12 March 2017
20 January 2015
Crime, Drama, Thriller
23rd January 2015 (UK)
Mark Whalberg, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Brie Larsson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Gordon Kennedy
Rupert Wyatt’s remake of the 1974 drama, The Gambler serves up little justification for its existence beyond a few decent all-or-nothing moments of gambling insanity. Occasionally fun, often embarrassing, this stalled-then-revived Scorsese pet project gets bogged down with inane dialogue and the questionable casting of its leading man.
Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) lands himself in a whole heap of debt after blowing his wad in a casino owned by a Korean gang. His plan to extricate himself from his financial mess involves borrowing even more money and gambling that in a double-or-quits spin of the roulette wheel. He loses and ends up owing over $300,000 with 7 days to pay or be whacked.
There’s certainly some joy to be had watching Walhberg’s laissez-fare, addict attempt to gamble his way out of debt, grinding himself further into the ground and slowly towards his apparent doom. Despite the sleazy giddiness of the gambling scenes though, there’s a fundamental problem with this daft betting drama.
If your protagonist is a self-destructive gambling addict then, yes, by all means cast Mark Wahlberg in that role. If your protagonist is also an author and associate professor of English literature at a university, then for God’s sake don’t hand that role to a former rapper and underwear model. Wahlberg’s performance in this provides no real evidence to suggest that he has ever read a book, never mind written one. As he blathers on about Shakespeare and the source of genius, you start to seriously doubt the wisdom of any college dean who would place Wahlberg’s remote, depressed and wildly idiotic lecturer in charge of the sculpting of young literary minds.
There are laudable supporting performances from Jessica Lange, John Goodman and Michael K Williams, but these too are often hamstrung by moments of incredulity. An expletive-laden conversation between Goodman and Walhberg about the joys of saying “fuck you” to your enemies seems to veer into Lynchian moments of arch-surrealism. Williams, in a moment of baffling,
childlike optimism, proudly boasts his intention to quit the crime racket, go straight and establish an avocado farm. It’s exchanges like those which draw attention to the vein of absurdity running through the whole film and mark it out as a bit of a busted flush.
21 December 2013
Based on the actual memoirs of folk legend Dave Von Ronk, Inside Llewyn Davis follows the life of folk singer Llewyn Davies (Oscar Isaac) attempting to navigate around the Greenwich folk scene .Set during the harsh winter of 1961 New York penniless , only a orange tabby cat for company, an ex-girlfriend (Carey Mulligan) pregnant, Llewyn attempts to get his first foot in business to audition for music mogul Bud Grossman.
We may not revved up the engine on the awards season yet the buzz from the film, we would be silly to say this film wont do well in the awards, with fantastic U.S reviews things look good for the film. Most of all it's the long welcome return of Joel & Ethan Coen behind the camera after been in the wilderness past few years.
Inside Llewyn Davies now has a UK&Irish release date of 24th January 2014 and co-stars Justin Timberlake, John Goodman,Garret Hedlund, Adam Driver and F. Murray Abraham.
[Update - 22 December 2013] Totalfilm have posted a exclusive featurette which looks at the music of Inside Llewyn Davies with the 'folk music' created specifically for the film.
Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers chats about working with The Coen Brothers and a insight into the original song 'Auld Triangle' and the input a certain cast member had on the song too.
[update 2nd January 2014 - Studio Canal have now sent us our own version of the featurette]
3 July 2013
Inside Llewyn Davies is based on actual folk legend Dave Von Ronk and his memoirs The Mayor Of McDougal Street starring Oscar Isaac as the titular character. With no money, a ex-girlfriend who is pregnant (Carey Mulligan) who hates him with only a tabby cat for company, Llewyn attempts to make his mark on the Greenwich folk scene a career that would go onto to inspire the likes of Bob Dylan.
I'm not scared to admit I'm a latecomer to appreciate the talents of Joel and Ethan Coen Fargo was my introduction though I will say a slight disappointment in True Grit, probably because I've never been a fan of Westerns. Inside Llewyn Davies been the first Coen Brothers film since True Grit 2 years previously it's no surprise it's now one of the most anticipated films and this trailer encapsulates the tone of the era. Very melancholic, bleak but we also get to meet some of the films other characters (Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman) giving us a little more sense of the plot and if your attracted to the music, the Mumford & Sons song may bring a smile to your face. The film left Cannes Film Festival with glowing reports and many are calling this film one of their finest films in a long time and that's good for us.
Inside Llewyn Davies now has a UK&Irish release date of 14th January 2014 (USA 6th December) and stars Garret Hedlund, Adam Driver and F. Murray Abraham.