Arguably the least plot driven film from the Coens since "The Big Lebowski," which still provided the journey for a new carpet as the Macguffin of sorts, "Inside Llewyn Davis" is even more freeform, but never out of the Coens' grasp. The film unfolds over what turns about be roughly a week or so in the life of Llewyn, and follows his attempts to put some order to the chaos in his life. And it's a tough week: Jean reveals he's pregnant with his child; he's saddled carrying the Gorfeins' cat after it escapes out the door, and accidentally locks the door behind him after staying the night (a great running gag that eventually turns into a lovely metaphor for Llewyn's journey); he's chasing payments from Legacy and trying to line up some gigs. A road trip later in the picture offers a change of pace, but this is a slice of life of one of many trying to make it on the folk circuit, and the Coens capture every detail, acknowledging their fondness for their era, while being able to laugh at it as well (though without getting as broad as Christopher Guest's "A Mighty Wind," the last major folk movie).
Gotta love that classic folk song, produced by the irresistible T-Bone.
A Timesreview of a"Seagull" set in Ireland during the time of "the Troubles" doesn't love the production but brings its wit out lovingly nonetheless.
Among the production’s freshest scenes is the brief colloquy between the bluntly bitter Mary and Aston. Mary’s no-nonsense approach to the impossibility of finding lasting love is in contrast to the other characters’ fretful idealism. As Mr. Kilroy’s excellent if sometimes overly loquacious adaptation clarifies, she is the rare character in the play granted true and thorough self-knowledge.
“I can’t pretend to be interested in your books,” she tells Aston, “but I’d love if you’d send me copies of them from time to time with my name inscribed.” Then she adds: “Don’t write something flowery and poetic, though. That wouldn’t be right, would it, for someone like me.”
And what a gorgeous looking production! Like a living painting:
From a fascinating exhibit at the Whitney Museum, here's a drawing by the great American realist of his mother. The curators mentioned in a note on the wall that Hopper was considered by his peers at art school, including Rockwell Kent, to be literally the best in his class at drawing.
He used this talent as part of his slow, meticulous work as a painter, but occasionally apparently simply drew for the sake of drawing. Think you can see in this work his raw ability/talent. It's not an example of his famous melancholia, which so angers people, so perhaps that's my point -- that Hopper was an artist first, that his melancholia was an expression, not an attitude.
A choice, not an affliction. Does that make any sense?
The answer is not a simple yes, the experts say, but correlative and suggestive, as a central graph he posts shows:
But a good writer such as Money also has an ear for language, and he notes a couple of interesting points in commentary this week. A forecaster for the National Weather Service pointed to "major flash flooding" with "Biblical rainfall events." Words perhaps chosen to make the point to the deeply religious area of Colorado Springs?
And Mooney notes that evenmeterologists and small government advocates and Republicans such as Paul Douglas are seeing a new atmosphere overhead -- an atmosphere created by climate change.
In his exploration of causes, Mooney makes the usual points -- more warming means more water vapor in the atmosphere, means more potential for heavy rains -- but stops short, as the phrase du jour goes, of pointing the finger or affixing blame. This is the responsbile, scientific choice.
But free spirits -- artists such as Tom Toles earlier this week -- aren't as constrained.
It's fascinating to see how she does it. She introduces a coal miner, and lets him blame the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency for the decline of the industry, and then, after several paragraphs of fairness, lowers the boom and reveals a simpler truth.
"Coal is the only industry we've got, all we've ever had," said Serafino Nolletti, Logan's mayor.
But coal's role in the state economy has been waning for 50 years.
Mechanization stripped away mining jobs, and the shuttering of the
domestic steel industry and much other manufacturing eroded coal
Coal is the third-largest contributor to the state's gross domestic
product, but employs less than 5% of the state's workforce — far less
than other industries, according to Jeremy Richardson, a West
Virginia-raised physicist and fellow at the Union of Concerned
"For the last 100 years, coal has been king in this state," said Jeff
Kessler, a Democrat who is president of West Virginia's Senate and a
sponsor of the so-called future fund. "But it's a king that hasn't
always been good to its subjects. Just because it's all we've known as a
state doesn't mean that's all there is."
Coal is losing power in this country -- and popularity overseas too, as AP's BigStory of the day documents "the beginning of the end":
The U.S. will burn 943 million tons of coal this year, only about as much as it did in 1993. Now it's on the verge of adopting pollution rules that may all but prohibit the construction of new coal plants. And China, which burns 4 billion tons of coal a year — as much as the rest of the world combined — is taking steps to slow the staggering growth of its coal consumption and may even be approaching a peak.
Michael Parker, a commodities analyst at Bernstein Research, calls the shift in China "the beginning of the end of coal." While global coal use is almost certain to grow over the next few years — and remain an important fuel for decades after that — coal may soon begin a long slow decline.
In this scene, the character from Greek mythology, Cassandra, who is cursed with the gift of prophesy, but also to be never believed, gives a weather report on local TV:
CASSANDRA: Good morning, welcome to the weather. Carol Erickson couldn't be here today, so I'm filling in. This morning Berks County is getting a tornado. This afternoon Bucks County will have an earthquake. This evening Berks, Bucks, and Montgomery Counties will have a thunderstorm and you may find you have survived the tornado and the earthquake, but after the insane record rainfall we had in July, all the trees are going to fall over and squash your house and your car and maybe you. And now the national forecast. Chunks of Florida fell into the ocean yesterday. It was kind of funny, except people died. Tomorrow more chunks are gonna fall into the ocean. So move to the center of the state if you can. or hover about it all in a helicopter if you can do that. Arizona and Texas have finished their 320th day without rain, and the entire two states are now on fire. And that's the weather.
And here's a description of the character from the NY Times critic:
Playing Cassandra, the housekeeper who dabbles in both classical Greek drama and voodoo (go figure), Shalita Grant swaggers away with just about every scene she’s in, thanks to Mr. Durang’s hilariously demented monologues full of fantastically dark premonitions and mashed-up quotations from the theatrical canon.
Yes. Emphasis on the "hilariously demented." Cassandra as weather forecaster: makes perfect sense for our demented -- or, as the physicists say -- "perturbed" times. Here's Cassandra, from her times...