BEGIN AGAIN Review

by     Posted 65 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Begin Again opens this weekend in limited release.]

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 between two people. Carney’s new film, Begin Again, 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 of the same critiques regarding watered-down entertainment.

The Barden Bellas Reunite in New Image from PITCH PERFECT 2 Rehearsals

by     Posted 109 days ago

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Pitch Perfect surprised a lot of people when it was released, not only because it made a lot of money ($113 million worldwide against a budget of just $17 million), but also because it was actually really funny.  As such, it’s no surprise that Universal is now moving forward with a sequel, and rehearsals for Pitch Perfect 2 are currently underway in Baton Rogue as filming is expected to begin soon.  Producer and actress Elizabeth Banks takes over directorial duties this time around, and co-star Rebel Wilson has now shared an image of Banks with the reunited Barden Bellas (plus new addition Hailee Steinfeld) getting down to business on the rehearsal stage.  It’s admittedly not much, but those looking forward to the follow-up should find the tease amusing.

Hit the jump to check out the Pitch Perfect 2 image.  The film also stars Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Adam Devine, and Katey SagalPitch Perfect 2 opens in theaters on May 15, 2015.

First Look at Tom Hanks in A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING; Plus Debut Images from THE KEEPING ROOM and THE MAN ON CARRION ROAD

by     Posted 110 days ago

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As the Cannes Film Festival heats up, debut images from a number of films are starting to surface.  We now have our first looks at the following films:

  • A Hologram for the KingTom Hanks stars in Cloud Atlas co-director Tom Tykwer’s comedic drama adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel, which finds a down-on-his-luck American salesman venturing to Saudi Arabia in a last-ditch effort for success.
  • The Keeping Room – A Civil War drama from director Daniel Barber that revolves around three Southern women who must defend their home and family from an onslaught of soldiers that have broken off from the Union Army.  Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice), Hailee Steinfeld, Muna Otaru, and Sam Worthington star.
  • The Man on Carrion Road – Director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s (Open Grave) drama tells the story of a retired sheriff (Ian McShane) and his replacement (Patrick Wilson) who investigate a botched cartel deal.

Hit the jump to check out the debut images from the aforementioned films.

New UK Trailer for BEGIN AGAIN Starring Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, and Adam Levine

by     Posted 115 days ago

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A new Begin Again trailer has been released, this time in the form of a UK cut.  Directed by Once helmer John Carney, the pic (formerly titled Can a Song Save Your Life?) stars Mark Ruffalo as a washed up A&R man who discovers a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) soon after being fired.  The two set out to change each other’s fortunes for the better while crafting a unique concept album.  This new trailer provides a better look at the film’s songs, which are fine if not all that memorable.  I caught the film at the Toronto International Film Festival and it’s pretty good, but it never really kicks into the next gear to become something all that noteworthy.  Ruffalo is, as always, excellent in the lead role, and Adam Levine is a surprise standout as Knightley’s famous musician boyfriend.

Hit the jump to watch the UK Begin Again trailer and click here to read Matt’s review.  The film also stars Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, Yasiin Bey, James Corden, and Cee-Lo GreenBegin Again opens in the US in limited release on July 4th.

Hailee Steinfeld to Join PITCH PERFECT 2; Poised to Take Over Franchise in Future Films

by     Posted 124 days ago

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The first major piece of casting on the highly anticipated sequel Pitch Perfect 2—outside of the returning members, that is—has landed.  Variety reports that True Grit and Ender’s Game actress Hailee Steinfeld is in talks to join the cast of the music-filled follow-up, adding that if Pitch Perfect 2 does well at the box office, the idea is for Steinfeld to take over as the star of the franchise in Pitch Perfect 3 and future installments.  That’s a big get for Steinfeld and an interesting choice for the film, which starts production soon.

Hit the jump for more.  Pitch Perfect 2 opens in theaters on May 15, 2015.

ENDER’S GAME Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 131 days ago

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If you’re looking for a film that deserves a second chance, Ender’s Game will certainly fit the bill. It came and went without much fanfare last fall, another adaptation of a beloved teen novel that failed to catch fire the way the producers clearly hoped it would. It was further burdened by homophobic comments made by the novel’s author Orson Scott Card, which the filmmakers were quick to disavow to no avail. Ender’s Game came and went with nary a hiccup, which sadly overshadowed the fact that – in and of itself – it’s actually rather terrific. Hit the jump for my full Ender’s Game Blu-ray review.

First Trailer and Images for Tommy Lee Jones’ THE HOMESMAN Starring Jones, Hilary Swank, Hailee Steinfeld, and Meryl Streep

by     Posted 140 days ago

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The first trailer and images have gone online for Tommy Lee Jones‘ western drama, The Homesman.  The story centers on a claim-jumping rascal (Jones) and a frontierswoman (Hilary Swank) as they escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa and battle the harsh elemental conditions of the prairie.  I loved Jones’ 2005 film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which played like a modern-day western.  The Homesman looks more like a straight entry into the genre, but also an interesting one.  There appears to be a tricky balance between Jones’ slightly off-kilter character and the serious dangers he and his traveling companions must face.  Nevertheless, it has an outstanding cast, and I assume we’ll be seeing it later this year since it will be released next month in France.  It’s also a safe assumption that it will make its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, so I’m eager to hear the buzz on the picture.

Hit the jump to check out The Homesman trailer and images.  The film also stars Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, William Fichtner, and Jesse PlemonsThe Homesman is currently awaiting U.S. distribution.

First Trailer and Poster for John Carney’s BEGIN AGAIN Starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley [Updated]

by     Posted 157 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released the first trailer for director John Carney’s (Once) new film Begin Again, which was formerly titled Can a Song Save Your Life?Mark Ruffalo stars as a washed up A&R man who discovers a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) soon after being fired, and the two set out to change each other’s fortunes for the better while crafting a unique concept album.  I caught the pic at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall where it was a bit of a crowd pleaser, and while I liked it well enough, the song’s aren’t really all that memorable and it falls quite short of Carney’s previous effort.  Nevertheless, Ruffalo and Knightley give a pair of swell performances, and Adam Levine is surprisingly strong as Knightley’s rock star ex-boyfriend.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and click here to read Matt’s review from TIFF.  The film also stars Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, Mos Def, Cee-Lo Green, and James CordenBegin Again opens in limited release on July 4th. [Update: We've added the first poster as well.]

Trailer for HATESHIP LOVESHIP Starring Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld, and Nick Notle

by     Posted 173 days ago

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A trailer has gone online for the indie drama Hateship Loveship.  Per the film’s Toronto International Film Festival description, “Johanna Parry (Kristen Wiig) moves to a new town to work for Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) and his granddaughter, Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld). Sabitha and her friend trick Johanna (Liza Johnson) into a one-way epistolary romance with Sabitha’s father Ken (Guy Pearce). Johanna lights on fire, and commits a criminal act to get to her lover, who barely knows she exists.”  Hateship Loveship passed through TIFF mostly unnoticed despite its cast, and watching this trailer, it’s not hard to see why.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  Hateship Loveship will be released on VOD and in theaters on April 11th.

22 New Images from 3 DAYS TO KILL Starring Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, and Hailee Steinfeld

by     Posted 207 days ago

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Relativity has released a set of images for 3 Days to Kill, the action thriller directed by McG (Terminator Salvation).  Kevin Costner stars as an international spy determined to retire to spend more time with his estranged wife and daughter: “But first, he must complete one last mission—even if it means juggling the two toughest assignments yet: hunting down the world’s most ruthless terrorist and looking after his teenage daughter for the first time in ten years, while his wife is out of town.”

Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, and Connie Nielsen co-star.  3 Days to Kill opens February 17.  Check out the image gallery after the jump.

New Trailer for 3 DAYS TO KILL Starring Kevin Costner, Connie Nielsen, Amber Heard, and Hailee Steinfeld

by     Posted 214 days ago

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A new trailer has gone online for McG‘s action-thriller 3 Days to KillKevin Costner plays an international spy with a terminal illness who agrees to do some contract killing in exchange for an experimental drug that could save his life, and allow him to reconnect with his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld).  Putting the easy Taken comparison aside, the trailer make it look like this could be a solid flick, but I have concerns about McG, who hasn’t directed a good film in a while (some might say “ever”, but I like Charlie’s Angels).

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  3 Days to Kill also stars Amber Heard, and opens on February 21st.

First Look at Hailee Steinfeld and Samuel L. Jackson in BARELY LETHAL

by     Posted 241 days ago

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The first images from director Kyle Newman’s (Fanboys) upcoming action comedy Barely Lethal have landed online.  The film stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as a 16-year-old international assassin yearning for a “normal” adolescence who fakes her own death and enrolls as a senior in a suburban high school.  Samuel L. Jackson plays the government agent charged with training the young girl, and we get a look at both Steinfeld and Jackson in these debut images.  This is Newman’s first feature film since 2009’s Fanboys, so I’m interested to see how his follow-up feature turns out.

Hit the jump to take a look at the images.  The film also stars Jessica Alba, Jaime King, Sophie Turner, Rob Huebel, Thomas Mann, Gabriel Basso, and Rachael HarrisBarely Lethal will open in theaters sometime this fall.

First Trailer and Poster for 3 DAYS TO KILL Starring Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, and Hailee Steinfeld

by     Posted 258 days ago

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The first trailer and poster for McG‘s 3 Days to Kill, starring Kevin Costner, are now online.  Costner plays an international spy who’s trying to set aside his violent profession in order to reconnect with his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld), but his handler (Amber Heard) ropes him back into more work for the agency.  The “violent guy with special skills plus estranged daughter” plot will inevitably invite comparisons to Taken, but 3 Days to Kill looks like it has a much lighter tone and more absurd action (although it will be tough to top Taken 2‘s scene where grenades are used to calculate distance).

3 Days to Kill opens February 21, 2014.  Hit the jump to watch the trailer and check out the poster.

Hailee Steinfeld in Talks for TEN THOUSAND SAINTS; Juliette Binoche, Tim Roth and Robert Pattinson Join Brady Corbet’s THE CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER

by     Posted 265 days ago

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Here’s the day’s latest casting news:

Hit the jump for more on each picture.

Hailee Steinfeld Talks ENDER’S GAME and Working With Tommy Lee Jones on THE HOMESMAN

by     Posted 303 days ago

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Hailee Steinfeld has been poised to be the “next big thing” ever since she stole the show from veterans Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges in the Coen Brothers’ True Grit.  The young actress has a virtually unending list of upcoming projects: the Tommy Lee Jones directed The Homesman, the Luc Besson/McG collaboration Three Days To Kill, the Civil War drama The Keeping Room… This weekend, the rise of Steinfeld begins with the big budgeted children-versus-aliens Ender’s Game.  Steinfeld co-stars as Petra, an ally and confidant to lead protagonist Ender (Asa Butterfield).  Asa and she have an easy-going chemistry, never quite blossoming into romance but teetering on the brink.  It’s a difficult relationship to get just right – and it’s a credit to Steinfeld and Butterfield that they’re able to suggest such depths with relatively little material.

In the following interview with Steinfeld, she discusses the challenges of acting in such a heavy effects driven film as Ender’s Game, the tricks to pretending like you’re in zero gravity and working with Tommy Lee Jones on The Homesman. For the full interview, hit the jump.

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