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Inside Llewyn Davis

My Letterboxd review of this one, written while I stood at the corner of 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue, waiting to grab some chicken and rice directly after a screening, reads like this: “The Ballad of the Unlikeable Protagonist: Coen Brothers’ Greatest Hits (CBS 2013).” I couldn’t figure out on short notice what else to do with Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s maybe the first Coen Bros. film that seems to settle into sampler territory — it has the frustrated creative protagonist from Barton Fink, the Odyssey references and period-music revivalism of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the John Goodman character role from, well, several of ’em. And its folk-singing wannabe title character really is a piece of work. Abrasive, overly serious, and a mite noxious in his sense of entitlement and estimation of self-worth, frustrated New York folkie Llewyn Davis is the epitome of problematic artistic temperament — a lost cause from square one.
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The Social Network

An opinion piece in The Daily Beast ignited a half-baked controversy in the blogosphere last October by taking The Social Network‘s screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, to task. Writer Rebecca Davis O’Brien perceived the film as misogynist — or sexist, or something — complaining about the absence of strong female characters in the film. On that count, she is largely correct. The Social Network is about a group of young men inventing something that became fundamental to how people communicate online. But is that, by itself, indicative of some kind of unfairness toward women?

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