Rapid Movie Review: ‘SING STREET’ and ‘BORN TO BE BLUE’


Preston Barta // Editor

Two of this week’s smaller films (with big hearts) tackle music in an innovative manner.

SING STREET | 105 min | PG-13
Director: John Carney
Cast: Ferdia Walsh-PeeloLucy Boynton and Jack Reynor

Slaps a smile on you that won’t quit

One thing writer-director John Carney (ONCE, BEGIN AGAIN) has always been great about in his films is exploring music as a means of expression and connection. He carries this sentiment over to the completely lovable SING STREET by winding back the clock to the glamorous ‘80s rock scene.

The film follows a Dublin teenager, Conor (a terrific Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), as he forms a rock ‘n’ roll band to win the heart of an aspiring model (Lucy Boynton) and escape his broken home.

With its energetic cast (most notably Jack Reynor as Conor’s brother) and lively tunes (including tracks from The Cure and Duran Duran), SING STREET is a ballad that audiences are sure to jam on repeat.

SING STREET opens tomorrow at the Angelika Dallas and Plano.

BORN TO BE BLUE | 98 min | Not Rated
Director: Robert Budreau
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie and Stephen McHattie

Hawke soars as acclaimed jazz trumpeter Chet Baker

Just when musical biopics were becoming one-note, BORN TO BE BLUE whistles a fresh tune, giving life to the beat genre.

Set primarily in the late 1960s, Ethan Hawke stars as jazz trumpet player Chet Baker, who’s trying to make a comeback after some trouble with drugs and incarceration.

Filmmaker Robert Budreau, who also directed a short titled THE DEATHS OF CHET BAKER, paints an honest and human portrait of Baker that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Through this film’s unique framing device (film within a film), we get insight into the complicated figure that was Baker, the pain he suffered, the playboy he once was, the people her hurt along the way, and the price he paid to be one of the most celebrated jazz musicians of all-time.

Thanks to Hawke’s painstaking recreation of Baker’s ill habits and devoted heart, BORN TO BE BLUE is able to eclipse its musical biopic bandmates.

BORN TO BE BLUE opens tomorrow at Premiere Cinema 14 in Burleson, TX.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.