Marlborough Mid-Week : July 30th 2014
16 MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, JULY 30, 2014 ENTERTAINMENT Knightley excels as feisty singer NOW SHOWING BY MATT LAWREY Begin Again (M) ***1/2 (out of five) At the risk of sounding like a grumpy bugger, one of my favourite sayings has to be, ‘‘familiarity breeds contempt’’. It’s not always accurate but it’s true often enough to be one of those quotes that has endured through the ages. It’s a concept that I’m sure weighs heavily on the minds of popular performers, because with the possible exception of Leonard Cohen, everyone who is hot eventually goes cold. At the same time actors, musicians and their ilk need to get themselves out there in order to create interest in their work. Why am I sharing this with you? It’s because in recent weeks I’ve seen films starring Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke. Of course, Knightley needs no introduction but few people have heard of Clarke. The star of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Clarke is a hugely talented actor with a gift for keeping his life out of the media. With the kind of stealth that would make a ninja proud he has snuck his way from obscurity to the lead role in one of the year’s biggest films. Clarke has been so successful in keeping his personal life under wraps that in a recent profile in a respected magazine the writer was unable to ascertain whether the guy was single or not. The way Clarke sees it, the less we know about him the better, and so far, it’s a strategy that is working nicely for him. Knightley, on the other hand, is one of the world’s best-known stars. She has been in her fair share of dross like Domino and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest but she has also made some thought-provoking gems like Atonement and Never Let Me Go. Despite her beauty and charm, she has never been an actress I have especially warmed to. Knightley has always struck me as little too lightweight to take seriously. As a result, I was hardly killing myself to see her on The Graham Norton Show the Great couple: Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo make sweet music in Begin Again. other week. Appearing to promote Begin Again, her first romantic comedy since Love Actually, she ended up sharing Graham’s couch with the one and only Samuel L Jackson. As far as talk show guests are concerned, they seemed like an odd match. In fact, seasoned Jackson fans could only watch with delectable horror as they waited for their notoriously profane hero to chew the young Englishwoman up and spit her out. To both of their credit, that’s not what happened. Instead, a disconcertingly straight up Knightley gave as good as she got and the two stars got on like a house on fire. In fact, I was so impressed by Knightley’s appearance on Norton’s show, I actually found myself looking forward to Begin Again. It was one of those rare examples of familiarity breeding affection. Begin Again is written and directed by Irishman John Carney, the man who gave the world the indie hit Once. Like Carney’s first film, Begin Again is a story about people, relationships and music. Set in New York, the film stars Knightley as Gretta, a singersongwriter determined not to sell out and Mark Ruffalo as Dan, a down-on-his-luck music executive who thinks she just might have what it takes. Joining them are Catherine Keener and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine as Dan and Gretta’s respective exes. The basic premise is that one night Dan is distracted from drowning his sorrows by Gretta on guitar. Despite his high level of intoxi- cation, Dan decides that she has the goods and becomes determined to get her name in lights. As far as movie titles go, Begin Again is very average. What isn’t average is Ruffalo’s irresistibly dishevelled performance as a man with the distinct impression his best days are behind him. Seventeen-year-old Hailee Photo: SUPPLIED Steinfeld also excels as Dan’s disapproving teenage daughter while Keener continues to do no wrong. Levine, meanwhile, provides the film’s vocal highlights. Much like her appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Knightley holds her own against Ruffalo and proves to have a perfectly acceptable singing voice. The part also gives her a chance to unleash her inner goofiness to pleasing effect. Begin Again is an example of a movie that is better than its trailer suggests and the songs are great too. Bottom line: surprisingly like- able. LI$T WIN A $ AND 4,000 SHOPPING SPREE FOR YOUR NEXT HOME!* Just list your property for sale with one of these licensed real estate agencies and go in the draw to win… A total of $4,000 worth of goods from the below supporting businesses. 6202640AA For more information read the Property Express on Thursday!
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