The answer is blowing in the wind? Inside Llewyn Davis is bleak, funny and entertaining
By Peter Covino
How do you categorize Inside Llewyn Davis?
Fortunately, you can’t.
Probably the best movie that didn’t receive an Oscar nomination this year, and one that may take several years for it to be fully appreciated, it is one of the better efforts ever by the Coen brothers. And after collaborating on Fargo, Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Miller’s Crossing, No Country for Old Men and more, that is really saying something.
The year is 1961, and it is the growing folk music scene in Greenwich Village (you can sense Bob Dylan is about to crash the scene, but not quite yet) and one Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is about to have a week apart from the ordinary.
Davis is a folk singer, with moderate success, but things have been in a downward spiral of late, ever since the other half of his folk-singing duo committed suicide. And now he is about to have a week that includes getting a beat down in an ally, losing and finding and losing a cat, breaking up with the wife of a best friend and taking a bizarre road trip to Chicago.
Some of it is bleak, some of it is funny, but all of it is entertaining, in a way that probably only a Coen brothers fan can appreciate.
This is another collaboration of the Coen’s with musician T Bone Burnette, and like No Country for Old Men, the music (sometimes entire folk songs are played in their entirety) is almost as important as the storyline. Musicians also include Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons.
As usual for a Coen film, the supporting cast is first-rate and this time out it includes Coen regular John Goodman in one of those roles that probably only Goodman can pull off. He is an obese jazz musican, who along with another friend called Johnny Five, pick up Llewyn as he is hitchhiking to Chicago.
Others in the cast include Justin Timberlake (a fellow musician and the husband of the wife he has just had an affair with), Carey Mulligan (the wife), Max Casella and F. Murray Abraham.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) and a Blu-ray/DVD combo that includes an UltraViolet copy for cloud viewing (portable devices) special bonus features include Inside Llewyn Davis, a “making of” documentary with the Coens, Issac, Goodman, Mumford and other cast and production members.
Inside Llewyn Davis is rated R and has a runtime of about 105 minutes.
While Inside Llewyn Davis most definitely has its bleak side, there are some nearly outrageously funny moments. Kill Your Darlings, another artistic timepiece, is pretty much bleak throughout, but almost as satisfying.
Out on Blu-ray/DVD Tuesday (Sony Picture Classics), it features an intriguing cast playing some of the leading figures of the Beat Generation including Daniel Radcliffe (Allen Ginsberg), Ben Foster (William S. Burroughs), Jack Huston (Jack Kerouac) as well as Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dane DeHaan and Kyra Sedgwick.
It also is a tale of obsession and murder.
Based on the a true tale of murder in the 1940s, it centers mostly around gay poet Ginsberg and his time at Columbia University in New York City and his flirtation with the more worldly Lucien Carr (DeHaan). Carr begins using Ginsberg to get through school, something he has been doing for years with an older man named David Kammerer (Hall). With Ginsberg in tow, Carr cuts Kammerer loose only to have the man become what would probably be called a stalker today. It leads to Kammerer’s murder.
The cast is good throughout (Foster has Burrough’s distinctive voice down pat) in this Grand Jury Prize nominee at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Blu-ray and DVD bonus features include “On the Red Carpet at the Toronto Film Festival;” Commentary with Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, director John Krokidas and Austin Bunn; “In Conversation with Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan; Q&A with the director and co-writer and deleted scenes.
Murder is also at the center of the HBO documentary from last year The Cheshire Murders.
This is a disturbing look, featuring exclusive interviews that span half a decade of the Cheshire Murders, a triple homicide in Cheshire, Conn.
Award-winning filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner interview many directly involved with the case, asking mostly how could Jennifer Petit and her two daughters, ages 11 and 17, be brutally murdered.
Petit actually was taken away from the scene by one of the killers to get money from her bank. Bank officials warned police she was in danger, but by the time they got to her home she and her daughters were dead, the house set on fire.
The documentary is available exclusively online via Warner Bros. Warnerachive.com.
Seattle Super Bowl
The Seahawks win over the Denver Broncos was the most watched Super Bowl ever and now you can watch all of the Seahawks Super Bowl season via Cinedigm and NFL Films’ Super Bowl XLVIII Champions Seattle Seahawks.
I don’t think to many Broncos fans will want to add this Blu-ray or DVD to their collections, but NFL fans in general will appreciate re-watching all the season highlights, leading up to the big game.
The Blu-ray and DVD both feature some outstanding cinematography as NFL Films cameras chronicle the entire regular season and the playoff run of the Seahawks, culminating for the big victory in New Jersey.
From the DVD producers release:
“It is extra special to deliver a product to commemorate the first-ever franchise win for the Seattle Seahawks organization and their outstanding fans! This film will give fans an authentic, in-depth look at the most exciting moments, players and coaches wired with sound , and all of the top plays from the Seahawks’ historic season,” said Norbert Hudak, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Brand Management for Cinedigm. “Following the Seahawks’ journey from week one, to the record-setting roar in Seattle to the triumphant victory in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLVIII Champions Seattle Seahawks release is a must-own for anyone who wants to celebrate this accomplishment (or victory).”
There are lots of bonus features including: Media Day highlights, postgame ceremonies, The Richard Sherman Story, NFL Game Day Morning, Journey of Pete Carroll, Ken Norton: Back to the Super Bowl and The Derrick Coleman Story.