeless sad sack drag himself through Manhattan's winter, past the helping hands of friends and into the grimaces of strangers, as we struggle with our own handfuls of nihilistic skepticism that any of this yarn is worth the agony (or that our attention to its meandering nature is worth the price of a ticket), we are given the rare treat of an answer. Of course it's all for something. Of course it's all about something. It's about that beautiful, beautiful music.
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The twins' 21-year-old sibling is making a name for herself in Hollywood, following her debut in Martha Marcy May Marlene, but she is refusing to sacrifice university for her burgeoning film career.
Olsen, who is studying psychology at New York University, will put her education on hold to shoot director Rodrigo Cortes' upcoming thriller with De Niro, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy, but she's adamant her classes will always come first.
She tells the Hollywood Reporter, "Robert plays a world renowned psychic and Sigourney is a psychology professor, and I play her student. Cillian Murphy is my love interest, though that's not a huge part of the story.
"I'm so lucky that school is always there for me when I take these little breaks. But my education is always a priority."
Well, well, well. It looks like there actually might be a modicum of talent in the Olsen gene after all. The twins' mostly unknown younger sister Elizabeth has become a breakout star at this years Sundance Film Festival with her starring role in Martha Marcy May Marlene, and though the drama hasn’t yet been picked up for distribution, the positive vibes the film has garnered are sure to draw a buyer.
But Olsen isn't letting success slow her down. She has been cast in Red Lights, the follow up from Buried director Rodrigo Cortes. As we have reported previously, Red Lights follows Robert De Niro as a psychic who is being interviewed and questioned by Sigourney Weaver, a psychology professor. Olsen will play Weaver’s student and love interest to Cillian Murphy. The film is a psychological thriller with elements of paranormal activity.
Good for Olsen. I’m not saying her older sisters' success is undeserved, because after all they worked throughout their entire childhood, but it is always nice to see actual talent rise to the top. Hopefully it’ll stick around.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Welcome to the Cillian Murphy guide to picking roles! Is Christopher Nolan directing? If yes: accept role! If not, ask "does the title have the word 'red' in it"? If so: accept role! Umm, is the title Disco Pigs? If so: accept role! Ok, so the guide only works for like six of his films, but it did make a great intro for this story!
Murphy has joined the film Red Lights from Buried director Rodrigo Cortes. The film also has Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver starring, which we previously reported. Weaver plays a psychologist who begins to investigate a psychic (De Niro) and then things start to get paranormal.
Anyway, round of applause, pat on the back, and a hearty good job to Murphy. It's not that easy to play creepy (trust me, I would know, wait, no, don’t trust me, wait, that was creepy which totally proves my first point and wow this got out of hand) and Murphy does it with relative ease. That was a very backwards way of saying he’s a very talented actor and is well deserving of all the new projects he's got in queue, including the psychological thriller Retreat and Andrew Niccol's previously titled I'm.Mortal (now retitled Now - that's a weird read itself).
De Niro will join Sigourney Weaver in the line-up for psychological thriller Red Lights, directed by Buried filmmaker Rodrigo Cortes.
Weaver will play a physiologist whose study of the paranormal leads them to investigate De Niro's character.
The film is set to begin shooting in February (11) with locations planned for the U.S., Canada and Cortes' native Spain, reports Daily Variety.
Rodrigo Cortes directed the Ryan Reynolds' contained thriller Buried, that took place entirely in a coffin in which Reynolds found himself buried alive. Interesting premise for a movie. Cortes’ next film will be Red Lights which currently has Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver attached to star. The film deals with a psychologist, Weaver, who studies paranormal activities that eventually leads her to a psychic, De Niro.
That’s it. That’s all you needed to know about this development. A bit of cute writing and clever word play would not have helped you enjoy that bit of news any more, would it? And yet, the writers at Variety thought it would be clever to throw in a few terrible puns like “De Niro, Weaver dig 'Buried' director” or “"Lights" turns on...” To make matters even worse, they use the word “skedded” when they meant to say “scheduled.” Come on, Variety writers. It’s bad enough that I can’t read your articles without you forcing me to pay for them. But if you want me to pay for terrible writing like that, no thanks. I know I’m not the world’s greatest writer out there but I don’t pretend to think people should pay for this stuff. But if you really get what you pay for and I have to pay for horrible puns like that? No thanks. I’ll take my free dick jokes any day of the week.
With that being said, I still wouldn’t mind being buried in Weaver’s box, if you know what I mean.
Buried stars Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy a contract truck driver in Iraq who much to his own surprise wakes up from within the confines of an old wooden coffin buried an indeterminate depth underground. He doesn't immediately know who has kidnapped him or what he can do to try and get out; all he knows is that the clock is ticking and unless he can reach the outside world he is going to suffer a horrible death.
By most measures of common sense Buried should not be as a whole the harrowing film it is. That's not because it's directed and written by relative newcomers Rodrigo Cortes and Chris Sparling respectively nor is it because Reynolds lacks the power to anchor a film all his own. It's because Buried is a 95-minute movie that takes place entirely from within the confines of a coffin. By all expectations a movie that never leaves a space that's barely big enough to fit a human being should quickly run out of steam.
So how does director Cortes turn a film that takes place in such a tortuously small setting into a full-blooded feature that satisfies its run time? He starts with Reynolds as his centerpiece. For years the actor has been cultivating his presence as a handsome and charming leading man but here the camera doesn't care one bit about selling tickets based on showing off Reynolds' physical features. It's all about Reynolds' ability to make an audience understand his thought process feel his fear and share his panic as to whether or not he will ever see daylight again.
And though Reynolds has proven more than capable of showcasing rapid explosions and suppressions of heartfelt emotions it doesn't hurt that director Cortes from a logistical standpoint never gives the audience any reason to doubt his star's pain. It flat out looks like Reynolds was buried alive and someone somehow snuck a camera in to film it. Obviously that's what a film called Buried should look like but in an age of filmmaking where technology separates actors from the harms their characters face it's exciting to see a film that completely removes the illusion of a safety barrier between the two.
The first 15 minutes alone will no doubt induce uncomfortable squirming and nervous flinching at the sight of Reynolds trying fruitlessly to do well anything from inside his pitiful tomb. The opening of Buried should become a cinematic reference point for how to make audience members suffer claustrophobia simply by watching someone else trapped within its clutches. Unfortunately the rest of the film isn't quite as consistently riveting as its stellar opening.
From a technical standpoint Cortes is ahead of the curve throughout the entire film. That's why it's regrettable that Sparling's script occasionally gets in the way of Cortes and Reynolds' disconcerting ability to make the audience go through everything Paul is going through. When it's just Paul desperately trying to perform simple tasks like reaching a cell phone on the other side of the coffin Buried is phenomenal. It's when Sparling's script runs out of interior threats to throw at the man that things begin to teeter on the precarious edge between unforgettable tension and reluctant melodrama.
Paul's situation is already dire enough as it is to trap the audience in the coffin with him. Between cell phone battery life and simple concerns like whether his lighter is burning too much oxygen there's more than sufficient motivation to feel awful for Paul. So when Sparling finds ways for the people on the other end of the phone to needlessly (and sometimes implausibly) rain on his already crappy parade even more it comes across as a little too forced and breaks the illusion that Reynolds and Cortes have so fantastically maintained throughout.
Even with a few scripting missteps however Buried consistently manages to recoup its confidence and pull the audience back into caring about the situation at hand. The film's ability to do so is simply further testament to the strengths of Cortes as a detail-oriented director (cinematography sound design and score all combine together in subtle yet highly effective ways) and Reynolds as considerably more than just a handsome leading man. It's refreshing to see him dominate a range of emotions this daunting and there's little doubt that Buried will later be remembered as both a landmark film for the actor and a benchmark exercise in isolationist horror movies.