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Archive for July, 2007

I KNOW WHO KILLED ME – Joel McNeely

July 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

No, I didn’t see “I Know Who Killed Me”. Let’s be honest, you didn’t either. In fact, looking at the box office stats for the R-rated Lindsay Lohan thriller, it seems that hardly anyone did. And why would they? The film’s trailers looked just plain terrible, the critic’s reviews were just plain terrible, and Lohan’s acting is just plain… well, to be fair, mediocre. It looks like the sort of film that was made to flop at the box office… the era of the sleaze thriller is over, kids, “Basic Instinct” was 15 years ago. You’d think they would learn a little quicker.

Speaking of that, I never expected “I Know Who Killed Me” to produce the finest trashy thriller score since Jerry Goldsmith’s effort for “Basic Instinct”. Music is provided by Joel McNeely, who undoubtedly accepted this assignment because he couldn’t get anything better. That’s a real shame, because McNeely is a fabulous composer. Read more…

NO RESERVATIONS – Philip Glass and Conrad Pope

July 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A gastronomical romantic comedy starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart, No Reservations follows the fortunes of top New York chef Kate (Jones), and the way her life changes when she unexpectedly becomes the guardian of her young niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin from Little Miss Sunshine). Director Scott Hicks’s cute romance was a comparative box-office success, but had a somewhat checkered musical history.

Originally Philip Glass – yes, Philip Glass! – was hired to write the music for his first Hollywood romantic comedy, and recorded a full score; however, during the film’s post-production the executives at Castle Rock decided that a warmer and more traditional romantic score was required in certain places Read more…

THE SIMPSONS MOVIE – Hans Zimmer

July 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

By now the subject has been talked to death… but at a first glance, it is a little confusing that Hans Zimmer is scoring “The Simpsons Movie”. Why not Danny Elfman, who wrote the classic main theme for the television show? Was he not available, or uninterested, or what? And if not Elfman, why not Alf Clausen, who has been tirelessly writing fun music for the television show for nearly two decades? The choice of Zimmer probably comes from the fact that James L. Brooks has always been involved with the Simpsons, and Zimmer has had several successful collaborations with Brooks (“As Good as it Gets”, “I’ll Do Anything”, and “Spanglish”). Read more…

THIS IS ENGLAND – Ludovico Einaudi

July 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A gritty, challenging film from the critically acclaimed British filmmaker Shane Meadows, This Is England examines the skinhead subculture which permeated much of English society in the early 1980s from the point of view of a 12-year old boy named Shaun, whose adoption into a mischievous, but misunderstood skinhead gang in the northern English city of Nottingham provides the him with a new family who understands him better than his one at home does. Featuring, as usual, a cast of unknown amateur actors, Meadows’ film is a reflection on one of the most turbulent periods in recent British history, whose political and social outlook was shaped by events like the Falklands War, the rise to power of Margaret Thatcher, and the influence of the punk movement on the music scene. Read more…

HAIRSPRAY – Marc Shaiman

July 20, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Marc Shaiman took a break from the film scoring world in the early 2000s to embark on a Broadway career in the company of his lyricist partner Scott Wittman. The result of their collaboration was Hairspray, a charming and effortlessly sunny musical based on the 1988 film by John Waters, about an overweight teenager named Tracy Turnblad who, in 1960s Baltimore, dreams of performing on a popular TV dance show.

Huge acclaim and several Tony Awards later, and things have come full-circle with the movie version of Shaiman’s musical, with Shaiman adapting his own music for the screen. Read more…

SUNSHINE – John Murphy and Underworld

July 20, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A daring and somewhat cerebral sci-fi action movie from director Danny Boyle, based on the novel by Alex Garland, Sunshine stars Cliff Curtis, Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh as part of a team of astronauts who, fifty years in the future, embark on a dangerous and potentially suicidal mission: to attempt to re-ignite the Sun, whose internal energy has been slowly dying, and as a result is also a threat to all life on Earth. It’s a fascinating premise – sort of like the flip side to Armageddon – but which was not entirely successful, with some critics citing its pseudo-religious overtones and slightly mis-handled action scenes as stumbling blocks on the way to success. Read more…

CAPTIVITY – Marco Beltrami

July 13, 2007 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite being reviled by pretty much every film critic who saw the film, Captivity nevertheless managed to become a popular and successful underground hit, and a memorable entry in the ‘torture porn’ sub-genre of horror films. Somewhat unexpectedly, the film is directed by Roland Joffé, the Oscar-winning filmmaker of The Mission and The Killing Fields, and stars Elisha Cuthbert as Jennifer Tree, a popular tabloid Hollywood starlet who awakens to find herself a prisoner in a grubby cellar, being systematically tortured by an attacker whose motives are unclear. And, basically, that’s it. Young Miss Cuthbert spends the movie enduring one sickening physical and psychological attack after another, until the movie ends. And this is what passes for entertainment these days? Read more…

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX – Nicholas Hooper

July 13, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s always enormously gratifying when a new, untested composer gets a chance to score a major, high-profile studio film for the first time in their career. While others may have wrung their hands in anguish about Nick Hooper’s appointment to score the fifth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I always tend to see these things as a mouth-watering prospect, full of potential. Remember, Howard Shore was the creepy thriller composer before Lord of the Rings came along. Even John Williams was typecast as a silly comedy/disaster movie composer before two unknown directors called Steven Spielberg and George Lucas came along and got him to score their little movies. On Order of the Phoenix, it’s the daunting shoes of Williams that Hooper has to fill, which is no mean feat in itself, and his career may fly or flounder purely on the response to his score for, and the box-office performance of, this film. Read more…

OCEAN’S THIRTEEN – David Holmes

July 8, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The third of director Steven Soderbergh’s crime capers, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon reprising their roles from the previous films, Ocean’s Thirteen sees the erstwhile Danny Ocean and his gang of affable crooks attempting to sabotage the grand opening of a new Vegas casino owned by the nefarious Willy Bank (Al Pacino), in retaliation for a goon attack on Ocean’s friend Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould).

With a stellar cast and general air of good-natured bad boys having fun, the music for the film is a perfect reflection of the mood of the piece. Irish composer David Holmes returns, having scored the previous two installments; however, whereas Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s 12 tended to sound like random instrumentals Read more…

RESCUE DAWN – Klaus Badelt

July 6, 2007 1 comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

I’ve been watching the third season of the surprisingly wonderful American version of “The Office” on DVD. Those of you who don’t know anything about the show, bear with me… I’ll talk about the music in a second. Anyway, there’s this one episode where the ever-hungry Kevin is attempting to decide whether to go to the office party where all the fun is, or the office party with brownies and cupcakes being held by the most un-fun lady in the office (named Angela). Kevin looks at the camera, and ponders aloud… “Hmm… Brownies (smile)… Angela (frown)… Brownies (smile)… Angela (frown).” Read more…

TRANSFORMERS – Steve Jablonsky

July 6, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Fanboys are funny creatures. On the one hand they are often derided for being misguidedly devoted to a particular composer to the point of obsession, and dismissed by film music ‘elder statesmen’ as being ignorant or – worse still – indifferent to the Golden Age glories of the past, or of any kind of musical endeavor outside their narrow genre preferences. On the other hand, they are also the lifeblood of the mainstream soundtrack industry, gleefully lapping up the latest new releases from the top of the box office charts, spending their money and spreading their enthusiasm far and wide, investing in the market, and thereby allowing it to thrive. One thing you can’t ignore is the power of their collective voices – as evidenced by this rather belated release of Steve Jablonsky’s score for the 2007 summer blockbuster Transformers, which exists thanks, in a large part, to the incessant clamoring for it by the aforementioned fanboys. Read more…

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