BEGIN AGAIN | DVD REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

In celebration of BEGIN AGAIN releasing to DVD on DEC 10th in Australia the fine folks at Roadshow Entertainment have given us 5x copies to giveaway on DVD. Revisit, or read for the first time, Kernel Andrew’s review from August and then enter at the bottom. Rock on peeps – JK OUT!

ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM AUGUST, 2014

Music film plus Kernel Andrew, nice match :). Better match is John Carney (ONCE), Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, New York and music film – WIN. Also thoroughly impressed Knightley is doing all her own performing, credit to her! She even had to learn how to play guitar for the film and her muso husband, James Righton (from Klaxons) offered to help, Knightley said the lessons were atrocious and nearly ended in divorce – kind of like my mum teaching me to drive – I still have nightmares. Kernel Andrew hit this one up thanks to our friends at Roadshow Films and he is quite the fan. BEGIN AGAIN released today in most cinemas, is rated M and runs for 104mins. Enjoy Andrew’s review……all the best……JK.

 

BEGIN AGAIN MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
BEGIN AGAIN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

John Carney is back. The writer / director who caused a bit of a sensation in 2006 with ONCE is back with another movie filled with music and his take on the strangest of all emotional territory, the borderline fringes of platonic friendship and love.

BEGIN AGAIN sees him team up with a heavyweight cast and with the perfect city for a movie about music, New York. The movie is filled with catchy, wistful, and fantastic songs. Retroesque but fresh, a merge of genres, to the left of the pop charts but still on them I guess?

Mark Ruffalo plays Dan, a jaded record executive, whose whole world has fallen apart around him. He is no longer interested in the music that he and his label partner Saul (Mos Def) produce. He has moved out of his home which he shared with Miriam (Catherine Keener in yet another understated but note perfect role) and his growing up too fast daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld ). Both want to be in his life but he has written them out. There are issues there but most of all the issues are with Mark it seems. The best way to summarise Dan is the epitome of a talented, cash-strapped, booze addled, and cynical loser. The only thing he clings to these days is the chance to once again make a musical discovery that will restore his faith and also his status in the industry. This is no pipedream, during the 90s we are told Dan and Saul were the hottest producers/label owners in the World, and he has the Grammy’s to prove it.

 

BEGIN AGAIN GRETTA (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY) IMAGE
BEGIN AGAIN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GRETTA (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY)

 

On one of his drunken meanderings through the city he ends up in an East Village dive bar during an open mic night. The answer to all his prayers appears in the form of Gretta (Keira Knightley). Gretta is a British singer-songwriter who has followed her rockstar-in-the-making boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine from Maroon 5) to the Big Apple. Adam has fallen for the trappings of the rockstar life and this has forced Gretta to leave him and has commenced her downward spiral.

BEGIN AGAIN plays through the above perfectly. I am not sure if this is what John Carney intended but it is an apt name for the first act. The opening scene sees Gretta singing her song at the open mic night and we see Dan standing in the crowd entranced. In a clever location and scene shift we see the day start again from Dan’s perspective all the way to his standing entranced in the dive bar. We then go back and see the first act from Gretta’s. It is done very very well.

When we enter the second act Dan drunkenly introduces himself to Gretta. After a few missteps and hilarious exchanges the two decide to make a demo album. The two want to keep it as raw as possible. Let’s face it they have no money or backing either. So biting the bullet Dan decides to hire musicians, record and produce everything on his own. They don’t have a studio? That’s ok the city will be their studio. It sounds a bit wanky but actually works a treat as the city actually adds an ambience and an authenticity of its own. With a band in tow, Dan and Gretta move around the city playing and recording their music.

 

BEGIN AGAIN MOVIE IMAGE
BEGIN AGAIN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GRETTA (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY) AND THE BAND PLAYING WHILE DAN (MARK RUFFALO) RECORDS

 

As the album begins to take shape Gretta and Dan come to terms with their own personal demons. Gretta begins to learn to deal with life on her own. Dan begins to question his own narrow-minded selfishness and begins to bond closer with both his estranged wife and daughter.

There are terrific star turns (I guess Carney can afford it with a higher budget). Cello Green as a rap star that Dan helped make big initially bank rolls the project. James Corden as Gretta’s busking buddy from the UK is also terrific.

The great thing about this movie is that in BEGIN AGAIN Carney plays with the rom com/unrequited formula and knowingly messes with it. What follows isn’t always predictable and that is admirable.

 

BEGIN AGAIN MOVIE IMAGE
BEGIN AGAIN | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | GRETTA (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY) PLAYING GUITAR

 

Knightley is a passable singer, the band though that backs her I think are sensational. My favourite sequence though is when Dan and Gretta wander the city of New York whilst sharing a digital playlist. We are treated to iconic locations filled with iconic songs Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady Tonight,” Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life” and Dooley Wilson’s “As Time Goes By”, it is done beautifully.

This movie pays off the longer it is moves through the narrative. What starts as something typical becomes something unusual. Held together by strong performances from the whole cast and some sensational music. Which I want to make part of my playlist immediately.

 

KERNEL ANDREW’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

KERNEL DARA’S POP SCORE:

5 Pops

 

With special thanks to Roadshow Entertainment to win one the 5X DVDs of BEGIN AGAIN you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage), you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:

What is your favourite Keira Knightley movie and why? 

If you do not have social media then get with the times – you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent after JAN 15th! Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.

 

 

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