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2 items from 2016

[Sundance Review] Sing Street

26 January 2016 8:40 AM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Returning to Sundance after breaking out with his Oscar-winning, shoe-string romance musical Once, director John Carney is back on a victory tour of sorts with Sing Street. Imbuing the same love for music its emotional highs, this is a film more earnest in its pleasure-giving than his last feature, Begin Again. While the structure can be a touch too formulaic, it’s difficult to resist getting swept up in the music and its modest ambitions, for his new musical is acutely attuned to being a crowd-pleaser in all the right ways.

In a lower-class area of Dublin circa 1985, we follow Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a teenager whose school has just been downgraded so his parents can free up some money. He’s now forced to attend the local Catholic school Synge Street, which is full of a rough bunch and teachers that could care less about the kids — where a student »

- Jordan Raup

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Legend; Infinitely Polar Bear; Tangerines; Cartel Land – review

23 January 2016 11:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Tom Hardy’s turn as the Krays is doubly impressive, while Andrew Garfield strikes a deal with the devil

It’s a familiar rule of thumb in the Oscar-watching game that the best actors aren’t always recognised for their best work. Tom Hardy’s as good an example as any this year: he cracked his first nod for his beardily villainous performance in The Revenant, though it’s some of his wobblier work. I’d rather have seen him honoured for Legend (Studiocanal, 18): his twin turn as Reggie and Ronnie Kray is no less brash a feat of scenery-chewing, but it’s a considerably more special one. Drawing on both his reckless movie-star magnetism and his character-actor peculiarities, often in the same frame, it’s a dazzling thespian stunt and a full-bodied (well, double-bodied) characterisation – and the lifeblood of Brian Helgeland’s less inventive chunk of East End gangland lore. »

- Guy Lodge

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