Inside Llewyin Davis: follows a struggling musician for one week in the 1960s New York folk music scene. This film drags. This film is boring. Nothing significant happens. The Main guy is a total ass-hat (stubborn, unlikeable). There’s around 35 minutes of full-song renditions – it’s like a huge folk-music shaped penis being rammed down your throat (and into your ears) around every 10 minutes. Some sections just didn’t know when to end – like the trip to Chicago; it feels like you are in the car with them, but for all the wrong reasons. There are a couple of jokes sympathetically flicked at you every 20 minutes or so to keep you interested, but they’re too few and far between. The only saving grace is that Oscar Isaac (literally comes out of nowhere) and puts every fiber of his lifeforce into the role, and you totally believe he’s there, slogging it out, blaming everyone else and living a groundhog week. From around 30 minutes in I felt like the cat in the movie’ trapped with a douchebag and looking to throw myself through a window at the first opportunity. My final line in the A Serious Man review was: “Very difficult to watch, unless you’re a diehard Coen fan or were Jewish in the 1960s.” – and I’m going to be a lazy toad and change that to “Very difficult to watch, unless you’re a diehard Coen fan or love 1960s folk music.” Talk about niche movies…
Drive: Follows a professional stunt driver (moonlighting getaway driver) as he makes a unique connection with his neighbour, and her criminal husband. This is a fascinating mix of raw drama and the most brutal violence you’ll see all year. Gosling is phenomenal; with so few lines (but when he speaks, he means it) this could have gone pear-shaped but his entire body tells so much more about the methodical, isolated driver character than any script could. The rest of the cast do well to keep up, except Ron Perlman, who is, as always, categorically pants – at least he’s consistent! What’s most apparent is that the film’s meticulously put together; tension levels are unbearable in parts (opening 15 will blow you away), music’s memorable and used effectively, general ambience is great, and it’s stylishly filmed yet maintains a painfully indie vibe – you couldn’t really ask for more in a film. Hopefully, this will have a bigger longer life in DVD players than the two-weeks it appears to be getting in most cinemas.
Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps: 20 or so years after the first Wall Street film Gordon Gekko is released from jail and tries to warn everyone about the upcoming 2008 crash, while making amends with his estranged daughter. First off, it’s painfully ironic how a movie explaining that consumerism and greed caused the recession could be used to advertise so many brands. Only an absolute tool could sit through this and not realise that they paid good money to watch a +2 hour advert; with the most shameless product placement since iRobot – Heineken, Ducatti, Lays, Y3, iPhone, Borders, Macs, 5-hour Energy are in-your-face for the duration, peaking with a 30-second montage of Bulgari jewelry – for real. Pretty much every character is an under-developed stereotype: greedy-corrupt-cigar-smoking-over-bonused-bankers, quirky-left-leaning-liberal, mad-scientist-with-a-vision… what’s worst is that nobody’s particularly likable – not even Gordon Gheko. Add to this the fact that nobody’s in any real danger, and that it’s impossible to relate to (let alone feel sorry for) a bunch city bankers and you end up with an unengaging movie. There’s more – it’s about 40 minutes too long and twice as wordy as it needed to be; crammed with semi confusing high-finance terminology – but even that couldn’t mask how shallow the film was. The rotten cherry on this shit-flavoured cake was the loud and bland indie soundtrack. I’ve never seen the first one, and unless anyone can convince me otherwise I never will after seeing this. Overall the film’s as empty as LaBeouf’s screen presence – money may not sleep, but I almost did; twice.