LADYHAWKE – Andrew Powell

April 16, 2015 Leave a comment

ladyhawke-gnpTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In 1985 the sword-and-sorcery genre was still very much at the height of its powers, with successful films like Dragonslayer, Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja and Krull having been released to popular acclaim during the preceding few years. Ladyhawke was less an action-adventure, and more a love story, telling the tale of two cursed lovers in twelfth century France: Etienne Navarre, a brave and noble knight, and Isabeau d’Anjou, a beautiful young noblewoman. The twist of the story comes due to the fact that, despite being in love, they can never truly be together until a curse is lifted – by day, Isabeau assumes the form of a hawk, while Etienne is human; at night, Etienne becomes a wolf, while Isabeau returns to her human form. With the help of a wisecracking thief named Philippe and a kindly priest, Etienne and Isabeau resolve to try to break the curse so they can finally be together. The film was directed by Richard Donner, and stars Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick. Read more…

IT FOLLOWS – Rich Vreeland

April 13, 2015 1 comment

itfollowsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It Follows is a low-budget independent American horror film, written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. The premise is deceptively simple: after having sex for the first time with her new boyfriend, a teenage girl named Jay becomes drawn into an inescapable nightmare when he tells her that, now that he has had sex with her, she will be followed by an ‘entity’, which can only move at walking pace, but which will kill her if it catches her. The entity can take on the appearance of any person, cannot be reasoned with, cannot be killed, and can only be seen by the person being followed, and the only way to ‘pass on’ the curse is to have sex with someone else, at which point the entity will begin to follow the new person. However, once that person is dead, the entity moves back down the chain, and begins following the previous person once more… The film stars Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe and Daniel Zovatto, and has become something of a cult sleeper hit, with critics comparing the film favorably to early genre efforts by directors like John Carpenter. Read more…

BABY: SECRET OF THE LOST LEGEND – Jerry Goldsmith

April 9, 2015 Leave a comment

babysecretofthelostlegendTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In my review of Supergirl earlier in this series, I remarked how a number of Jerry Goldsmith scores are essentially ‘parallel universe’ scores, inferior versions of films John Williams scored. From the late 1970s through the mid 1990s, Goldsmith wrote a lot of great music for some truly awful movies, and if you look at his filmography during that period, you can see the pattern developing: where John Williams had Superman, Goldsmith had Supergirl; as Williams had Raiders of the Lost Ark, so Goldsmith had King Solomon’s Mines; and so on. Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend is basically Goldsmith’s Jurassic Park, eight years before Steven Spielberg broke all box office records with his dinosaur movie. It’s a family adventure directed by Bill L. Norton, starring William Katt, Sean Young, Patrick McGoohan and (inexplicably) Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes in an early acting role; it tells the story of Susan and George Loomis, a paleontologist and her husband, who discover a mother and baby brontosaurus in Africa, and try to protect them from hunters who want to capture them. Read more…

THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY – Cat’s Eyes

April 7, 2015 Leave a comment

dukeofburgundyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Duke of Burgundy is a new erotic drama from the progressive British director Peter Strickland. The highbrow antidote to Fifty Shades of Grey, it tells the story of the sadomasochistic lesbian relationship between Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen), a professor with a special interest in lepidoptery, and Evelyn (Chiara d’Anna), her maid and lover who slowly becomes her consensual sex slave. The title refers to the particular breed of butterfly with which Cynthia is fascinated, and acts as a metaphor for emergent female sexuality, while the entire look of the film is a loving homage to those European soft core movies of the 1960s and 1970s directed by the likes of Jess Franco, Tinto Brass and Just Jaeckin. Their films were shot in muted, earthy tones through misty, gossamer filters, and were serious and earnest and explicit in an unashamed way, celebrating sexuality in all its forms, and The Duke of Burgundy approaches things in a similar way. The film was screened at various film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, and the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, to generally positive critical reviews. Read more…

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI – Malcolm Arnold

April 6, 2015 Leave a comment

bridgeontheriverkwaiMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

One day, out of curiosity, producer Sam Spiegel happened to purchase the novel “Le Pont de la Rivière Kwaï” by Pierre Boulle, which was, at the time, the talk of the day. He read the novel on a plane flight and by the time he arrived in London, he was determined to bring the story to the big screen. Complications arose immediately as his trusted screenwriters, Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman, were on the infamous McCarthy blacklist of people accused of Communist sympathies, and were forced to ghost-write, while Boulle, who could not speak, let alone write in English, was assigned the sole writing credit. Spiegel brought in David Lean to direct the film and they assembled a stellar cast for the project, including Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson, Jack Hawkins as Major Warden, William Holden as Captain Shears and Sessue Hayakawa as the brutal Colonel Saito. Read more…

HUGO FRIEDHOFER – Fathers of Film Music, Part 9

April 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Hugo FriedhoferArticle by Craig Lysy

Born: 3 May 1901, San Francisco, California.
Died: 17 May 1981.

Hugo Wilhelm Friedhofer was born in San Francisco into a musical family, his father being an accomplished cellist who trained in Dresden, Germany. His musical gifts surfaced early and he began playing the cello in earnest at the age of 13. He was not fond of school and so quit at 16, obtaining work as an office boy. In his teen years both music and art competed for his affections, and it was not until the age of 18 that he finally decided to pursue music for a career. He enrolled in night classes at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco, and then later studied harmony and counterpoint at Berkeley, where he gained employment as a cellist for the People’s Symphony Orchestra. Read more…

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…

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