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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Singer Neneh Cherry made an impressive comeback in London on Tuesday night (12Nov13) ahead of her first album release in 17 years. The Swedish star is gearing up to release a new record in early 2014, her first solo studio album since 1996's Man, and she marked her impending chart return by taking to the stage in front of a star-studded crowd in the U.K. capital.
Cherry played several old and new tracks at the bash to celebrate the first birthday of hotspot Sushi Samba at Heron Tower in front of celebrity guests including Leona Lewis, Alexa Chung, Mark Ronson and his DJ sister Samantha.
British pop star Mollie King is turning catwalk queen by joining the same model agency as Alexa Chung and Suki Waterhouse. Bosses at Next Models in London have added The Saturdays star to their books alongside a host of fashionable faces.
The blonde beauty says, "When I was approached by Next, I was so surprised, so excited. I feel really flattered to be placed alongside the names they already have, it's incredible. I'm used to having the girls around me, so it is a bit scary to be doing things on my own, but they were all so excited for me. I'm really looking forward to the next step."
As well as style icon Chung and Burberry model Waterhouse, who is dating Hollywood star Bradley Cooper, Next Models also represents singer King's fellow pop stars Rita Ora and Lana Del Rey, as well as model Alice Dellal.
King already has connections to the fashion world - she's previously dated top male model David Gandy.
TV presenter/socialite Alexa Chung is glad she took time away from dating after splitting from Arctic Monkeys rocker Alex Turner as she had no idea how to cope without a man in her life. The former MTV girl broke up with Turner in 2011 after four years together, and the romance had come hot on the heels of her three-and-a-half year relationship with photographer David Titlow.
Chung was left distraught by the split and has only allowed herself several casual flings since the break-up, because single life made her realise she did not even know how to change TV channels properly.
She tells Britain's The Guardian, "I'm not heartbroken any more, but I definitely was... It was various people. There was one big thing, and then there were various ill-advised flings I had to get over him, so yeah... But is this gross to talk about? I feel he wouldn't talk about it. I don't know how relevant it is now, whereas if you asked me at the time, 'How you doing?' No one even asked... But I don't know whether to be open and vulnerable about it and say, 'I had a s**t time', or to be quiet...
"But I don't want to imply he broke my heart. I was grieving for the loss of something... I'm grateful for the experience of that s**t time, and for being on my own. I'd never really been on my own before - I'd always gone from one relationship to the next - so I had to learn all this stupid stuff. Like, how do I work my f**king TV? And now there isn't a dude to tell me how to put up the blinds. But it's good to learn how to work your way round a drill."
However, Chung reveals she still remains close to Turner, adding, "Oh yeah, he's my best friend."
Model and TV host Alexa Chung is to launch a makeup line. Chung, who is also a contributing editor for British Vogue, is teaming up with Eyeco to advise the brand on products. She'll also feature in the firm's ad campaign.
She says, "It's a creative relationship. I send images and different inspirations to Max and Nina (the creators of Eyeco) and we go from there. It's quite free form at the moment."
The line will be out in November and will feature a limited edition liquid eye liner and mascara set bearing Chung's name and art.
She continues, "Liquid liner is my savior. Other people like other things to feel like they look normal, but for me, I'm pretty much naked without my eyeliner on. It's my comfort blanket."
British TV host Alexa Chung still suffers "flashbacks" from her days as a teen model when she was allegedly forced to strip off in front of strangers to land jobs. The small screen star launched her career as a fashion model and admits she often had to take off all her clothes at castings in a bid to win work.
However, Chung insists she "knew it was wrong" to be asked to strip, but never told her parents about what was going on.
She tells Britain's The Times, "I never really asked my mum or my dad's advice during that time and it actually felt like I didn't want to tell them too much about the reality of what was going on - when I was taking the train to London and being asked to do certain things. I already knew it was wrong. So, you know, if there was a casting where some creepy man there had gone on to his flat in Ilford (in Essex, England), and (said), you know, 'Take your clothes off...' and if I'd have done it, I won't tell my mum because I know that's wrong.
"Well, you had lots of castings where they were like, 'This is for swimwear', and in hindsight, I look back and think, 'Did you really need an 18-year-old girl to strip in your front room?'
"I get flashbacks now. Loads of flashbacks. I'll be reminded of something because I've sort of blocked it out and I don't really think of those days. Like, recently, I was like, "Oh my God. That's so not on.'"
Sarah Jessica Parker and Anne Hathaway helped to raise more than $2 million (£1.3 million) for the U.K. art community at a New York City gala on Wednesday (08May13). The Sex and the City star served as an honorary chair for the Tate Americas Foundation Triennial Artists Dinner, which was held to generate support for The Tate, a network of four museums in the U.K. housing British, international and contemporary art.
Parker admitted she was thrilled to get involved with the fundraiser as she loves visiting the museum every time she jets into London.
She tells GuestOfAGuest.com, "I love this museum. I have a routine. I get off the plane in London, and I drop my suitcase at the hotel, and I go immediately to the Tate. It started years and years ago, and I can't explain it. It's inexplicable. Why do we love a boy? Why do we love a book? Why do I love the Tate? I don't know. It's just a wonderful, exciting place to see old works and new works and I've always had this great affection for it. I think it's amazing, and everyone I know that steps into that museum is always thrilled by what they see - young and old."
R&B star Ciara, British TV host Alexa Chung and Martha Stewart also showed up to mingle with artists and benefactors at the glitzy event. Profits will be used to acquire new artwork for The Tate.
Ten years after we watched her walk down the aisle in Love, Actually, Keira Knightley has tied the knot in real life. The Anna Karenina actress has married her beau of two years, Klaxons keyboard player James Righton, according to People.
The couple wed in a small town outside of Marseilles Saturday, where onlookers watched Knightley marry Righton in an unconventional, short tulle wedding dress, complete with a Chanel jacket. According to People, 50 to 100 guests were invited to the nuptials. "It was not a long service," one source tells the publication. "The ceremony occured just before noon and lasted only about 30 minutes. Keira looked beautiful."
The couple, who were introduced to one another through mutual friend Alexa Chung, wed one year after they got engaged in May 2012.
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British actress Keira Knightley is preparing to marry her fiance James Righton in the South of France this weekend (04-05May13), according to U.K. reports. The Klaxons rocker proposed to Knightley last year (12) after 15 months together, and now they are reportedly set to become husband and wife during a ceremony near Nice.
A source tells Britain's The Sun, "Most of their friends will fly out for the wedding on Friday. They've been planning it for a while but wanted something small and private. They could get married in total private in stunning surroundings."
The stars, who moved in together in early 2012, were introduced by mutual friend Alexa Chung in early 2011.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actress previously insisted she wasn't interested in a lavish ceremony, telling Marie Claire magazine, "We're not big-wedding types. I don't need to have all that. I'm just trying to enjoy the engagement bit."