Inside Llewyn Davis
"Inside Llewyn Davis" is the most satisfyingly diabolical cinematic structure that the Coens have ever contrived, and that's just one reason that I suspect it…
With the 2013 Oscarcast moved up to Feb. 24, movie fans are already in a lather over the possible nominees, especially since again this year there can be "up to" ten finalists in the Best Picture category. I claim no inside knowledge (I'm still waiting to hear from my friend Deep Oscar), but it's never too early to speculate.
Again this week, I'm double-posting a major review to permit your comments, which my main site can't accept--although they'll be added to our redesign, soon to be unveiled.
Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" is a miraculous achievement of storytelling and a landmark of visual mastery. Inspired by a worldwide best-seller that many readers must have assumed was unfilmable, it is a triumph over its difficulties. It is also a moving spiritual achievement, a movie whose title could have been shortened to "life."
My friend Bill Nack and I sat in the coffee shop of the student union and chortled like escape artists. We couldn't believe our good luck. You could actually get a university degree just by reading books and writing about them! Students in other majors had to, you know, actually study. I make it sound too easy, and I sweated some exams, but now in my autumnal glow those undergraduate years are bathed in wistful nostalgia. My image is of myself walking down the quadrangle at Illinois, my shoes kicking at leaves, my briefcase containing a couple of novels, some poetry, and of course some fun reading, which could include, I recall, Herbert Gold, John Updike, Katherine Anne Porter and Playboy--for the good fiction, you understand.
I'm double-posting my review of "Skyfall" to encourage comments, which my main site can't accept.
In this 50th year of the James Bond series, with the disappointing "Quantum of Solace" (2008) still in our minds, "Skyfall" triumphantly reinvents 007 in one of the best Bonds ever made. This is a full-blooded, joyous, intelligent celebration of a beloved cultural icon, with Daniel Craig taking full possession of a role he earlier played well in "Casino Royale," not so well in "Quantum"--although it may not have been entirely his fault. I don't know what I expected in Bond #23, but certainly not an experience this invigorating.
One of the readers of this blog asked a few days ago if audiences absolutely demand that movies be linear and realistic. The question came in the thread about "Cloud Atlas," which in fact is realistic, at least in the sense that we understand stories set in the past and in the future--although we don't often get six of them in the same film. There's nothing in the film we can't understand in the moment, although we may be hard-pressed to understand how, or if, they fit together. And if the actors play multiple characters of various races, genders and ages, well, we understand that too.