DRAGONHEART 3: THE SORCERER’S CURSE – Mark McKenzie

March 22, 2015 1 comment

dragonheart3Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The enduring longevity of the Dragonheart film series is one of the most unexpected in current mainstream cinema. Surprisingly, we are now on the third film, following the original movie back in 1996, and the first sequel – ‘A New Beginning’ – in 2000. This new film is actually a prequel to the original film, and tells the story of a young squire named Gareth (Julian Morris), who goes in search of a ‘comet’ he observed falling from the sky, which he believes holds enough gold for him to train to become a knight. However, instead of finding a comet, Gareth finds a dragon named Draco (voiced by Ben Kingsley) who is being hunted by an evil sorcerer. After Draco saves Gareth’s life, the two quickly become friends, and begin to work together to defeat the sorcerer and stop his reign of terror. The film is directed by veteran British TV director Colin Teague, and has an original score by Mark McKenzie. Read more…

CINDERELLA – Patrick Doyle

March 18, 2015 1 comment

cinderellaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Walt Disney are currently undertaking an interesting exercise whereby they are re-making many of their animated classics as live action films; last year, Sleeping Beauty was re-imagined as the action packed Maleficent, and next year Beauty and the Beast is set to hit cinemas in an all-new setting. This year, however, it is the turn of Cinderella, which was originally produced by the mouse house in 1950, and is now receiving a lavish big screen re-telling from director Kenneth Branagh. For those who don’t know, the story is largely based on the popular fairytale novel Cendrillon by Charles Perrault, first published in 1697, and tells the story of a young woman who is mistreated by her cruel stepmother and her wicked step-sisters, and dreams of escaping her life of domestic drudgery. One night, when her family is away attending a ball given by a handsome prince, to which Cinderella has been expressly forbidden from going, she is visited by her kind fairy godmother, who uses her magic to create a ball gown and glass slippers for Cinderella to wear, and a carriage to take her to the palace. At the ball, the Prince sees and instantly falls in love with the beautiful Cinderella, but circumstances contrive for her to have to flee the palace at the stroke of midnight, before the Prince learns her identity. His only clue is one of the glass slippers, which Cinderella accidentally leaves behind in her haste… The film stars Lily James as Cinderella, Game of Thrones alumnus Richard Madden as the Prince, Cate Blanchett as the Stepmother, and Helena Bonham-Carter as the Fairy Godmother, and has a glorious original score by Patrick Doyle. Read more…

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES – Hugo Friedhofer

March 16, 2015 1 comment

bestyearsofourlivesMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In making The Best Years of Our Lives, Famous producer Samuel Goldwyn became inspired to make a film that spoke to challenges facing our returning servicemen after reading an article in Time magazine, which described the difficulty experienced by Marines returning to civilian life. He hired war correspondent MacKinlay Kanto to write the story; a novella titled “Glory for Me”, and then brought in director William Wyler and Robert Sherwood, his go to playwright, to adapt it for the big screen. They assembled a first class ensemble of actors, which included Fredric March (Al Stephenson), Myrna Loy (Milly Stephenson), Dana Andrews (Fred Derry), Virginia Mayo (Marie Derry), Cathy O’Donnell (Wilma Cameron), and for authenticity, newcomer Harold Russell (Homer Parrish), a real life serviceman who had lost both his hands in the war. The story follows the reintegration struggles of three soldiers into civilian life. Read more…

WOLF TOTEM – James Horner

March 11, 2015 1 comment

wolftotemOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been a long 2½ years, since the summer of 2012 and The Amazing Spider-Man, to wait for a new James Horner score. In the intervening period he has had at least one score rejected (Romeo & Juliet, eventually scored by Abel Korzeniowski), and left at least one other project under unclear circumstances (Ender’s Game, eventually scored by Steve Jablonsky), all the while making dark mutterings about how unhappy and disillusioned he is about the state of the Hollywood film music scene overall. The fact that all this was coming from a man who, for almost 30 years, had been at the forefront of the entire genre, one of the leading public faces of the industry, with literally dozens of scores for mainstream blockbusters under his belt, was troubling; was Horner’s career about to follow that of composers like Bruce Broughton, Trevor Jones, and the late Basil Poledouris, whose bold, emotional, symphonic writing had become passé for Hollywood’s young directors? Thankfully, the answer to this question, at least for now, appears to be a resounding no: he’s back with a full slate of five films scheduled for 2015 and 2016, the first of which – this one – ranks among his very best. Read more…

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE – Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson

February 24, 2015 1 comment

kingsmanthesecretserviceOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Kingsman: The Secret Service is an espionage action-adventure film based on the comic book series by Mark Millar and David Gibbons; it pays healthy homage to the James Bond films and several other spy franchises, but peppers its plot with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek British humor and intentionally over-the-top violence. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film stars Colin Firth as Harry Hart, codenamed Galahad, a dapper English gentleman who is actually an undercover spy for an elite independent espionage agency called the Kingsmen, who hide behind the façade of a bespoke Savile Row tailor’s shop. When one of their operatives is killed, Hart recruits Gary Unwin, nicknamed Eggsy, a young petty criminal whom Harry knew as a child. Seeing the potential for greatness in Eggsy, Harry enrolls him into an elite school for potential Kingsman recruits, but before long the Kingsmen are embroiled in trying to foil a sinister world domination plot masterminded by billionaire consumer electronics mogul Richmond Valentine – and Eggsy is along for the ride. The film co-stars newcomer Taron Egerton as Eggsy, Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine, and has a stellar supporting cast that includes Michael Caine, Mark Strong and Mark Hamill; it’s also one of the most fun films I’ve had the pleasure of seeing at the cinema in quite some time, coming across as an enjoyable romp which both lovingly embraces and pokes fun at genre clichés. Read more…

Academy Award Winners 2014

February 22, 2015 2 comments

desplat-oscarThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have announced the winners of the 87th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film in 2017.

In the Best Original Score category French composer Alexandre Desplat won the award for his score for directed Wes Anderson’s quirky period comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel. In his acceptance speech, Desplat said:

Merci. Merci beaucoup. Wes [Anderson], you’re a genius. This is good! You offered me a great view from the Grand Budapest. Thank you. It’s been a beautiful decade for me in Hollywood. I’ve worked with great directors and producers, and I’m very grateful. I need to thank Laura Engel, Mark Graham, Katz, my Greek mother. Soleil [meaning his wife, Dominique Lemonnier], I met you long ago, for my first session, you played a violin, and you made everything happen for me. So, this is for you. Thank you”

The other nominees were Desplat again for The Imitation Game, Jóhann Jóhannsson for The Theory of Everything, Gary Yershon for Mr. Turner, and Hans Zimmer for Interstellar.

In the Best Original Song category, the winners were John Legend and Lonnie ‘Common’ Lynn for their song “Glory” from critically acclaimed civil rights film Selma.

The other nominees were Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois for “Lost Stars” from Begin Again, Glenn Campbell and Julian Raymond for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me, Shawn Patterson for “Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, and Diane Warren for “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights.

THE AVIATOR – Dominic Frontiere

February 20, 2015 1 comment

theaviator-frontiereTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I would wager than 99% of the people reading this didn’t know that there was a film called The Aviator released 19 years prior to the Oscar-winning Howard Hughes biopic directed by Martin Scorsese – but there was, and this is it. The film is a period action adventure directed by George Miller – not the famous director of Mad Max and The Witches of Eastwick, but the less famous George Miller who directed The Neverending Story Part II and that movie about a seal called Andre. It stars Christopher Reeve as Edgar Anscombe, a rough and ready pilot working for the postal service in the 1920s, who reluctantly agrees to take a passenger, a rich heiress’s daughter named Tillie Hansen played by Rosanna Arquette, on his latest run. Naturally, the plane crash lands on a remote mountain range in Nevada, and the pair must fight to survive against the elements, most notably a pack of hungry wolves that sees them as their next meal. Read more…

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