Saturday, September 28, 2013

NYFF 2013: Inside Llewyn Davis

"An odyssey where the main character doesn't go anywhere," as Ethan Coen put it in the Q&A after the New York Film Festival press screening of the film, Inside Llewyn Davis begins at the Gaslight Café, a fictional Greenwich Village coffeehouse, in 1961. After watching the title character (a mesmerizing Oscar Isaac) perform a soulful interpretation of an old folk song and then get beaten up in an inky back alley, we circle back in time to follow him as he couch-surfs his way around New York, hitches rides to Chicago and back, and visits, you suspect, just about everyone he loves or needs something from: his enraged ex-lover, Jean (Carey Mulligan); his sister (Jeanine Serralles), whose patience is fraying fast; his impossible-to-please father (Stan Carp), who's wasting away in a nursing home; his deceptively abusive, apparently avuncular agent, Mel (Jerry Grayson); and the kind, middle-aged couple (Ethan Phillips and Robin Bartlett) whose comfortably bohemian-ish apartment is the closest thing Llewyn has to a home base.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

100 Words on… Come and Get It

Worth seeing for the star-making performance of the great Frances Farmer, who burned out a few years later, Come and Get It starts as a Hawksian portrait of manly “pine monkeys” at work, the captain of industry who leads them (Edward Arnold) and the gutsy woman who loves him (Farmer), complete with thrilling sequences of trees careening downhill and torpedoing into the water as men stand coolly just out of reach.

Monday, September 9, 2013

100 Words on… Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Natural-born feminist (probably thanks to that tiger mom he immortalized in Almost Famous) and lovingly bemused pop culture chronicler Cameron Crowe hit the ground running like Usain Bolt with this script, his first ever.