'Inside Llewyn Davis' is the best movie out in the UK this weekend.
There was a mild acceptance that Inside Llewyn Davis had only pulled in two minor Oscar nominations when the list was announced last week. 2013/2014 has been a phenomenally strong year for cinema, leaving critically acclaimed efforts like Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, The Dallas Buyers Club and the epic Captain Phillips second, third and fourth favorites in the category of Best Picture.
Oscar Isaacs as Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers latest effort, about a young folk singer navigating the Greenwich Village music scene in the early 1960s, failed to pull in nominations in the major categories, marking a major blot on the Academy's otherwise reasonable set of nominees. It is perhaps some consolation that the excellent Bruno Delbonnel - the man who brought Amelie to life - is rightfully nominated for Best Cinematography.
Oscar Isaac, the mean looking guy from Drive, is Llewyn Davis, struggling to make his way as a musician in the harsh New York winter. It's a tale about the underdog who just keeps on losing.
In his 4 star review, Contactmusic's Rich Cline wrote, "Despite Llewyn's quiet desperation, the Coens keep the film's tone light and endearing, with constant comical touches that keep us smiling right to the cleverly elliptical ending."
"It's more interesting for me as an audience member to see a movie about a loser," Ethan Coen recently told the Guardian, with Joel Coen added, "We gave him a lot of crosses to bear.The movie is about how everything's hard for him. Why is it hard? Is it something in him? Yeah, partly, certainly. At least partly. Wholly? Partly? I dunno.We wanted a nice dick."
"It is confident and self-congratulatory in its ability to evoke unease or melancholia or claustrophobia in a single cut or composition or camera angle," wrote Ryan Gilbey of the New Statesman.
Oscar Isaac [L], Justin Timberlake [center] and Adam Driver [R] in 'Inside Llewyn Davis'
"The broad, black humor of the Coens' early features has ripened over the years into a sadder, more philosophical brand of comedy (A Serious Man) that puts them in a class with Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch (yeah, you heard me)" said J. R Jones of the Chicago Reader.
"Inside Llewyn Davis is a Coen brothers charmer about?.?.?.? almost absolutely nothing you could pin down as a substantive subject. That is its charm ..." said Nigel Adams of the Financial Times.
"A masterly Coen screenplay - up there with A Serious Man and The Man Who Wasn't There for its portrayal of male neuroses and failure," wrote The List.
"Beautiful, heartfelt and utterly enthralling," said Dan Jolin of Empire magazine.
Though it's problematic to suggest Inside Llewyn Davis would have scored at the Oscars in previous years, it would almost certainly have landed more nominations given the Coens track-record at the ceremony.
Carey Mulligan [L] and Justin Timberlake [R] in 'Inside Llewyn Davis'
It's probably going to be a relatively quiet year for the directing brothers as they plan their next movie, though they have penned the screenplay for the Angelina Jolie directed movie Unbroken, about the life of Loius Zamperini, the Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. It stars the British actor Jack O'Connell, best known for his work on Skins.
Inside Llewyn Davis hits cinemas in the UK from today (January 24, 2013).
It's nothing like the country vibe we were anticipating.
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