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(Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel, 2012, Fra/UK/Us) 87 mins
An arthouse fishing-trawler documentary sounds like a practical joke, but this takes us to places we've never before – into the ocean depths and back out on to the decks with the catch. It's a series of dark, semi-abstract tableaux full of flapping fish, clanking machinery and tattooed fishermen doing wet, gory work. It's easy to forget this is real life you're watching.
Saving Mr Banks (PG)
How Walt Disney came to make Mary Poppins was hardly a pressing movie mystery, and one suspects a spoonful of drama has been added, but the leads are eminently watchable.
- Steve Rose
Five Irish directors invited by Korea’s Busan Intl. Film Festival to discuss their country’s industry ended up talking about the dominance of the U.S. over the international biz.
The quintet – John Butler (“The Stag”), Lance Daly (“Kisses”), Neil Jordan (“Byzantium”), Brendan Muldowney (“Savages”) and Jim Sheridan (“Brothers”) – mostly agreed that success in the American market has always been a big boost to the local box office.
Sheridan held up Jordan’s 1992 “Crying Game” as a prime example. The film had a hard time finding audiences in Ireland and the U.K., but after Harvey Weinstein promoted it effectively in the U.S., it took root on its home turf.
“It’s a one-town industry,” he added hyperbolically. “If a movie doesn’t go on a U.S. screen, it doesn’t feel like a movie.”
- Peter Caranicas
Bill Maher, Julie Bowen Join TheGrill 2013 on Sept 23, 24! (Video) Next week’s Grill just got a lot funnier. ‘The Canyons’ Producer Rips Hollywood for ‘Concealing’ Box Office Data (Exclusive) Paul Schrader’s cheap and controversial film, “The Canyons,” has turned a profit through VOD releasing, but producer Braxton Pope still doesn’t know how much, and he thinks that’s a big problem. How ‘Can a Song Save Your Life’ Scored Toronto’s Biggest Deal: A Bar Fight in a Parking Lot (Exclusive) What Harvey Weinstein wants, Harvey Weinstein gets. And this is how he got “Once” director John Carney’s next film. »
- Greg Gilman
London, Sep 18: The next James Bond flick could be shot in Ireland after one of the film's producers couldn't help rave about the "gorgeous" country.
Barbara Broccoli was speaking at an event hosted by the Institute of Directors to support the Irish film industry, Metro.co.uk reported.
She hoped that they could come again to film either a Bond film or another movie.
Broccoli added that if John Logan's script takes them there She'd love to make a Bond film there. (Ani) »
- Rahul Kapoor
After nine days in Toronto for the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, I finally arrived home in Seattle late in the evening on Friday, September 13, and have been trying to catch up ever since. I still have one review to write for Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises, but managed to post 26 reviews from the festival and just below is a recap of all 26 with my teaser for each review, the grade and a few words to sort of put a capper on the festival as we now move full steam ahead into Oscar season. Speaking of Oscar season, following this recap I'm going to be going straight into work on updating my Oscar predictions. There is a lot of moving and shuffling that needs to be done after not only the Toronto, but Telluride and Venice Film Festivals and with the New York Film Festival right around the corner. Exciting times folks. »
- Brad Brevet
It was a solid year for acquisitions at the Toronto International Film Festival, with major buyers heading to the massive event and coming home with a haul of potentially commercial movies. Studios flaunting their Oscar hopefuls, like Fox Searchlight with Tiff award-winning "12 Years a Slave," also came home happy. But even while these successes bode well for the festival's industry clout, they simultaneously point out the chief downside to this massive event loaded with deep-pocketed distributors eager to find and exploit the easiest products: With hundreds of films screening over the course of the 10-day event, some of the more interesting titles tend to slip through the cracks. At the start of the festival, industry insiders speculated that Jason Bateman's vulgar directorial debut "Bad Words" and John Carney's "Once" follow-up "Can a Song Save Your Live?" would find lucrative deals -- which they did, promptly after their premieres »
- Eric Kohn
Once, the 2007 Oscar-winning movie about the musical connection between a broken-hearted Dublin busker and a piano-playing Czech immigrant, was one of those rare movies whose charm couldn’t be bottled in a critic’s blurb or even explained in a full review. You just had to see it to fully understand how a simple story with simple characters could make you, the audience, feel wonderful and alive and believe wholeheartedly that a song could save your life. That movie starred Glen Hansard, the lead singer of the Irish band the Frames, and his ex-bandmate John Carney directed the film.
Six years later, »
- Jeff Labrecque
From the melodramatic title alone, Can a Song Save Your Life? might lead you to believe that Irish director John Carney is the latest victim of one of the entertainment industry’s most destructive trends: The Guy Ritchie Effect. You’d be right to make such an inference, as Carney’s follow-up (give or take a little released alien invasion comedy) to the shoestring budgeted winner Once shows many of the telltale signs that come when a distinct voice gets drowned out trying to harmonize with Hollywood. Just as the madcap and scrappy zeal of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was dulled in the process of cleaning up and legitimizing Ritchie’s style for broader appeal in Snatch, Can a Song Save Your Life? takes Carney’s original formula, and refines it for ease of mass consumption.
Thing is, Snatch is a pretty entertaining as hell movie, just as »
- Sam Woolf
The 38th Toronto Intl. Film Festival will end Sunday on a robust note with more than two dozen deals completed.
The sales pace at Toronto underlined the growing importance of independently financed films to Hollywood, where the six major studios continue to focus their resources on big-budget franchises.
“People were definitely in a buying mood,” noted Tobin Armbrust, producer on “Song.” “It reconfirmed that buyers like to be aggressive, particularly when they can buy commercial and art-house titles. I think the programmers at Toronto did a nice job — you would not get the same selection at Cannes.”
The first deal closed on Sept. 6 with Magnolia buying U.S. rights to Ryan Kwanten’s romantic comedy “The Right Kind »
- Dave McNary
Plot: A down-on-his-luck music exec (Mark Ruffalo) discovers a beautiful songwriter (Keira Knightley) who's nursing a broken heart. They join forces to make an album with her songs recorded against the NYC urban soundscape. Review: Can A Song Save Your Life is director John Carney's long-awaited follow-up to his indie hit Once. He's done a couple of low-key movies since then, but this is a major return to form, and it's no wonder The Weinstein Company ended up buying this in the biggest »
- Chris Bumbray
Harvey Weinstein had plenty to smile about last night: After launching a heavy slate of movies at the Toronto Film Festival, including August: Osage County and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, he had managed to buy Can a Song Save Your Life? a chased crowd-pleaser that his Weinstein Company acquired for $7 million with a promised $20 million ad spend. Directed by Once’s John Carney, Can a Song stars Keira Knightley as a songwriter nursing a breakup with her rock star boyfriend, played by Adam Levine; A&R executive Mark Ruffalo convinces her that she should record her own album, and the two embark on a joyful trip across New York City to put it all together. The movie has real mainstream potential — in addition to a sure-to-sell soundtrack and a potential Broadway adaptation down the line — and bidding for Can a Song went into the wee hours of the »
- Kyle Buchanan
In a national culture that thrives on irony, detachment, the postmodern hum of advertising, and the communicative cool enforced by technology, good old sincerity — remember that golden oldie? — can seem not just out-of-date but a little embarrassing. Who wants to be caught saying what they mean and meaning what they say, or wearing their heart on their earnest, pleading sleeve? John Carney does. He’s the Irish-born writer-director of Can a Song Save Your Life?, an unapologetically sincere movie that is modeled on the beautiful, almost desperate sincerity of the music-movie that put Carney on the map: Once, that lovely »
- Owen Gleiberman
This story first appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Harvey Weinstein made his move almost immediately after the credits rolled on Can a Song Save Your Life? Hours later, the musical drama had scored one of the splashiest sales at this year's Toronto Film Festival. But it wasn't easy. Making its world premiere Sept. 7 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Can a Song played so strongly that a handful of other pursuers pounced. So The Weinstein Co. chief arrived at the film's afterparty at Patria restaurant before director John Carney (Once) and star Keira
- Borys Kit, Tatiana Siegel
John Carney’s 2007 film Once was a surprising, touching musical about two musicians falling in love through their love of music. It felt authentic thanks to the naturalistic direction, and real-life musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who made their acting debuts and fell in love in real life. That kind of chemistry is lightning in a bottle, but it provided Once with a unique and vibrant feel that expertly wove together a love of music and a love story. Carney’s new film, Can a Song Save Your Life?, returns to similar territory but with a more polished approach that diminishes the charm in favor of a more Hollywood-friendly feel. The movie is still funny, good-natured, and most importantly, stresses the joy of sharing music with others. It’s even a little acerbic in its tone towards the music business, but Carney’s film is guilty of the some »
- Matt Goldberg
It has been seven years since writer/director John Carney's breakout hit Once, which made stars out of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova and ended up winning an Oscar for Best Original Song. The film was fantastic, not only for its music, but the delicate nature of its authentic and welcoming storytelling. There have been a couple of projects between then and now for Carney, but his latest feature, Can a Song Save Your Lifec is, for all intents and purposes, his true follow-up effort to the 2006 success. Disappointingly, everything that made Once so great is absent from this film, which is nothing more than a soap opera-level melodrama. Set in New York, the story follows Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a washed-up record producer, and his eventual professional relationship with Gretta (Keira Knightley), a singer-songwriter that has just broken things off with her boyfriend (Adam Levine) after he finds success »
- Brad Brevet
John Carney's low budget 2006 musical romance "Once" was a breakout hit that foregrounded the emotional complexities of its central lovers with delicate tunes. By contrast, "Can a Song Save Your Life?" -- which contains several high profile actors and landed a lucrative deal with The Weinstein Company this past week at the Toronto International Film Festival -- revolves around the exploitation of that very same feeling. The story centers on forlorn aspiring British songwriter Gretta (Keira Knightley) adrift in Manhattan after getting dumped by her philandering rock star boyfriend (Adam Levine) and being discovered by struggling music producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo). Eager for a fresh discovery, Dan pushes Gretta to sign with him and record an ambitious outdoors album all across the city. She's initially reticent; songwriting is just something that she does. "Can a Song Save Your Life?" explores this tension with a blithe attitude that foregrounds several enjoyable melodies performed. »
- Eric Kohn
John Carney’s Can a Song Save Your Life? has been on everyone’s radar for a long time now, and it comes as no surprise that the early reviews out of Tiff have been incredibly positive.
Now word comes that The Weinstein Company have acquired the Us rights for the movie, paying a sizable $7m. with a $20m. advertising commitment.
Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Catherine Keener star in this soul-stirring music industry drama about an undiscovered young singer and a washed-up producer. These lost souls meet, see something special in the other and ultimately make beautiful music together in this latest film from Once writer-director John Carney.
Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley lead the cast, with Catherine Keener, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Cee Lo Green, James Corden, and Yasiin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def) completing the cast very nicely, with Maroon 5’s Levine making his feature debut as an actor. »
- Kenji Lloyd
With the Toronto Film Festival still in full swing, acquisition deals are happening all over the place. Here's the breakdown on the most recent major ones.
The Weinstein Company have picked up the U.S. rights to "Once" director John Carney's "Can a Song Save Your Life" for $7 million (along with a $20 million advertising commitment). The film stars Mark Ruffalo as a New York record producer and Keira Knightly as an aspiring musician.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has acquired several key markets for Elizabeth Olsen’s romantic thriller "Therese". Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Lange and Oscar Isaac star in this new adaptation of "Therese Raquin".
Focus Features has snapped up worldwide distribution rights »
- Garth Franklin
How about we call it “Twice”? Director John Carney so desperately wants to recreate the success of “Once” with his latest pop-musical fairy tale, “Can a Song Save Your Life?,” that it’s almost embarrassing, even if there are a number of good things to say about it. Enough good things, in fact, that the Weinstein Co. already snatched the movie up out of Toronto for a reported $7-odd-million. And you can easily see why: It possesses the kind of shameless sentimentality that sells. And a shallowness that’s ultimately depressing. Why depressing? Only because Carney seems capable of so much more, and Mark Ruffalo is one of the more charming actors around, and Keira Knightley is a goddess. Granted, Carney has made a couple of errant choices post-“Once,” the gentle Irish fable that starred Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, and inspired the current, Tony-winning musical (a movie adaptation »
- John Anderson
With its cutesy title, John Carney’s “Can a Song Save Your Life?” distracts from the real question looming over the “Once” director’s latest blend of romance, music and dreams: Can Keira Knightley sing? Based on the available evidence, the answer to both inquiries is “yes,” making for another upbeat outing in which characters strum their way through tricky emotional situations, this time benefiting from a much bigger budget and set against the backdrop of New York City. Featuring Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener and Maroon 5 lead crooner Adam Levine onboard — and such producers as Judd Apatow and Nigel Sinclair behind it — this Weinstein Co. pickup could spark another mini-phenom, complete with musical tie-ins.
The original song-as-life-saver question overstates things a bit, as it’s a little hard to believe that washed-up A&R man Dan (Ruffalo) is thisclose to stepping in front of a moving subway when he »
- Peter Debruge
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