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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Ben Stiller re-teams with director Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) for While We’re Young, a very funny movie about artistic integrity and learning to grow up.

Stiller and Naomi Watts play a 40-something couple who are content, but perhaps a little bored. They meet a 20-something couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) and find themselves drawn to them and aspects of their “really cool” lifestyle. As it turns out, the Stiller and Driver characters are both film documentarians. This leads to initial bonding—but then it leads to big problems.

This is Stiller’s funniest movie since Tropic Thunder, and Watts is every bit as funny (especially when she cuts loose in a hip-hop dance class). Driver and Seyfried are adorable, and a little scary, as the younger couple who still listen to vinyl and watch VHS tapes, because it’s cool and retro.

Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz and Maria Dizzia get laughs as Stiller’s older friends who just had a baby and are worried about the emotional welfare of their two pals.

Baumbach is always amusing, and this is one of his better films.

While We’re Young is now playing at the Camelot Theaters (2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs; 760-325-6565) and the Century Theatres at The River (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-836-1940).

Published in Reviews

The Coen Brothers have made films raging from dark-comedy works to Westerns—yet they all have a distinctive, specific Coen Brothers feel. Their latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, is loosely based on Dave Von Ronk, a Greenwich Village folk singer who tried—and failed—to captivate audiences in the early ‘60s.

The story begins in a café. After performing, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is told by the owner that a “friend” is waiting for him outside. When he steps outside, he’s beaten up by a stranger. The struggling musician—his new record isn’t selling—sleeps on the couches of his friends, and he’s trying to come to terms with the suicide of a former collaborator and friend. He ponders returning to the Merchant Marines.

Inside Llewyn Davis has some of the dark humor typical in a Coen Brothers film, and the comedy relief is always perfectly timed to break the moments of intense heartbreak you feel for the struggling Llewyn.

The musical performances also make the film worthwhile. Isaac’s work is fantastic. (He performs solo and as a trio with Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver.) Other music performances come from the likes of Nancy Blake and Declan Bennett. The soundtrack for Inside Llewyn Davis is indeed worth remembering.

The Coen Brothers can do no wrong, it seems, when it comes to making good films that separate themselves from previous efforts. There is no doubt that this one is going to bring home some awards; in fact, the nominations have already been pouring in. 

Inside Llewyn Davis is now playing at the Camelot Theatres (2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs; 760-325-6565) and the Cinémas Palme d’Or (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-779-0430).

Published in Reviews

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