INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
2013, CBS Films, 105 min, USA, Dir: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Just before the early-1960s folk boom turned them into magnets for aspiring singers, the clubs and coffeehouses of Greenwich Village were peopled by the likes of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a struggling troubadour whose traditional repertoire puts him on the margins of the music business along with a handful of other earnest and occasionally eccentric characters. The Coen brothers’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS brings the birth of folk into focus as effectively as their O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? did bluegrass. That earlier film’s musical midwife, T Bone Burnett, handles similar duties here as an Executive Music Producer, and stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake all do their own singing on screen. The film was the Grand Prix award winner at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.


SHAME
2011, Fox Searchlight, 101 min, USA, Dir: Steve McQueen

Brandon (a superb Michael Fassbender) is a quietly affable Wall Street type living in Manhattan who carries the private burden of a consuming sex addiction. When his younger sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan, never better) arrives at his apartment unannounced and in need of a place to stay, Brandon finds his world of controlled secrecy thrown into crisis. Director Steve McQueen's beautifully elegiac portrait of a man battling his demons was nominated for numerous critics awards, and was an official selection of the Venice, Toronto and New York film festivals in 2011.


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