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Written by / 1/26/2016 / No comments / , , ,

CRITERION DELVES INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

Cover to the Criterion Edition of INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
Popular movie blogs that get much more hits than the wordy, passionate Cult Film Freak will merely promote particular covers of genre Blu Rays, DVDs, and even VHS covers, and while The Coen's comeback (at least to some of us who have been dying since THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE) titled INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, taking place in 1961, before Bob Dylan both made and broke the Folk genre in New York's Greenwich Village, centering on the most flawed of flawed anti-heroes in Oscar Issac's stubborn and selfish folk singer who, as we begin with him crashed hungover at a friend's house, which he winds up doing anywhere and everywhere, after an egg breakfast sleepily walks out the door when the family cat scrams outside along with him, wherein a desperate Lewis quickly grabs the feline in the outside hallway and, since the front door is locked, the orange tabby and the title character takes off to the Village via subway car, where our lonely misadventure begins. Actually the movie starts with what might have been the night before with Issac playing a lovely standard before getting punched-out, outside in the club's alleyway, for a mysterious reason learned later on. And the man of the hour, Oscar Issac, an actor who has yet to make it as big as he deserves, sings and plays guitar himself; he's the real deal, very rare and adding something incredible and palpable to a movie that came and went in the box office. But Cult Film Freak first bought a cheap DVD, then a slightly pricey Blu Ray, with the same boring cover. And, as happens with Criterion, they emerge outta nowhere with an incredible cover, and this one is, amongst a long list of incredible artwork from LOVE STREAMS to IN COLD BLOOD (purchased after the original standard yet cool blu ray cover got signed by Scott Wilson) to REPO MAN to our tribute to David Bowie in MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE... by far, in this reviewer/collector's opinion, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is the very best of the eclectic series. In the movie itself, two future (and now, present) STAR WARS FORCE AWAKENS actors appear in the film. The new X-Wing Ace, filling the boots of Wedge Antilles, is the star of DAVIS while the new galactic villain, Adam Driver, plays a low-voiced singer named Al Cody, equally a failure in the folk music business, and in one great scene, so very Coen Brothers in their usually silent-hilarious fashion, has Llewyn crashing at Driver's pad, carrying a box of left-over albums... There's no room to place the box under a table where there's another box, which happens to be full of Al Cody's non-sold misfire LP's of his own.

Just cannot stop staring at this delicious cover
Most of the film takes place with Davis in what turns out to be a literal nightmare on an endless loop (noted by ex-lover Carey Mulligan), but when he roams outside the box, the Coen's bring their stock performer John Goodman on board during a sort of Kerouac road trip before Davis, genuinely abandoned in the middle of a snowy nowhere and alone once again, after finding the right place within a possibly redemptive dawn, attempts to woe bigwig producer Bud Grossman, played by F. Murray Abraham, one of the greatest Academy Award Winning actors of all time, from AMADEUS, who does something even worse than (supposedly) poisoning Mozart as, when Davis performs a deeply heartfelt, soulful, bluesy track for the game-changing producer in his own office; during the course of the song itself, the Coen's brilliantly maneuver the camera in such a way, that, along with an ambiguous expression on Abraham's face, it really seems as if the song and performer are being genuinely appreciated but it turns out, Bud isn't/wasn't one bit impressed, and "sees no money" in this talented yet swarthy mess of a human being who did once have his own pretty-boy partner, who committing suicide, wielding the now failed solo artist an almost hit that's already forgotten/nostalgic in its rudimentary stage, sans the more audience friendly member of the once climbing duo (that we hear about, and never witness).

The Guitar
And in the case of money, it's surefire the Brothers next feature, the big budget HAIL CAESAR! starring their own attempt at a reoccurring Hitchcock's Gary Grant in George Clooney and hopefully with a slowburn noir touch in buried lead Josh Brolin, will make bundles more cash than the intentionally subtle LLEWYN DAVIS, but it's seriously doubtful HAIL will be nearly as surreptitiously classic, making INSIDE yet another cult movie that caused a collector to spend money, twice... in this case, three times... to finally get it right, thanks (and no thanks since they didn't do it sooner) to the one and only Criterion Collection.

Film Noir Touch Up Top
MOVIE RATING: ****1/2
OTHER RECOMMENDED CRITERION COVERS OWNED BY CULT FILM FREAK: THE KILLERS DOUBLE FEATURE; KISS ME DEADLY (SIGNED BY CLORIS LEACHMAN); WHITE DOG AUTOGRAPHED BY KRISTY McNICHOL; THE KILLING SIGNED BY THE LATE COLEEN GREY AND JOE TURKEL; AMERICA LOST AND FOUND FROM EASY RIDER TO THE LAST PICTUE SHOW ALSO SIGNED BY LEACHMAN, AND SOON TO BE CAPTURED BY CLU GULAGER AND, IF SHE EVER RETURNS, TONI BASIL FOR FIVE EASY PIECES & EASY RIDER; TWO LANE BLACKTOP; A NUMER OF OLD HITCHCOCK INCLUDING THE BEST COVER FOR THE 39 STEPS; SECONDS SIGNED BY RICHARD ANDERSON AND A LOT MORE OWNED AND TO BE PURCHASED IN THE NEAR-FUTURE. PS THANKS TO JB FOR ALL THE LAST-MINUTE RECOMMENDATIONS.
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