Archive for the ‘John Carney’ Category

Serendipity Sings

Begin Again

begin_again_ver2

Director: John Carney

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, James Corden, Mos Def, Rob Morrow

Irish director John Carney touches on the contemporary world of music production in the lyrical and whimsical romantic comedy Begin Again featuring Mark Ruffalo as a middle aged music producer Dan who after a bout of heavy drinking lands up meeting British ex-pat and aspiring song writer Gretta, played by Keira Knightley singing a ballad at an open mic night in a chance encounter.

Dan soon imagines the potential in Gretta’s Bohemian voice and convinces her that she could become the next big thing. The film’s title comes after both characters Dan and Gretta are at a crossroads in their lives, with Dan on the verge of losing his reputation as a music producer whilst his non-committal relationship with his daughter Violet, played by Hailee Steinfeld is tenuous at best. There is also Dan’s collapsed relationship with his ex-wife Music Journalist Miriam Hart, played by Indie film expert Catherine Keener (The Oranges, Please Give).

Gretta is about to catch a plane back to the UK leaving behind her shattered dreams in the Big Apple after a terrible split from Rock star boyfriend Dave Kohl ironically played by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine in his first movie role. The chemistry between Ruffalo and Knightley is undeniable and it’s refreshing to see her in a contemporary role, shedding off those stuffy characters she is famous for playing in such period films as Anna Karenina, Atonement and The Duchess. Ruffalo is at home in this type of film having played similar characters in The Kids are Alright and Rumour has It.

Whilst the script also by John Carney could have been more solid, his direction of Begin Again is more structured, easily showcasing off the mis-en-scene of New York’s music scene and his clever way of making Manhattan a character in the film in a clearly influenced Italian Neo-Realist style.

Carney makes the most of his leading lady, lavishing extra camera time on the beauty of Keira Knightley and leaving Mark Ruffalo more as a middle aged clown who is trying to get his act back together. It’s a pity that the script did not flesh out the development of Violet and Miriam as supporting characters, as Steinfeld (True Grit) and Keener are both superb actors.

Begin Again is a whimsical musical comedy supported by a wonderful cast including Hip Hop artist Mos Def (16 Blocks) and rising British star James Corden as Steve, a bohemian street performer and fringe artist who facilitates the serendipitous meeting between Gretta and Dan. Recommended viewing for those that prefer light musical comedies which is all the more enjoyable when viewers can see that the actors had fun making Begin Again.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
  • Refinery29 Lays Off 34 Staffers in Latest Sign of Digital-Media Malaise
    Refinery29 has pink-slipped 34 employees, with the digital media player citing a “challenging” advertising environment for the layoffs. The New York-based company said the cuts represent 7.5% of its workforce, leaving it with around 420 employees worldwide. Refinery29 targets young female audiences with a mix of news, lifestyle, and video content. Refinery29 co-founders and co-CEOs […]
    Todd Spangler
  • London Film Festival Director Clare Stewart to Take Year-long Sabbatical
    Clare Stewart will take a break from running the BFI London Film Festival, with Tricia Tuttle filling in as artistic director in 2018. Stewart has run six editions of the London fest but will miss 2018 as she takes a year-long sabbatical. In other moves sparked by Stewart’s year out, Anne-Marie Flynn, currently head of business […]
    Stewart Clarke
  • China’s Wanda Ready to Sue Over Financial Allegations
    China’s Dalian Wanda group has rebuffed social media suggestions that it is in financial difficulties. And it pulled back the curtains on new backlots at the Wanda Qingdao Studios. Wanda said that it had reported blog Baoyouqu to the police for slander. The site recently published an article headlined Wang Jianlin Meets his Waterloo. Wanda […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Gianfranco Rosi Booked for Qumra
    Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev, whose “Loveless” is among nine titles shortlisted in this year’s foreign-language Oscar race, is one of three acclaimed helmers scheduled to give master classes and mentoring sessions during the Doha Film Institute’s annual Qumra event. The other Qumra “Masters” are Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the 2010 Cannes Palme d’Or winner for […]
    nvivarelli
  • Berlinale 2018: Panorama Section Focuses on ‘Body Politics’ and ‘Resistance to Machismo’
    The 2018 Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section will focus on body politics and – with Harvey Weinstein and harassment still front-page news – “resistance to machismo.” The upcoming edition of Panorama, which is dedicated to controversial and unconventional features, will be the first to be overseen by Paz Lazaro, alongside Michael Stütz and Andreas Struck. […]
    Stewart Clarke