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There was a time when a major studio might have made “Jackie & Ryan,” a wholesome, female-skewing heartland romance, with a Sandra Bullock in the lead and reaped the profits; today, it’s a wing-and-a-prayer festival film that marks Katherine Heigl’s introduction to independent cinema. That’s more of a knock on the shifting biases of mainstream audiences than it is on the ample cornball charms of Ami Canaan Mann’s third feature, which casts Heigl as a hard-up single mother and former country star who’s brought out of her shell by dreamy, drifting busker Ben Barnes. , and merits a carefully targeted release from a nurturing distributor.
The Venice Lido is a curious place to unveil a not-especially-arty film this cozily American in flavor and focus. Everything about “Jackie & Ryan” (filmed under the initial title “Your Right Mind”) seems geared more toward a Sundance berth, right down to its »
- Guy Lodge
Can you believe that it’s the end of August already? Yes, by the time this weekend comes to a close, it’ll be September and two thirds of the year will be gone. As such, I figured I would do something you won’t see many other places…an article on the best of the first two thirds of 2014. Eight months have passed in the year and we’ve only got the top tier Oscar contenders left to see, so it felt natural to run down what’s been top drawer from the rest of the bunch. I’ll be giving you a look at what my current top ten of the year so far looks like, as well as what my own personal awards ballot at this juncture would look like. Hopefully it’s something fun that you enjoy reading…I know it’s the sort of thing that I enjoy writing! »
- Joey Magidson
Begin Again is about to, well, begin again.
In a strategic move capitalizing on the upcoming awards season, the Weinstein Company announced that Begin Again will be re-released in theaters nationwide on Friday, Aug. 29. The folksy, feel-good film depicts a patron-muse relationship between down-and-out music producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo) and under-the-radar singer Gretta (Keira Knightley), freshly dumped by her newly famous rock-star boyfriend (Adam Levine). Dan and Gretta traipse along New York City recording an album that Dan hopes will revitalize his fledgling career and life despite Gretta’s inclinations to stay true to her indie roots.
Writer and director »
- Teresa Jue
The Weinstein Company, which is looking at a lean Oscar season this year--unless they add some late-breaking contenders--announced today the re-release of their summer hit "Begin Again" ($14.5 million domestic). The movie heads back to theaters nationwide starting Friday, August 29th. Written and directed by John Carney and starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine (making his film acting debut), scene-stealer and future talk show host James Corden and Catherine Keener, "Begin Again" looks to follow in the footsteps of "Once," which won the Best Song Oscar for “Falling Slowly” in 2007. Carney again has crafted a genuine and organic romance with music that is thankfully not about bringing the two leads together as lovers. Songwriter Gretta (Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are splitting up as he becomes a superstar. When she performs in a music club, Dan, a jaded and depressed veteran »
- Anne Thompson
We’re back with another edition of the Indie Spotlight, highlighting recent independent horror news sent our way. Today’s feature includes a trailer and release details for Sledge, Cam2Cam, and Night Guards, a review of Hungerford, plus more below:
Sledge Trailer and Release Date Announced: “He didn’t drown. He didn’t burn. He’s just a psychopath with a sledgehammer.
A spoof of the horror genre, and littered with nods and references to fright flicks of yesteryear, the film fixes on a psychopath who not only believes he’s in a movie and video game but that he’s the hero of this story.
“Sledge is a horror comedy that takes a loving poke to the horror classics we »
- Tamika Jones
The Broadway musical based on the low-budget indie film “Once” is playing in multiple productions around the world these days, but the touring company in Los Angeles got something that no other “Once” could boast on Friday night: a curtain-call appearance and song from Glen Hansard, who wrote the show's songs and starred in the 2006 John Carney movie that unexpectedly turned into an Oscar-winning, Broadway-show-spawning, Tony-winning hit. Hansard, who was in Los Angeles to play the Hollywood Bowl before heading to New York and then France to record his next album, came to the Pantages Theater on Friday, marking »
- Steve Pond
We are excited to announce the premiere of a new Begin Again trailer, from The Weinstein Company. Director John Carney follows up his critically-acclaimed debut Once with this new musical drama, centering on a struggling musician (Keira Knightley) who connects with a downtrodden record label executive (Mark Ruffalo) during a New York City summer. Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Yasiin Bey and Catherine Keener round out the all-star cast in this critically-acclaimed drama, which is currently playing in theaters nationwide following a successful limited release.
The latest film from writer-director John Carney (Once), Begin Again is a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, »
A hugely satisfying ode to entrepreneurial creativity, and a glorious love letter to New York City and the art it inspires. I love this movie so much. I’m “biast” (pro): love the cast
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
I love this movie so much. Partly for how it demonstrates how little a movie has to deviate from an oh-so-repetitive format to come up with something fresh and exciting but also still comfortable and comforting. And partly for being so radical in a few attitudes while it’s being comfortable and comforting.
I mean, writer-director John Carney — who got famous with Once, and this is even better — only has to switch things up a little bit to upend our expectations about a movie. Like how he first introduces us to English songwriter Gretta (Keira Knightley [Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Anna Karenina], doing her own very »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Even though writer/director John Carney has enjoyed success in Irish film and television with the likes of Zonad, On The Edge and Bachelors Walk, outside of his home country he is most known for 2007's Once, his low budget feature which celebrated the power of music, set in the world of Dublin buskers. Once went onto be a massive critical success, and has been adapted into a Tony award winning play. Carney returns to that well somewhat with Begin Again. The original title, Can a Song Save Your Life?, tells you all you need to know about the movie, a feel good celebration of music and staying true to yourself, all set against the back drop of New York City. Begin Again starts in the middle, with Greta (Keira Knightley) performing an aggressive song written about her ex Dave (Adam Levine) on the stage of a New York dive bar, »
- email@example.com (Tom White)
Andrew Pulver and Peter Bradshaw join Xan Brooks for our weekly round-up of the big cinema releases. This week we're watching the years roll by with Richard Linklater's extraordinary Boyhood - a coming-of-age drama shot across 12 years; taking it from the top with Once director John Carney's noodly New York music drama Begin Again; and contemplating the end days with Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction
Miss the good old pre-video days? Listen to the audio-only version of this week's show Continue reading »
- Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw, Andrew Pulver, Tom Silverstone and Henry Barnes
Given the success of Once – which won an Academy Award and has since been turned into a triumphant stage production, for filmmaker John Carney to return to the musical drama genre was always something of a risk, but he’s surpassed expectations with Begin Again, in what is arguably a more accomplished offering than his previous Oscar winner.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the filmmakers to discuss his latest project, and how vital it was for him and the film that the music was of a particularly high standard. He also tells us about the decision to cast Keira Knightley in a different sort of role to which we’re used to, and whether it was true that Scarlett Johansson was once a possibility to take it on…
Begin Again is out in cinemas now.
- Stefan Pape
Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, sees Irish-born director John Carney (who brought us Once), explore the story of a chance encounter between a troubled music-business executive and a struggling singer-songwriter. Set in New York, their encounter leads to a captivating and creative collaboration which is the perfect excuse for a great soundtrack. The soundtrack includes interesting contributions from Knightley, Maroon 5′s Adam Levine and songs written by the director himself. To celebrate the release of Begin Again, we take a look at ten film actors that have surprisingly delved into a career in music and expanded their CV’s – for better or worse! Headphones at the ready!
There is nothing Hollywood star Robert Downey Jr. can’t do, so it’s no surprise he made his own album called The Futurist that was released in 2004. Before this, he sang in various films such »
- Louise Tooth
While they don't exactly fit the definition of an odd couple, there's something compellingly weird about seeing Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley paired up on-screen. He's all scruffy open heart, while she retains a kind of ethereal delicacy even in what's probably her warmest and most relaxed performance to date. It's this off-kilter combo, combined with an overarching sense of real passion for music, that gives John Carney's Begin Again its rich, unassuming charm.
Knightley is aspiring singer-songwriter Greta, a British ex-pat who finds herself suddenly alone in New York after getting dumped by her douchey rising star boyfriend (Adam Levine). Dragged along to an open-mic night by musician friend Steve (a very funny James Corden), she plays a rough version of her own self-penned track, »
Irish director John Carney has had good luck casting non-actors in his lovely, lyrical dramas.
His 2007 film Once starred actor/musician Glen Hansard as a vacuum cleaner repairman and Dublin street musician, andMarkéta Irglová — who had no acting experience but was Hansard’s bandmate in the real-life group The Swell Season — as a Czech immigrant with a beautiful voice and the personality to match.
The indie film was a huge hit on the festival circuit and then in mainstream release, with its most memorable tune, “Falling Slowly,” winning the Academy Award for Best Song.
Now Carney, a former musician, brings his ability to mesh film and song to America with Begin Again, a New York-set drama that casts another musician with zero big-screen acting experience, Adam Levine, in a pivotal role. Levine does, of course, have a slightly higher profile than Irglová. The musical prodigy (he can play pretty much »
- Marni Weisz - Editor, Cineplex Magazine
Directed by John Carney (Once), Begin Again stars Keira Knightley as an aspiring singer-songwriter whose chance encounter with a down-and-out record label executive (Mark Ruffalo) gives both a new lease of life.
Corden plays Knightley's best friend and fellow musician, who shares her passion for songwriting if not her talent for it.
"John said, 'Why don't you write your own song?'," Corden told Digital Spy. "So I wrote a song, and it really is the worst song in the world. It's called 'The Twelfth of Never'.
"But you know how in the moment you're doing something, you get sucked in? So I went, 'Oh, do you know what, I think this is pretty damn good, actually. I've got a feeling when John hears this, he'll go, "Well, this is going »
For today's Tuesday Top Ten it's your last peek at Nathaniel's top ten list for 2014 until the official one at year's end. Only films that have already played theaters in regular release are eligible hence endearing indies like Happy Christmas (currently On Demand) or instant classics like Love is Strange or next weekend's highly raved openers (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Boyhood) cannot yet apply. Herewith my ten favorite pictures of 2014 thus far since we've already looked at favorite sights and favorite sounds.
You should see all of these movies. How many will stick around for the official top ten of 2014? I haven't a clue. That's half the excitement of drawing these invisible lines in the sand and waiting with hot anticipation for the rest of the year's wonders
Top Ten Films Of 2014's First Half
Weinstein Co | June 27th »
- NATHANIEL R
Born out of the creative mind of John Carney – the writer and director of the Academy Award winning Once – comes another musical in the form of Begin Again, though while the aforementioned title was nauseatingly mawkish at the best of times, this has counteracted such flaws with an injection of cynicism, instead taking a somewhat barbed look at the music industry, and celebrating a more unalloyed form of contemporary expression.
Mark Ruffalo plays Dan, a disgruntled producer, demoralised by the lack of innovation and talent in a slowly decaying industry, where superficiality prevails. However upon stumbling into a small bar hosting an open mic night, he hears Greta (Keira Knightley) perform one of her tracks, and instantly his passion for music returns, as he desperately seeks in making her a star. Though given the singer’s traumatising relationship with popular musician Dave (Adam Levine), she’s somewhat reluctant to follow a similar path. »
- Stefan Pape
In just two films, writer/director John Carney may very well have created a new genre: the neo-musical. First, there was 2006’s Once, a breakout indie film with an Oscar-winning song, “Falling Slowly.” Now he follows a similar plot trajectory with Begin Again (which was once wistfully titled Can a Song Save Your Life?). Two musicians – one male and one female – meet, collaborate on a project and flirt with impunity before ultimately deciding they would rather make music than love. Through his stories about musicians and collaboration, Carney has found a way to update the musical to our contemporary, authenticity-driven times. In his films, the characters frequently break into song, but they don’t break the fourth wall, and the stories never devolve into spectacle. However, Carney has more on his mind than genre-busting. Both of his neo-musicals contain a creeping criticism of a music industry that is depicted as overly-focused on image and provides little room »
- Noah Gittell
James Corden, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine and Keira Knightley with Begin Again director John Carney on Times Square: "That was the one true moment of maverick, crazy John Cassavetes" Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
With Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo with Adam Levine, Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden and Ceelo Green, Irish director John Carney returns twice to the world of street musicians after his Oscar winning Once. At the Crosby Street Hotel, I followed up on my Anna Karenina conversation with Keira Knightley on costumes to find out how little A Dangerous Method goes with Annie Hall.
And the boys - Ruffalo, Levine, Corden and Carney - talked about music, acting, filming John Cassavetes style and not selling out.
This time the streets of New York »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
The stars of romantic comedy Begin Again talk to Henry Barnes about the parallels between acting and music and about how important creativity is for human happiness. Plus director John Carney who was also behind Oscar-winner Once discusses the up and downsides of rock 'n roll being primarily a young person's game
Begin Again is out in the Us now, and is released in the UK on 11 July and Australia on 7 August
Read a first-look review Continue reading »
- Henry Barnes and Benjamin Topliss
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