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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

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Melanie Lynskey tweets: "Inside Llewyn Davis is like someone who sends you lots of flirty texts but at a certain point you're just like are we ever going to make out".

 

Seems similar to the VJM/SDG response: "Is there a 'there' there?"

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NPR is streaming the soundtrack.

 

 

Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen brothers' new movie, looks at a different era in roots music: the early-'60s Greenwich Village folk scene, as populated by a brooding moocher played by singer-actor Oscar Isaac. As with O Brother, music is integral to Inside Llewyn Davis, from the moment it opens with Isaac's roughly five-minute performance of the traditional ballad "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me." The song perfectly encapsulates the character of the fictional Llewyn Davis (based, seemingly quite loosely, on folksinger Dave Van Ronk), whose luckless wanderings and penchant for self-defeat at least symbolically mirror those in the lyric.

From there, Inside Llewyn Davis' soundtrack (produced by T-Bone Burnett, and due out Nov. 12) attempts a similar balance, functioning both as a stand-alone collection of frequently gorgeous music and as a companion piece to a movie in which many different strains of folk collide as part of a scene taking shape.

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Melanie Lynskey tweets: "Inside Llewyn Davis is like someone who sends you lots of flirty texts but at a certain point you're just like are we ever going to make out".

 

Seems similar to the VJM/SDG response: "Is there a 'there' there?"

 

 

This is how the soundtrack feels to me this morning. But I offer that as someone for whom soundtracks seldom capture my attention.

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Today only, at the Nonesuch website, you can order the LP + Digital Download of the album for only $5.98. I did.

Edited by Overstreet

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I haven't listened to the soundtrack yet, but the music in the movie is fabulous. Can't wait to see what the soundtrack might include that didn't make the film, or that I didn't pick up on while watching it.

 

EDIT: Man, this is good.

Edited by Christian

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Sort of related: Smithsonian Folkways has announced that its Dave von Ronk -- Down in Washington Square: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection mp3 is on sale for $14.99 through Nov. 30. Regular price is $21.99, so this isn't the Deal of Deals. But it is a deal.

 

As much as I've read about Dave von Ronk, I don't really know his music.

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Just got an e-mail that began:

Dear press:

American musician/writer Elijah Wald has written a piece that provides historical context for Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.

We suggest that you read this before attending the press screening....

Homework! Will regular audiences have to read this article before seeing the film, too? Will ushers be handing it out to ticket-buyers at the theatre? Will people who order their tickets online have to click an "I have read and accepted the Elijah Wald article" button before completing their purchases?

The article in question is here, if anyone is interested.

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I'm happy to see this news. I wasn't thrilled walking out of this film, but I find myself thinking about it with some regularity (the soundtrack was hugely beneficial to that end). I now fully expect to embrace the film on second viewing -- at least more so than I did on first viewing.

 

I've noticed some A&F regulars have tweeted out negative, or, at best, lukewarm reactions to this film after seeing it in Toronto or elsewhere. I also noticed that Robert Koehler has tweeted (yesterday, I think) that his own second viewing greatly improved his opinion of the movie.

 

Whatever one thinks of the film overall, Oscar Isaac is pretty great in it.

Edited by Christian

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Reviewing Inside Llewyn Davis, J. Hoberman once again attacks the Coens' portrayals of Jews.

 

Although a robust disdain for their creatures is a given, it is when the Coens deploy explicitly Jewish characters that their glee turns hostile. The spectacle of the pathetic cringing Jew played by John Turturro on his knees and begging for his life in Miller’s Crossing was less antic than appalling. Turturro starred as another sort of Jew in Barton Fink, which, set in 1941, staged a virtual death match between two then potent stereotypes—the vulgar Hollywood mogul and the arty New York communist—without any hint that their minstrel show battle royale was occurring at the acme of worldwide anti-Semitism. That might have ruined the joke."
 

Sam Adams responds to Hoberman over at Indiewire.

 

Hoberman's broadsides against the Coens are full of holes: Bernie Birnbaum kneeling amidst poplar trees evokes the Holocaust, but Barton Fink fleeing a flaming hotel and a violent madman with a German last name whose last words are "Heil Hitler" doesn't count as acknowledging the Shoah, nor does the fact that the detectives who taunt Barton with anti-Semitic slurs are named Mastronatti and Deutsch, an unmistakeable evocation of the European Axis powers. The Coens depict Jews negatively, therefore Llewyn, who is regarded with insufficient contempt, cannot be Jewish, except then he ends up being a schlemiel after all. But more to the point, Hoberman's persistent attacks on the Coens stem from a programmatic -- though unacknowledged -- idea of what Jewish filmmakers should and shouldn't do, a sort of high-toned take on "Is it good for the Jews?" He insists on reading the Coens through the lens of their ethnicity despite the fact that with rare exceptions, they have never shown any interest in identifying as Jewish filmmakers, and tendentiously reads as contempt any acknowledgement of human failing. As Matt Zoller Seitz put it on Twitter, "The Coens and Spielberg are filmmakers [Hoberman] misreads, prosecutorially."

Edited by Ryan H.

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So, just realized in reading the winners of the New York Film Critics Circle Awards that Inside Llewyn Davis is the first Coen bros. film in over twenty years not shot by Roger Deakins.  Bruno Delbonnel (who was the cinematographer for Amelie) shot this, and won Best Cinematography from the NYFCC.

Edited by John Drew

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Deakins was also MIA on Burn After Reading five years ago.  Emmanuel Lubezki lensed that one.   And Delbonnel previously worked with the Coens on the "Tuileries" segement of Paris, je t'aime

Edited by Mark R.Y.

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I've noticed some A&F regulars have tweeted out negative, or, at best, lukewarm reactions to this film after seeing it in Toronto or elsewhere. I also noticed that Robert Koehler has tweeted (yesterday, I think) that his own second viewing greatly improved his opinion of the movie.

 

It's actually stewed rather well in my mind since I saw it at NYFF. Leaving the theater, my reaction was "I think I liked that" (and there were parts of it that are unquestionably great --

Outer. Space.

) which certainly meant I love it relative to most Coens but really was wondering "is THAT all there is" since it comes out by the end that the film is basically

a retrospective telling of HOW I GOT MY ASS KICKED IN AN ALLEY AFTER A SHIT WEEK.

An epic "road movie" that literally goes nowhere but back to its starting point. Meanwhile Bob Dylan is in the background.

 

But talking it through with Greydanus and reading criticisms of the film since then, I've warmed to the pic considerably. Yes, it goes nowhere, but that's a reflection on the protagonist who is one of the few Coens protagonists who is not likable and whom they also give repeated (and spurned) chances at some kind of self-redemption, which makes their cosmically-detached judgement of him

(a random and brutal alley attack becomes the work of an exterminating angel)

far more palatable than it often comes across. 

Edited by vjmorton

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I saw this film two days ago and it's stuck with me in a way that very few films do these days. And not just because of the music, which I had already heard, and which is excellent.

 

I'm a bit worried, though, that Glenn Kenny (who calls it his favorite film of the year) writes: "All I'm going to say to you is that you have to see it from the very beginning. It's not even an opening credit thing. If you're three minutes late, even, you're lost."

 

I was, in fact, at least three minutes late -- maybe even five -- for the screening I attended. (Morning traffic, dontchaknow.) I walked in just before Llewyn gets beaten up in a back alley. So, what did I miss!? (The colleagues I spoke to *after* the screening suggested that I hadn't missed *that* much.)

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I saw this film two days ago and it's stuck with me in a way that very few films do these days. And not just because of the music, which I had already heard, and which is excellent.

 

I'm a bit worried, though, that Glenn Kenny (who calls it his favorite film of the year) writes: "All I'm going to say to you is that you have to see it from the very beginning. It's not even an opening credit thing. If you're three minutes late, even, you're lost."

 

I was, in fact, at least three minutes late -- maybe even five -- for the screening I attended. (Morning traffic, dontchaknow.) I walked in just before Llewyn gets beaten up in a back alley. So, what did I miss!? (The colleagues I spoke to *after* the screening suggested that I hadn't missed *that* much.)

 

I think Kenny is thinking of people who miss Llewyn getting beaten up in the alley in the beginning. If you miss that, the movie is going to seem utterly pointless. Even with it, I'm not sure how pointful it is, but it's definitely more pointful with the beating in the beginning than without. 

Edited by SDG

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Isn't the opening few minutes simply Isaac singing? "Hang Me," I think?

 

Yes, but there are some overlapping/repeated elements that contribute to the film's structural approach. 

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I was, in fact, at least three minutes late -- maybe even five -- for the screening I attended. (Morning traffic, dontchaknow.) I walked in just before Llewyn gets beaten up in a back alley. So, what did I miss!? (The colleagues I spoke to *after* the screening suggested that I hadn't missed *that* much.)

 

It's a voice-over of either Penelope Cruz or Cameron Diaz saying "Open your eyes...."

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So, besides this and O Brother Where Art Thou?, are there any other Coen brothers films that make reference (direct or otherwise) to Homer's Odyssey?

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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I was quite surprised last night to discover just how quiet, understated, melancholy, and bleak this movie is. It feels to me like the most "realistic" or "lifelike" (for lack of better words) of their films. The laughs come more from bitterly ironic turns in the story than from the usual, idiosyncratic Coen humor.

 

Even though it's only 105 minutes, I grew a bit tired of how one damned thing just leads to another in this one. Scene by scene it's a story of "And then this bad thing happened, and then he screwed this up, and then this went wrong, and by golly his life sucks, and whoops!, and oh no!, and yeah I sure saw that coming. You could say that about a lot of Coen Brothers films, but they're usually animated by livelier personalities, stronger dialogue, unpredictable tangents, and occasional glimpses of hope.

 

My guest admitted that he was rather bored by it; I noticed him getting restless early on.

 

That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. The performances, the cinematography, the music... there's a lot of wonderful work here. I just felt less engaged during this one than I normally doe with the Coens.

 

So now, the enormous acclaim -- especially the Best Picture status from Toronto's critics -- is kind of bewildering to me. If this becomes a major Oscar player, I'll be very surprised.

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Yeah, I thought it was . . . fine. A couple good scenes, too many boring ones, but always interesting to look at. That a critic like A. O. Scott would name it the film of the year is just bewildering to me.

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