Sunday Streams — INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

As the decade comes to a close, the mind turns to the best films of the 2010s, and 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis easily makes the shortlist. A Sisyphean story of a struggling folk musician searching for authenticity in 1961 Greenwich Village would have been enough, but filmmakers Joel & Ethan Coen drag their titular character (played magnificently by Oscar Isaac) across America’s fracturing artistic scene, crossing paths with a bevy of historical figures and mid-century archetypes. The music is outstanding, the performances are pitch perfect, and the cinematography from Bruno Delbonnel is beyond reproach. It’s one for the ages, a … Continue reading Sunday Streams — INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

BRIDGE OF SPIES

James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is a kind man in a cruel world. Rare considering that Donovan is an insurance lawyer in the middle of the Cold War. Donovan — who served on the Nuremberg Trails — is recruited to defend a captured Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), providing him with a competent defense per the United States Constitution. Donovan’s colleagues agree it is his civic duty, and to perform it honorable is the proper American thing to do. Donovan defends Abel to the best of his ability, and if Abel were a U.S. Citizen, Donovan probably could have … Continue reading BRIDGE OF SPIES

Born On This Day – November 29, 1954

“We’ve never considered our stuff either homage or spoof. Those are things other people call it, and it’s always puzzled me that they do.” “Frequently we are writing characters and we are thinking, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see such and such play this kind of a person?”, and the character starts to grow out of that as you are writing it. It’s a combination of things that you are making up and what you know about the actor.” –Joel Coen Continue reading Born On This Day – November 29, 1954

Born On This Day – September 21, 1957

“We’ve always actually been remarkably commercially successful. Not in terms of making huge amounts of money, which we rarely do, but in terms of not losing money and making modest amounts of money. We’re actually strangely consistent in that respect. We’ve been able to keep making movies because of that and also because, strangely, we’ve had studio patrons, starting from Barry Diller. Sometimes they’re establishment people who know they’re not going to make huge amounts of money, but they like your movies. They’re moviegoers, too.” “The movie people let us play in the corner of the sandbox and leave us … Continue reading Born On This Day – September 21, 1957

2013: Another Year of Moviegoing

2013 was an excellent year at the movies, but I said the exact same thing about 2012. Film critic for The New Yorker, Richard Brody, chose to open his year-end summary with this quote, “The year 2013 has been an amazing one for movies, though maybe every year is an amazing year for movies if one is ready to be amazed by movies.” I am always ready to be amazed by movies, and 2013 did not disappoint. I was consistently surprised how many movies continue to develop and unfold in my mind days, weeks, and months after I saw them. They refused to leave and I … Continue reading 2013: Another Year of Moviegoing

Movie Beat – 12.06.13

Breakfast With Curtis – Curtis is a shy young boy who lives next door to his complete opposite, Syd. Syd is a middle-aged bookseller, who spends most of his days drinking red wine and waxing poetically about this and that, but he needs some money, and that is where Curtis comes in. He manages to convince Curtis to shoot commercials for his book business, which he does, and Curtis is exposed to a whole new world through Syd. Free of cliches and irony, this small chamber piece is light and fun with an awful lot of heart. Starring Theo Green, … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.06.13

Born On This Day – September 21

“It’s easy to offend people. People get uncomfortable, for instance, when the main character in a movie is not sympathetic in a Hollywood formula way. Our movies are loaded with things that aren’t to everyone’s taste. On the other hand, there’s a scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou? where a frog gets squished that everyone seems to like. It’s all right to do the frog squishing.” –Ethan Coen Continue reading Born On This Day – September 21

In Their Words – November 29, 2012

“I can almost set my watch by how I’m going to feel at different stages of the process. It’s always identical, whether the movie ends up working or not. I think when you watch the dailies, the film that you shoot every day, you’re very excited by it and very optimistic about how it’s going to work. And when you see it the first time you put the film together, the roughest cut, is when you want to go home and open up your veins and get in a warm tub and just go away. And then it gradually, maybe, … Continue reading In Their Words – November 29, 2012