THE RAZOR’S EDGE – Jack Nitzsche

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

razorsedgeTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Razor’s Edge is an epic poetic drama film, written and directed by John Byrum, adapted from the acclaimed 1944 novel by W. Somerset Maugham. It tells the story of Larry Darrell, played by Bill Murray, an American pilot traumatized by his experiences in World War I, who journeys through Asia in search of some transcendent meaning in his life after the war has ended. The film was the first dramatic leading role of Murray’s career, who prior to this was known almost exclusively as a comedic actor, through his work on Saturday Night Live, and films such as Caddyshack and Stripes. Murray and director Byrum had trouble finding a studio to finance it, such was the incredulity that Murray could pull off such a demanding dramatic leading role, and the film was only put into production when Dan Aykroyd suggested a deal to Columbia Pictures whereby Murray would appear in Ghostbusters if the studio subsequently greenlit The Razor’s Edge. However, despite the presence of such luminaries as Theresa Russell, Denholm Elliott and Peter Vaughan in the supporting cast, and unlike Ghostbusters, The Razor’s Edge was a critical and commercial flop, taking just $6.5 million at the US box office in 1984. Apparently, Columbia was right, and audiences didn’t buy Murray as a tortured, sensitive man undergoing an existential crisis. Read more…

ANNABELLE – Joseph Bishara

October 21, 2014 Leave a comment

annabelleOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A prequel to last year’s popular movie The Conjuring, Annabelle tells the story of a young couple in the 1960s who, after being attacked in their home by members of a satanic cult, both of whom are subsequently killed by the police, begin experiencing a number of terrifying supernatural occurrences. After consulting with several experts familiar with the cult, the woman, Mia, starts to believe that the supernatural events are linked to one of her vintage dolls, Annabelle, which the female cult member was holding when she was killed; worse still, Mia comes to the realization that the supernatural events seem to be targeting her newborn daughter… The film is directed by long-time cinematographer John Leonetti, stars Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton and Alfre Woodard, and has an original score by composer Joseph Bishara, whose music has graced some of the most popular and successful horror movies of the past few years. Read more…

BATTLE OF NERETVA/THE NAKED AND THE DEAD – Bernard Herrmann

October 20, 2014 1 comment

battleofneretvaMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

BATTLE OF NERETVA

Battle of Neretva is based on actual historical events and was made to celebrate the victory of Yugoslav partisans over the Nazis. In the beginning of 1943 Hitler issued a personal order for his generals to commence operation “Weiss”, which was designed to root out and destroy Yugoslav partisan units. Pushed by far more powerful enemy, the partisans reeled under the attack incurring many casualties, 4500 wounded and a typhus outbreak. As they retreated, they found themselves surrounded in Neretva valley. Only one bridge remained, with heavy enemy forces waiting on the other side, set to massacre the remaining fighters and fleeing non-combatants. Marshall Tito ordered the partisans to destroy the bridge apparently trapping his forces. The move surprised the Germans who responded by transferring their forces to the other side, predicting that Partisans would attempt the suicidal break through. But, during only one night, the partisans managed to build a provisional bridge near the destroyed one and cross to the other side, tricking the enemy. The film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film but failed to win. Read more…

THE JUDGE – Thomas Newman

October 18, 2014 Leave a comment

thejudgeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Judge is a family drama film directed by David Dobkin, who previously helmed such popular movies as Wedding Crashers and Fred Claus, and starring Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer, a hotshot defense attorney living the high life in the big city, who returns to his sleepy Indiana hometown following the death of his mother. However, further problems await Hank when his estranged and distant father Joseph (Robert Duvall) – the town’s long-serving judge – is unexpectedly arrested, suspected of murder. Suddenly forced to become his own father’s lawyer, Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his fractured family, while rekindling his relationship with an old flame. The film has a stellar supporting cast including Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, and Vincent d’Onofrio, and has an original score by Thomas Newman, who excels at writing music for this type of film. Read more…

POLICE ACADEMY – Robert Folk

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

policeacademyTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Major cities in the United States were dangerous places in 1984. Murders, drive-by shootings and gang violence was rampant, and drug pushers, hookers and pimps harassed the good people of the cities on every street corner. In response to this urban decay, the leadership of the Police Department opened their doors to anyone who wanted to become an officer of the law, even if they had previously been turned away – with hilarious results! This unlikely scenario is the backdrop to one of the most popular and enduring comedies of the 1980s, director Hugh Wilson’s Police Academy, which followed the adventures of a group of misfits as they try to navigate their way through basic training. The characters are now familiar – Steve Guttenberg’s cocksure, wisecracking Mahoney; Bubba Smith’s imposing but loveable Hightower; David Graf’s dumb, trigger-happy Tackleberry; Michael Winslow’s motor-mouthed human beatbox Jones; Marion Ramsey’s timid and mousey Hooks; GW Bailey’s short-fused, ill-tempered Lieutenant Harris; and George Gaynes’s barely competent Commandant Lassard; as well as a sex kitten role for a young Kim Cattrall – and the film was so successful that it spawned an astonishing six sequels, each one progressively worse and less successful than its predecessor – in fact, by the time Police Academy 5 rolled around in 1988, even Steve Guttenberg refused to appear! Read more…

THE EQUALIZER – Harry Gregson-Williams

October 14, 2014 Leave a comment

equalizerOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A gritty big-screen reboot of the popular Edward Woodward TV series from the 1980s, The Equalizer stars Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a mysterious loner with a hidden past, who works in a Home Depot-like hardware store by day, and spends his evenings reading classic literature alone in a 24 hour diner. At the diner McCall befriends Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenage prostitute who longs to get out of the lifestyle, and who connects with McCall over the book The Old Man and the Sea. One day, after Teri is attacked and badly beaten by her pimp, McCall takes matters into his own hands and tries to bargain for her freedom with the gangsters who own her; unfortunately, things do not go as planned, and before long McCall is locking horns with members of the Russian mafia, and their dangerous leader, Teddy (Marton Csokas). The film is a dark, violent, but surprisingly engaging tale of vengeance and retribution; it is directed by Antoine Fuqua, and has an original score by Harry Gregson-Williams. Read more…

SHE-DEMONS/THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER – Nicholas Carras/Guenther Kauer

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

shedemonsMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

SHE-DEMONS

She Demons offers a classic science fiction B film, and that is being generous! Fred Maklin, Jerrie Turner and two others are pleasure boating when a storm shipwrecks them on an uncharted island. Their radio is damaged and cannot transmit, only receive. They soon discover that the island is scheduled to be used by the US navy for bombing practice. Of course things get worse when they also come upon strange human footprints. As the party explores the island, they soon discover that it is inhabited by deformed female humanoids; by products of horrific experiments perpetrated by a party of Nazis, who are led of course by the mad scientist Colonel Osler. We are informed that he has been extracting a rare glandular substance from the girls to inject into his wife Mona, who has suffered terrible facial disfigurement, so as to restore her beauty. This of course now makes perfect sense! In any event the film was a bust and received no critical acclaim. Read more…

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