Movie: Inside Llewyn Davis

I was initially a bit skeptical about this film, having spent a good share of my New York City years in and around Greenwich Village and its later folk scene, plus knowing much about the early 1960s folk movement there and knowing later in their lives a good number of people involved in just about every aspect of it.

I should have known better, as it’s the Coen Brothers at work here, and they simply can’t make a bad movie. This is to my tastes one of their best.

The music is played live as it should be, and lead actor Oscar Isaac not only creates a dyspeptic character you can’t help but like but musically performs with the compelling authority. The mise en scene and the people all feel redolently like its era, and the story is a delightful and slightly weird slice of life that the Coens are so adept at telling.

TV Series: How Booze Built America

This three-part Discovery Channel mini-series is cheeky, breezy and sometimes irreverent. Yet the tangent it takes on our nation’s history is rock solid as well as insightful as it looks at “America’s Revolution,” “Westward Ho!” and “To The Moon!” identifying a genuine force that drove and effected events and the development of the United States as we know it, and is rich with lesser and little known facts as well as some surprising and revelatory insights.

Rarely has a history lesson been this fun, and without taking itself too seriously, it’s as entertaining as it is educational and enlightening.”

Movie: Jobs

The late iconic co-founder and deposed and reinstated leader and irreplaceable public face of Apple Computers is channeled with surprising skill by Ashton Kutcher in this story that starts with the invention of the first primitive Apple personal computer and follows the story through to the unveiling of the iPod. Yes, it gets a wee bit maudlin here, silly there and slightly overwrought when depicting Jobs’s somewhat manic focus and determination.

But then again, the story of Apple and its initial driving forces of Jobs and partner Steve Wozniak is something of an American fairy tale that actually happened, so the tone works to make for a pleasurable story at the very core of launching the digital era we now live in.

From The Progressive Populist, May 15, 2014


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