Inside Llewyn Davis (2014), the most recent masterpiece from the Coen Brothers, chronicles one man’s self-defeating struggle to control himself, much like The Odyssey, which the Coens previously adapted into O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001).
Inside Llewyn Davis is a period piece, about the folk scene of Greenwich Village if the early 1960s, but it’s also a character study that delves deep inside Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac).
You know the scene in Pulp Fiction (1994) where Vincent (John Travolta) stabs a shot of adrenaline into Mia’s (Uma Thurman) heart? When watching that scene, I often wonder, “What does that feel like?”
Martin Scorsese now answers my question with The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), an injection of pure adrenaline straight into the heart, whose rush lasts not a few seconds, but three hours.
Cate Blanchett will undoubtedly win the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role at the 86th Academy Awards, but her performance in Blue Jasmine (2013) will be remembered as more than just a great performance. It’ll be remembered as her great performance. We’ll recall it as the time she went insane onscreen and took our collective breath away; not many actresses have done that: Bette Davis; Gloria Swanson; Joan Crawford; Barbara Stanwyck; Vivien Leigh. They each did it, and now Blanchett joins their esteemed rank.
“Look like the innocent flower,
but be the serpent under ‘t.”
– Macbeth (1.5.65-66)
Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is all about perception, but isn’t all of Washington D.C.? The clean, polished surface of the city little resembles its gritty inner reality. For that reason, D.C. is all the rage for popular television: Homeland (2011); Scandal (2012); Veep (2012); and, of course, House of Cards (2013).
D.C., after all, is our Rome, and Rome is burning.
In 1985, when HIV and AIDS were synonymous with drug addicts and homosexuals, and news of Rock Hudson’s death rocked and shocked the world, heterosexual Texas electrician Ron Woodroof tested positive for HIV.
And when America’s medical-industrial complex failed to adequately treat Ron and others like him, Ron took control and smuggled unavailable and FDA-unapproved treatments into the United States. He self-medicated and sold to others like him via the Dallas Buyers Club.
Now, Dallas Buyers Club (2013) masterfully conveys Woodroof’s anger toward our medical-industrial complex, an anger that remains too relevant.