Drive-Away Dolls

Jamie and Marian realise they're couriers of the wrong sort of merchandise

Drive-Away Dolls is the first feature film that Ethan Coen has directed without brother Joel’s involvement at some stage. Playing it safe, he’s decided to go for a homage to the films he first made with Joel back in those Blood Simple/Raising Arizona years. While this isn’t a bad thing in itself, it does mean what’s on offer is familiar – fruits, nuts and flakes, pantomime death, cartoonish visuals, a lot of the verbals, low shots down corridors, villains falling out with each other and what have you. It’s, you know, OK, though neither Blood Simple nor Raising Arizona need worry and it raises again a question that’s always hovered in my mind, as … Read more

Inside Llewyn Davis

Oscar Isaac and cat in Inside Llewyn Davis

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 30 June Dave Van Ronk born, 1936 On this day in 1936, one of the great nearly men of popular music was born, in Brooklyn, New York, USA, into a Catholic family who identified as Irish. Dave Van Ronk was singing in a barbershop quartet by the age of 13 but left school early to play music, hang around in Manhattan and, eventually, ship out with the Merchant Marine. He played jazz before straying upon blues, and built up a small following as one of the few white men working in the genre. And from there broadened out into folk. As … Read more