London Film Festival 2013 Diary: Day 8

Inside Llewyn Davis:

Film 2A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake with Garrett Hedlund and John Goodman.

The Coen brothers return with their sixteenth career film, Inside Llewyn Davis. And its a bit good. Oscar Isaac stars as Llewyn Davis. A struggling folk singer who crashes from sofa to sofa. A man who appears to have severe bad luck but also doesn’t help himself change it either. Oscar Isaacs makes for a perfect leading Coen’s man. He’s the perfect fit for their style of writing and is pretty much terrific throughout.

Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake make-up a smaller supporting role. Mulligan plays a great bitchy character with such conviction, also gives her another chance to showcase her vocal talents as she sings in a scene with Timberlake. Speaking of Timberlake, he didn’t have an awful lot to do but he wasn’t terrible. Apart from a few films I think he has transitioned well into acting. But his main strength here is obviously his singing talents. John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund both play small and minor but mysterious roles as they join Isaac on the road to Chicago. Nothing to write home about but still very memorable.

Two things that will be on your mind after seeing Inside Llewyn Davis; the cat and the music. I don’t know what kind of cat it is but it’s a blooming fine actor. It has such charisma on-screen you’ll fall in love with it. The Coen’s use this as part of the story, with a noticeably nice scene in the underground train. But the foremost best thing is the music. Inside Llewyn Davis poses some of the best music ever on a Coen brothers film. It’s beautifully rich and simple, befitting to 1960’s folk.

Inside Llewyn Davis is another home-run for the Coen’s. It’s up their with their best work. It’s a great melancholic story with a terrific central performance from Oscar Isaac. It’s up to you whether you’ll like the ending, as in usual Coen fashion it’s up to much debate. One of the best American films to be released this/next year (depending on your countries release date).

★★★★★

 

Don Jon:

Film 3A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore with Tony Danza, Glenne Headly and Brie Larson.

Don Jon is a film that is 100% Joseph Gordon-Levitt; its his directorial debut and not only that, he also wrote and stars in it. A really unique and brave subject matter to tackle as a first time director but Gordon-Levitt handles it extremely well.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Jon “Don Jon” Martello, Jr. – and he is a simple man who knows what he likes, exactly. So much so he lives in an endless routine. But what he loves more above his body, family, church, friends, car, apartment and girls is his porn. For Jon, porn is pretty much his world and his true addictive pastime. Gordon-Levitt is utterly amazing in Don Jon though. His portrayal is great and has clearly put the effort in.

Scarlett Johansson plays out love interest. And for the character Levitt wanted for this film it is inspiring casting. Johansson plays this extremely vivacious girl called Barbara Sugarman, a fellow New Jersey resident whom he meets at a club one night. The most beautiful girl he’s ever seen, in fact she’s considered a “dime” – aka a 10-cent point coin. The film totally showcases that side of Johansson’s physicality.

Julianne More gets a small but important support role with her character not making any impact till over half way through. She’s dependable but her side did feel slightly rushed and a tad forced. Tony Danza appears as Don’s father as your typical New Jersey Italian vest wearing man. Brie Larson plays Don’s sister in the greatest “Silent Bob” role I have seen years. Doesn’t say a word until a certain point and its to give some sound advice.

Don Jon is a confident and as good a debut film you’ll see, especially since Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes and stars in it. The subject matter is something I reckon is very real, especially in this modern age we’re in and the way porn, or a minor form of it is seen easily everywhere. If you want to look at it simply, it’s a kinda romantic comedy version of “Shame”. But even though it takes a lighter tone, Don Jon is a film that has a lot to say. I really great and funny film.

★★★★☆

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