Today’s bulletin only has two items, but they are both pretty big. To quote Dazed And Confused, “It’s quality, not quantity, alright man?”
First trailer for the next Coen Brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis
Like pretty much everyone who watches movies on a regular basis, I’m a big Coen Brothers fan. Their filmography is full of brilliant work: Miller’s Crossing, The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, The Hudsucker Proxy, Blood Simple, etc. Their new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, follows a singer-songwriter as he tries to make a name for himself in New York’s folk music scene in the 1960s. The movie is loosely based on the memoirs of folk singer Dave Van Ronk.
I tend to like the Coens best when they’re doing their take on a genre (i.e. noir, western, gangster). This movie doesn’t really fit that mold, but frankly I don’t care; I’ll see anything they care to film. And it’s not as if there’s nothing here to like. I quite enjoyed Oscar Isaac in Drive, and here he’s the man himself, Llewyn Davis. I look forward to seeing what he can do in a meatier role. And having Carey Mulligan in your movie is pretty well always a good thing, I think (although I swear I thought she was Michelle Monaghan for a second – the hairdo threw me). John Goodman is not to be overlooked either. This dude is pretty well incapable of doing bad work, and it’s always fun to watch his collaborations with the Coens.
On the downside, the Coens’ usual cinematographer, Roger Deakins, was unavailable for this film as he was busy kicking ass on Skyfall. But Bruno Delbonnel has stepped in. His resumé isn’t quite as impressive, but he did work on Amélie once upon a time. I’m also thinking another Coen mainstay, composer Carter Burwell, might be out of a job for this one. I don’t see him listed in the IMDb credits, and the soundtrack for this is mostly going to be folk music and whatnot. Oscar Isaac definitely knows his way around a fretboard, so I hope to hear a few tunes from him.
Inside Llewyn Davis opens February 8th.
JJ Abrams to direct Star Wars: Episode VII
There’s been a whole bunch of speculation flying around about who’d take the helm for the next Star Wars film, and now we know the answer. J.J. Abrams has been picked to follow in the footsteps George Lucas, Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand.
Reactions to this news have been pretty much all over the place. Germain Lussier at Slashfilm seems pleased, saying, “My first thought is happiness. Abrams is a huge fan of the franchise and a proven great director with a flare for the Spielbergian.”
Devin Faraci at Badass Digest takes a pragmatic view. “Abrams is a safe choice, and he’ll likely do a fine job. We know exactly what he’ll give us, and I think we can all stop pretending now that Star Wars VII had the chance to be something incredible. It’ll be safe and pretty fun and sort of dumb,” he says.
Bob Chipman, aka the Escapist’s Movie Bob, is, well… He’s not happy. He tweeted his discontent (putting it mildly), saying “I’d be HAPPIER with Michael Bay – at least that would be a unique disaster. Abrams isn’t just bad, he’s STIFLINGLY boring. Rote. Safe.”
I think I mostly subscribe to the middle camp. This announcement doesn’t excite me, but I don’t want to throw myself off a bridge either. Of course, I’m not a big Star Wars fan, so even if they had picked Michael Bay (who I think would’ve been a far worse choice than Abrams, by the way) I wouldn’t really care. My take on Abrams work is it’s alright. Mission: Impossible III? Not great, but not bad. Star Trek? Entertaining but forgettable. Super 8? I wasn’t a fan, but as Spielberg imitations go, you could do worse.
So while I might’ve had a tiny bit of hope Disney would pick some fantastic cinematic auteur (someone like a Tarantino, say) to kick off an awesome new trilogy, someone like Abrams was pretty well the sort of guy I was expecting all along. He’ll come in, hopefully put out a fun, popcorn movie, and that’ll be that. Well, until the next movie anyway…
That’s all for today. See you tomorrow!