‘Begin Again’ is beautifully absorbing

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Keira Knightley in ‘Begin Again’

In 2007, writer/director John Carney’s Once had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Audience Award in the Dramatic category.  While there are some familiar elements in his latest film, Begin Again, it is a different movie.

Begin Again is the story of “Greta” (Kiera Knightley), “Dave Kohl” (Adam Levine) and “Dan Mulligan” (Mark Ruffalo).  Greta and Dave have come to New York City because a record label has signed Dave.  He refers to Greta as his partner, and they have written music together for some time.  Greta is also a singer.  The label provides everything they need, including an apartment and for Dave, someone who tempts him to stray.  This brings their romance to a bad ending.

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‘A Late Quartet’ feels a little out of tune

Mark Ivanir, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken make music together in 'A Late Quartet'
Mark Ivanir, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken make music together in ‘A Late Quartet’

[rating=2]Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, Catherine Keener, Imogen Poots, Christopher Walken
Director(s): Yaron Zilberman
Writer(s): Seth Grossman and Yaron Zilberman

Oh what a frustrating movie A Late Quartet turns out to be. What could have been an eye-opening look at a fringe industry and the lives of the talented performers who thrive within it ends up being a by-the-numbers melodrama, despite a sterling cast.

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‘The Oranges’ don’t taste as sweet as advertised

Allison Janney is an controlling mother in 'The Oranges'
Allison Janney is an controlling mother in ‘The Oranges’

[rating =2]Starring:  Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Leighton Meester, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Alia Shawkat, Sam Rosen
Director(s):  Julian Farino
Writer(s):  Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss

The Oranges is a good idea gone wrong.

The basic idea is interesting.  Take two families that have lived next door to one another in the same suburban neighborhood (West Orange, NJ in this case).  Both have daughters the same age, and one couple also has a son.

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‘Peace, Love and Misunderstanding’ fails to deliver on its promise

[rating=3]Starring: Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff, Chace Crawford, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyle MacLachlan
Director(s): Bruce Beresford
Writer(s): Joseph Muszynski and Christina Mengert

Jane Fonda stars in 'Peace, Love and Misunderstanding'
Jane Fonda stars in ‘Peace, Love and Misunderstanding’

Diane (Catherine Keener) has two kids, one in college and one soon to be there as well, a successful law practice and a husband.  As she is preparing for a dinner party, her husband (Kyle MacLachlan) informs her that he wants a divorce, now that the kids are older.  He is packing to depart after the dinner is over when she informs him that she’s taking their kids up to her mother’s house and he informs her that they will be doing what he wants when she returns.

Mother’s house is an old place near that famous town of Woodstock, where Grace (Jane Fonda) lives and has done so without contact from Diane for 20 years.  Chickens wander in and out of the house, and according to Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen), the older of the two kids, the place “reeks of pot”.  Turns out that Grace sold pot and that was one way she made ends meet, but hopefully she isn’t doing that now.

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Q&A with Daniel Day-Lewis & Catherine Keener

Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle in 'The Ballad of Jack & Rose'
Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle in ‘The Ballad of Jack & Rose’

As I said in the Q&A with Camilla Belle and Rebecca Miller, I recently had the chance to participate in a roundtable session regarding the film, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, which opens today. Everyone was so kind, and after the interviews with them we had the opportunity to talk with Daniel Day-Lewis and Catherine Keener, two of the film’s stars.

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