GREMLINS – Jerry Goldsmith

August 21, 2014 Leave a comment

gremlinsTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Gremlins was a monster movie with a big heart, one of the biggest box office successes of 1984. Directed by Joe Dante – his first mainstream movie following the success of his independent horror movie The Howling in 1981 – it starred Zach Galligan as Billy, an average college kid living in pleasant small town America, whose life becomes forever altered when his father Rand (country star Hoyt Axton) gives him a present for Christmas: a cute critter called a mogwai, which Rand purchased from a mysterious Chinese curiosity shop. The mogwai, which Billy names Gizmo, comes with three very strict rules: keep him out of the sunlight, don’t get him wet, and never, ever feed him after midnight. Of course, Billy inadvertently breaks all three rules, and before long his charming little town is overrun with a whole host of less than friendly gremlins, and Christmas will never be the same again… The film co-stars Phoebe Cates, Polly Holliday, Judge Reinhold, Corey Feldman and Frances Lee McCain, features comedian Howie Mandel as the voice of Gizmo, and has an original score by Jerry Goldsmith, the first of his eight collaborations with director Dante. Read more…

THE LIBERATOR – Gustavo Dudamel

August 19, 2014 1 comment

theliberatorOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s always a big event when a darling of the classical music world joins the film scoring fraternity. Back in the early days of the medium is was not uncommon for classical greats to work in the movies; Aaron Copland, Sergei Prokofiev, Aram Khachaturian, Dimitri Shostakovich, Arnold Bax, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, and many others all worked for directors at various points in their careers. These days, it’s less common for there to be crossover. John Corigliano won an Oscar for The Red Violin in 1999, his third entry into the film score world, while composers as distinguished as Philip Glass and Michael Nyman are veritable mainstays, but for the most part, today’s most eminent concert hall artists tend to stay away from the scoring stage. Once in a while, though, someone takes the big leap, and the latest to join that club is Gustavo Dudamel, the erstwhile conductor-in-residence of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Read more…

A PLACE IN THE SUN – Franz Waxman

August 18, 2014 Leave a comment

aplaceinthesunMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

A Place in the Sun was adapted from a 1925 novel “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser. Director George Stevens hired Michael Wilson and Harry Brown for the screenplay, and assembled a stellar cast to at last bring this tragic story to life. George Stevens (Montgomery Clift), Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor) and Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters) were hired as the principles and paired with a great cast of supporting players. The film centers on George Eastman, a poor man raised by an evangelical mother, who is tragically undone by his own actions. He leaves Chicago dirt poor, determined to make a name for himself working in the company of his wealthy Uncle in California. While there he begins dating Alice, a girl he met in the plant. All seems fine until he becomes completely enamored with Angela, a drop dead gorgeous socialite whom he meets at a party. He abandons Alice without a thought and begins dating Angela. The two fall in love, yet things begin to unravel when Alice discloses to George that she is pregnant. When she threatens a public disclosure if he does not marry her, George feels cornered and so devises a plot to murder her. When the time comes to strike through a staged boat accident, his conscience prevails and he relents only to see Alice drown anyway by accident. He survives, but inexplicably fails to report her death to the authorities. As such, although innocent, circumstantial evidence and his own guilty behavior make authorities suspicious. His arrest comes just as Angela’s father grants him permission to marry his daughter. He is then tried and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Read more…

HERCULES – Fernando Velázquez

August 16, 2014 1 comment

herculesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There have been lots of films made about Hercules, the muscle-bound demi-god from Greek mythology, over the years. Steve Reeves played him in the classic Italian ‘swords and sandals’ movie in 1957, Arnold Schwarzenegger played him in his film debut in Hercules in New York in 1970, and Kellan Lutz played him in The Legend of Hercules just a few months ago, but in this latest version directed by Brett Ratner the bulging biceps and undersized loincloth are sported by former wrestling star The Rock, now thespianning under his real name, Dwayne Johnson. The film is based on the comic book series by Steve Moore and is a tale of revenge and betrayal involving the death of Hercules’s wife and sons years previously. The film co-stars Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt, and has done pretty brisk business at the box office in a summer crowded with action blockbusters. Read more…

RED DAWN – Basil Poledouris

August 14, 2014 1 comment

reddawnTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Red Dawn was a popular and successful action film, written and directed by John Milius, set in an alternate 1980s in which a Communist army, led by Russians and Cubans, launch an invasion of the United States in the aftermath of a devastating economic crisis. The story is centered around a small Colorado town, where a group of mostly teenagers embark on a sustained campaign of guerilla warfare against the invaders, using the name ‘wolverines’, after their high school mascot. The film starred Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen in early career roles, co-starred C. Thomas Howell, a pre-Back to the Future Lea Thompson, a pre-Dirty Dancing Jennifer Grey and Ben Johnson, and featured an original score by the then 39-year-old Basil Poledouris. Read more…

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES – Brian Tyler

August 12, 2014 2 comments

teenagemutantninjaturtlesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were all the rage for a few years when I was a kid in the 1980s, although to be fair I didn’t know they were ninjas until quite some time later, thanks to the busybody interference of the self-appointed guardian of Britain’s national morals, Mary Whitehouse, who decided that showing children scenes of ninjas doing things with nunchaku would contribute to the decline of a generation. To me they will always be the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, and no-one can tell me otherwise, although looking back I now realize I never was entirely sure how Michelangelo defeated his foes with nothing more dangerous than a slice of pizza. This has been an astonishingly long-lived franchise – with the world having already been exposed to three separate animated TV series, a Japanese anime, a live-action TV series, we are now on our fifth movie based on the characters originally created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984, following the original three movies in 1990, 1991 and 1993, and the 2007 CGI flop “TMNT”. This latest installment is essentially an origin story reboot of the entire story, stars Megan Fox and Will Arnett, and is directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Read more…

CALVARY – Patrick Cassidy

August 9, 2014 2 comments

calvaryOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Calvary is an Irish comedy-drama film written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, starring Brendan Gleeson as Father James, a Catholic priest at a church in rural County Sligo. When Father James’s life is threatened during confession by an anonymous parishioner who claims he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a now-deceased former priest, he uses what he believes will be the final week of his life to right old wrongs and bury long-standing feuds involving a bitter millionaire (Dylan Moran), a wife-beating local business owner (Chris O’Dowd), a disaffected teenager (Domhnall Gleeson, Brendan’s real life son), an atheist doctor (Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen), and his estranged daughter from his pre-priesthood days (Kelly Reilly). It’s a deep, thoughtful, moving film, with a rich vein of black, black humor running through it, and with Gleeson’s lead performance being especially critically acclaimed. Read more…

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