Thursday, December 19, 2013

Movie Reviews; 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' 'Saving Mr. Banks' and 'American Hustle'

Inside Llewyn Davis: Their first overtly musical film since "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", "Inside Llewyn Davis" throws us to another decade of music, specifically the 1961 folk scene of Greenwich Village. As Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) struggles through the longest week of his life to get a music career going, he's approached with an aggressive ex-fling (Carey Mulligan), an older traveler (John Goodman) and an elusive cat. Beautifully shot and with spot-on direction, "Inside" is the Coen Brothers most different yet best film. Smart, engrossing and with a great folk-y soundtrack to boot. Beautifully haunting and emotionally raw. Rating: A+


Saving Mr. Banks: As Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) tries to woo Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to sell him the rights to her book, a never-ending story of stubborness and acid-tongued dialogue ensues. Travers, as portrayed by Thompson, is a crotchety old bitch that is pleased by nothing, but eventually sells the rights to her book out of financial desperation. This is one movie that would have done better on the Hallmark Channel because it's ripe with cliche and that mean old hag that eventually turns nice by the end. Oh, and the constant flashbacks to Travers' childhood added nothing to the film. Rating: D


American Hustle
: Based in part on the 1970's Abscam sting, as shown by the opening title card stating "Some of this actually happened," this star-studded comedy is a long-winded look at the operation's backstory. "American Hustle" has a great cast but with some flat or less than impressive performances, especially from Amy Adams, who solidifies my opinion that she's best as a supporting player than a leading lady. Jennifer Lawrence is trashily delightful as Christian Bale's neurotic wife. If "Ocean's Eleven" and "Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice" got together, this would be the movie. Rating: C+

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