Mark Ruffalo

Begin Again

by Alan Rapp on October 31, 2014

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Begin Again
  • IMDb: link

Begin AgainReleased this week on Blu-ray and DVD, writer/director John Carney‘s tale of the unexpected friendship between a down-on-his luck record label exec (Mark Ruffalo) and a heartbroken singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) ranked at the top of my favorite films from the first-half of 2014. My opinion hasn’t changed.

With a pair of terrific leads and a talented support cast that includes Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, Adam Levine, Mos Def, and James Corden, the movie works as well on home video as it did in theaters as the mismatched pair of attempt to record an album on the fly around New York City in an enterprise that is at least as much about getting over life’s recent hurdles as the finished project. For more, read my original review.

The Blu-ray includes music videos for the movie’s big numbers and a single behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the film.

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The Top Ten Movies of 2014 (so far)

by Alan Rapp on July 4, 2014

in Top Tens & Lists

The Top Ten Movies of 2014 (so far)

We’ve hit the halfway point of the year and, as has become the custom, that means it’s time to look back on the best movies of the year so far. This year’s list includes three animated films, two sequels, the return of a beloved television character, a latest (and in one case the last) from few big name directors, and a pair of small indie films topping the list of what has been a pretty damn good first-half of the year at the movies.

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Can a Song Save Your Life?

by Alan Rapp on July 2, 2014

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Begin Again
  • IMDb: link

Begin AgainWritten and directed by John Carney, Begin Again is simply a joy to watch. At times this tale of the mismatched pair of a record label exec (Mark Ruffalo) whose life is swirling around the drain and a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) dealing with crushing rejection of her now-successful longtime writing partner and boyfriend (Adam Levine) comes dangerously close to being too cute for its own good. Thankfully Carney’s choice to ground the film in serious issues such as heartbreak, betrayal, estranged families, and politics of the music business balances the film’s hopeful tone and message to prevent the movie from ever becoming too cliche or sappy.

While Ruffalo provides both angst and humor, Knightley is the soul of the film. Having only seen her sing in short segments of The Edge of Love (a movie worth seeing more for her performance more than anything else), I was thrilled to find a her lilting voice the perfect match for the indie songwriter thousands of miles from home dealing the emotional yo-yo of immediate heartbreak and at the same time a once-in-a-lifetime record offer.

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From A to Z – The Top Ten Movies of 2012

by Alan Rapp on December 28, 2012

in Top Tens & Lists

2012 turned out to be a pretty darn good year at the movies. There were two films which I gave perfect scores to this year, one of which the majority of the country won’t be seeing until early next year. I’m breaking my own rule of including it on the list, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Between these two films, which naturally open and close the list (as it’s presented alphabetically), are eight other films rounding out the class of 2012.

Cutting down my list to ten means I need to speak for a moment on films that barely missed the cut. John Carter was the year’s most under-appreciated film, The Cabin in the Woods turned the horror genre on its ear, Ang Lee delivered an amazing journey with Life of Pi, Wreck-It Ralph was this year’s best animated feature, Safety Not Guaranteed was a terrific little sci-fi flick almost no one saw, and Moonrise Kingdom was director Wes Anderson‘s best film since The Royal Tenenbaums.

Enough with what didn’t make the list, let’s get down to discussing what did:

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The Ten Best Movies of 2012 (So Far)

by Alan Rapp on June 30, 2012

in Top Tens & Lists

Super-heroes, aliens, character studies, parents and their children, time travel, the Scottish Highlands, young love, monsters, and the end of the world. Halfway through the year we take a look back at the ten best movies from the first-half of 2012.

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