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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Here are some of this week's highlights from Flavorwire, VH1, Celebuzz, and Hollywood.com, ranging from Harry Styles to Courtney Love.
Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner went on a date. It's a match made in publicist heaven. Is Kendall the latest in the One Direction member's string of high-profile girlfriends? We'll have to wait and see. Celebuzz has pictures of the pair escaping from the paparazzi.
Check out some of People's Sexiest Men Alive at their best and worst. In honor of the recent announcement of Adam Levine as the world's sexiest man, VH1 released a list of some of the past winners looking good and, well, terrible. You'll be able to reminisce about the young Mel Gibson or grimace at Brad Pitt's bearded days. Check out the gallery at VH1.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen retire. Again. Will they ever stop announcing that they are done with "You got it dude!" and more into fashion now? Hollywood.com ponders this very question.
A Time's columnist found Courtney Love's phone in a cab. An op-ed writer for the New York Times stumbled upon Courtney Love's phone. Rather than abusing this great power, he did the right thing and returned it. Read more details of the crazy story at Flavorwire.
Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun has been inundated with offers from the likes of Eminem, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks to mentor the teen superstar. The Baby hitmaker's ill-advised antics on tour and at home in California, which have included brushes with the law and headline-grabbing incidents, have prompted big names to offer up their help and advice.
Bieber's bad behaviour has included nightclub altercations, arguments with his neighbours, disappointing fans by rushing through meet and greet sessions and public urinating claims.
The incidents have prompted a slew of concerned celebrities to reach out to Braun to see if there is anything they can do to help the youngster avoid destroying his career, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In a candid new interview with Braun and Bieber, the singer's manager reveals he has fielded calls and emails from Winfrey, singer Adam Levine, rapper Drake and Mark Wahlberg, while Hanks' wife Rita Wilson offered up her husband's counselling skills to help the 19 year old avoid the pitfalls of fame.
And Braun claims Eminem's manager, Paul Rosenberg, told him, "If you ever want Eminem to talk to him (Bieber), he would do it in a second. He cares about that kid."
Braun has yet to take up the stars' offers to advise Bieber during times of trouble as there is already one big name who is trying to keep the teen in check - Will Smith.
Braun claims Smith, whose son Jaden is good friends with the singer, once paid Bieber a much-needed visit and pulled him out of bed for a three-hour chat.
The manager recalls, "He (Bieber) said, 'Man, that makes me feel so loved. I woke up, and there's Will Smith, one of, if not the, biggest movie stars on the planet. He took time out of his day for me.'"
Smith has continued to make himself available to Bieber for weekly phone conferences, but the Independence Day actor has warned Braun the youngster will have to live and learn from his own mistakes: "He's telling me: 'Justin's got to go through it. You can't stop him from going through it. That's youth in itself. He's a young man who's growing up, and that's what makes him interesting and relatable. Otherwise, he'd be some kind of weird robot.'"
During the interview, Bieber expressed his carefree attitude towards his critics, saying, "I don't give a f**k... I don't give a f**k what they say... I know who I am and what I'm doing in my life and what I've accomplished and continue to accomplish as a performer, as a writer, as an artist, as a person, as a human being. I'm happy with the man I'm becoming."
Adam Levine's ego took a hit almost immediately after he was named People magazine's 2013 Sexiest Man Alive, because his fiancee Behati Prinsloo found the new title hilarious. The Maroon 5 frontman was officially unveiled as the successor to Channing Tatum on Tuesday (19Nov13), but he admits not everyone was impressed with his latest honour.
He reveals he casually broke the news to Victoria's Secret lingerie model Prinsloo by asking her out on a date, saying, "Hey, how ya doing? Let's go to dinner tonight. And People magazine says I'm the Sexiest Man Alive.'"
But her response wasn't quite what he had expected: "(She reacted with) laughter, a lot of laughter. She's keeping me humble."
Levine admits he is determined not the let the high praise go to his head, and he knows his friends and family will be helping to keep his feet on the ground by constantly poking fun at him.
He says, "It's hard to talk about it because you feel like you owe it to be kind of self-deprecating about it because it is an iconic thing, but also silly. I'm not going to comment on anything other than it's really flattering and I feel lucky...
"It's going to hit me when I'm constantly the butt of every joke every friend and family member makes for the next 20 years of my life, but I'm ready to handle it all."
Others named on the annual 'hot list' include singers Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams and Luke Bryan, soccer star and model David Beckham, actors Idris Elba and Chris Pine and Jennifer Aniston's fiance, Justin Theroux.
"I did yoga a few years ago and fell in love immediately. I just abandoned weight lifting. On show days I'll do a little spinning and some yoga and go onstage. Every day it's two, three hours of working out. I love to be active. I just feel better when I'm burning, sweating or doing something." People magazine's 2013 Sexiest Man Alive Adam Levine credits yoga for his physique.
"If I had a kid tomorrow or in five years, that would be beautiful. I don't know when that will happen. I don't plan." People magazine's 2013 Sexiest Man Alive Adam Levine is keen to have children with his fiancee, Behati Prinsloo.
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine has been named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. The 34-year-old singer follows in the footsteps of 2012's honouree, Magic Mike star Channing Tatum, and fended off competition from fellow hunky celebrities including Justin Timberlake, David Beckham and Idris Elba.
Levine was officially handed the title during Tuesday's (19Nov13) live episode of U.S. talent show The Voice, on which he serves as a judge and mentor.
In an accompanying article in the magazine, he says, "As a musician, you have fantasies that you want to win Grammys, but I didn't really think that this was on the table. I was just amazed and stunned and it almost seemed like they were kidding, but they weren't, so that's cool."
Prior to the announcement, the sexy singer told Access Hollywood that if he picked up the prize, he will be constantly teased by his pals.
He said, "There is no way that I’ll ever be able to live it down. I'm going to be getting pranked by everyone, if it does happen. I'm going to be getting pranked by every single person I know!"
It's been a great 2013 Levine - he became engaged to model Behati Prinsloo in June (13), shot his first feature film and even launched his own men's clothing line at American department store Kmart.
Also making the annual 'hot list' are singers Luke Bryan, Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, actors Chris Pine and Justin Theroux, U.S. talk show host Jimmy Fallon, and Mia Farrow's political journalist son, Ronan Farrow.
"I don’t want to get my hopes up. That’ll get me too excited about it and it won’t happen, and I’ll be depressed." Rocker Adam Levine as he waits to be crowned People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive on Wednesday, according to reports.
"Keep it sexy. Don't fart in front of your girl, don't s**t in front of your girl, ever. I go to a different f**king house to go to the bathroom." Adam Levine insists his supermodel fiancee Behati Prinsloo will never see him on the toilet.