INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles—some of them of his own making.
Stories we Tell made a splash at last year’s Telluride. Now, the official reviews are coming up roses as the film sets to open. This is a film you should know as little about as possible before seeing it. It will no doubt be one of the best films of 2013 without breaking a sweat.
It’s probably safe, at this point, to consider Polley a “Who knows what she’ll do next?” filmmaker, à la Michael Winterbottom. But Stories We Tell is so ingeniously constructed—and so nakedly intimate—that it may be a watershed. Polley has to execute a particularly delicate dance when it comes to dealing with the movie’s two significant father figures: Reticent, undemonstrative Michael, the man Polley has always considered her father, and the far more outgoing Harry Gulkin, a film producer who plays a pivotal role in this extremely tangled tale. Both men were dazzled by Diane in their youth, and neither has fully recovered from that love—although both failed to give her that elusive something she so desperately wanted out of life.
The first trailer gives you two pieces of vital info. 1) it’s distributed by The Weinstein Co. which also has Fruitvale Station. 2) it is likely to be a tearjerker. I’m not ready for how critics are going to respond to this movie. I wish we could skip that part. (more…)
I have mixed feelings about stories coming out of USA Today now that our friend and their star entertainment reporter Susan Wloszczyna is no longer working there. Nonetheless, Alexander Payne gives a brief interview about the latest chapter in his ongoing rumination on America and its imperfect inhabitants. The point of this story appears to be to get two things out of the way before lest the internet, or unsuspecting audience members, become suddenly startled. He cast Will Forte (MacGruber), and he shot it in black and white:
Payne gives little explanation as to why he shot Nebraska in black and white. “I think it’s cool. It just felt like the right thing to do.” But he explains why he made the unlikely choice of SNL and MacGruber star Forte as a “straight man.”
“Never in a million years would I have thought of him,” Payne says. “But I believed him in his audition. And there’s an appealing familiarity about him. It’s as though you went to high school with him.”
Forte was so thrilled with the dramatic role breakthrough that he even relished spending extensive time each day with Dern in a Subaru Outback.
“It was fun hanging out. He tells the best stories,” Forte says. “I could, and often did, listen to him for hours. It was priceless.”
We will get our first look at Nebraska when it shows in Cannes in a couple of weeks.
Of course, to accuse Luhrmann (who also co-wrote the screenplay with frequent collaborator Craig Pearce) of overkill is a bit like faulting a leopard for his spots. Love it or hate it, take it or leave it, this is unmistakably his“Gatsby” through and through, and as with all such carte-blanche extravaganzas (increasingly rare in this cautious Hollywood age), it exudes an undeniable fascination — at least for a while. In the notes for his unfinished final novel, “The Last Tycoon,” Fitzgerald famously wrote, “action is character,” but for Luhrmann action is production design, hairstyling, Prada gowns and sweeping, swirling, CGI-enhanced camera movements that offer more bird’s-eye views of Long Island (actually the Fox Studios in Sydney) than “The Hobbit” did of Middle-earth. Arguably, the movie reaches its orgiastic peak 30 minutes in, with the first full reveal of Gatsby himself (Leonardo DiCaprio), accompanied by an explosion of fireworks and the eruption of Gershwin on the soundtrack. Where, really, can one go from there?