December is upon us, and the studios are breaking out the big guns: The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, August: Osage County, Her, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will all vie for Oscar gold (was that a Variety enough turn of phrase for you?) in the coming months. But as usual, the indies have some interesting pictures on the runway as well, including a few thankfully sour antidotes to all that “holiday cheer.”
Inside Llewyn Davis
Release: December 6
Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, F. Murray Abraham, Adam Driver, Justin Timberlake
The Coen brothers’ muted, low-key latest introduces us to Llewyn Davis (Isaac), an also-ran folk singer in ‘60s-era Greenwich Village, and shambles through a few days with him. The Coens beautifully and convincingly recreate the streets and coffee shops where he dwells, and seem intoxicated with the look and feel of those surroundings. It’s a gray, dour, yet strangely riveting effort, masterfully capturing a time, a place, a sound, and a particularly stubborn type of character.