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.
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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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Ozzy Osbourne is urging fans to celebrate his 65th birthday on Tuesday (03Dec13) by donating money to Britain's Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The rocker officially becomes a pensioner in his native England on Tuesday and he has taken to Twitter.com to urge fans to give generously.
He tweets, "I'm using my bday (tomorrow) to raise money for @royalmarsden! Give a gift and donate to help cancer patients."
Ozzy isn't the only star to use his birthday to raise donations for the charity this year - former Spice Girls star Mel C, The Wanted stars Nathan Sykes and Max George and Sir Paul McCartney have also urged fans to give cash to The Royal Marsden.
The Wanted star Max George has broken fans' hearts by confirming he's dating a supermodel. The singer, who was briefly linked to Lindsay Lohan last year (12), has fallen for Adam Levine's ex Nina Agdal, and admits the couple is in its "honeymoon period".
He tells Britain's new! magazine, "We've known each other for about a year. We've been friends for a while and then a couple of months ago we met up and thought, 'Let's take the next step'.
"We're very much in the honeymoon period. She's awesome. She's like a best mate as much as a girlfriend. I've finally found a girl!
"I've always liked having a girlfriend. I've just not managed to settle down for the last two years."
He's not the only band member currently in a high profile romance - Nathan Sykes recently confirmed reports he's dating singer/actress Ariana Grande.
British boyband The Wanted have been forced to postpone filming a second series of their TV show The Wanted Life because of their busy schedule. Producers of the American reality programme are keen to start on a second season but have had to put shooting on hold so the five piece, featuring Jay McGuiness, Max George, Nathan Sykes, Siva Kaneswaran and Tom Parker, can go on tour.
George tells Britain's Daily Star newspaper, "We were going to start shooting this month but we're on tour, then we've got the new album promotion to do. We bumped into one of the execs (executives) in LA the other day and they're really excited to do a second season.
"But to get a crew to follow us all the time on tour would cost a lot, and people want to see the normal stuff as well as the work side on tour."
The boy is currently playing gigs across the U.S.
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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The Wanted star Nathan Sykes has received chilling death threats from One Direction fans over the ongoing boyband feud. The two groups have been embroiled in a war of words online in recent months, but Sykes is convinced some fans have been taking the rivalry too far.
The singer recently underwent throat surgery and he reveals he was bombarded with vicious messages from One Direction fans around the time of his operation.
He tells Britain's The Sun, "What's surprising is I get death threats and I keep out of it. When I was having my throat surgery, I got tweets saying, 'Hope the surgeon slits your throat while he's at it.'"
Max George insists he has received online threats too, adding, "I'm not from the most pleasant of areas, but I can't remember talking like some of those kids do. Some of them are 10 year olds that know ways of sadistic murder."
The Wanted stars Max George and Jay Mcguiness had to apologise to their bandmates after missing a flight to a gig in Florida earlier this month (Jun13) because of an all-night drinking session. The singers were due to jet out of New York for a gig in Florida at the beginning of June (13), but the show was thrown into jeopardy when they arrived too late to board the plane.
George admits they were out all night and still drinking the following morning when they were supposed to be travelling across the U.S.
He tells Britain's Fabulous magazine, "Me and Jay missed our flight from New York to Florida... because we were still in the pub at 10am."
McGuiness goes on to reveal they received an angry phone call from bandmate Nathan Sykes: "Nathan rang us, telling us about this certain line he expects us to adhere to. So we were like, fine, you're the boss, let's be professional from now on and I think we have been."
George insists they made it to Florida in time for the show, but they had to apologise to their bandmates: "We got on a later flight and went and did the gig and it was great. But we had to apologise to the boys, who were a bit p**sed off (angry) with us."
The Wanted star Max George almost drowned after falling into a drunken slumber while partying in a hot tub. The British singer passed out in a Jacuzzi following a boozy night out in Los Angeles, and slipped under the water while being filmed for the group's reality TV show The Wanted Life.
One of the cameramen quickly jumped into action and pulled the star from the pool with a little help from bandmate Nathan Sykes - and George now credits the pair with saving his life.
He tells Britain's Daily Star, "I went under water in the middle of the night in the hot tub and didn't know. I owe a massive thank you to our night cameraman - he actually saved my life.
"Nathan did a bit as well. He just wasn't strong enough to pick me up. But he did help drag my naked, wrinkled body out. It wasn't that we weren't aware we were being filmed, we were so intoxicated we didn't care."
"He had a nodule on one of his vocal cords, which is quite a serious thing for a singer, I guess. It's what Adele had but she's done alright." Max George on The Wanted bandmate Nathan Sykes' recent vocal surgery.
Boy band The Wanted have a long wait before Nathan Sykes returns to the group after successful vocal cord surgery as it could be months before he's hitting the high notes again. Sykes went under the knife last month (Apr13) and now his pals face a nervous wait before he returns to the stage and the studio.
Max George explains, "He’s OK. His voice hasn’t come back properly yet, but they said that could take months and I spoke to him the other day by email and he said the operation was successful, but it could take a long time. We all have our fingers crossed for him."
And George tells U.S. DJ Ryan Seacrest that he and his bandmates are really beginning to miss Sykes' voice as they continue to perform without him: "That’s a little bit weird because he has a huge voice and he’s such a presence."
But there is one plus to not having Sykes on the road with them. George jokes, "It’s so much more relaxed and we are on time for everything... it’s really weird."