Are you guys ready to learn about what could potentially be the greatest film of 2016. Of course you’re not, you want to hear about Ghostbusters this week! You’re a sensible adult who reads Twitter and knows what’s trending. Well, TOUGH! The Ghostbusters review in on another page. This is Sing Street. And I. Loved. This. Movie.
Sing Street is the latest effort from bass player turned film director John Carney, and like his two biggest hits prior to this (Once and Begin Again), it’s primarily a love story told through the prism of music. It’s a musical, technically, because a lot of the characters sing songs that are more or less relevent to the plot, but this isn’t Les Miserables or Grease – the songs are sung by characters who are actually musicians. The plot follows Conor,, a teenaged boy in Dublin in the mid-80’s, suffering through the sort of financial issues that people in Dublin had at the time. Forced to move to a public school, Conor soon spots Raphina, a model. In order to spend time with her, Conor invited Raphina to appear in a music video that his band is planning to shoot. One problem – Conor isn’t in a band and only has one friend. Conor sets to work building a band, finding his voice and continuing to try to win the heart of Raphina, in an incredibly sweet, very funny and overall entertaining film.
There’s so much to rave about from this movie, and I’ll get to it all in time, but let’s start with the performances. While the film does feature established Irish actors such as Father Ted‘s Don Wycherley, The Tudors’ Maria Doyle Kennedy and Littlefinger himself, Game of Thrones‘ Aiden Gillen, the best performances come from the young performers. In particular, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (Conor) and Lucy Boynton (Raphina), who portray the leads, are so strong and believable in their performances that you ride every emotional wave with them. You believe these characters are real. It’s truly phenomenal stuff. Also a stand-out is Jack Reynor, who portrays Conor’s older brother and confidante. Reynor, whose biggest credit has been in the decidedly less-than-stellar Transformers: Age of Extinction portrays a character that, despite originally seeming to be a stoner stereotype, winds up being very complex and deep in characterization.
Reynor played this guy in the Transformers film. I don’t know who he is either.
Which brings me to the writing of this film. This is a very well written film. There’s foreshadowing everywhere, and the payoff is always well-earned and unforced. Every single character gets a moment to shine with the writing, and when certain elements that might be cliched in any other “coming-of-age” type film appear, they are able to feel fresh and new, through the use of humour and creative scripting. The humour, by the way, is fantastic.
Now, onto the music. This film is built around the music. Taking a mixture of original songs in the style of the times, and actual songs from classic 80’s groups including Devo, Duran Duran and The Clash. Whilst I love “Maneater” and “I Fought The Law” as much as the next guy, the original songs left the biggest impression on me at this stage. I know this because I’ve been trying to write this review for a very long time but I can’t because I’ve got tracks like “The Riddle of the Model” and “Drive It Like You Stole It”, both written by the director Carney and performed by the Sing Street band, on a continual loop in my headphones and I’m having too much fun for writing right now! You’re all gonna have to wait until I’m ready to finish this!
Hang on for a minute there, Terry, I’ll finish the review but I gotta listen to “Brown Shoes” once more first.
Ok, I’m back, and whilst I could probably wax lyrical about the way this film was shot, or any number of technical things, I guess we should just leave the opinion here that this movie is perfection. Pure, unaltered, perfection. See it. Just, see it.
5/5 – A contender for best of the year. Edged out slightly in my mind by another perfect film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
ADDITIONAL MOVIE NEWS
- Director and writer Garry Marshall has passed away from pneumonia at the age of 81. Marshall is best know for creating classic TV series such as Happy Days and Mork & Mindy, as well as directing rom-coms like Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries. His work is the reason stars were made out of names like Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, Anne Hathaway and Ron Howard, and his influence and presence will be missed in the years to come. RIP.
- Remember last week, when I announced that a new Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer had been announced. Well, Friday was the big day it dropped, and due to the diligent reporting from people like me and the users of Twitter, the world was ready. Australians stayed up late, Americans got up early and the British took the afternoon off work – but since Brexit ruined their economy anyway that wasn’t much of a sacrifice. And the time came and…. only people attending a conference in London were allowed to see it. Chaos reigned supreme from there on it. It was as if a million voices suddenly cried out in anger, and weren’t silenced at all because it’s the Internet and they were going to rant dammit.
- The trailer is due to hit YouTube whenever Lucasfilm sees fit and apparently had Darth Vader in it.
- Apparently this new mobile app came out this week called Digimon Stop or something like that. Anyway, the whole point of the app is people go outside and get in the way of good honest folks who are trying to walk here dammit, while collecting ultra rare Doowhatsits and Naddlewaddles and other iconic thingies. Well, enough people are playing this game that Hollywood has now commission a film featuring those little doodads, who’ll undoubtedly be forced to fight each other for our entertainment before being forced back into an impossibly sized ball for “safekeeping”.
Pokemon: The Critters Strike Back will be written by a guy who also wrote Power Rangers and will probably hit theaters long after this current craze ends.
I don’t know which of these things is the Naddlewaddle, but I presume it’s one of the purple ones.
- Anyone whose seen a movie recently may have noticed the trend towards connected universes, based around the success of Marvel. One of the upcoming “universes” to look forward to is the Universal Monsters Universe, a series that will connect the stories of Dracula, Wolf-Man, Frankenstein, The Mummy and more. While it may seem cliche at first, there’s a number of big name actors attached to this franchise already. The first film, The Mummy, will feature Tom Cruise in the lead role, while Russel Crowe will co-star as Dr Jekyll. Meanwhile, Johnny Depp has reportedly signed on to play The Invisible Man, a role that is unlikely to work out because Depp can’t wear white face paint in it without looking silly. Now a new casting has been made, with Skyfall villain Javier Bardem signed on to portray The Monster, a character who isn’t called Frankenstein but will undoubtedly be referred to as Frankenstein by everyone ever, so I’ll follow suit. Look forward to Bardem as Frankenstein in a cineplex near you sometime in the next 5 years.
- In one of the biggest surprise moves of the year, 20th Century Fox are moving forward on a sequel for a little film from earlier this year called Deadpool. The fourth-wall busting superhero film managed to earn more money than bigger name superhero titles such as Thor, X-Men: Days of Future Past and, shockingly, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice so Fox are very proud to return Ryan Reynolds to what has quickly become his biggest role. In the same announcement, Fox claimed they were making a movie around the mutant Gambit, but they’ve been saying they’ll make that movie since X-Men Origins: Wolverine came out (remember that movie!) so everyone should ignore that announcement and focus on Deadpool.
- Another surprise hit movie in recent years has been Kingsman: The Secret Service, a stylized Bond spoof that made everyone say “How has Colin Firth not actually played James Bond?”
[SPOILERS]WARNING: The remainder of this news contains spoilers for the first Kingsman film[SPOILERS]
Well, once again a sequel is in production, and the sequel will see Taron Egerton’s Eggsy return with a new cast featuring Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Sir Elton John and….. Colin Firth?! Yes, according to set photos Firth has returned to the franchise despite being very much killed by a bullet through the brain in the previous movie. Who knows how he survived? It will probably be something to do with movie magic. Or a twin. It could be a twin.