DVD Begin Again : If Once was the indie-rock record no one expected to succeed, Begin Again is the hotly anticipated follow-up that can’t quite recapture its predecessor’s magic. Intermittently charming and dragged down by a novice actor in a key role (stick to the day job, Adam Levine), this valentine to New York City and sweet, mildly naive fable about making your way in the cutthroat music business is written and directed by John Carney, revisiting some of the themes found in the Oscar-winning Once.
Begin Again stars Keira Knightley as Greta, a British singer-songwriter still smarting from a fresh split from rising star Dave Kohl (Levine). After Greta makes an impression upon troubled A&R man Dan (Mark Ruffalo) during an open-mike night, the pair sets out to record her debut album live in the streets of New York, placing her delicate folk-pop tunes in a field-recording context.
Begin Again’s dazzling centerpiece involves the pair racing around the city, sharing a set of earbuds and blasting Frank Sinatra. It’s a dizzy, hip update of a time-honored rom-com sequence, and unarguably the film’s highlight.
Sadly, Begin Again can’t sustain such euphoria. On DVD and Blu-ray.
Also new: America: Imagine the World Without Her; Wish I Was Here; Child of God; Good People; Prince; Plastic; Life of Crime; How We Got to Now With Steven Johnson
— Preston Jones