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This image released by The Weinstein Company shows CeeLo Green (left), and Mark Ruffalo in a scene from ‘Begin Again.’ (AP)
Music powers ‘Begin Again’ rebirth Fox makes ‘TMNT’ fans work to see movie trailer

NEW YORK June 25, (Agencies): When the bassist turned filmmaker John Carney was young, a borrowed Walkman played while cycling to school was an epiphany. “The idea of personalized music was outrageous to me,” said the Irish writer-director in a recent interview. “My life changed. I could now make this journey in an imaginative state. You could suddenly be listening to a Malcolm McLaren song or Grand Master Flash.” Carney’s latest film, “Begin Again,” which opens Friday, is a love letter to the transformative power of music – the way it can chart our lives and provide solace for trying times.  It’s an earnest reminder of the simple majesty of music, even in the disposable age of iTunes. The original title was “Can a Song Save Your Life?” and there’s no doubt as to the film’s answer.

It’s a follow-up of sorts to Carney’s 2006 Oscar-winning indie sensation “Once,” which chronicles a musical romance between a Dublin busker and a recent Ireland immigrant, who join for an unlikely, uplifting recording session. “Begin Again” moves to New York, but it, too, exudes a heart-on-the-sleeve sincerity about collaborative music-making and an abiding affection for street-level authenticity. Mark Ruffalo stars as a divorced, middle-aged record executive struggling in the modern, recalibrated music industry. He’s grown cynical, furiously tossing CDs out of his car window, desperate for something with feeling. He drunkenly stumbles across it at a Lower East Side club, where an unknown British singer (Keira Knightley) bewilders him. He pursues her and cobbles together a band to back her on an outdoor album recorded around New York.

Knightley’s character is also lost, having come to the U.S. with her musician boyfriend (Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine), only to see his sudden onset of pop stardom leave her behind. The mix of disciplines – music and movies – is seen throughout “Begin Again.” CeeLo Green and Yasiin Bey (also known as Mos Def) play supporting roles. Knightley sings despite little previous experience. “For me, the two things are almost married,” says Carney of cinema and music.

Carney, 42, was a member of the Irish band the Frames before turning to directing their music videos. He also wrote some of the songs in “Begin Again,” which came out of imagining what happened to A&R guys he saw trolling Dublin in early 90s, looking for “the next U2.” “He’s sincere,” says Ruffalo of Carney. “He’s earnest about his art and his filmmaking.” Ruffalo identified with what he calls “the inner unrest” reflected in “Begin Again,” a movie he said that’s about people “getting back to themselves.” Shot in only 24 days, “Begin Again” was made with the same lo-fi aesthetic of its music, which meant working quickly, improvising dialogue and finding ad hoc locations. “I was completely out of my comfort zone,” says Knightley. “I’d never really been on films where the space isn’t safe. This film was very much like if there was a street corner where it looked like we might get away with shooting for a little while, we’d jump out of the van and try to do it there.”

Levine was also trying something different – acting in a movie for the first time. As someone who experienced firsthand what it’s like to go from an unknown to enormously famous nearly overnight, he was uniquely qualified to play a character who did the same thing. “Having that happen to you is a very unique and highly unnatural situation to be put in,” Levine says. “The things that kind of went haywire as a result ... it’s not going to be a smooth transition.” “That’s what connected me to this (character),” Levine says. “I saw so much of myself in him 10 years ago.” Despite the influence of music on Carney’s life, he hasn’t personally listened to it for some time, following the death of a family member. “Music is too much for me to listen to because it’s like an intravenous expression of emotion,” he says. “I can’t go there.”

LOS ANGELES: On behalf of Paramount Pictures, Megan Fox wants fans to earn their right to see character posters and the newest trailer for the upcoming “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” The actress, who plays April O’Neil in the film based on the popular 1980s comic book characters, made a short video for the film’s official YouTube page explaining how fans can unlock the movie’s promotional items. All they have to do is Tweet about their favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, using various hashtags: #TeamRaphael, #TeamLeonardo, #TeamMichelangelo, #TeamDonatello. Once all four individual character posters have been unlocked, the new trailer will be unlocked as well. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is one of the most enduring and popular properties of the past thirty years. The independent comic book series has launched four separate television series, eight video game adaptations, countless action figures and toys, and now its on its fifth movie.

The new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is the latest reboot of the franchise, offering new - and somewhat controversial to hardcore fans, thanks to prominent nostrils - character designs, as well as a new take on the turtles and their classic villains. Directed by Michael Bay, the new “TMNT” stars Pet Ploszek and Johnny Knoxville as Leonardo, Alan Ritchson as Raphael, Noel Fisher as Michelangelo, and Jeremy Howard as Donatello. The film also stars William Fichtner, Tony Shalhoub, Danny Woodburn, Will Arnett, Minae Noji, Abby Elliot and Whoopi Goldberg.

Produced by Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Galen Walker, Scott Mednick and Ian Bryce, the screenplay comes from Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daugherty, based on the original comic book series by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Nickelodeon Movies produced the film with Platinum Dunes, Gama Entertainment, Mednick Productions, and Heavy Metal. Paramount Pictures will release it to theaters nationwide on Friday, Aug. 8.

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