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Movie and Music Reviews

Inside Llewyn Davis

By Jill - AV   |  March 28, 2014

The newest movie from the Coen brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis, depicts the life of a struggling folk singer on the streets of Greenwich Village in the winter of 1961. Llewyn Davis, played by the multi-talented Oscar Isaac, spends a week looking for a gig, a couch to crash on and his friend's orange tomcat with varying degrees of success. The movie brilliantly depicts a place and a time before Bob Dylan – who is briefly glimpsed near the end – and other artists who turned folk music into a commercially successful art form in America. The outstanding supporting cast includes Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and John Goodman as just a few of the people Llewyn manages to alienate in his quest to remain true to his artistic principles. One of his friends refers to Llewyn as “King Midas' idiot brother” because everything Llewyn touches turns to excrement instead of gold. The film itself follows the form of a folk song: the viewer experiences various “verses” and a repeated “chorus” scene at the beginning and end of the film, but when the chorus comes around the second time, the audience has gotten to know the character well enough to understand how the extremely talented Llewyn has brought this trouble down on his own head. Overall Rating: A-

The Book Thief

By Allison - AV   |  March 21, 2014

Having never read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, I really had no expectations when I sat down to watch Brian Percival’s movie version, and I must say that I was absolutely blown away. From the very beginning of the film, the beautiful scenery and detailed costumes helped set the stage for the heart-warming story of Liesel Meminger, a child adopted by Hans and Rose Hubermann in a small German town during World War II. As the film follows Liesel’s story, each character that emerges – from the neighbor boy (Rudy) to the Jew (Max) who comes to hide in the basement to the Burgermeister’s wife (Ilsa)who lets Liesel read her books – is well developed, and I harbored a small love for each and every one. Despite the movie’s serious setting, there were moments of humor sprinkled throughout and, though I had tears in my eyes during at least one portion of the film, I didn’t feel emotionally drained by the end. Overall, The Book Thief certainly ranks as one of the best films I have seen recently, and I may even have to go out and buy it, something I don’t say very often. Overall Rating: A

About Time

By Kevin - AV   |  March 14, 2014

After turning 21, Tim (played by Domhnall Gleeson) is told by his Dad (played by the ever brilliant Bill Nighy) that the men of the family have always been able to travel back in time. Tim first decides to use this unlikely ability to find a girlfriend. Such a romantic science-fiction plot could go wrong so easily, spiraling into cheesy antics and worn-out clichés. Instead, the filmmakers take us on a thoughtful, touching odyssey where we find ourselves connecting with the characters and are rewarded not only with such themes as the magic of romance but also the connection between fathers and sons and even a few lessons on the art of happy living. This film was a delight and one that I will enjoy watching again. Overall Rating: B+

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