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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As we eagerly await (wait, wait, wait) the distant release date of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, why not rewatch some of the Harry Potter films? Which one was your favorite? Here are ours, ranked worst to best.
Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets
Both so bad they don't even deserve their own ranking.
Order of the Phoenix
Many name Order of the Phoenix as their least favorite book – Harry's angrily depressed for a good portion of the story, and that's not exactly fun for the readers. A lot of that dementor-y angstiness carries over to the film, which doesn't make for the best cinematic experience. Quibbles aside, we can all agree that Imelda Staunton was the perfect Umbridge.
Goblet of Fire
This one gets a lot of hate (they did cut out a lot of the best moments), but I don't know; the awkwardness of the whole Yule Ball debacle kind of saves it for me. Oh, and the adorable Beauxbatons hats.
Deathly Hallows Part I
People say that Deathly Hallows is basically Harry Potter and the Never-ending Camping Trip. Which, okay, it kind of is. But I think the marriage between the book and the movie worked well here – even though Daniel Radcliffe/Emma Watson's chemistry had everyone clamoring for a rewrite of the Hermione/Ron storyline.
Half-Blood Prince was awesome, right? Right? ::crickets:: At least JKR's got my back (it was reportedly her favorite of the first six). I loved the balance of humor and darkness in this one. The Felix Felicis scene? Daniel Radcliffe at this best. And the extra material that Rowling added about Professor Slughorn's remembrances of Lily Evans? Absolutely beautiful.
Deathly Hallows Part II
A just conclusion for a franchise that went on for roughly a decade – it certainly went out on a bang (well, a bang followed up by that infamously bad epilogue, anyway).
Prisoner of Azkaban
Prisoner of Azkaban was such a breath of fresh air after the first two butcheries, was it not? Many hail it as the film that saved the franchise – it finally captured the humor of the books, and the Harry/stag patronus scene continues to get me time after time. And honestly, the entire time turner sequence made for some popcorn poppin' cinema.
Filmmaker Paul Greengrass has been tipped to direct a movie adaptation of Stephen King's classic The Stand. The Bourne Supremacy director is reportedly in talks with bosses at Warner Bros. to create a new film based on King's 1978 post-apocalyptic horror novel, according to Badassdigest.com.
The film has faced numerous delays since Harry Potter director David Yates reportedly stepped down in 2011. Ben Affleck was also linked to the job earlier this year (13) before walking away, and his replacement, Scott Cooper, also recently exited the project.
The Stand was previously seen as a 1994 TV mini-series starring Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe and Molly Ringwald.
Writer and director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) has opted to exit his developing project, an adaptation of Stephen King film adaption of The Stand, According to The Wrap. Reports are that Cooper cites "creative differences" with Warner Bros as his reason for leaving the project.
The Stand, which is based on King's 1978 post-apocalyptic horror novel of the same name, was originally expected to be written by Steve Kloves and directed by David Yates (of Harry Potter fame). However, both Kloves and Yates exited the project because they felt it would work better as a mini-series. Afterwards, Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo) signed on to write, direct, and star. But, soon after, Affleck left so he could direct and star in another Warner Bros. project, Live By the Night.
Once Affleck exited, Cooper was immediately tapped to direct and rewrite the script for the film, which had already had a first draft by David Kajganich. From the onslaught, the film has been labeled a priority project for the studio, so loss of another director could be spelling trouble for the adaption.
Cooper's exit may cause even more concern for studio since The Stand has a reputation of being one King's more complex novels, and it won't be easy to get another director to immediately sign on. In addition, Warner Bros. seems unsure whether they want the novel to be adapted into a franchise or just one film, which could also be holding up the production.
However, Cooper's exit is not the end of the world (pun intended). The latest rumors are speculating that Christian Bale may sign on to star in The Stand, and the addition of big name actor could help draw in another well known writer/director.
The Stand was previously developed into an eight hour mini-series for ABC, with a script written by King himself. This 1994 version starred Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald.
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Oscar winner Christoph Waltz is in talks to play the villain in Warner Bros. new Tarzan remake. Alexander Skarsgard has already been cast as the title character in the latest movie adaptation of author Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic apeman tale, which will be directed by David Yates.
Django Unchained star Waltz is close to signing on to play a Belgian soldier trying to capture Tarzan in exchange for diamonds, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Tarzan's partner Jane has yet to be cast, but reports suggest Margot Robbie and Emma Stone are among the front-runners for the role.
Harry Potter director David Yates is reportedly in talks to direct the revamp of mobster classic Scarface. Sources tell Deadline.com, Yates has been meeting with studio executives at Universal and has emerged as the frontrunner for the job.
The film originally hit the big screen in 1932, but it became a classic when Al Pacino starred in Brian De Palma’s 1982 version.
Training Day screenwriter David Ayer and Paul Attanasio have both contributed to the script for the new film, which will reportedly be set in modern day America and feature a Mexican Scarface, as opposed to Pacino's Cuban mobster Tony Montana.
Harry Potter filmmaker David Yates has taken over from Ang Lee to direct new TV drama series Tyrant. The Life of Pi Oscar-winner quit the FX network project, about an American family pulled into a Middle Eastern conflict, last month (May13).
Don't be greedy, Harry Potter fans. You've had a best selling book series, a blockbuster film franchise, an allotted community in Universal Studios, and funky headgear. So if you're going to have to give up your seizure of Your Voice in My Head to the underdogs who've been devoted to The Devil Wears Prada, so be it. Internationally beloved Potter star Emma Watson was originally slated to headline the forthcoming drama from director David Yates (another Hogwarts alum), but has given way to a new lead actress: Emily Blunt.
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Your Voice in My Head's male lead Stanley Tucci told Digital Spy that Blunt would be taking over for Watson in the film for reasons yet unknown. The story, an adaptation of the memoir by Emma (yes, there seems to be a pattern) Forrest, will pit Blunt as the author whose struggles with depression and suicidal inclinations are abetted by a psychiatrist (Tucci) who has been diagnosed with cancer.
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While Watson has already showcased her talents the exemplary teenage drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower and has landed a role in Darren Aronofky's Noah, Blunt herself is a talented actress whose talents seem to have been wasted on lesser projects. Your Voice might be the first real example of what she can do — and Potter and Prada fans alike should be excited for it.
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[Photo Credit: Jon Furniss Photography/Invision/AP]
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British actress Emma Watson was left red-faced at an airport when she was stopped by officials who thought she was too young to be travelling alone.
The 22-year-old Harry Potter star was flying solo last month (Dec12) when the embarrassing incident occurred at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and she reveals it is not the first time she has been mistaken for an unaccompanied minor, usually deemed to be children under the age of 14.
In a series of posts on Twitter.com, she writes, "Passport control: 'Unaccompanied minor?' Me: 'Sorry?' Passport control: 'Where is ur (your) guardian?' Me: 'I'm 22!!!!!!!' Never wearing a back pack again... The really sad thing is that this is not the first time this has happened."
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The process of bringing a TV program to the big screen is often a wibbly wobbly, time-y wimey process (see: Arrested Development), but regardless — everyone but the Daleks should be thrilled about this news. Doctor Who's current showrunner Steven Moffat recently told Vulture that a movie about the beloved series would "definitely happen." Did he say when, or how? Err, no. But he made it clear that it would be a companion (get it?) to the TV show, and not a reboot like Harry Potter director David Yates' vision.
"I think it could be incredibly exciting to see that Tardis fly on the big screen," Moffat said. "It would just be how do we arrange it? And how do we make sure we have … no offense, but you suddenly take American money and they expect to tell you what to do and all that. I wouldn't be happy with that. But it will happen someday, I'm reasonably confident."
Well that's... vaguely promising? What do you think, Doctor fans — would you like to see what big screen money could do to Doctor Who? What villains would you like to see? Tell us in the comments, and check back later for our Christmas special recap!
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[PHOTO CREDIT: BBC]
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