Wednesday, December 25, 2013

OUTER.  SPACE!  Movie time!  I saw Inside Llewyn Davis today, and while I loved the music and Oscar Isaac's performance, I found it inferior to the Coen Brothers' Barton Fink and A Serious Man in their Let Us Now Study Men Not Achieving Their Desired Levels of Success series. Things happen, but (without spoiling) it feels less like an arc and more like a circle.  The film may be saying something about the distinction between a good man and a good artist, and maybe the cat's just a cat and not a giant metaphor ... I have a feeling this one's going to linger in my mind for awhile, but I'm not sure where.

What have you seen?  What are you looking forward to seeing?


  1. Eric J.9:15 PM

    Saw Frozen and greatly enjoyed it, although it feels like "Let it Go" was written specifically to be as similar to "Defying Gravity" as possible.

    I noticed that there were no songs after the second act (if it has a three-act structure.) This seems to be typical of Disney musicals - all of the plot resolution takes place without any songs - there are no "Eleven O'Clock Numbers" or musical finales.

    Can anyone provide a counter-example?

  2. Randy1:29 AM

    I'm still working my way thru all the new releases, but the big winner for me so far is NEBRASKA. I don't understand why more critics aren't completely in love with this movie - I found it far more emotionally satisfying than INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (a movie I really liked, and am still mulling over). Bruce Dern and June Squibb are getting all the attention, but Will Forte probably has the trickiest job of the leads, and he pulls it off superbly.
    Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, his short film from Paris Je T'aime, The Descendants, and now Nebraska: that is QUITE a filmography that Alexander Payne has built!

  3. I saw "American Hustle". Great cast, and a solid story that makes you recall "The Sting", although not as stunning of a twist. But why does every 70's movie seem the same? We're we really that shallow in the 70's with our discos and drugs? And as with 70's movies, the music was well chosen, especially the Steely Dan song in the first scene.

  4. Llewyn Davis is a fascinating tone poem of a movie, though I wish there was an actual plot rather than just a series of incidents that don't entirely connect with one another. The music is great, though, and Adam Driver is a complete hoot. (OH NO!) Note that none of the songs are eligible for Oscar, because they are not adequately "original" for Oscar purposes--the same thing kept True Grit out of the score race a few years ago.

    American Hustle is more than a bit of a hot mess, but I found it highly entertaining--particularly Lawrence's kind of bonkers performance (even if she's WAY too young for the part). I do think the movie would have been stronger if it picked one narrator/focus rather than splitting it between Bale/Adams/Cooper.

    Philomena is a delightful small movie, and a lot funnier than I was originally expecting. In particular, the accusations of it being "anti-faith" or "anti-Catholic" seem to me entirely misplaced.

    Will probably binge once I get back to NYC--Anchorman 2, Wolf of Wall Street, Nebraska, Her, August: Osage County, Mr. Banks, and Walter Mitty all look interesting, and I still need to see Catching Fire. (Heck, I'm even slightly intrigued from a trainwreck perspective by 47 Ronin.)

  5. Joseph Finn4:59 PM

    Also quite good, Bob Odenkirk. Totally bought him and Forte as brothers.

    Also, "DAD! DAD! DAD!"

  6. Becca1:21 AM

    I think the only thing I've been really blown away by this year is Gravity, but I haven't seen nearly as many movies as I usually do. I thought both American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street were fine, but neither stuck with me. Hustle has bigger problems than Wolf, but Wolf was really just not my kind of movie. Also, it's easily an hour too long. Walter Mitty has some really compelling scenes, but kinda seems to be a little bit designed to show you how cool and awesome Ben Stiller is. I'm really looking forward to seeing Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, and The Butler. I'm curious to see how I feel about Her and Nebraska.

  7. Adam B.9:56 AM

    Did I ever write about GRAVITY? To be clear, let me say this plainly: see it. See it on the biggest screen you can find. In 3-D. So worth it.

  8. Saw Gravity and Inside Llewyn Davis at Telluride this year (along with Tim's Vermeer, which was pretty good. It should still be out in selected theaters, although you don't need a big screen to see it).

    Gravity was terrific and worth going to see on the giant screen perfectly projected (as it was a Telluride). Inside Llewyn Davis did not impress me. Yes, Oscar Isaac's was great, as was the music, but that's it. It was a movie about making every bad choice you can possibly make and self-sabotage and I just can't get into that.


    I mean the moment that he sold the rights to the song you KNEW it was going to be a runaway hit, didn't you?


    Sorry I missed 12 Years a Slave and Nebraska at Telluride this year. Still want to see both of those.