Archive for the ‘John Carney’ Category

Serendipity Sings

Begin Again


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
March 2018
« Feb    
  • Roger Daltrey, LL Cool J to be Honored by We Are Family Foundation
    Roger Daltrey CBE, the frontman of The Who, and rapper-actor LL Cool J will be honored by the We Are Family Foundation, the nonprofit founded by Nile Rodgers and dedicated to the vision of a global family. Daltrey will receive the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award for his ongoing support of charities including Teenage Cancer […]
    Gordon Cox
  • Facebook Starts Testing Patreon-Like Memberships for Creators and Their Fans
    Facebook really wants to get video creators to choose its platform over YouTube, and is now borrowing some ideas from Patreon to sweeten the deal: The company is starting to test a membership model that allows fans to support their favorite creators with a monthly recurring fee, it announced Monday. Creators who participate in the […]
    Janko Rottgers
  • ‘Indivisible’ Director Edoardo De Angelis Starts Shooting ‘The Vice of Hope’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    Italian director Edoardo De Angelis (“Indivisible”) has started shooting “The Vice of Hope,” a drama involving a difficult birth set against the backdrop of child trafficking in Castel Volturno, an area outside Naples known for being the most lawless area in Italy. De Angelis’ film “Indivisible,” about Neapolitan teenage conjoined-twin sisters with beautiful voices, made […]
  • ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Launches Emmy FYC Campaign Billboards and Hotline
    Two billboards outside of Hollywood, Calif., adorned with a special hotline number, are launching Amazon Studios’ Emmy FYC campaign for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Beginning Monday, Mar. 19, the “Mrs. Maisel” character of Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) will be taking out billboards to promote her new “client” — the latest comedy sensation Miriam “Midge” Maisel […]
    Danielle Turchiano
  • Charlie Walk’s Accuser Tells Former Columbia Records Coworkers: ‘You Could Have Done Something’
    Tristan Coopersmith, whose public accusations of sexual harassment against Republic Records president Charlie Walk have resulted in his being placed on leave from the company, spoke again about her motivations for doing so in a 1,500-word-long article published on Refinery29 Monday morning. Since she came forward, four other women have accused Walk of misconduct during […]
    Jem Aswad