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Director John Carney Publicly Apologises For Bashing Keira Knightley's Work On 'Begin Again'


Keira Knightley John Carney

Disgraced director John Carney has issued a public apology to his movie's star Keira Knightley after 'I'll never make a film with supermodels again' tirade in which he slammed the A-list actress for her work on his film 'Begin Again'. He calls his unfair comments 'arrogant and disrespectful'.

Keira KnightleyKeira Knightley surrounded by her entourage

As one can imagine, a director slamming an actress he's worked with can hardly have a positive effect on said actress' career when it comes to finding future movie roles, but at least now John Carney has seen the error of his ways and apologised 'publicly and unreservedly' for his misguided comments.

Continue reading: Director John Carney Publicly Apologises For Bashing Keira Knightley's Work On 'Begin Again'

Sing Street Review

Extraordinary

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical romance from John Carney, who also wrote and directed Once and Begin Again. Set in the 1980s, this brightly comical film is packed with fabulous songs, both real hits from the period and fantastic pastiche numbers. And it's vividly performed by a fresh cast.

It's set in 1985 Dublin, where 15-year-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is furious when his parents (Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy) transfer him to a local catholic school due to financial trouble. Conor's adored older stoner-rocker brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) is still living at home, while their younger sister Ann (Kelly Thornton) observes the craziness of her family with wry detachment. Then Conor falls for sexy bad girl Raphina (Lucy Boynton), trying to impress her by telling her that he's in a rock band. So now he really needs to create one. He gathers some other outcasts at his new school, and they become Sing Street, trying to write some "futurist" songs. But finding their own sound is tricky.

As this scrappy band comes together, they take inspiration from the music around them, including pop bands like Duran Duran, The Cure and Spandau Ballet. Their own songs and clothing hilariously echo these styles as they try to find a way to connect with their audience while expressing themselves artistically. And the songs are fiendishly catchy, each accompanied by a hand-made music video that cleverly traces the boys' passion for music and their coming-of-age as artists in their own right, all within the context of the period. At the centre, Conor's journey is twisty, complex and hugely resonant. Walsh-Peelo is a very likeable actor who's thoroughly believable as a young guy trying desperately to act grown up, despite the terrible examples of his bickering parents and slacker brother.

Continue reading: Sing Street Review

Sing Street Trailer


Conor lives in Dublin and for the past 13 years, he's had a nice comfortable life. He lives with his brother and his mum and dad and was privileged enough to have a private education; however as his folks start having money problems Conor finds himself at the local school in surroundings he's unfamiliar with. 

Nothing comes easy for the teen but he makes a couple of friends and when he spots a girl called Raphina, he knows that she's the girl he's meant to be with. Growing up in the 80's, you weren't anyone unless you were in a band and Conor has just hatched a plan in his mind that's sure to see him climb the social ladder - and more importantly win the heart of his new beau - Conor is going to start a band and Raphina is going to be the lead star in their first music video. The only problem is at the moment there's no band. 

Changing his name to Cosmo and recruiting some more guys to join his band, Cosmo sets fame and the girl of his dreams in his sights.

Begin Again Review


Excellent

Fans of the Oscar-winning 2006 Irish film Once (and its more recent stage-musical adaptation) may find this American drama a little derivative, but it's a strong story in its own right. This time writer-director John Carney has assembled a starry cast to nicely capture the rhythms of New York's streets. And the songs, while not quite as integral to the story, are gorgeous.

The opening sequence sets up the story from two perspectives, as music producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo) hears songwriter Greta (Keira Knightley) reluctantly perform at a bar's open-mic night. Both of these people are at their rope's end: always seeking offbeat talent, Dan is on the outs with his record label partner (Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def), and wants to reconnect with his estranged wife and teen daughter (Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfeld). Meanwhile, Greta has just been dumped by her rising pop-star boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine), who got his big break from a song she wrote. To stop her moping, her pal Steve (James Corden) encourages her to start singing her own songs. In Greta, Dan sees the kind of artist he longs to make records with, so with nothing to lose the two set out to record her songs at locations around the city for a new album.

Like Once, this is a love story that doesn't actually involve romance: these two people need each other to discover their life's passions. So Ruffalo and Knightley get the chance to create some terrific chemistry without much of a threat that they'll fall for each other. Indeed, each has other fish to fry, as they try to sort out their emotional connections elsewhere. Their flirty friendship plays out in a fresh, effortless way that generates some complex emotions and ideas. Ruffalo is always great at creating these kinds of loose, slightly hapless characters, while Knightley delivers an even more earthy performance, letting her own sparky personality emerge on-screen for the first time along with some serious skill as a singer. And the supporting cast add texture in just the right places.

Continue reading: Begin Again Review

Begin Again New York Premiere - Arrivals

John Carney and Marcella Plunkett - The New York premiere of Begin Again at the SVA Theatre - Arrivals. - New York, New York, United States - Wednesday 25th June 2014

John Carney and Marcella Plunkett
John Carney

Begin Again - Clip


Gretta is a young singer-songwriter who takes to New York with her musician boyfriend Dave after he faces a major recording deal. She is supportive and not expectant of any recognition herself, but Dave still decides to finish the relationship in favour of his musical pursuits. Heartbroken, Gretta takes to performing solo at a small bar nearby and it's there she meets Dan Mulligan, a former record executive who has just been sacked by his label. He is on the lookout for a star act to get his record label career back on track and Gretta seems to fit the bill with her captivating presence. He takes her under his wing, determined to give her her own dose of success, even if their resources and finance are limited. It turns out not just to be a quest for fortune and fame though, as the pair soon find themselves transforming as people in almost every way.

Continue: Begin Again - Clip

Begin Again Trailer


Dan Mulligan is a former record executive who has just been spectacularly dismissed by the label he was employed by. Now penniless with nowhere to go and no-one to talk to apart from his hormonal teenage daughter Violet, he is desperate to find some musicians and get his career back on track. Meanwhile, a young singer-songwriter named Gretta has just been dumped by her co-musician boyfriend Dave after he manages to secure a major label deal for himself. Depressed and alone, she finds herself performing solo on a stage at a small bar where Dan happens to be drinking. Captivated, he decides to take her under his wing and help her achieve the success she so craves with his own unusual methods, and both find themselves transforming as people in almost every way.

Formerly entitled 'Can A Song Save Your Life?', 'Begin Again' is a touching comedy drama with a thrilling all star cast. It has been written and directed by John Carney ('Once', 'On the Edge', 'Zonad', 'The Rafters'), and is the story of how music can change many people for the better - and, sometimes, for the worst. The film is due for UK release this summer on July 11th 2014.

Click here to Begin Again movie review

Guests Arrive At The European Premiere Of 'Once' The Musical At The Gaiety Theatre

John Carney and Marcella Plunkett - Guests arrive at the European Premiere of 'Once' the musical at The Gaiety Theatre - Dublin, Ireland - Tuesday 26th February 2013

John Carney and Marcella Plunkett
John Carney
John Carney, Evan Walsh and Colm Gavin
Glen Hansard and John Carney
John Carney
Glen Hansard and John Carney

On The Set Of Their New Movie 'Can A Song Save Your Life?'

John Carney, Hailee Steinfeld and Keira Knightley - Director John Carney, Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld Wednesday 18th July 2012 on the set of their new movie 'Can A Song Save Your Life?'

John Carney, Hailee Steinfeld and Keira Knightley
John Carney, Hailee Steinfeld and Keira Knightley

On The Set Of Their New Movie 'Can A Song Save Your Life?'

John Carney and Keira Knightley - Director John Carney and Keira Knightley Thursday 12th July 2012 on the set of their new movie 'Can A Song Save Your Life?'

John Carney and Keira Knightley
John Carney and Keira Knightley
John Carney and Keira Knightley
John Carney and Keira Knightley
John Carney and Keira Knightley
John Carney

Filming On The Set Of Her New Movie 'Can A Song Save Your Life?' In The Lower East Side, Manhattan

John Carney and Hailee Steinfeld - Director John Carney and Hailee Steinfeld Monday 9th July 2012 filming on the set of her new movie 'Can a Song Save Your Life?' in the Lower East Side, Manhattan

John Carney and Hailee Steinfeld
Hailee Steinfeld, John Carney and Mark Ruffalo
Hailee Steinfeld, John Carney and Mark Ruffalo
John Carney and Hailee Steinfeld
John Carney and Hailee Steinfeld
John Carney and Hailee Steinfeld

Once Review


Good
For such a modest movie, John Carney's Once sure does have big ideas. Dangling precariously between rom-com and musical, Carney has called his film a "visual album," chronicling a slightly tragic love story with songwriter accompaniment. Winner of the Audience Award at the last Sundance Film Festival, the film already has a built-in audience with lead actor Glen Hansard, the lead singer of Dublin-based rockers the Frames, who got his start, musically and cinematically, in Alan Parker's The Commitments.

Unlike Tommy or The Wall, the cinematic repercussions of Hansard's songs were never foretold in any of the Frames albums; all the songs involved were written during Carney's screenwriting process. Carney believes that three-minute pop songs can equally weigh with ten pages of dialogue and uses many of Hansard and his co-star Marketa Irglova's songs to relate emotional weight, an easy way out for exposition. Yet, the exposition is still there, and the songs played are melodramatic enough to make a VH-1 countdown show. Yes, yes, but Carney's idea is still sound.

Continue reading: Once Review

On The Edge (2000) Review


Weak
Paddy, interrupted.

This rather bleak entry into the rapidly expanding genre of "mental institution" movies (a la Girl, Interrupted) has newcomer Cillian Murphy sent to a clinic after driving a convertible off a cliff... and ending up with a broken pinky.

Continue reading: On The Edge (2000) Review

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John Carney Movies

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Sing Street Trailer

Sing Street Trailer

Conor lives in Dublin and for the past 13 years, he's had a nice comfortable...

Begin Again Movie Review

Begin Again Movie Review

Fans of the Oscar-winning 2006 Irish film Once (and its more recent stage-musical adaptation) may...

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Begin Again -  Clip Trailer

Begin Again - Clip Trailer

Gretta is a young singer-songwriter who takes to New York with her musician boyfriend Dave...

Begin Again Trailer

Begin Again Trailer

Dan Mulligan is a former record executive who has just been spectacularly dismissed by the...

Once Movie Review

Once Movie Review

For such a modest movie, John Carney's Once sure does have big ideas. Dangling precariously...

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