first and foremost a filmmaker. often a photographer. usually a writer. always a music enthusiast.
While I was 15 minutes into Inside Llewyn Davis, I had to stop, rewind, and listen to this song again, and again. It melted me.
The film belongs to the small catalogue of Coen Brothers films that are thin on the plot side but rich in characterization. Even though I was left somewhat unsatisfied with the ending, the compelling journey and the music was enough to maintain the high regard I have for the Coens. No other filmmakers are as consistently excellent as these these guys, maybe because there’s two of them. While I’ve always loved Roger Deakins' cinematography for the brothers, it's nice to see a change in tone with Bruno Delbonnel (of Amelie fame) behind the camera this time around. Now I’m gonna listen to this song again.
500 Miles by Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan & Stark Sands
What did I just watch?
This is possibly THE weirdest movie I have ever seen. The Japanese are pretty good at making “weird” films in general, but this must be the creme de la creme of them all. I thought director Katsuhito Ishii's previous film The Taste of Tea had some pretty weird elements, but that was an episode of Days of Our Lives compared to this. Imagine: Saturday Night Live x Stoner Comedy x Dreams x Japanese Weirdness + made by Aliens
My favourite part of the film are definitely the “Homeroom!!!!!” segments with appearances by Rinko Kikuchi. I seem to really have a thing for Japanese classrooms on the silver screen now that I teach in them on a daily basis.
At most elementary schools in Japan, they have a school radio program that plays during lunch time. It usually consist of a 6th grader playing music from CDs, asking pop quizzes and playing rock-paper-scissors over the PA system. At my biggest school, the program always begin with the hand washing song where it goes something like “onegai, kame-san” (Please, Mr. Turtle), because apparently your hands should move like a turtle if you’re washing them properly. The program always ends with the toothbrushing song that goes something like “oshushu oshushu…” to imitate the sound of a moving toothbrush. Songs played during the actual program are usually headache-inducing shitty pop music by the likes of Kyari Pamyu Pamyu or AKB48, or even worse - “air” visual-kei rock like these guys. I had no idea you can sell records as an “air” rock band. I guess you can get away with all kinds of crazy shit in Japan. But every now and then they’ll play something good, like this. This song makes me happy.
Hannah and Her Sisters, yes.
Husbands and Wives, no.
It’s true, I definitely like the funnier Woody films. But what’s also true is I like fuller stories told in a well rounded and consistent manner from him. The latter film is definitely not any of those.
Steven Coogan is one of those guys who always seem to play himself in everything (speaking of which, I just learnt that the follow up to The Trip, this time in Italy, will be releasing soon), except when he’s playing Alan Partridge. Either way, I’m not complaining, I think he’s hilarious. Judi Dench on the other hand always seem to play incredible strong and intelligent women who knows exactly what they’re doing even when they seem like they don’t. She is no different as Philomena. Nearing 80 years of age and she’s still sharp as a whip, kinda reminds me of my Grandma.
Put these two together with director Stephen Frears, and you can’t really go wrong. I love the part when she paraphrases the entire plot of a romance novel to him. Just when you thought they’re going to fade to the next scene, it carries back on. I liked that.