Cover photo by dhelling01, used under Creative Commons license

“If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song.”

Last night we sat ourselves in the stellar TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre to see Inside Llewyn Davis (imdb | rotten tomatoes), the latest from the Coen Brothers. In addition to always wanting to see anything they do, I was interested to see the (loose) telling of the story of Dave Van Ronk. I only knew of Van Ronk from my dad’s stories, about how he was such a big part of the burgeoning early-60s NYC folk music movement but never became widely known. Stories of insider-respected but mostly-unknown people fascinate me, and they seem right in the Coen’s wheelhouse too.

I didn’t love the whole movie at first: there were parts I absolutely adored (Adam Driver during a studio session, for example, or the astonishing Oscar Isaac’s final verse of “The Death Of Queen Jane”), but other parts where it lost me (like the weird side trip to Chicago, or any time Carey Mulligan was on screen…we were being made to hate her character so much that it felt false and inorganic). Still, the parts that missed are fading quickly while the most moving moments — mostly centred around Isaac singing —  won’t leave my mind. I even had “Please Mr. Kennedy” — the lone song played for laughs, no less — stuck in my head this morning for hours. I felt compelled to download the soundtrack immediately, and am listening to it as I write this. You should really buy it. I could never wish for the Coen brothers to stop making films, but if they decided to do nothing but musical collaborations with T Bone Burnett, I could live with that.


Cover photo by dhelling01, used under Creative Commons license

"Fill your hands, you sons of bitches."

Ever since seeing the trailer for the Coen Brothers’ remake of True Grit (imdb | rotten tomatoes) I’ve been giddy with excitement. Surprising, maybe, since I’ve never seen the original. But I’ll see anything the Coen Brothers make, and the idea of seeing a grizzled Dude yelling “I mean to kill ya today!!” had me hooked. So yesterday we went to see it.

How was it? Well, I want to go see it again RIGHT NOW, so that should give you a hint. Of course, there are too many other Oscar-contending movies we still haven’t seen so it’ll have to wait, but I daresay I’ll be buying this one when it’s out on Blu-Ray.

When we left the theatre I kind of wanted to see the original, but after watching this I’m not so sure.

"That was the moment when I fell in love with Paris"

Two more movies down:

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was a very interesting look at the MPAA ratings board (you know, the ones who decide whether a film is G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17). The documentary is all about the secrecy around the small group of people who decide the rating, and interviews many filmmakers whose films were rated NC-17. There are lots of interesting angles discussed — bias toward studio films, bias against gay sex, acceptance of extreme violence while sex is considered dirty if it shows too many thrusts, etc. — and the filmmaker even hires a PI firm to track down the identities of the raters. The best part comes, of course, when the filmmaker submits the film to the MPAA for a rating. Highly recommended.

Paris, Je T’Aime (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was a collection of sixteen short films about Parisien neighbourhoods. Apart from one or two, they were all quite good. Some were excellent: “Tuileries” by the Coen Brothers, “Père-Lachaise” by Wes Craven, “Faubourg Saint-Denis” by Tom Tykwer and especially “14th Arrondissement” by Alexander Payne. His lone character’s description of what happens in those transcendent travel moments are simply perfect:

“And then something happened. A feeling came over me. As if I recalled something, something that I had never known and for which I had been waiting, but I didn’t know what it was. Maybe it was something I had forgotten. Or something I had missed my whole life. I can only tell you that at the same time I felt joy and sadness. But not a great sadness. Because I felt alive.”

[tags]this film is not yet rated, mpaa, film ratings, paris je t’aime, coen brothers, wes craven, tom tykwer, alexander payne, paris[/tags]

"It's been traveling twenty-two years to get here. And now it's here."

The sun was almost piercing this morning when it first came up. Came right through the blind at me.


Last night Nellie and I went to see No Country For Old Men (imdb | rotten tomatoes) at the Varsity. My god, what a movie. Probably the best I’ve seen all year. The writing — adapted very closely from the novel, I’m told by a co-worker who read it — was incredible. It was tense and engaging and funny in that Coen Brothers way.

It was also brutal. Very, very brutal; if you’re the kind of person who’s uneasy about film violence, you might choose to avoid it, but man…the characters and scenes evoked by this film are just unforgettable. I’m fairly certain my next nightmare will feature Javier Bardem in a pageboy haircut. If you can take the violence* and you generally appreciate Coen Brothers films then I can’t recommend the movie enough.

Ooh…before the film started we saw the trailer for There Will Be Blood, the new Paul Thomas Anderson film starring Daniel Day-Lewis. While it’s not a horror film, the preview could best be described as chilling.

* Comparing it to other films, I’d say it’s more violent than The Departed; maybe more like A History Of Violence.


We bought a laser level / stud finder this morning. I figure this makes me about 3% more domestic than I was yesterday.

[tags]toronto sunrise, no country for old men, there will be blood, javier bardem, coen brothers, laser level stud finder[/tags]