The Coen Brothers‘ new film is Inside Llewyn Davis, and this one is particularly special. It’s a beautiful, bleak picture. One of the characteristics of the movie is a silky, strangely luminous color palette that relies on subdued silvery grey and faded browns. It’s nearly black and white.

That led me back to the brothers’ 2001 film, The Man Who Wasn’t There. Released in black and white, the film was shot in color — with a palette not dissimilar from that of Inside Llewyn Davis — and then graded to B&W in post-production.

A color version of the movie was also finished for contractual reasons, and released on DVD in markets such as France and South Korea. Though the movie wasn’t really intended to be seen in color (most of the making-of shots you’ll see are even B&W) it’s still an interesting way to see the film. Below, see a long color clip from that version, and watch an interview with the Coens talking about its creation. Read More »


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Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen BrothersInside Llewyn Davis has earned strong buzz from the get-go, picking up the Grand Jury Prize shortly after its Cannes debut and earning Best Feature at the Gotham Independent Film Awards this past weekend. Now, after months of hype and even more months of marketing, it’s finally about to arrive in theaters.

Oscar Isaac leads the drama as Llewyn, a singer trying to make his way around the folk scene in the early ’60s. He’s not having an easy go of it: his solo career isn’t taking off, his best friend’s girlfriend is pissed at him, and he doesn’t even have a proper coat to keep him warm through the winter. But his misfortune is our good luck, as his many trials make for a pretty great film. Watch the newest U.K. trailer after the jump.

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Hopefully you’ve got 90 minutes of free time in the next couple days, and assuming that you do, bookmark this long talk about the emotional effect of music when paired with image.

“Art Of The Score” was put together by the World Science Festival and the New York Philharmonic, and is hosted by Alec Baldwin. He’s joined by Ethan and Joel Coen, their frequent collaborator Carter Burwell, and neuroscientist Aniruddh Patel. The topic in general is music and film scores, and the ways in which they create an emotional response in the audience.

The talk begins with the example of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the fact that Alex North’s original score was shelved in favor of music that Kubrick had used as the temp track, including the well-known Richard Strauss composition ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra.’ But it goes a good bit deeper than that over the course of the hour-plus talk, from the neurological response to music, to the ways that musical influences can shape the direction or gestation of a film, and the ideas behind choosing music that conflicts with the image or scene, rather than directly complimenting it. Watch below. Read More »

Inside Llewyn Davis - Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake

All movies have soundtracks. Some of them have really good soundtracks. Very few of them have soundtracks so exceptional, they’re able to inspire a concert and a subsequent documentary of their own. But leave it to the Coen Brothers to be that exception.

Their latest film Inside Llewyn Davis centers on a musician (Oscar Isaac) struggling to make it on the folk scene in ’60s New York. To complement that premise, T Bone Burnett has produced a killer soundtrack filled with performances by Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Marcus Mumford, Punch Brothers, and more.

All of them plus a few more famous friends (including Joan Baez, Colin Meloy, Patti Smith, and Jack White) got together for a benefit show in New York City this fall, and Showtime is now releasing that one-night-only concert as a documentary. After the jump, check out a trailer for the network’s Another Day, Another Time, plus another new clip from the movie itself.

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Stream the ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Soundtrack


T Bone Burnett has worked with Joel and Ethan Coen on the musical component to the brothers’ films a few times, starting as a “musical archivist” for The Big Lebowski, and most notably acting as producer for the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. That album became a hit in its own right, and there’s reason to expect that Burnett’s contribution to the Coens’ new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, will find a similarly warm reception.

The film is out on December 6, but you can listen to the soundtrack now. I’d understand wanting to wait to hear the music until the film opens, especially for the songs performed by star Oscar Isaac, but in reality the record stands on its own. There’s a mix of folk songs and traditional tunes here, and it’s a lovely set of tunes.  Read More »


Here’s a new long trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis, the new film from Joel and Ethan Coen. Oscar Isaac stars as the title character, who is making his way through a music career in ’60s New York as he also navigates a few tricky personal and business relationships with the likes of Carey MulliganJustin Timberlake, and John Goodman.

Everything we’ve seen of the film has been aces so far, and reactions out of festivals have been enthusiastic and full of praise. You’ll get a taste of that praise in the trailer thanks to a slew of pullquotes, but you’ll also get the feeling that the praise might just be justified, thanks to the exquisite tone of the performances, the comedy, and the film’s imagery. Read More »

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Showtime Will Broadcast ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Concert

Inside Llewyn Davis

The new film from Joel and Ethan Coen is Inside Llewyn Davis, which stars Oscar Isaac as a singer/songwriter who finds his way through the folk music scene in Greenwich Village in the early ’60s. As happened with the Coens’ O Brother Where Art Thou?, which also featured a strong musical component, the music from the film is hitting a real-life stage. In this case, the Inside Llewyn Davis tunes will be brought to life in a benefit concert called Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis.

The concert takes place this coming Sunday, and since most of you won’t be able to attend (because you’ll be home watching Breaking Bad, I expect) Showtime has done everyone a solid and made a deal to broadcast the show. There won’t even be a conflict with the Breaking Bad finale. Since Inside Llewyn Davis doesn’t open until December 6, Showtime will wait to broadcast the concert until December 13.

Get more info below. Read More »

Garrett Hedlund Joins Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’

Garrett Hedlund

Briefly: Angelina Jolie has impressive talent working with her behind the camera for her second directorial effort, Unbroken. Roger Deakins is shooting the film, and Joel and Ethan Coen are doing a pass on the script that also bears work from William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese.

The film is based on the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. It tells the story of Lou Zamperini, an Olympian in 1936 and a pilot in WWII. In 1943, his plane crashed in the Pacific, and “he survived without food and water for 47 days, enduring shark attacks, aerial attacks and hunger before washing ashore on a Japanese island behind enemy lines, where he was held as a prisoner of war for two years and tortured by his captors.”

Jack O’Connell (Skins) plays Zemperini, and now Garrett Hedlund, who was hoping to play the central figure himself, has signed on to play another role. We don’t have details on the part he’ll play, but with Deakins and the Coens adding their skills, it might not matter. [Variety]



The Coen Brothers Are Going Digital

The Coen Brothers

The number of filmmakers who continue to shoot movies on film dwindles every single day. Now, one of the most well-respected holdouts are going to the digital side. The Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, believe their new movie Inside Llewyn Davis will be the last one they ever shoot on film. Read More »