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Richard Lagravenese was nominated for an Oscar at age 32 for his first solo screenplay, “The Fisher King.” But his movie career got off to a rocky start a few years earlier, as co-writer of the Cheech Marin-Eric Roberts comedy “Rude Awakening” for producer Aaron Russo. Lagravenese, who most recently directed the musical “The Last Five Years,” reflected on his humble beginnings.
How did you get involved with “Rude Awakening,” or as it was then known, “The Guatemalan Papers”?
I was writing plays and doing standup comedy. A friend of mine from college is married to Neil Levy, who started on “Saturday Night Live” in the early days and is a really great guy and funny writer. Neil had sold an idea called “Guatemalan Papers” — a “Dr. Strangelove”-like satire about these ’60s radicals hiding in Guatemala — to Aaron Russo. What we didn’t know is all Aaron heard »
- Geoff Berkshire
But apparently it takes an under-the-radar indie film that adapts a commercially failed off-Broadway play for her to shine as a dramatic actress and especially carry the tune as a powerful, spine-chilling singer.
“The Last Five Years” is a tough watch, but it’s real – not in the way “Schindler’s List” is, but more like how “Birdman” is an honest portrayal of the behind the scenes of putting up a Broadway show in New York. And instead of the real life of staging a play, “The Last Five Years” is the true story of the burdens and blessings of an artistic male/female relationship merged with the nightmares and paid-off dreams of living as a struggling artist. I »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Chicago – The movie musical seems to revive every year, and writer/director Richard Lagravenese puts his spin on the genre with a modern touch. A couple, portrayed by Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick, goes through the ups and downs of a relationship while belting out appropriate tunes in “The Last Five Years.”
The film is based on the stage play by Jason Robert Brown, and is the type of musical that is entirely sung. The songs are sad (“Still Hurting”), hilarious (“Summer in Ohio”) and poignant (“If I Didn’t Believe in You”) and are rendered by the couple in a direct and modern approach through Lagravenese’s direction.
Photo credit: Radius-twc
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
The Last Five Years Radius-twc Reviewed for Shockya by Harvey Karten. Data-based on Rotten Tomatoes. Grade: A- Director: Richard Lagravenese Screenwriter: Richard Lagravenese, based on the musical, lyrics and music by Jason Robert Brown Cast: Anna Kendrick, Jeremy Jordan Screened at: Review 1, NYC, 1/29/15 Opens: February 13, 2015 As the song says, breaking up is hard to do, and this is true especially when you’re young, you’ve shared passionate love, your capacity to feel is at its peak. Thus when Cathy Hiatt (Anna Kendrick), looking as though the world has collapsed around her, sings “Still Hurting,” with the lyrics “Jamie is over, Jamie is gone,” we in the audience [ Read More ]
The post The Last Five Years Movie Review appeared first on Shockya.com. »
- Harvey Karten
Ever since the musical came back into vogue in Hollywood, we have been treated to some enormous spectacles, what with the cinematic adaptations of Les Miserables and Into the Woods. That’s what makes the latest musical adaptation, The Last Five Years, exceptionally unique, as it is far more concerned with its characters than it is with wowing you with incredible sights and sounds.
Directed by Richard Lagravenese and adapted from the Off-Broadway musical by Jason Robert Brown, the film is an impressive deconstruction of a loving relationship told in a non-linear fashion. Anna Kendrick plays Cathy Wiatt, an aspiring actress who falls head over heels in love with writer Jamie Wellerstein (Jeremy Jordan). Throughout the film, we watch as their love blossoms into marriage and then goes from smooth sailing to very rough waters.
As Jamie’s star rises thanks to the incredible success of his first novel, Cathy »
- Ben Kenber
In the last three years, Anna Kendrick‘s career has exploded. Thanks to the little a cappella flick that could, Pitch Perfect, the 29-year-old actress has been the go-to girl for all-things movie musical. And now, she’s starring in the most heartbreaking of them all, Richard Lagravenese‘s The Last Five Years.
In the big screen adaptation of Jason Robert Brown‘s original production, in theaters and VOD now, Kendrick plays Cathy, a struggling actress whose marriage crumbles amidst the success of her distracted husband’s (Jeremy Jordan) novelist career.
If the fact that this film is preceded by Into the Woods and followed by Pitch Perfect 2 is any indication, the actress’ singing ability is no fluke. For further proof, here are her 10 greatest musical moments.
“Life Upon the Wicked Stage” (My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies special, 1998)
Kendrick got her start as a fetus, basically, in a Broadway production of High Society, »
- Tara Aquino
President's Day weekend wasn't just good to "50 Shades of Grey." A few new specialty titles posted very promising results in their limited debuts, most notably Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's "What We Do In The Shadows" and Richard Lagravenese's "The Last Five Years." The former -- released by Paladin/Unison -- managed the best opening average of 2015 thus far, taking in an impressive $65,830 from two theaters in New York and Los Angeles to average $32,915. Notably, this gross was achieved with the film playing on just a single screen at each theater, with nearly every show a sellout. Paladin/Unison said the will expand to exclusive engagements rounding out the top ten markets on February 20th before rolling out to the top 25 on a week later and aggressively across the country in early March. Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan led musical "The Last Five Years" also was off to a fine start. »
- Peter Knegt
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Last Five Years.] Now that The Last Five Years is in theaters and on demand, fans of the off-Broadway musical can watch Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan belt out the songs from the show's popular soundtrack and see what the musical about the demise of a relationship would look like as a movie. Although there are some changes in the film version, the biggest of which is that both characters appear together throughout the film, instead of trading solos like they do onstage, writer-director Richard Lagravenese says that his decisions were driven
- Hilary Lewis
Richard Lagravenese never had any doubts that his adaptation of off-Broadway cult musical “The Last Five Years” would be made outside the studio system. “Being a musical theater lover, I’ve always been wary of stage-to-screen adaptations because, you know, things get changed, actors get cast who can’t sing or things get cut — it just ends up not the same show you were obsessive about,” he told TheWrap. Also Read: TheWrap’s 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015: From ‘Fifty Shades’ to ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Spectre’ “The Last Five Years” is the latest in a string of musicals — original and adapted — produced independently. »
- Linda Ge
"Pitch Perfect 2" is still a few months away, but there's another movie that will give you an Anna Kendrick fix before then. This weekend, the musical "The Last Five Years" hits cinemas, so today we have a contest for fans of the actress, singer, and all-around talent. But first, here's what what you need to know about the movie. Richard Lagravenese wrote and directed the picture, based on the stage show, that tracks the relationship between a struggling actress and an aspiring novelist, across five years. From starry-eyed romance to heartbreak, the story covers it all with big songs and choreographed dance sequences. And today, we have prize packs featuring a poster signed by Anna Kendrick, co-star Jeremy Jordan, and Richard Lagravenese, along with a copy of the soundtrack. To win, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and tweet: "I want to win The Last Five Years from @ThePlaylist. »
- Edward Davis
Jeremy Jordan is a four-time Broadway star (Tony nominated for 2012’s “Newsies”) and TV heartthrob (thanks to NBC’s short-lived “Smash”); now he can add movie actor to his resume. The 30-year-old is the lead in “The Last Five Years,” based on the cult stage musical, about a young husband and wife (played by Anna Kendrick) who croon about the highs and lows of their dissolving relationship.
To get the part, Jordan had to audition three times for director Richard Lagravenese (“P.S. I Love You”) in the spring of 2013. The indie was shot in only three weeks that summer, and Radius-twc later picked up U.S. distribution. (The film opens in theaters and on VOD on Feb. 13). Jordan spoke to Variety about live singing in the movie (a la “Les Miserables”), if there could ever be a “Newsies” remake and the backstage fighting on “Smash.”
I hadn’t seen the play. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Can Anna Kendrick save the movie musical with "The Last Five Years"? The answer is no — and yes. She's clearly the show-topping star of this romantic, song-and-dance vehicle that plays with time in interesting ways; but Richard Lagravenese's awkwardly mounted screen version of Jason Robert Brown's Off-Broadway hit plays for musical geeks only, and assuredly they'll be in hog heaven. Kendrick and Broadway actor Jeremy Jordan ("Rock of Ages," "West Side Story") play Cathy and Jamie, two twentysomethings who meet cute, fall in love, get married young and, inevitably, divorce young. "The Last Five Years" charts the birth and death of that marriage, beginning with Cathy who, through mournful opening tune "Still Hurting," reflects on their ugly separation cast in the anemic lighting of their New York apartment. We learn that she is a struggling theater actress who, at this point at the end of their "five years, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Musical theater geeks have been waiting for this one for a while. Richard Lagravenese's adaptation of the Jason Robert Brown musical "The Last Five Years" stars Anna Kendrick, who has been singing her little head off ever since being nominated for a Tony Award as a child, and relative unknown Jeremy Jordan, who starred in "Joyful Noise" with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, in the stage adaptation of the Disney film "Newsies" and in a recurring role in NBC's musical theater-themed drama "Smash." The story follows Jaime (Jordan), an up and coming novelist, and Cathy (Kendrick), an aspiring actress, on the journey of their five year relationship. But there's an unexpected twist: Jaime's side of the story is told in chronological order; his songs moving linearly through time. Cathy's, however, moves backwards -- her side of the story is told from the end of their relationship to the beginning. »
- Casey Cipriani
Richard Lagravenese has adapted Jason Robert Brown’s two-character musical The Last Five Years with taste, feeling, and a vast reservoir of sadness. His camera moves gently—with gentlemanly discretion—through the Manhattan brownstone window of Cathy (Anna Kendrick) as she finds the good-bye note from her husband, Jamie (Jeremy Jordan). She sings, “Jamie is over and Jamie is gone,” and the feature-length flashback that follows is steeped in hurt. (That first song is called “Still Hurting.”)When they meet, Jewish Jamie is dreaming of being a best-selling serious novelist, “shiksa goddess” Cathy of a career on Broadway. He realizes his dream, and she doesn’t. In “I’m a Part of That,” she tries to tell herself—as he tells her—that she is a part of his achievement, but she knows she’ll be destined to “follow in his stride instead of side by side.” While she troops »
- David Edelstein
Written by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Richard Lagravenese
If you haven’t seen the film Pitch Perfect, you might not even know that Anna Kendrick can sing. The actresses’ pipes weren’t the key to her Oscar-nominated breakout in Up in the Air or most of the films she has done since. But in fact, singing was Kendrick’s first claim to fame: she started acting in New York at age 10 and received a Tony nomination at 12. Every ounce of that talent is on display in Richard Lagravenese’s new musical The Last Five Years, and the film needs her, because its unusual mix of bitter and sweet wouldn’t connect as well without her.
- Mark Young
Jeremy Jordan didn’t realize he had just done his very first leading-man role on film until well after cameras stopped rolling on “The Last Five Years.” After doing many leading roles on Broadway, playing Jamie Wallerstein opposite Anna Kendrick in Richard Lagravenese‘s adaptation of the hit off-Broadway musical just sort of blended in, the actor shared during a new episode of TheWrap’s “Drinking With the Stars.” Also Read: TheWrap’s 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015: From ‘Fifty Shades’ to ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Spectre’ But there are some differences between the two. “It didn’t feel like that on film, »
- Linda Ge
Those inclined toward musical theater have a more melodic love story among their options for Valentine’s Day: “The Last Five Years.”
The musical preemed Wednesday night at ArcLight Hollywood to an audience of die-hard musical theater lovers. Much as in a stage performance, the audience clapped after every musical number wrapped onscreen.
Based on the musical of the same name by Jason Robert Brown, “The Last Five Years” documents the five-year relationship between a writer, Jamie (Jeremy Jordan), and an actress, Cathy (Anna Kendrick). Jamie sings all of his songs in chronological order, while Cathy’s songs start from the end of their relationship and work backwards, leading the two to meet in the middle when Jamie proposes for the film’s only true duet.
Though the film may be something of a downer, Jordan insists it’s still a great love story. “If you’ve ever been in »
- Marianne Zumberge
Two very different love stories are competing for your attention this Valentine’s weekend, Fifty Shades of Grey, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, and The Last Five Years, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. The former is about an unhealthy Bdsm relationship, and the latter is a musical about one completely falling apart. Regardless of how depressing that sounds, Kendrick made an excellent case for why you should watch her sing.
At The Last Five Years press conference Wednesday, Kendrick vouched for her film’s more hopeful ending by divulging just how screwed up Fifty Shades is.
Warning: If you don’t want it to be spoiled, stop reading now.
“I would argue that [our movie] has a happier ending than Fifty Shades,” Kendrick said. “I have read the book…He spanks her too hard and she leaves! This is true. That is the end.” Obviously, that probably won’t deter »
- Tara Aquino
It's common knowledge that a pure musical takes more than a bit of suspension of disbelief. From the first notes, you kind of have to go with the flow, taking in the abstraction as it comes. On stage, this level of abstraction is often heightened by the stage design, the proscenium forming a canvas on which the performance takes place that's fixed in space, while the movement of the actors and the rise and fall of the music drives the performance forward. On film, you've got several options - do something that's like a documentary, filled with shaky-cam movements and haphazard compositions, or go over the top kitsch, calling attention to the theatricality of the work. With The Last Five Years, director Richard Lagravenese immediately...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
In life, there are couples that we hope will always stay together, just as there are romances that are doomed to succeed. From the latter group, it is often due to the poor matching of both people in the relationship. If you despise one half of the union, you secretly hope for their love to dissolve. The same is true for couples in the movies: you want to be rooting for both sides to reach an apex of romantic ecstasy so that you can go home happy.
The main issue with The Last Five Years, a new musical from director Richard Lagravenese (Freedom Writers), is not just that the young male and female protagonists are a bad match, but the actors who occupy those roles are poorly suited for each other. Anna Kendrick is one of the best young actors working in Hollywood today, and also a vibrantly talented singer. »
- Jordan Adler
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