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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Lily Allen took her pop career to new heights on Thursday night (14Nov13) when she performed her new single Hard Out Here on the London Eye tourist attraction. She was joined by DJ/producer Mark Ronson for the sky-high Red Bull Revolutions In Sound gig.
British pop star Lily Allen suffered a crippling bout of insomnia before she unveiled her comeback track to fans. The Smile hitmaker returned to the spotlight this week (beg11Nov13) after spending four years concentrating on motherhood, releasing a racy video for her new single Hard Out Here.
The promo has caused a huge stir, with fans flocking to see the singer seemingly poking fun at her pop peers Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, and Allen admits she suffered weeks of sleepless nights over fears her sarcastic new song and satirical video would prompt a backlash.
She says, "It's (was) an exciting 24 hours, that's for sure. I'm a bit of a catastrophiser (sic). I haven't really slept much in the last couple of weeks, thinking about the negative feedback I was going to get."
The star continued her comeback campaign by performing her new song in a pod on the iconic London Eye attraction on Thursday (14Nov13) alongside her producer pal Mark Ronson for the Red Bull Revolutions In Sound gigs.
Country star Rodney Atkins is a married man after exchanging vows with singer/songwriter Rose Falcon in Florida. The happy couple tied the knot on the beach on Captiva Island on Sunday (10Nov13), with Atkins' son Elijah, from his first marriage, serving as the groom's best man.
The nuptials were made extra special by the fact that Atkins had asked Charles Hutchins, the founder of the children's home where he spent much of his youth before he was adopted by Allen and Margaret Atkins, to officiate the ceremony.
The date was already of significance to Atkins - his parents wed on that day 51 years ago, and the newlyweds decided to mark the special occasion by presenting the singer's mother with a three-carat aquamarine ring.
Atkins began dating Falcon following his 2011 split from first wife Tammy Jo amid allegations of domestic violence. He was cleared of the assault charge and their divorce was finalised in September, 2012.
Doug Williams/WENNFrom the welcome return of an L.A. supergroup to the latest release from this winter's biggest blockbuster, here's a look at five of the best tracks to have been unveiled over the past seven days.Little Mix – "Boy"The highlight of their surprisingly strong second album, Salute, the X-Factor winners continue to distance themselves from their talent show past with a slick and sassy slice of 90s inspired R&B which sits somewhere between Destiny's Child's "Bills Bills Bills" and Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?"The National - "Lean"Initially titled "Dying Is Easy," The National maintain the high standards of the other contributions we've heard so far from the forthcoming Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack with this suitably sombre indie-folk ballad. Britney Spears – "Perfume"Following a string of pulsing EDM-inspired anthems, Britney Spears showcases her more vulnerable side as she tries to mark her territory by spraying her cheating boyfriend with one of her many designer fragrances on yet another perfectly-crafted Sia-penned ballad.Broken Bells – "Holding On For Life"The first taster from The Shins frontman James Mercer and super-producer Danger Mouse's second studio effort, After The Disco, "Holding On For Life" is a gloriously dreamy blend of Americana, psychedelia and funk featuring a falsetto-led chorus which channels the Bee Gees at their Saturday Night Fever peak.Lily Allen – "Somewhere Only We Know"Following in the footsteps of Ellie Goulding (Elton John's "Your Song") and Gabrielle Aplin (Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "The Power Of Love"), Lily Allen gives another British pop classic the stripped-back treatment (Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know") for the soundtrack to department store John Lewis' annual tearjerking Christmas TV ad campaign.
British singer Lily Allen took to the stage in Italy on Thursday (19Sep13) for a warm-up gig ahead of her planned pop comeback. The Smile hitmaker provided the entertainment at the Martini party in Lake Como, playing for guests including model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Shakespeare in Love star Joseph Fiennes.
She was accompanied by pianist Chilly Gonzales, and DJ Mark Ronson later hit the decks at the glitzy bash.
After the event, Allen tweeted, "Thank you Martini Drinks for a wonderful evening, and thank you Lake Como for being so beautiful. Quite sad to be leaving."
Allen took time off from her music career to become a mother to two daughters, but last month (Aug13) she launched a new website and hinted at releasing a comeback single.
"gig tomorrow on lake como just @chillygonzales a piano and me. and @iamMarkRonson for afters... And I have a chest infection! Yay!" Lily Allen is battling poor health as she prepares for an intimate gig with producer/DJ Mark Ronson in Italy on Thursday (19Sep13).
The Flash is coming to The CW's Arrow this year. And he might run faster than the speed of light into his own series, too. The news was confirmed on Tuesday by the President of The CW, Mark Pedowitz, during the 2013 Summer TCA Press Tour.
“We plan to introduce a recurring character and the origin story of Dr. Barry Allen, who you know as the Flash," he said. "We do want to expand upon the DC Universe. We think that there are rich characters we can use, and we felt like this was a very organic way to get there.”
It was announced in February that The CW's most popular freshman series would return for a second season in October. The series stars Stephen Amellas Oliver Queen, a secret hooded crime fighter based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Flash, the newest addition to the series, will first appear this fall and again in 2014, but not necessarily at the hands of a big star. “I’m from the old school and I think TV creates stars. If we get a name, great. If we don’t get a name, they’ll become a name,” he said.
Is the speedy superhero's spin-off series a sure thing? "If you don’t feel the chemistry, it doesn’t happen,” Pedowitz said. Cross your fingers for chemistry, Flash fans!
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Hugh Jackman returns as Twentieth Century Fox unleashed Marvel's The Wolverine in 3,924 theaters and as expected topped the weekend with a debut of $55 million. Notably, this is the sixth film in X-Men film franchise which has to this point generated a massive worldwide theatrical box office total of $1.9 billion! Strong word-of-mouth and solid reviews will keep this one strong in the weeks ahead. The film had a great start internationally:The WolverineWeekend International Gross estimate=$86.1M101 territories, 15,152 screensTotal Worldwide Gross Estimate= $141.1MBudget was just under $120MA- CinemaScoreNotably, this is the sixth film in X-Men film franchise which has to this point generated a massive worldwide theatrical box office total of $1.9 billion! As no surprise, second place goes to Warner Bros.' R-rated horror hit The Conjuring which scared up a devilish $41.8 million in its debut last weekend and was the mid-week champ possessing over $60 million as it started the weekend. With great reviews and solid word-of-mouth, this particular horror movie had a much less severe second weekend drop than is typical for the genre at only 47% and therefore was able to scare up another $22.13 million in further profits during the Friday through Sunday period and $83.867 million to date.Universal's Despicable Me 2 is now the second highest grossing film released so far this year with over $306 million in North America (second now only to Disney's Iron Man 3 which reigns at the top with $407.1 million) as it winds up its fourth weekend in theaters. With another $16 million this weekend it lands in third place and brings its global cumulative gross to an impressive $660.9 million.Fourth place belongs to Fox’s animated Turbo which powered its way past the $50 million mark this weekend with a Friday through Sunday gross of $13.325 million in its second weekend.The Top 5 is rounded out by Sony’s Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups 2 with $11.5 million it its third weekend and crossing the $100 million mark by Sunday night.In its first wide expansion The Weinstein Co.’s Fruitvale Station added 1030 theaters this weekend and impresses with a 10th place finish overall for the weekend with $4.657 million and $6.3 million to date.Woody Allen’s latest film, Blue Jasmine from Sony Pictures Classics performed incredibly well this weekend taking in a massive $612,767 in just 6 theaters and posted the highest opening per-theater average of any film released this year and one of the best of all-time with $102,128. Summer revenues remain strong as we head toward final month of the most important movie-going season of the year. This week look out for The Smurfs 2 from Sony which debuts on Wednesday and 2 Guns from Universal which opens Friday.Top Movies for Weekend of July 26 - July 28 (Estimates)Rank Movie Gross Theaters Avg.Per YTD Distributor01 The Wolverine $55.0M 3,924 $14,016 $55.0M Fox02 The Conjuring $22.13M 3,022 $7,323 $83.86M Warner Bros.03 Despicable Me 2 $16.0M 3,476 $4,610 $306.4M Universal04 Turbo $13.32M 3,809 $3,498 $55.76M Fox05 Grown Ups 2 $11.5M 3,258 $3,530 $101.66M Sony Pictures06 Red 2 $9.4M 3,016 $3,117 $35.1M Lionsgate07 Pacific Rim $7.54M 2,602 $2,898 $84.0M Warner Bros.08 The Heat $6.85M 2,384 $2,873 $141.2M Fox09 R.I.P.D. $5.85M 2,850 $2,055 $24.3M Universal10 Fruitvale Station $4.657M 1,064 $4,377 $6.33M Weinstein Co.
A pair of food truck vendors in Minnesota have been forced to change their company name after Twisted Sister guitarist J.J. French threatened to take legal action against them for trademark infringement. Wesley Kaake and Cody Allen purchased the food truck, The Twisted Sister House of Hunger, from two sisters back in 2011, however they recently received a cease-and-desist letter from French's legal team, urging them to alter the eatery's name or else face a court battle.
An excerpt of the notice reads, "It is the opinion of our client, with which we concur, that your use of the name Twisted Sister will cause dilution of our client's famous mark and will cause confusion among consumers."
As a result, the pair has now shortened the title of their mobile business to House of Hunger, but the chefs are still shocked by all the drama.
Allen says, "I don't know how somebody can get a 20-foot aluminium box mixed up with an '80s rock band. We never refer to ourselves solely as Twisted Sister. We're in the food industry, not the entertainment industry."