The 57th BFI London Film Festival is currently underway in London, and Luke Grima from Wanna go to the Movies? has kindly agreed to share his thoughts on the films he has had the opportunity to see. After the jump check out Luke’s thoughts on Inside Llewyn Davis and Don Jon.
Inside Llewyn Davis
A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake with Garrett Hedlund and John Goodman.
The Coen brothers return with their sixteenth career film, Inside Llewyn Davis, and it’s a bit good. Oscar Isaac stars as Llewyn Davis. A struggling folk singer who crashes from sofa to sofa. A man who appears to have severe bad luck but also doesn’t help himself change it either. Oscar Isaacs makes for a perfect leading Coen’s man. He’s the perfect fit for their style of writing and is pretty much terrific throughout.
Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake star in smaller, supporting roles. Mulligan plays a great bitchy character with such conviction, and the film also gives her a chance to showcase her vocal talents, as she sings in a scene with Timberlake. Speaking of Timberlake, he didn’t have an awful lot to do but, he wasn’t terrible. Apart from a few films I think he has transitioned well into acting; but his main strength here is obviously his singing talents. John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund both play small and minor (but mysterious) roles as they join Isaac on the road to Chicago.
Two things that will be on your mind after seeing Inside Llewyn Davis; the cat and the music. I don’t know what kind of cat it is but it’s a blooming fine actor. It has such charisma on-screen you’ll fall in love with it. The Coen’s use this as part of the story, with a noticeably nice scene in the underground train. But the foremost best thing is the music. Inside Llewyn Davis poses some of the best music ever on a Coen brothers film. It’s beautifully rich and simple, befitting to 1960’s folk.
Inside Llewyn Davis is another home-run for the Coen’s. It’s up their with their best work. It’s a great melancholic story with a terrific central performance from Oscar Isaac. It’s up to you whether you’ll like the ending, as in usual Coen fashion it’s up to much debate. One of the best American films to be released this/next year (depending on your countries release date).
A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore with Tony Danza, Glenne Headly and Brie Larson.
Don Jon is a film that is 100% Joseph Gordon-Levitt; not only is it his directorial début, but he also wrote the film and stars in it. The film focuses on a really unique and brave subject matter, which is admirable to tackle as a first time director, but Gordon-Levitt handles it extremely well.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Jon “Don Jon” Martello, Jr. – and he is a simple man who knows exactly what he likes, so much so he lives in an endless routine. But what he loves more, even above his body, family, church, friends, car, apartment and girls, is his porn. For Jon, porn is pretty much his world and his true addictive pastime. Gordon-Levitt is utterly amazing in Don Jon. His portrayal is great and has clearly put the effort in.
Scarlett Johansson plays the key love interest, and for the character Levitt wanted for this film, it is inspiring casting. Johansson plays this extremely vivacious girl called Barbara Sugarman, a fellow New Jersey resident whom he meets at a club one night. The most beautiful girl he’s ever seen, in fact she’s considered a “dime” – aka a 10-cent point coin. The film totally showcases that side of Johansson’s physicality.
Julianne More gets a small but important support role, with her character not making any impact till over half way through. She’s dependable but her side did feel slightly rushed and a tad forced. Tony Danza appears as Don’s father as your typical New Jersey Italian vest wearing man. Brie Larson plays Don’s sister in the greatest “Silent Bob” role I have seen years – doesn’t say a word until a certain point and when she does it’s to give some sound advice.
Don Jon is a confident and as good of a début film you’ll see, especially since Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes and stars in it. The subject matter is something I believe is very real, especially in this modern age with the way porn, or a minor form of it is seen easily everywhere. If you want to look at it simply, it’s a kinda romantic comedy version of Shame. But even though it takes a lighter tone, Don Jon is a film that has a lot to say. A really great and funny film.
By Luke Grima