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Begin Again Review

Howdy people of the internet, today I return with my review for the film Begin Again. Now I had no intention of watching this film until my auntie told me that she really liked it, so I decided to give it a chance and saw it on Thursday. So what did I think of it? Well read on and find out!

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When it comes to the story it goes like this:

“Gretta and her long-time boyfriend Dave are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan, a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.”

The story on display here is a very good one that is delightful, heartfelt and engaging throughout. While the film is primarily about people and their relationships with music it is more than just that. It feels like a film that is celebrating music in general, like its emotional powers, the in which it connects us and the way it can change the mood or atmosphere of any place depending on what music is being played. You can tell that the filmmakers are fans of music as there is a great sense of fun and playfulness, but also a level of realism and insight into the ups and downs of making it in the industry as a successful musician. Also thankfully I love how the film didn’t fall into the trap of having a generic love story approach with the main characters too.

On Location For "Can A Song Save Your Life?"

As for the cast they were all really good and were a joy to watch. Let’s start with Keira Knightley as Gretta. Normally I can’t stand Knightley, it is something about her face that just puts me off and in general the roles she plays are never that engaging or fun, but in this film she was actually tolerable. This is the first film I can actually stand her character in because her character, Gretta is just a normal human being who has dreams and aspirations but is also fragile and has experienced heartbreak. She’s headstrong, smart and surprisingly cool. And then there’s Mark Ruffalo who is in top form as Dan Mulligan. This is a man who has vision, he knows music and has had massive success in the past, however he isn’t in tune with what is going on in the music business today, he’s a bit of drunk and has issues with his ex-wife and distant daughter. He does come across as a bit pretentious but he is also very passionate and likes to take chances on things that he thinks will work. Together Knightley and Ruffalo have amazing chemistry together, they seem totally natural and fun together like they’ve been friends for ages and it makes for some very special and lovely moments on-screen.

Adam Levine as Dave Kohl, Gretta’s ex-boyfriend is also pretty good, to a degree I almost didn’t recognize him throughout the film because he didn’t seem like his ‘Maroon 5 front man’ kind of self, but I guess that’s a good thing. His acting was serviceable and as usual his singing is impeccable and it was only at those moments when I remembered him as the main guy from Maroon 5. James Corden as¬† was surprisingly nice and tolerable Steve, Gretta’s best friend. Now I don’t hate Corden but sometimes I do find him to be a bit insufferable, however here he was actually fun and did get me smiling on occasion because of his character’s dialogue. Hailee Steinfeld does well as Dan’s daughter, Violet Mulligan and the appearance from CeeLo Green as Trouble Gum was totally cool as he was just cool, quirky and hilarious as he seems in real life. And lastly both Mos Def as Saul and Catherine Keener as Miriam brought a lot of interesting elements to this film as their respective characters.

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And then there’s the soundtrack which features a collection of established music and original material by Gregg Alexander and holy man, it is amazing. Not since Inside Llewyn Davis have I been this engaged with the audio side of a film. Genre-wise while this film contains various types of songs from Stevie Wonder to Frank Sinatra, the original pieces of music are more a little more radio friendly. I’m not too good with identifying certain genres of music but a lot of this material had a pop/funk/folk kind of feel as separate and crossed over songs and it is the way in which it is executed, it sounds so good. Now while the music that style of music that Gretta does is not really my kind of jam normally, here in this film I really liked it and at several points during the film I kept saying to myself, “I’m gonna have to get the soundtrack for this film.” Honestly, it is that good.

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In conclusion Begin Again is a smart, realistic and heartfelt film that I had a better time with than I ever could have imagined. This is just a feel-good film with some really good acting, absolutely amazing music and beautiful sense of pride. I would recommend it purely based on how fun it is, even if you’re a bit sceptical, give it a try.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen Begin Again and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review. Laters! ūüėÄ

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Random Blog 11: Please Mr. Kennedy

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to another edition of the Random Blog series, today I’m going to be talking about a song that has attached itself to my head for just around a month now and is so addictive that I just have to talk about it. The song in question is called “Please Mr. Kennedy“.

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Now for those of you who watch films frequently, you’ll know what song I am referring to immediately, but for those not in the know here’s a quick summary. The recent Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis came out in the UK last month and while the main response from the film is positive, there a great number of people that disliked the film passionately. Love it or hate it, one can’t deny the quality of the soundtrack which is just amazing. But there is one song in particular that stands out from the rest and that is “Please Mr. Kennedy“.

Just have a look at the scene and song below:

Haha, good stuff. Loads of people agree that this scene is arguably the best part of the film because it is so light-hearted, silly, fun and hilarious. Literally after the film ended this was the song that I was thinking about for hours afterward and when I found the song on YouTube I was all over it. I think because of the moody and quite depressing nature of the film, when ¬†a song like this comes so out of left field, you can’t help but get down with it because of the charm and upbeat nature.

I fell in love with song not only because its funny but also because it sounded good too. While I’m not overly keen on folk music, there are exceptions to the rule and this song just had me. The instrumental side of things is gorgeous and then there’s the vocals, Oscar Isaac has a lovely voice, Justin Timberlake is a proven talent in the world of music and he continues to excel here too and Adam Driver’s hilarious contribution with his bellowing voice was especially fun. Isaac and Timberlake compliment each other very well and their vocals blend like butter on toast, Isaac is the secondary singer in this trio but his contribution should not be overlooked. Timberlake is the star here and his voice is more suited to pop and R&B, but surprisingly it works nicely here and when he gets to put his vocals to work at those high points it he is awesome. But of course the person most people were paying attention to was Driver, he’s the separate guy who sings and shouts the backing parts and he is amazing, his voice is so deep and the¬†delivery of his lines is SO funny with those¬†facial expressions. Tell me after this song is over that you couldn’t hear the words “OUTER SPACE!”, playing in your mind over and over again haha.

So to conclude, I don’t know whose idea it was to put this song in the film, but whoever it is deserves a medal as “Please Mr. Kennedy” might one of the most memorable songs in recent film history. Obviously that is a big statement, but besides the songs from Frozen‘s soundtrack, I don’t think I’ve found a song so addictive and fun. Together Isaac, Timberlake and Driver crafted a song that’s catchy and all-round fun.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Films, Media, Music

 

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Inside Llewyn Davis Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, we’re reviewing films today and I’m going to be talking about Inside Llewyn Davis. I saw the trailer for this film around a month ago and knew I had to see it, especially since it was film from the Coen brothers. So how was the film? Read on and find out.

The story follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Llewyn Davis is at a crossroads. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles – some of them of his own making. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, scaring up what work he can find, Llewyn’s misadventures take him from the basket houses of the village to an empty Chicago club – on an odyssey to audition for music mogul Bud Grossman – and back again.

I liked the story, it was filled with humour, drama and all that good stuff that make Coen brothers films worth watching, that being said I did not like nearly as much as I thought I would and the story unfolded in a way unlike what I was expecting. The film chronicles Llewyn Davis’ travels and longing for a career in the music business and the road is bumpy and it makes for a very interesting and compelling, if somewhat melancholy adventure. For a while I was trying to figure out “What make this film so good?” Then there was a turning point where something happens with Llewyn which make me say in this film, “Now I know why people like this film.” Also even though the film was good, it kind of left me on a bit of a downer and I’m not overly keen on feeling low after a film experience.

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When it comes to the cast they are all very impressive with some very special highlights.¬†Oscar Isaac is amazing as Llewyn Davis. Issac acts with such passion, raw emotion and you’re drawn to him when he gets really down in the dumps or sings his heart out.¬†Llewyn’s life is a joke, it really is. I don’t know anyone who could survive or move around the way he does and at times you wonder how he isn’t in worse situations that he is or just dead. While his irresponsible behaviour and recklessness make him a bit unlikable, in the end he a guy with a dream and issues from his past that mess with his emotions and you just want to see him succeed. Another great performance comes from¬†Carey Mulligan as Jean Berkey, I think this is the best I’ve seen from Mulligan and I’m starting to become a fan of hers. What I really liked was how far removed this was from the norm for her and how Mulligan could balance the subtle and full-on aspects of her dialogue and emotions.

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Also John Goodman as Roland Turner was great and hilarious. While Turner was a bit of a douchebag he had some funny stuff to say and I wonder especially in the last few years, is there a time when John Goodman isn’t on-form as an actor? I would like to know.¬†Garrett Hedlund was decent as Johnny Five but I felt like he was barely in the film and was kind of boring, but at least he looked cool as hell though.¬†Justin Timberlake was also good as Jim Berkey and I really liked he music moments too, but maybe that’s just because I’m a JT fan haha. And the only other mention I wanted to give was to¬†Ethan Phillips who was lovely as Mitch Gorfein, Philips was a delight, but just like when I was watching Philomena the other day I knew I’d seen his face before but I couldn’t pinpoint it. Only after looking online do I know he’s frigging Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager, yes man, I love it, the role in this film is kind of similar actually.

Also the soundtrack was INCREDIBLE and in my opinion the best part of the whole film. That’s not to say all the other elements are terrible in comparison, but listen, once you hear this music, you feel a certain level of warmth, serenity, humour, beauty, sadness and other such emotions at different points or maybe all at once. I’ve never been big on folk music, though I have been known to enjoy bits and bobs from time to time, but I think this film may be the one to convert me as there are some truly beautiful pieces of music to be found here. Bottom line, the music is amazing and I think I’ll get the soundtrack for sure.

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In conclusion Inside Llewyn Davis is really, really good but it wasn’t the kind of film I was expecting. I really liked the script and the performances from the cast were great, but it is the music that won me over. While I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, it still a great film and one that I recommend just for the music alone.

Rating: 8/10 (A dramatic story with a great cast)

Sow what did you think of Inside Llewyn Davis? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo. ūüėÄ

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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