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
Hailee Steinfeld discusses filming in New York and her fellow cast in a red carpet interview during the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of her new movie 'Begin Again', in which she stars alongside Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine and Keira Knightley.
Continue reading: Hailee Steinfeld - Begin Again Red Carpet Interview
Keira Knightley talks about working on her new movie 'Begin Again', in which she stars as a dejected singer-songwriter in New York alongside Hailee Steinfeld, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine. Although not a natural singer, Keira had to pull off a few tunes of her own in the movie.
Continue reading: Keira Knightley - Begin Again Red Carpet Interview
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.
It's the mid-1970s at a proper boys' prep school in DC, and Kline's Hundert encounters his first splash in the face with the cold water of life outside revered academia when he meets the father of a mischievous underachieving student. The stern dad, a brash U.S. senator, scolds Hundert: "You will not mold my son, I will mold my son". With a dose more sympathy for the kid, Hundert befriends him and watches him turn into a studying machine.
Continue reading: The Emperor's Club Review
A routine aerial shot swoops down over the grounds of an architecturally classic boarding school while a buoyant, sanguine score bleats with insistently lyrical French horns in the opening moments of "The Emperor's Club." And that's all most moviegoers will need to divine everything there is to know about the picture's musty, fond-memory-styled milieu of plucky, Puckish schoolboys and the dedicated, kindly educator who inspires them.
It's a movie that seems motivated more by a desire to match mortarboards with "Dead Poets Society" and "Good Will Hunting" than by its own story. It's a movie of highly telegraphed archetypes slogging their way through clichés (the off-limits girls' school is just across the lake) and only-in-the-movies moments, like the climactic scholarly trivia contest in which the three smartest boys in school don togas and answer questions on stage about the minutiae of Roman history.
These settings, these characters and this narrative arc -- about a contentious teacher-student relationship -- are so familiar that while the movie is not inept or boring, it never feels real enough to inspire much more than a shrug in response.
Continue reading: The Emperor's Club Review
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