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.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
There are few things in life more terrifying than the thought of being lost in space, but one of them just might be getting lost in IKEA. Anyone who has ever been to the furniture superstore knows that all it takes is one wrong turn before you're left wandering the aisles for hours, unsure of where you are, how you got there, or how to get out. But hey, at least you've picked up a futon and few bookshelves on the way, right?
YouTube user Daniel Hubbard took that terror and used it parody one of the biggest movies of the year, Gravity. Instead of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock getting detached from their space station after floating into an asteroid field, IKEA follows a young couple shopping for furniture for their apartment... before one of them wanders off and gets lost amongst the kitchen fixtures and bunk beds. Instead of a dwindling oxygen supply, Dan is tasked with finding Alex before the battery on her cell phone runs out, and they have to spend their whole Saturday wandering around the store looking for each other.
The video uses the music from the original Gravity trailer to help capture the wonder of first arriving, the panic of getting separated, and the importance of meatball breaks, while the two characters race around the store trying to find each other, but only succeeding in getting themselves even more lost. It even manages to nail the film's more emotional moments with Alex collapsed on the ground in the warehouse, begging that if she doesn't make it out of the store, Dan will still find every item on the list. Now those are some high stakes.
You can experience the terror for yourself by watching "Alfonso Cuaròn's IKEA."
Actor Samuel L. Jackson is considering joining forces with Mark Hamill and Ewan Mcgregor to lobby director J.J. Abrams in person for roles in the new Star Wars sequel after revealing he hasn't been invited to reprise his sci-fi character. The Django Unchained star, who portrayed Jedi Master Mace Windu in three of the six Star Wars films, recently found himself working with Hamill in London and decided to ask the original Luke Skywalker if he had officially been offered a job in Abrams' upcoming seventh film.
He also quizzed McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi opposite him in the most recent films, about Star Wars: Episode VII and was surprised to discover that none of the trio had been recruited for the top secret project.
Jackson tells U.S. talk show host David Letterman, "I asked Mark if he'd heard from J.J. Abrams and he said, 'No', and then all of a sudden, Ewan was there (in London) and I spoke to him on the phone, asked him if he was there doing Star Wars. He said, 'No, they haven't called me.'
"So I was thinking, maybe all three of us could just get together and go over to the Star Wars set and just stand around and see if maybe they could use some old Jedi! And then I heard on television they were auditioning people for Star Wars and I said, 'Well, maybe we should just go through the auditions and see if we can get a job!'"
Jackson admits he's a little disappointed at the prospect of not appearing in Episode VII after making it clear to Abrams that he would jump at the chance to return to the franchise after they were both guests at Star Wars creator George Lucas' summer (13) nuptials.
He adds, "I pretty much hinted to J.J. that I wanted to be in the film at George Lucas' wedding, and he was kinda like, 'Mmm', that was about the most I got out of him."
Official casting announcements have yet to be made, but Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher had all previously been asked by Lucas to make appearances in the forthcoming sequel, while young actors Michael B. Jordan and Irish beauty Saoirse Ronan have confirmed that they recently auditioned for parts.
Production on Star Wars: Episode VII is set to begin in the U.K. early next year (14).
George Clooney has no plans to sign up to microblogging website Twitter.com, because he fears one drunken tweet could end his career. The Hollywood heavyweight admits he has never understood the appeal of social networking and the last thing he would want is fans bombarding him with comments all day and all night.
He tells Esquire magazine, "I don't understand why any famous person would ever be on Twitter. Why on God's green earth would you be on Twitter? Because first of all, the worst thing you can do is make yourself more available, right? Because you're going to be available to everybody.
"So one drunken night, you come home and you've had two too many drinks and you're watching TV and somebody p**ses you off, and you go 'Ehhhhh' and fight back. And you go to sleep, and you wake up in the morning and your career is over. Or you're an a**hole. Or all the things you might think in the quiet of your drunken evening are suddenly blasted around the entire world before you wake up."
Referring to one specific tweet which caused a storm of controversy online, he adds, "I mean, when you see, like, Ashton Kutcher coming out going, you know, 'Everybody leave Joe Paterno alone,' or whatever he said, you just go, 'Fifteen minutes longer and a thought process and probably you wouldn't have done that.'"
Kutcher came under fire in 2011 after slamming education officials for sacking the Pennsylvania State University football team head coach amid allegations he failed to take action against assistant Jerry Sandusky, who had been charged with molesting young boys over a 15-year period.
The actor apologised for the irresponsible tweet and removed himself from Twitter, before reinstating his account and handing control of his profile over to his management team.
George Clooney fears Leonardo DiCaprio is surrounding himself with the wrong kinds of people after once clashing with a member of the Titanic star's entourage during a basketball game. The Ocean's Eleven star invited DiCaprio to hit the court in New York, but the friendly game turned into an unpleasant experience for Clooney, because the young actor's so-called pals constantly boasted about how great their team was.
He tells Esquire magazine, "(DiCaprio bragged), 'You know, we're pretty serious'. The thing about playing Leo is you have all these guys talking s**t. We get there, and there's this guy, Danny A, I think his name is. Danny A is this club kid from New York. And he comes up to me and says, 'We played once at Chelsea Piers (in Manhattan). I kicked your a**.'"
However, the boastful comments promptly ceased as Clooney and his friends trounced DiCaprio's crew, and he worries his fellow screen star is not getting the real advice he deserves: "The discrepancy between their game and how they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what's what. I'm not sure if Leo has someone like that."
Adam Levine's ex-girlfriend Nina Agdal has opened up about the singer's engagement to fellow model Behati Prinsloo, insisting she is happy for the couple. The Maroon 5 frontman briefly romanced Sports Illustrated supermodel Agdal after splitting up from Prinsloo, his girlfriend of a year, in May (13).
But their time together did not last long, and Levine decided to rekindle his love with Prinsloo and proposed to her in July (13).
But Agdal has no hard feelings towards her ex after he rebounded with a proposal, telling Ocean Drive magazine, "I am 21 years old, and I don't think anyone who is 21 knows what love is about yet... I think love just happens. It happened to them and I'm happy for them."
She continues, "If something is meant to be, then it will be. I feel like so many young girls have this idea of a relationship or marriage or love and they don’t even know. We are 21 years old, OK? Go out, have a tequila, and stop worrying about it."
While her ex-beau is busy planning a wedding, Agdal has also moved on to another heartthrob singer - she is dating The Wanted hunk Max George.
Gritty drama For Those In Peril leads the nominations at this year's (13) BAFTA Scotland awards with four nods. Paul Wright's movie, about a loner blamed for a tragedy on a remote Scottish fishing island, is up for Best Film, Best Director, Best Writer and Best Actor/Actress (Film) for its lead George MacKay.
The young star will face competition from Martin Compston (The Wee Man) and Iain De Caestecker (Not Another Happy Ending), while the film will be up against The Wee Man and Fire In The Night.
Wright will fight for the Best Director prize against Kenny Glenaan (Case Histories) and Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon (I Am Breathing).
Ford Kiernan (The Field of Blood: The Dead Hour), Peter Mullan (The Fear), and Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary) are all nominated in the Best Actor/Actress (TV) section.
The ceremony, which celebrates the best of Scottish entertainment talent, will take place in Glasgow on 17 November (13).
Newborn royal Prince George's official christening photos have made history by bringing together four generations of present and future British monarchs for a portrait for the first time in over a century. In the main family shot, taken by fashion photographer Jason Bell, proud great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, sits surrounded by her three future kings - George, Prince William and her son Prince Charles, the current heir to the throne.
The Duke of Edinburgh, George's mum Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, uncles Prince Harry of Wales and James Middleton, aunt Pippa Middleton, grandparents Carole and Michael Middleton and step-grandmother Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are also featured in the happy family portrait, which was taken in the morning room at Clarence House in London following the young prince's christening at the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace on Wednesday (23Oct13).
Since the movie industry is full of adults who act like children, it makes sense that it's preoccupied with the story of the boy who never grew up. And audiences feel the same way. Animated and live-action movie history are rife with adaptations of the J.M. Barrie story. In fact, it seems we should be due another one any moment now. From the musicals we grew up with to the inevitable Johnny Depp vehicle, here are our rankings of the most famous versions.
6. The Direct-to-DVD Disney Fairies Tinker Bell Series
No longer the hair-pulling, murderously jealous fairy that we all know and love, Tink was made nice for these generic kiddie movies. What's wrong with a little darkness, Disney? No one wants your friendship-obsessed, lobotomized fairy.
5. Return to Neverland
Disney released this animated sequel set during the London blitz and featuring the adventures of Wendy's daughter Jane and Peter in 2002. It had a theatrical release that we barely remember, but did okay on DVD. It's almost entirely forgettable except for its theme song, a ridiculous cover of "Do You Believe in Magic?" by British boy band BBMak.
4. Finding Neverland
Marc Forster directed Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet as Barrie and his friend and muse Sylvia Davies in this 2004 film. It's a must-watch for any Pan fan with the fair warning that you will cry all of the tears in your body.
3. Walt Disney's Peter Pan
Walt Disney, that crafty guy, made a deal with the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to option the rights that Barrie bequeathed upon his death. The result was this 1953 film, which largely dominates the public consciousness when it comes to this story. Though the conglomerate would probably prefer that we forget that whole "What Made the Red Man Red?" part, for obvious reasons.
2. Peter Pan (2003)
This live-action version was the first to feature a young boy in the title role, as, for years, the stage tradition was for Peter to be played by a woman. (Mary Martin, most famously.) The film did observe the practice of double-casting one actor as Captain Hook and George Darling; here, Jason Isaacs. Isaacs is an elegant Hook; and the previously unknown Jeremy Sumpter and Rachel Hurd-Wood have innocent but absorbing chemistry as Peter and Wendy.
Despite its walloping by critics, the 1991 Spielberg adaptation defined a generation of movie lovers who still throw out an occasional "Ruf-i-oooo!" when they get drunk. You have to respect pure committment to a dubious idea, and Hook has confidence in droves.
The job of a romantic comedy best friend may look easy. But these ladies (and dudes) have the difficult gig of supporting every scheme, participating in every song and dance number, and occasionally ending up with the romantic hero's less dashing compatriot, all while doing their best not to steal the leading lady's spotlight. Here are a few of the BFF performances that are a credit to the genre.
Kit in Pretty Woman
Vivan gets all the "hooker with a heart of gold" credit. But what about Kit (Laura San Giacomo) who, instead of being jealous of her best friend's luck, encourages her to go live her fairy tale?
Becky in Sleepless in Seattle
Becky (Rosie O'Donnell) gives Annie a reality check when she expects her real life to play out like a movie, but will still be sitting next to her for every hundreth viewing of An Affair to Remember, sharing a box of tissues.
Marie in When Harry Met Sally
Sometimes the role of the rom-com sidekick is to make the heroine feel more together by comparison. Before getting together with Harry's best friend, Marie (Carrie Fisher) is stuck on a married guy who she, Sally, and pretty much everyone knows is never going to leave his wife.
Kate in Only You
It's helpful for a leading lady to have the kind of friend who has no qualms about making snap decisions that most normal people would find insane, like when Kate (Bonnie Hunt) drops her entire life to tag along with Faith on an impromptu trip to Italy.
Penny in The Wedding Planner
Cute, spunky, and high-strung, Penny (Judy Greer) is there to take care of business when Mary runs off in search of love, or whatever.
George in My Best Friend's Wedding
George (Rupert Everett) doesn't know he's the sidekick and steals every scene he's in. But all is forgiven when he shows up at Michael's wedding and quite literally sweeps a defeated Jules off her feet.
More:Pixar Pushes Back 'Good Dino' and 'Finding Dory'5 Incredibly Underrated Ron Howard MoviesHot for Teacher: Hollywood's Hottest Educators
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)