Film Friday #167

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Set during the New York folk music scene in 1961, Inside Llewyn Davis examines the life of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) a young musician struggling to make it on his own after the loss of his partner. Sounds heartwarming right? Except that Llewyn is a bit of a bell end. Not only is he selfish and self-absorbed but he’s been shagging his best friend’s (Justin Timberlake) wife (Carey Mulligan) and he’s lost his neighbour’s cat… and of course, none of it is his fault. As Llewyn makes progressively worse decisions, he finds himself on a road trip with a heroin addicted jazz musician (John Goodman) and his almost silent “valet” (Garrett Hedlund) which is symbolic of the road to nowhere that his life seems to be on, always one step behind actually making something of himself. This most typified by the glimpse we get near the end of what appears to be Bob Dylan playing in the same club where Llewyn normally plays. The Coen brothers have done their usually spectacular job of creating a film that is simultaneously hilarious and utterly miserable – a lot of this created through a muted colour palette. In between moments of exposition that give us some insight into what has made Llewyn the way he is, there are scenes that are utterly bonkers, which means that although the film sometimes looks dull there is never a dull moment. It also has to be said that the music is glorious. If you like folk music, it would probably be worth seeing this just for the soundtrack. While Llewyn is not a sympathetic character he certainly is a rich one and Isaacs gives a heartfelt and intense performance as does the supporting cast that surround him. 4/5

When Llewyn said he needed to get more pussy this was not what he had in mind

When Llewyn said he needed to get more pussy this was not what he had in mind

August: Osage County (2013)

When cancer sufferer, Violet Weston’s (Meryl Streep) husband, Beverly (Sam Shepard) commits suicide her three daughters to return to the family home in Oklahoma to pay their respects. Barbara (Julia Roberts) is the eldest, secretly estranged from her husband, Bill (Ewan McGregor) and struggling to control her fourteen year old daughter (Abigail Breslin). Middle daughter, Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) is the only one who has remained in Oklahoma and is carrying a shocking secret. And youngest Karen (Juliette Lewis), the most rarely seen member of the family known to be flaky and  frothy arrives with her new fiance Steve (Demott Mulroney). If that wasn’t enough, Violet’s sister, Mattie Fae (Margot Mulroney), her husband, Charlie (Chris Cooper) and  their adult son, Little Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch) are also along for the ride. It doesn’t take long for tempers to flare and old hurts to surface. Violet is a raging presence, all seeing, all knowing and all judging from her prescription pill addled haze, taking no prisoners as she verbally attacks every member of her family, while the sisters are all convinced they have had the toughest time dealing with their mother. At the same time Mattie Fae has been hiding something that could potentially tear the family apart. I kind of wished I had seen this before I did my Top 10 dysfunctional movie families because the Westons take the biscuit. They make every family on my list look like the Brady Bunch. Anyway, both Streep and Roberts give epic performances as strong but damaged women fighting for control and Nicholson is suitably strained as the fragile Ivy but it sometimes feels like Lewis is overacting making her the weakest link in the film. Overall I was completely sucked in to the drama and by the time the credits rolled I was utterly relieved that my family is generally very low on the drama scale. 3.5/5

XXXX

For the last time, tell me what you did with all my Barbies?

Movie 43 (2013)

Apparently there are multiple versions of this film, with the surrounding framework for the mini-films being different in different regions. I saw the European version which involves three teenage boys looking for a rare movie online. No matter,which version you watch though, Movie 43 features a series of bizarre, vulgar and deeply offensive yet star-studded clips putting a variety of A listers in strange situations. And for the most part it’s been written off as a pile of old shite. I feel like I have to disagree somewhat. Some of the sketches really don’t work… for those who have seen it I am talking mostly about the Anna Faris one… and there is no question that it’s utterly, reprehensibly crude and disgusting. However, some of the sketches are hilarious and wickedly satirical. The one about the iBabe springs to mind as well as the one with the teenage girl getting her period and the basketball one. It certainly won’t be for everyone and if you are easily offended or of a sensitive disposition, probably best avoided but if you’re the kind of person who enjoys a bit of Beavis and Butthead you might just laugh as hard as I did. 3/5

Halle had heard Movie 43 was a turkey so she got the baster ready just in case

Halle had heard Movie 43 was a turkey so she got the baster ready just in case

Step Brothers (2008)

When Nancy (Mary Steenberg) and Robert (Richard Jenkins) meet, it’s love at first sight and when they realise that they both still have adult son’s living at home it just seems like they have even more in common. But when forty year old Dale (John C Reilly) and thirty-nine year old, Brennan (Will Ferrell) meet it’s more like loathe at first sight. Forced to live in the same house it’s all out war until these two man-children discover that they like all the same stuff! However their friendship is even more disruptive than their animosity and soon their parents’ relationship is on the rocks, leaving the two step brothers to bring them back together or face losing each other. This formulaic comedy has some laugh out loud moments as well as some fantastically surreal elements and Ferrell and Reilly have great chemistry but the novelty of watching two grown men act like buffoons wears off quickly and it all becomes a bit tedious. 2.5/5

I'm on a boat

I’m on a boat

27 Comments

  1. Had me at bellend. There is something about the Coen Brothers’ recent movies that just don’t appeal to me for some reason. I think it’s what you have pointed out, that they seem utterly miserable. But the noise I have heard about this movie is making me warm to the idea of watching it! Nice review

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! It’s one of my favourite words. Llewyn Davis is pretty miserable but it’s also really funny in places and identifiable because everyone knows someone like Llewyn. I think how you see it will depend a lot on your own experiences. I’ve read reviews hailing Llewyn for not compromising his art where I just wanted him to grow up and take some responsibility.

  2. Great stuff again Abbi. I love Llewyn Davis but you’re right he was a bit of a “Bell End” lol.

    Really enjoyed Osage County too. Great ensemble seemingly enjoying themselves.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks. He’s fascinating to watch but I’m so glad he’s not MY friend! Lol!

      August: Osage County definitely one of the best ensemble casts I’ve seen in a while.

  3. I think Movie 43 utterly wretched, but the rest I agree. Especially Step Brothers. It has such promise but then wears thin. Pretty quickly.

    Llewyn Davis is excellent.

    1. Abbi

      I can totally see how Movie 43 would have a polarising effect. I knew I was probably going to be alone.

      Step Brothers just doesn’t have the substance for a whole film.

      I’m still thinking about all the themes explored by Llewyn Davis. There’s so much going on under the surface.

  4. Everyone seems to love this film. I am waiting impatiently to rent it.

    1. Abbi

      It’s definitely worth a watch!

  5. Great commentary. I’ve been avoiding August: Osage County because I heard it was so dark. Maybe I should rethink that and see it so I can feel better about my family/life after seeing it!

    1. Abbi

      Thanks. It’s dark in the way that the people in it are mostly screwed up beyond any hope of redemption but I didn’t find it particularly harrowing and there were some really funny moments. Pretty sure it would make just about anyone’s family situation look perfectly peachy by comparison.

  6. Great reviews, Abbi! Really looking fwd to Llewyn Davis, LOVED Osage County, will carry on skipping Movie 43 and I wasn’t a fan of Step Brothers, even if there were some funny scenes, mostly involving Kathryn Hahn.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I think you’re going to love Llewyn Davis.

      1. I think I will. The Coens rarely let me down, and with cast, I think it’s even more unlikely.

  7. theipc

    I haven’t seen a single one of these movies LOL

    Great post!

    1. Abbi

      I can’t believe Movie 43 has not made it into Shitfest!

      1. theipc

        It did!! Our old friend Tyson put it in the SHITFEST FALL : )

        http://isaacspictureconclusions.com/shitfest-2013-fall/

  8. The real reason I want to see Inside Llewelyojojrtnrn Davis is the cat. As you know, I have a slight obsession. Also, I cannot spell that dude’s name. Nor pronounce it.

    1. Abbi

      It’s actually multiple cats but they’re very cute. I promise it’s easy to pronounce. It’s Loo-win.

  9. I haven’t reviewed Inside Llewyn Davis yet as not sure what to say. It was okay. I liked it less after thinking about it for a while. I’ve skipped that August: Osage County as doesn’t seem my kind of thing. Is it worth it for the Oscar nominated performances? I do love Beavis & Butthead but don’t like the look of Movie 43! Rarely like Ferrell so not seen Step Brothers. Good reviews. : )

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! Looks like a bit of a bad bag for you this week 😜 I really enjoyed the performances in August: Osage County but then I love a family drama. It’s hard to judge.

      1. Oh I didn’t hate Llewyn Davis. Just… I don’t know how I feel about it! Not in a reviewing mood lately. I’ll have to write something about it at some point. 🙂 I’m not great with drama… I may wait for that one to be on DVD! And I’m not crazy about Julia Roberts. I sound grumpy today… Lol

        1. Abbi

          Sometimes it does feel like a bit of a slog. Especially if you don’t come out of a film with a really strong feeling about it. It’s a LOT of drama and it’s quite claustrophobic so maybe it would be better to wait for DVD.

  10. Do you know what really surprised me about Inside Llewyin Davis? The fact that the cat did a really good acting job. He didn’t get distracted by the cameras and he mirrors Llewyn’s moves a lot of the time. That was one smart cat. “Where is its scrotum!?” Best bit of the film.

    1. Abbi

      It was definitely a superior feline performance and the scrotum bit was laugh out loud.

  11. Good bit of reviews! I cannot get myself interested enough to watch the cream of the crop here. Inside Llewyn Davis just does not look like something I’d love. Surprised Movie 43 was worthy of a 3. I have heard that it was one of the worst movies in recent memory. Kind of curious to see how awful it is…

    1. Abbi

      I think if you like Coen brothers movies then you’d like Llewyn Davis but if you don’t then you might find it a bit slow. I can totally understand why people wouldn’t go for Movie 43 but my husband and I were in stitches through the whole thing so I can only base it on that.

  12. Loved Inside Llewyn Davis and I really want to see August Osage County, from what you wrote, it sounds good!

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