THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU
2004, Buena Vista Pictures, 119 min, USA, Dir: Wes Anderson

Featuring an all-star cast, this wonderfully strange film about an oceanographer and hack undersea documentarian (Bill Murray) seeking revenge on the shark that ate his partner is both hilarious and melancholy. A combination Jacques Cousteau and Captain Ahab, Murray plans to film his underwater revenge on the infamous jaguar shark. Those along for the journey include his ex-wife (Anjelica Huston), her ex-husband (Jeff Goldblum), a salty seaman (Willem Dafoe) and a man who may or may not be his son (Owen Wilson).


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.


BRINGING OUT THE DEAD
1999, Paramount, 121 min, USA, Dir: Martin Scorsese

TAXI DRIVER director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader return to the gritty streets of Manhattan - in an ambulance. This time Nicolas Cage (in one of his best performances) takes the wheel as burnt-out paramedic Frank Pierce, bedeviled by a heroin epidemic that’s gripped the city and haunted by the patients he couldn’t save. His partners on the graveyard shift deal with the chaos of the job in varying ways: Ving Rhames appeals to God, while the brutal Tom Sizemore puts his trust in a baseball bat. An underrated meditation on how tenuous the ties to life and to sanity can become.


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