The police official who helped Guns N' Roses star Dj Ashba realise his dream of proposing to Colombian actressNathalia Henao high above Las Vegas last year (13) has retired rather than accept a demotion for violating department policy. Captain David O'Leary helped the guitarist pull off an elaborate wedding proposal by arranging a flight on an official helicopter.
The 25 year old, who oversaw the Las Vegas Financial Crimes Bureau, retired last month (Dec13) after learning he was to be demoted to the rank of lieutenant.
His sidekick, Ray Horsley, who piloted the helicopter, is to be transferred out of the Air Support Detail later this month (Jan14), and he will no longer be allowed to fly for the department, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The disciplinary action follows a four-month investigation, which was sparked by Ashba in September (13) when he posted a photo of himself and Henao wearing helicopter headgear on Instagram.com, accompanied by a note in which he thanked the Las Vegas police department for "the most amazing" private helicopter tour over the city.
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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Frank's (John Travolta) ex-wife Susan (Teri Polo) is planning her second marriage to respected businessman Rick (Vince Vaughn) (we know this because he receives an award from the city's chamber of commerce). However Frank and Susan's 11-year-old son Danny (Matthew O'Leary) is having trouble adjusting to the prospect of a new stepfather. The carefree Susan nonetheless goes ahead with the impending nuptials which go off without a hitch until an uninvited guest shows up at the wedding. Turns out this guest Ray (Steve Buscemi) used to be Rick's partner in crime before he became a town pillar and has come to town to collect some sort of unpaid debt. Worried about tarnishing his newfound image Rick decides to get rid of his old buddy. But he soon finds out Danny is on to him and terrorizes the tyke into keeping his dirty secret. Danny tries to get help but no one except Frank believes him.
Travolta (Swordfish) is believable enough as a caring blue-collar father but he doesn't seem to give more to his performance than needed. It could be his over-simplistic character; Frank was almost too good of a guy and lacked authenticity. Vaughn (Made) is menacing enough to pull off the role of Rick but his character is unfortunately never fully developed. Viewers are expected to buy that he was once really crooked and now the pillar of the community with hardly any basis. Polo (Meet the Parents) plays the part of a concerned mother well but it conflicts with her character's aloofness. It's hard to believe her concern over her son after she marries a man she obviously knew nothing about. For his first feature film O'Leary demonstrates a lot of potential for a young actor and was well cast as Danny.
Harold Becker's Domestic Disturbance sticks to the tried and true evil stepfather formula which makes the story a little too predictable. The film might have been more interesting had the story risen above the level of a made-for-TV movie. There were also some elements to the story that made it a bit hard to swallow like the fact that the local police department was not able to prove a murder had obviously taken place. There are a few corny scenes like when Travolta goes crashing headfirst into a car windshield but still manages to give a dopey smile to his terrified son tied up in the back seat. Surprisingly the film still provides enough tension and suspense to make it entertaining even when using old tricks like unexpectedly seeing the villain's reflection in a mirror. The look of the film and the accurate re-creation of a small seaside tourist town in Maryland add to its visual authenticity.