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Inside Llewyn Davis

Just to get the out of the way right up front: Inside Llewyn Davis is not a roman à clef about Dave Van Ronk, the musician known as the “Mayor of MacDougal Street” because he was such a presence in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village going back to the days before Bob Dylan arrived there. This is not a warning necessary to the probable majority of viewers who have never heard of Van Ronk, though if the film inspires you to check out his recorded legacy, that’s all to the good. And if the Coen brothers have been taking a lot of heat from his fans, it’s their own fault: They do borrow abundantly from the man’s career, beginning with a title borrowed from the 1963 album Inside Dave Van Ronk.


It’s been 11 years, but Spike Jonze has finally followed up on the dazzling promise he showed with his features Being John Malkovich (1999) and Adaptation (2002). As he spent his time on short films and other projects, some respectable (adapting Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are), others less so (the seemingly bottomless Jackass-iverse), fans began to wonder if the true auteur wasn’t really writer Charlie Kaufman, who went on to script the equally brilliant Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and to direct the underrated Synecdoche, New York.

August: Osage County

Readers of a certain age may recall a recurring character Jon Lovitz used to play on Saturday Night Live, known (in the style of that show once they figured out the value of easily identifiable recurring characters) as the Master Thespian.

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