Thursday, March 20, 2014

MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE WEEKEND: UNUSUAL CONCLUSIONS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

That's right: This week, and this week only, you get three movie reviews for the price of one. The price of one is zero, zip, nada, and 3 x 0 = I spend too much time watching movies.

I put these three movies together because they all strike me as having unusual conclusions, as in we kinda don't see the actual conclusion, but we have hope for a happy ending. Obviously, I can't tell you what the conclusions are. You have to see them for yourself.

The first movie is All Is Lost (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).


The man, a guy, some sailor -- we don't know his name, but he sure looks like Robert Redford to me -- is out at sea on his 39-foot yacht. He awakes to find he's collided with a shipping container. The title tells you what the rest of the movie is about, but it's worth watching because it happens to be very good for a film with virtually no dialog.

All Is Lost is beautifully made, and Redford is perfection.

The second movie is Prisoners (2013, Rated R, Available On DVD).


Two little girls disappear. Their parents are Keller (Hugh Jackman) and Grace Dover (Maria Bello), and Franklin (Terrance Howard) and Nancy Birch (Viola Davis). The families begin the search for the two six year olds, but quickly call in the police and tell Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) that an RV with someone inside it had been parked on their street earlier in the day. Keller Dover, frantic with worry and grief, searches for his daughter himself when the police find nothing.

With the first movie, I simply watched as one thing after another was lost until all was lost. Prisoners, though, is the kind of movie that has me wanting to see what happens next, but dreading it at the same time. Paul Dano (as Alex Jones), who is so funny as the son/Olive's brother in Little Miss Sunshine, scares the bejabers out of me in this movie. Hugh Jackman is outstanding.

This movie is great, but I warn you: It's frightening. It originally received an NC-17 rating. Some scenes were cut to get the R rating, but you know what that means, right? If you don't, it means they put stuff in the movie knowing it would get cut so they could keep scenes they really wanted and were afraid they'd have to cut if they didn't have sacrificial lambs.

The third movie is the Coen brothers' latest, Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Rated R, Available On DVD).


Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a Greenwich Village folk singer we follow during one week in 1961, ends up thinking all is lost. His former singing partner has killed himself. Llewyn is broke and has no place to live. He begs to sleep on friends' couches. At one house, he accidentally lets the owners' cat escape. They aren't too happy with him. Another friend (Carey Mulligan) doesn't feel so friendly toward Llewyn. His sister is pissed off at him. He leaves New York for a brief sojourn to the Midwest, where he stops to see his father in a nursing home. He plays his guitar and sings for his dad. I can't tell you what his father's response is.

Maybe all is lost for Llewyn, and maybe it isn't. I have one, and only one, clue for you: The name of the cat is Ulysses, the Roman name for the Greek Odysseus, who travels so far and for so many years before he finally reaches his home.

The ab-fab Juli at Surviving Boys told me she'd heard from a friend that a movie was "cerebral". I can't remember if she said it was Dallas Buyers Club or Captain Phillips. Juli, Inside Llewyn Davis is the movie that's cerebral, but it's worth watching and pondering. Oscar Isaac is excellent, and I always love Carey Mulligan.

The thing about Inside Llewyn Davis is that it's a Coen brothers' movie that doesn't quite seem like a Coen brothers' movie. Nobody is murdered. No bodies get put through wood chippers. We don't see a single glimpse of a pregnant police chief in North Dakota. But it's still a Coen brothers' movie, so it's intelligent and beautifully made.

All Is Lost, Prisoners, and Inside Llewyn Davis all earn The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

Sorry I rushed through this post. Does it feel rushed? I need to edit some more.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

22 comments:

  1. Hi, Janie Junebug! Mrs. Shady and I enjoyed Cast Away and Life of Pi. Therefore, All Is Lost seems like a safe bet for us to watch together. She is easily upset over stories about abducted or abused children. Therefore, Prisoners is a film that I will probably watch alone. Given the subject matter it's easy to understand why the picture needed to be chopped to earn a more favorable rating. Mario Bello is one of my favorites ever since Mr. & Mrs. Smith and ER. ILD seems like a great movie that we would both enjoy, even in the absence of wood chippers and Steve Buscemi.

    Thanks for the reviews, JJ, and enjoy your Thursday!

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    1. All Is Lost is quite different from Castaway and Life of Pi. Mrs. Shady must be sensitive. Good for her. We need more sensitive people in the world.

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  2. Am I the only one who gets Jake Gyllenhaal and Jared Leto confused? They could be brothers, right?
    Isn't Llewyn Davis a Greek allegory of some sort? Regardless, I've been wanting to see all of these movies. Good to hear that they're worth the time.

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    1. Jake Gyllenhaal and Jared Leto don't look one bit like each other. No, they could not be brothers, unless they are brothers who don't resemble one another in the least. I don't really see Llewyn Davis as a Greek allegory. Well, it is a little bit. Kinda sorta.

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  3. I love this grouping, and I love pieces with surprise endings. Looking forward to seeing these~

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    1. Have a hand to hold during Prisoners.

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  4. Prisoners sounds too scary for me! I'll pass, thank you. Glad to hear you have something else to edit!

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    1. I adore telling other people that they are wrong. Editing is perfect for me.

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  5. I've seen "All is Lost" and agree with you that it's an outstanding movie, and particularly relevant considering the Indian Ocean, where this film is set, is the place where they're now looking for that missing jet.

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    1. Maybe Robert Redford should go back out to find the jet.

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  6. Replies
    1. No one has ever described me as "brusque" before. I have to think about that one.

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  7. I am looking forward to seeing your first 2 selections, but I have determined that life is too short to watch a Coen Brothers (or Adam Sandler) movie!!

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    1. I think you would love some of their movies: Fargo, O, Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country For Old Men, True Grit. Maybe not Inside Llewyn Davis, but some of their movies are very funny in a quirky way. I don't include No Country For Old Men as one of their funny movies, but it's great!

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  8. How are there so many movies I've not only not seen, but not heard of?? I want to watch the scary ones. I love frightening movies...not the slasher type, but psychological thrillers. Happy almost weekend!

    -andi

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    1. Prisoners is a psychological thriller. It has some physical violence, but it's not a slasher movie. Sometimes Netflix recommends interesting movies to me, and I usually watch the "previews" on a DVD. Sometimes I read news stories about new movies. I love finding a movie that's quirky and unusual.

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  9. Really loved All Is Lost, haven't seen Prisoners yet, but I just watched Inside Llewyn Davis and was quite disappointed. The guy is a selfish jerk and I saw no, shall we say, character development during the course of the movie--which I found pretty boring, actually. This was the first Coen Brothers movie I haven't liked, I believe. We'll have to disagree on that one, Janie. ;)

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    1. Maybe I can talk you into giving Llewyn another chance.

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  10. No wood chiper and still good. How can that be?

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  11. Hi Janie .. I want to see All is Lost and Inside Llewellyn Bowen - I was going to see that one but a thick fog descended and I decided I was safer at home. I'll catch it sometime ... Glad to see these two and the other one got your seal of approval .. sounds good .. cheers Hilary

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    1. I'm not sure about Inside Llewellyn Bowen, Hilary, but I think you'll like Inside Llewyn Davis.

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