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Non-Review Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis is great examination of a singer drifting through American music scene in the sixties, starting in Greenwich before embarking on a cross-country tour and then ending up right back where he started.

One of the nicer cinematic tricks employed by the Coen Brothers is a delightful sense of deja vu at the end of the movie. There’s a step backwards in time towards the start of the film, but also a sense that it’s so subtle you might be forgiven for missing it. After all, it doesn’t matter too much. The eponymous Llewyn Davis is an artist caught in a particular groove, stuck on repeat; despite his protestations to the contrary, he is a performing monkey who ultimately only knows one or two numbers that seem to resonate with the audience.

Inside Llewyn Davis is a melancholy examination of personal and professional failure, delivered in the Coens’ trademark tragicomic style. There’s a sense that the world itself has a cruel sense of humour, structuring a joke at the expense of Llewyn. The film doesn’t rank among the Coen Brothers’ best work, and it’s certainly not an instant classic, feeling too disconnected and occasionally too cynical to rank with with the best of their output. At the same time, a middle-tier Coen Brothers’ film is still well worth a look.

Sing when you're winning... ... or when you're not...

Sing when you’re winning…
… or when you’re not…

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New Bourne Legacy Trailer

Hey, here’s the new trailer for The Bourne Legacy. It’s the latest film in the Bourne series (the original trilogy consisting of The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremecy and The Bourne Ultimatum). Matt Damon isn’t returning, but the new film will focus on Jeremy Renner, who seems to be having quite a year. The supporting cast is suitably impressive, with David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Albert Finney and Scott Glenn all returning – while adding Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz and Oscar Isaac. (Personally, I’m also actually quite geeked to see Stacey Keach, Željko Ivanek and Corey Stoll playing supporting roles as well.)

Hope you enjoy.

I have to say, I’m intrigued at the approach they’re taking – it looks like this film is being structured as a sort of a “side-quel” to the Bourne series, exploring events from another angle. While it’s very clearly an attempt to get the “Bourne” brand out there, I think it’s a pretty cool way of playing with narrative – it seems structured more intricately than a simple reboot, sequel, prequel or remake.

One of the things I’ve found really fascinating about 2012 as a year in mainstream cinema is the way that the studios have been playing with narrative links. Prometheus wasn’t a direct prequel to Alien, more like a spiritual predecessor. The Avengers isn’t a direct sequel to any of the Marvel films, but rather a composite of story threads flowing from each one. I know people decry the rise of franchise cinema (as if that’s something new), but I thing there’s some interesting stuff going on here. I don’t know quite how it’ll work out, but I am intrigued by the approach.