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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Can we talk about Carey Mulligan for a second? She is everything. Between her past work in brilliant movies like Drive, Shame, and An Education (for which she received an Oscar nomination), and this year’s performance as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, it has to be acknowledged that Mulligan absolutely has the goods. And we have a few more reasons to get excited about the British actor and her impending rise to awesomeness. Here are a few details about her upcoming projects.
Inside Llewyn Davis
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The new film from the Coen Brothers has everyone talking, and we can't wait for it to hit theatres either. We've only seen a couple of trailers, but there's a good chance that Mulligan's character Jean is already, most likely our favorite.
Far from the Madding Crowd
Mulligan will play the lead role of Bathsheba Everdene, a beautiful young woman who ends up in relationships with three very different men. Based on the novel by Thomas Hardy, we're not sure how the new adaptation will fare compared to the 1967 movie starring Julie Christie. The best part about the cast (other than Mulligan, of course), is Belgian hottie and Rust and Bone actor Matthias Schoenaerts. Fingers crossed that he plays one of the lovers.
Hold On To Me
We don't know too much about this next project, but we're excited to see Mulligan alongside Robert Pattinson, who's well on his way to shedding that Twilight image. Oscar-winner James Marsh is directing the film, and it looks like we can expect good things.
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British actress Carey Mulligan is to take on Julie Christie's iconic tole of Bathsheba Everdene in a new movie adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Far From The Madding Crowd. Christie starred alongside Terence Stamp, Alan Bates and Peter Finch in director John Schlesinger's classic 1967 film, and now Mulligan will lead a cast that includes Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge and Michael Sheen in the remake.
Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg will direct the project, which will shoot on location across the U.K. in Dorset, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London.
The stars are bringing their fashion A-game to the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. For the opening night of the prestigious festival, Isla Fisher looked stunning in a ruffled red dress while Nicole Kidman took a risk with some interesting, swashbuckling sleeves. Needless to say, not all of our fashionistas hit home runs: some looks are gorgeous, some are hideous, and some are just plain confusing. But we always have Leonardo DiCaprio to calm us down — because let's face it, everyone loves Leo in a tux.
Launch our gallery to see which stars' looks at Cannes had us saying "Oh la la!"
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The 2013 Cannes Film Festival — the world's premiere fest for stars, world debuts, and Oscar buzz — is now in full swing and Hollywood.com is on the ground to catch a glimpse of the the movie world's vacation to the French Riviera. With famous faces like Leonardo DiCaprio, Emma Watson, Justin Timberlake, and Ryan Gosling, and new films by maestros like The Coen Bros., Nicolas Windig Refn (Drive), Sofia Coppola, and Alexander Payne (The Descendents), Cannes is a packed house of A-Lister talent (see the full list of prestigious films here). Ready to dive in?
We'll be updating live from the Cannes for the next two weeks. Follow along as the reactions and reviews come flickering off the projection screen:
RYAN GOSLING HAS ONLY 17 LINES IN 'ONLY GOD FORGIVES' Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn keeps his star contemplative but dangerous, while Kristen Scott Thomas is an absolute riot.
CANNES FASHION: SEE THE LOOKS! Stars from Isla Fisher to Nicole Kidman and Leonardo DiCaprio show off the latest looks on the red carpet.
'BEHIND THE CANDELABRA' IS TAME DESPITE MATT DAMON Steven Soderbergh's last hurrah is HBO's Liberace biopic, a straightforward affair offering amazing performances by Damon and Douglas.
'SHIELD OF STRAW' IS MARK WALHBERG STYLE ACTION FLICK... ... without Mark Wahlberg. The Audition director debuts a new crime thriller at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, in the vein of every Wahlberg movie ever. The only thing missing is Wahlberg himself.
THE 'HELI' MOMENT THAT IS JUST WAITING TO GO VIRAL Amat Escalante's Mexican drama Heli is hyper-violent and stunningly beautiful. We predict one scene could blow up on the Internet.
REVIEW: ALEC BALDWIN'S 'SEDUCED AND ABANDONED' Baldwin teams with director James Toback to pull back the curtain on the Cannes Film Festival, Hollywood, and the hardships of movie making.
HEAR THE SONGS IN THE 'INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS' SOUNDTRACK The Coen Bros. recruit Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Oscar Issac to cover classic '60s folk songs in their Cannes Film Festival debut — here are a few of them.
'THE PAST' ALREADY BOASTS BEST PERFORMANCES OF 2013Asghar Farhadi's Paris-set Le passe recruits Academy Award-nominated actress Berenice Bejo for a heartpounding family drama.
ROBIN WRIGHT IN 'THE CONGRESS' PREDICTS YOUR DEMISEWaltz with Bashir director Ari Folman delights with his latest film starring Robin Wright, The Congress.
WHY DO WE STILL CRUSH ON LEO DICAPRIO LIKE IT'S 1997? Leonardo DiCaprio wins hearts in this month's The Great Gatsby, but there's a part of us that still swoons they way we did when we saw Titanic.
WHAT CAN '50 SHADES' LEARN FROM 'YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL'? Swimming Pool director Francois Ozon returns to Cannes with Jeune et Jolie, an erotic coming of age story starring model-turned-actress Marine Vacth.
REAL JEWEL HEIST AS 'BLING RING' PREMIERED AT CANNESPolice say that thieves robbed $1 million worth of jewels out of a Chopard employee's hotel room. These jewels were meant to be worn by celebs.
EMMA WATSON IS HILARIOUS IN 'THE BLING RING' Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola goes after gossip culture with a ripped-from-the-headlines story of teenagers stealing from Paris Hilton.
'GATSBY' OPENS CANNES: REVIEWBaz Luhrmann's latest is full of color and Jay-Z curated tracks, but it falls flat in comparison to DiCaprio's Gatsby and Carey Mulligan's jazz age ingenue.
EMMA WATSON GOES BAD IN FIRST 'BLING RING' TRAILER Sofia Coppola's newest film about the true events surrounding several celebrity robberies
BIG SUNDANCE WINNER HEADS TO CANNESFruitvale lives up to award hype thanks to Michael B. Jordan's stunning performance.
6 REASONS 'LLEWYN DAVIS' IS QUINTESSENTIAL COEN BROS.How does the Coen Bros. collaboration with Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Oscar Isaac compare to their other beloved films?
RYAN GOSLING GETS HIS A** KICKED IN NEW TRAILERIf you enjoyed Drive but wished it had more eastern influence, look no further than Only God Forgives, the latest team-up between Gosling and Drive helmer Nicolas Winding Refn.
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British actress Carey Mulligan is learning to embrace her role as a leading lady of literary costume drama after signing up for another period piece as the star of Far From The Madding Crowd. The 27 year old landed her big break with a role in the 2005 movie adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, and she went on to rack up an impressive list of credits in screen versions of classic books including Charles Dickens' Bleak House, Austen's Northanger Abbey, and Baz Luhrmann's new film re-telling of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
Mulligan has now signed up to play the lead role of Bathsheba Everdene in an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic Far From The Madding Crowd by Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, and the actress admits she has given up trying to avoid period roles.
She tells America's Vogue magazine, "I've stopped fighting costume dramas. (Vinterberg) is such an interesting director, I think he'll do something really cool with it (Far From The Madding Crowd). It's a crazy story."
Far From The Madding Crowd focuses on the story of an independent and wealthy woman who is pursued by three suitors.
Bathsheba has previously been played on the big screen by Julie Christie in an Oscar-winning 1967 adaptation.
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Sony is close to choosing a director to adapt The Lost Symbol, Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's bestselling follow-up to Angels & Demons, and Mark Romanek is the front-runner for the job, says Deadline.com. Ron Howard, whose adaptations of Code and Demons together earned over $1.2 billion worldwide, opted out of directing the third installment in July, but will stay on to produce. Romanek most recently directed the 2010 sci-fi romance Never Let Me Go, starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield.
Tom Hanks is expected to reprise his role as "symbologist" (is that even a real term?) Robert Langdon in The Lost Symbol. Click below to check out our Tom Hanks photo gallery:
In the mesmerizing noir thriller Drive Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson Pusher) takes James Sallis’s eponymous pulp novel and lends it a stylish retro sheen harkening back to archetypal “lone wolf” films of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Ryan Gosling plays Driver (his real name is never given) a mechanic who moonlights as a wheelman performing stunts for Hollywood productions and driving getaway cars for thieves. Laconic and impassive he cuts a solitary figure his avuncular agent/manager/auto-shop boss Shannon (Bryan Cranston) the closest thing he has to a real friend. His lone distinguishing fashion accessory – a white satin jacket with an orange scorpion emblazoned on the back – foretells of darker aspects of his personality yet to emerge.
When Driver encounters Irene (Carey Mulligan) a waitress left to raise her child alone while her husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) is away in prison the attraction is immediate. All sweetness and vulnerability (with shades of melancholy to boot) she awakens both his romantic and protective instincts. Their relationship blossoms in glances and gestures captured in long languid shots and glossy dreamlike montages. The change in Driver is subtle but significant: His normally stoic face flashes a brief contented smile.
Alas it is to be short-lived. Standard returns home released early for good behavior bringing with him baggage from his criminal past. Soon a pair of goons arrive demanding he rob a pawn shop as recompense for protection money owed and threatening to harm Irene and their child if he refuses. Out of concern for them Driver agrees to aid in the heist. The job goes disastrously awry but Driver manages to escape with the money – and a target on his head.
The tone coarsens in the film’s sanguinary second half as Driver is pitted against two local crime bosses – Bernie (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman) – and their assorted minions. When would-be assassins come hunting for him Driver dispatches them with the same icy efficiency with which he drives killing without hesitation. (He is arguably a psychotic – albeit a heroic psychotic.) The violence meted out is savage gruesome and – to my eyes (and stomach) at least – excessive. A shotgun beheading a severed jugular a fork in the eye: Drive serves up one shocking kill scene after another with the relish of a trashy splatter film.
Drive favors mood and atmosphere over plot. An enchanting synth-pop soundtrack pulsates throughout. Dialogue is exceedingly spare. The film can afford such narrative economy in part because Gosling is so effective needing little in the way of words to convey the complexity of his character. Refn largely eschews the frantic camerawork and frenetic editing favored by today’s action-movie directors. Scenes unfold slowly in plaintive lighting and at unorthodox angles lulling us into a pleasant stupor before erupting in a burst of violence. In the film’s most memorable scene Driver steals a prolonged slow-motion kiss with Irene in an elevator before turning around and (literally) stomping a man’s face in. Pretentious? Perhaps. Self-indulgent? A tad. Disturbing? You bet. But exhilarating nonetheless.
Fox Searchlight announced today that it has acquired the U.S. rights to Shame, Steve McQueen's provocative drama about a New York sex addict (Michael Fassbender) whose life spins out of control when his sister (Carey Mulligan) moves in to his apartment for a spell. Because nothing disrupts a thriving sex addiction like an unwelcome roommate. The film recently screened at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, where it surprised audiences with its frank sexuality.
In a company press release, Fox Searchlight execs Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula lauded the film: "Steve McQueen's courageous exploration of modern life's extremes is breathtaking. He has crafted an extraordinary film that probes some of the deepest and darkest issues ever portrayed on screen with amazingly gifted performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan."
Source: Fox Searchlight
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