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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Glee star Matthew Morrison proposed to his fiancee during a romantic horse-back ride in Hawaii. News of the actor/singer's engagement to Renee Puente emerged back in June (13) when Sir Elton John and Coldplay star Chris Martin dedicated a song to the happy couple during the Rocket Man's annual White Tie and Tiara Ball in London.
Morrison has now spoken out about his romantic proposal, revealing he popped the question a month before the party during a vacation in Hawaii.
He tells Britain's OK! magazine, "I wanted it to be perfect and it was. We were on a horse trek in Maui and she wasn't expecting it at all. We tied the horses up and took a little walk on the beach and I knelt down and asked her to spend the rest of her life with me... She couldn't breathe for a little bit... then I asked her again and she said yes... I'm a pretty darn cheesy romantic."
Morrison goes on to reveal they have to wait until 2015 to get married because he is so busy.
He adds, "It's going to be a small wedding... But it won't be until early 2015 because my schedule is so busy."
Bono and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin helped raise $26 million (£17.3 million) for charity by singing at a star-studded auction in New York on Saturday (23Nov13). The U2 frontman teamed with top designers Sir Jonathon Ive and Marc Newson to put together a collection of specially designed luxury items, from companies such as Hermes and Apple, for Jony and Marc's (RED) Auction at Sotheby's in Manhattan.
The event included a performance by Bono and Martin, who joined forces to sing a medley of U2's Beautiful Day and Lou Reed's Perfect Day, with the Coldplay star playing a custom-built red grand piano which was sold for $1.9 million (£1.3 million).
Other items featured in the sale included a storm trooper helmet from the Star Wars franchise signed by George Lucas which sold for $245,000 (£163,333).
The auction was attended by more than 1,000 guests including Harrison Ford, Meg Ryan, Courtney Love and Hayden Panettiere, and it raised around $13 million (£8.7 million) for Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The final total came in at around $26 million (£17.3 million) after executives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to double the sales figure.
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin tricked fans at a recent Arcade Fire show by going undercover as a skeleton-masked DJ. The Yellow hitmaker didn't have to travel far for the Canadian rockers' show in London, England, earlier this month (Nov13), and at the suggestion of Arcade Fire's Win Butler, Martin made the most of the concert in his hometown.
In an interview with BBC Radio Two, Butler has confessed that the British singer showed off his skills in the DJ booth during the concert - but, in order to keep the focus on the band, he donned a disguise so fans would not recognise him behind the turntables.
Butler admits, "He (Martin) was out at the DJ booth with me (the other night) wearing a skull mask. It was pretty cool. He was the hype man, he's an amazing hype man... I don't think anyone recognised him."
Pop star Lily Allen has been drafted in to support Coldplay at the band's third annual Under 1 Roof concert to help raise funds for a U.K. children's charity. The rockers first curated a concert for the Kids Company in 2011, and now the show is in its third year, they have asked Allen to continue her pop comeback by performing at the gig at the Eventim Apollo in London on 19 December (13).
The gig will also feature comedy in the form of David Brent - Ricky Gervais' TV alter-ego from The Office. Gervais embarked on a series of sold out shows as his comedy creation earlier this year (13).
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin says, "Buying a ticket to this concert will guarantee two things: a totally unique never-to-be-repeated night of star-spangled entertainment, and money in the Christmas coffers of a charity that brings love and happiness to London's most vulnerable kids."
Rizzle Kicks will also perform at the event, which will raise funds to help disadvantaged youngsters in the U.K. capital and Bristol, England.
Allen made her official stage return at Robbie Williams' concert at the London Palladium last week (08Nov13).
A host of famous faces turned out to help Michael J. Fox raise awareness of Parkinson's disease at his foundation's annual gala in New York City over the weekend (09-10Sep13). The Back to the Future star, who has been battling the debilitating condition since the early 1990s, was joined by the likes of Blake Lively and her husband Ryan Reynolds, Julianna Margulies, Seth Meyers and Tina Fey at the glitzy bash at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria hotel on Saturday night (09Nov13).
Fox joined Coldplay star Chris Martin on guitar for a musical performance, while Reynolds, whose own father is battling Parkinson's, admitted he was impressed by the work of The Michael J. Fox Foundation, saying, "You meet the people who work with this foundation, and so many of them have absolutely no affiliation with the disease whatsoever other than their job, and they were brought to it by a common denominator, which is Michael, and he's so inspiring and you just see the people that work with this foundation and how tirelessly they give everything they have to it and you start to forget that you're only here because someone you care about has Parkinson's. I was really blown away by the whole operation."
Marguiles insisted she turned out at the event to help raise cash for the cause, saying, "When you raise awareness, you raise money. I mean, it's the brutal truth."
Fellow guest, actor John Slattery, added to The Hollywood Reporter, "We're trying to find a cure. Research is expensive, and the more people know about it, that's everything, so that's what he's doing."
Gwyneth Paltrow has vowed to return to the U.K. before her kids grow into teenagers. The actress and her husband, Coldplay rocker Chris Martin, have moved the family from London to Los Angeles to give them experience of living in Paltrow's native America.
But the star is adamant she will return to her U.K. home within three years as she doesn't want Apple, nine, and seven-year-old Moses to be teens in Hollywood.
She tells Red magazine, "I don't want my children to be teenagers in LA. No way. I'm looking at this move to America like two years, three years tops - then we will go back.
"It's part of my parenting philosophy that children should get the opportunity to reinvent themselves at a few points in their childhood to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie and to experience living in different cultures. It's an experiment.
"I love London - it's my favourite city in the world. I love my house and my life there. But in California, I have the girls I grew up with and my family."
"He's the nicest guy. And he doesn't make me feel nervous, but when you have so much respect for someone... it's difficult not to." Harry Styles shares his respect for his musical icon, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.
Gwyneth Paltrow has a sneaky way of informing her rocker husband Chris Martin when she has a new movie role involving saucy scenes - she asks him to read through every script she accepts. The Shakespeare in Love actress peels down to racy black lingerie in new romantic comedy Thanks for Sharing, but she has no worries about Coldplay star Martin's reaction to the role.
Paltrow always asks him to read through movie scripts so he can offer any advice - but she is actually subtly telling him if she has a scene where she disrobes.
Paltrow tells U.K. morning TV show Lorraine, "He is pretty relaxed about that kind of thing. I mean, I normally ask him to read a script before I do it because he loves movies and he is very smart about stuff - so that way he knows what's going to happen beforehand!"