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Posts Tagged ‘Lucy Boynton’

Nicholas Hoult as author J.D. Salinger

“REBEL IN THE RYE” My rating: B- 

106 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

“Rebel in the Rye,” the new biopic about reclusive author J.D. Salinger, isn’t bad.

Nor is it particularly inspired.

As an overview of Salinger’s early life, his years of frustration and his emergence as a major American voice with Catcher in the Rye, it lays out the facts competently. Director Danny Strong, making his feature debut after a stint with TV’s “Empire,” puts on a decent show with a limited budget.

And former Brit child actor (“About a Boy”) Nicholas Hoult demonstrates  acting chops that could carry him into more leading man roles.

Strong’s screenplay begins with the PTSD-suffering author in a mental institution in the late 1940s, then flashes back a decade to his college years.

At Columbia Jerry Salinger falls under the influence of writing professor Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey), who sees terrific potential in his student despite the kid’s self-indulgence and an unwillingness to take suggestions from anyone. At the same time  Jerry launches a romance with Oona O’Neill (Zoey Deutch), estranged daughter of acclaimed playwright Eugene O’Neill (and future wife of Charlie Chaplin).

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Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (center) and Sing Street

“SING STREET” My rating: B

106 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Being a teenager sucks.  Good thing there’s rock ‘n’ roll to see you through.

“Sing Street,” the latest from Irish auteur John Carney (“Once,” “Begin Again”), nails the nexus of adolescence and pop music better than any movie since “The Commitments.”

This story of Dublin teens throwing together their own band — and of the beautiful but troubled girl who inspires it all — is goofy, tuneful and romantic.

And in its leading man, 16-year old Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (no, that’s not a typo), “Sing Street” may have the year’s most appealing newcomer.

The time is 1985 and Ireland is in the crapper.  There’s widespread unemployment and any young person hoping for a decent future is planning a move to England.

The economic realities are inescapable for young Conor (Walsh-Peelo). His fiercely bickering parents (“Orphan Black’s” Maria Doyle Kennedy and “Game of Thrones'” Aidan Gillen) are out of work. They’ve had to yank Conor from his upscale high school and transferred him to the much cheaper Synge Street School, a hotbed of juvenile delinquency run by sadistic clerics.

There’s but one bright spot in all this.  Each morning a gorgeous young woman sits on her stoop opposite the school, boredly puffing on a fag as the wind lifts her teased hair.

Her name is Raphina (Lucy Boynton), and she says she’s an aspiring model. Conor is immediately smitten.  Raphina seems impossibly sophisticated, sexually experienced, and wholly unattainable (in fact, she’s only 16, a year older than our protagonist). But Conor finds the courage to approach her and brazenly suggest that she appear in the music video his band is making.

Only problem is that he doesn’t have a band.

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