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Great movie songs have served varying purposes over the years. They can both set the scene and act as a theme song (“Fame,” “Falling Slowly” from “Once”), capture a mood (“Things Have Changed” from “The Wonder Boys”), serve up an emotional coda (“My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic”) or even define a character (“Sooner or Later” from “Dick Tracy”).
But how does a single song capture a movie’s essence and bottle its spirit?
Punk rocker Patti Smith, who wrote the lullaby that features prominently in Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” “Mercy Is,” says the director “wanted a song that has a nostalgia for Eden, a time before the fall when man was in direct communication with God.”
For her first original film tune, she read the Psalms and the Song of Solomon to get a sense of the appropriate language. “It had to be a comforting and hopeful song, »
- Jon Burlingame and Tim Greiving
Songwriters Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois talk about creating ‘Lost Stars,’ a key song in “Begin Again,” the latest music-minded film from writer/director John Carney (Once). The film stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, along with a fine collection of veteran co-stars.
The film was produced by Judd Apatow, Tobin Armbrust and Anthony Bregman. The Weinstein Company handled distribution for the film, which has grossed $63.4 million worldwide since its June debut in limited release. It first appeared at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
The pair were talking at Deadline’s recent Oscar showcase, The Contenders.
Have you seen the film? What did you think? Let us know.
- David Bloom
Whether you are a filmmaker, or one of the Sundance programmers whose task it is to identify the films that make up a line-up, it is indeed the most wonderful, panic-filled and nerve racking time of the year. The 31st edition of the Sundance Film Festival kicks off on January 22nd with Park City and Salt Lake City playing host to some of the more innovative, thought-provoking narrative and non-fiction films of 2015. Last year, a Jenga tall order of 4,057 features and 8,161 shorts were submitted. Now let’s think about those numbers for a second.
Twenty years ago, Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb claimed the Grand Jury Prize Documentary award, Living in Oblivion‘s Tom Dicillo was honored with the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, and Edward Burns’ micro-budgeted The Brothers McMullen (there is a read-worthy, lively, eleventh hour account on how it was submitted to the fest in Ted Hope’s “Hope »
- Eric Lavallee
Talented singer Ferdia, from Wicklow, who has his own band in reality, stars as 14 year old musician Cosmo.
Sing Street has been described as ‘a semi-autobiographical tale inspired by the filmmaker’s love of music’. Set in 1980s recession-ridden Dublin, it tells the story of a fourteen year old named Cosmo who finds life at home difficult. He decides to form a band with school mates, whom he writes songs and shoots videos with. When family trouble strikes, he runs away to London with his fifteen year old girlfriend who aspires to be a model.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (ScreenTerrier)
Jose here. Every year as the awards race picks up, it seems as if we’re all collectively Lacuna-ed into forgetting all the great performances that came before Oscar narrows them down to twenty that by then, have won or been nominated for dozens of other awards. But what about the performances so “small”, “weird” or “foreign” that stand no chance in hell of competing with the Fyc ads in the trades and/or Harvey Weinstein’s Sauron-like powers? We celebrate those performances, right now:
Sure, The Weinstein Company is behind this one, but even Harvey knows there is no point in trying to get a nod for this low-key, charming musical, especially not when he can get Keira an Oscar for a WWII flick, which makes more sense, right? Her performance here reminded me of Last Night in which she does so much with her eyes, »
★★☆☆☆Has modern commercial pop stripped music of its capacity to inspire individuality or can, given the appropriate ingredients, a song tap into the transformative qualities of the art form and truly save your life? Such questions are posed in Begin Again (2013), the latest feature from John Carney, who here transcends his native Ireland - the setting for the award-winning naturalistic modern musical Once (2006) - and embarks on a maiden voyage to New York. Armed with a larger budget and a trove of named stars, Carney goes about capturing an American equivalent of the film he drew much acclaim for as he charts the way music works its magic on the lives and fortunes of two jaded lost souls.
- CineVue UK
By Anjelica Oswald
Since its premiere at Sundance, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been garnering Oscar buzz and rave reviews. The film could score nominations for best picture, director, actor and more, but after submitting three songs to the Academy for consideration in the best original song category, the film could add another nomination. Two of the songs were written by Ethan Hawke, who could garner a best supporting actor nomination for his portrayal of the father. If Hawke receives a best original song nomination for one of his songs, he will join a short list of actors who have scored nominations for songs since 1994.
Both Annette O’Toole and her husband Michael McKean were nominated in 2004, for their song “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow,” which appeared in 2003’s A Mighty Wind. Well known for her role on Smallville as Martha Kent, O’Toole didn »
- Anjelica Oswald
Begin Again, 2013.
Written and Directed by John Carney.
A chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan turns into a promising collaboration between the two talents.
After the huge success of his debut effort, Once, which has not only sold countless soundtracks over the years but is now taking the global theatre world by storm, director John Carney continues the musical theme across the pond in America for his latest smash, Begin Again, which was arguably the most talked about film this summer that didn’t include explosions, mutants, superheroes or Galaxy guardians.
This a film all about new beginnings, whether in life, love or indeed music: business executive Dan (Ruffalo) hasn’t been bringing in the big bucks lately, and is fired from his »
- Scott J. Davis
After having been picked up for a cool 7 million dollar and some change price tag by the Weinsteins at the Toronto Int. Film Festival back in 2013 and closing the Tribeca Film Fest the following year, in its July release, Begin Again performed quite well at the indie box office and generally well revered. A good will tour for a revitalizing look at Keira Knightley, as well as another exuberant performance from Mark Ruffalo. Luckily the scandal erupting over CeeLo Green happened afer it could have a potential detrimental effect on driving audiences away from the theater.
Though trudging through a somewhat ungainly and slightly anachronistic set-up, John Carney’s latest, (originally titled Can a Song Save a Life?) manages to gain a momentous degree of charm in its latter half, ending on a note that’s as satisfyingly untethered as its opening moments are rigidly formulated. Inexplicably, Carney is also »
- Nicholas Bell
This past summer, Keira Knightley hit the streets of New York City and sang of song of heartbreak and redemption with Mark Ruffalo in "Begin Again." And if you loved the film, or didn't get a chance to catch the musical indie drama, we can help out. The latest film from "Once" director John Carney intersects of the lives of a British ex-pat (Knightley), reeling from a breakup with her pop star boyfriend (played by Adam Levine of Maroon 5), and a former record industry talent scout (Ruffalo). His personal and professional life may be in shambles, but he thinks she might be the next best thing. Together, they'll both find a way to move on from their troubled pasts to a brighter future, with a few tunes along the way to help mend those emotional wounds. So, how can you win a copy of the film on Blu-ray, plus the soundtrack? »
- Edward Davis
Beverly Hills — Gregg Alexander is enamored by movies. He grew up in a conservative household where television was "Satan's tool," but he'd sneak off to friends' houses to watch theirs instead. He talks passionately about filmmakers like the Coen brothers, Michael Haneke and Mike Leigh and seems eager to be a part of an industry he finds incredibly efficient. So it's perfectly fitting that he would eventually make his way there via a collaboration on John Carney's "Begin Again," and maybe even more understanding that after 15 years of being relatively reclusive away from touring and the media, he's finally speaking out again in support of the film and his work on tracks like "Lost Stars," which is primed for a Best Original Song Oscar nomination. "It's been exciting and to some degree emboldened me and been a reminder that film and music are amazing dancing partners," Alexander says of his experience. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Fleming: Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu told me he sees superhero movies as right-wing poison and cultural genocide for their simplistic values that stamp out human truths. Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara told Wall Street his slumping film studio will turn around via a full program of 10 DC Comics tent poles to be released 2016-2020.
Will Smith and Tom Hardy are in talks to star in Fury director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, and 2016 also brings Batman V Superman; 2017 brings Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Justice League; 2018 brings Ezra Miller as The Flash and Jason Momoa as Aquaman; 2019 brings Shazam and Justice League 2; Ray Fisher stars in Cyborg and a Green Lantern reboot arrives for 2020.
Besides the »
- Mike Fleming Jr
By Anjelica Oswald
The best original song category at the Oscars is a difficult category to find patterns in. The number of best original song nominees can vary each year, and since 2000, the genre of the winning song has ranged from rap to show tunes.
The official Oscar rules state that the top five songs will receive nominations, but if there are 25 or fewer qualified works submitted, nominations may be limited to three, and if there are nine or fewer, than no awards may be given that year.
When it comes down to picking nominees, the Music Branch Executive Committee picks the top choices for the music categories (including original score and original musical). The winner is chosen by all Academy members.
- Anjelica Oswald
Before the Haze: Ridley’s Nuanced Portrait Worthy of Legendary Subject
After a rather cool reception following high profile festival play at Toronto and SXSW, John Ridley’s Jimi Hendrix biopic, Jimi: All is By My Side will be sure to garner a divisive response upon a theatrical release as well. Unable to acquire the rights to any of his music from the Hendrix estate, those looking for an audio celebration of the legend’s greatest hits will surely be disappointed. Likewise, Ridley, who wrote the screenplay and won an Oscar for 2013 Best Picture Winner 12 Years a Slave, does something even more daring by covering a specific period in Hendrix’s life, paring down the scope for what becomes a startlingly intimate glance at the man’s demeanor and philosophies. While liberties have arguably been taken (Kathy Etchingham has quite vocally railed against the film), gripes considering the presentation of »
- Nicholas Bell
. She begins in tears and works her way back to the beginning, while his arc builds from giddy first love through career success, discord and heartbreak. In this Radius-acquired shoestring screen adaptation, director Richard Lagravenese ditches the high-concept staging but keeps the songs, inviting the chemistry between leads Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan to factor into an approach so rudimentary, it feels almost like watching a dress rehearsal.
Technically, “The Last 5 Years” is a tuner auds could experience fully with their eyes closed, and as it turns out, that’s practically how Lagravenese discovered it, listening to the CD before ever seeing the show. Likewise, much of the film’s audience will be coming in blind, unburdened by memories of Brown’s unique approach, where performing the songs as alternating solos on a nearly empty stage underscores the fact these two lovers were almost never on the same page, »
- Peter Debruge
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
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