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Archive for September, 2008

EAGLE EYE – Brian Tyler

September 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As good a composer as Brian Tyler is – and, make no mistake about it, he is a great composer – it’s been quite a while since he knocked my socks off. His monumental first ‘big’ scores Darkness Falls and Children of Dune in 2003 were the high water mark of his early career; since then, scores like Godsend, Constantine, Partition and Alien vs. Predator Requiem contained a number of memorable moments, but never quite attained the heights those initial impressive works attained. With Eagle Eye, Tyler has changed that: for the first time in half a decade, Tyler’s music reaches those lofty perches and, most importantly, sustains them over the course of a long album. Read more…

MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA – Terence Blanchard

September 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When thinking about popular and enduring composer-director collaborations, a number of names are mentioned regularly: Steven Spielberg and John Williams, Tim Burton and Danny Elfman, Robert Zemeckis and Alan Silvestri, Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann. It would take a while for anyone to get to Spike Lee and Terence Blanchard, but these two have collaborated on over a dozen films since their first work together in 1990 on Mo’ Better Blues, and since then have quietly become one of the most enduring artistic collaborators in Hollywood. Titles such as Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Clockers, 25th Hour and Inside Man have cemented their relationship. Read more…

NIGHTS IN RODANTHE – Jeanine Tesori

September 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A romantic melodrama based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks and directed by George C. Wolfe, Nights in Rodanthe stars Richard Gere as a doctor who travels to the outer banks of North Carolina to see his estranged son, and embarks on a romantic relationship with an unhappily married woman (Diane Lane), who runs an inn on the Atlantic coast. The score for Nights in Rodanthe is by Tony Awards winning Broadway composer Jeanine Tesori, for whom this is her film music debut.

Her score is generally very pleasant and romantic, although not quite as lush and emotionally overwhelming as I had anticipated (especially considering that two other Sparks stories resulted in the scores for Message in a Bottle and The Notebook). Read more…

APPALOOSA – Jeff Beal

September 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A traditional, old-fashioned western based on the novel by Robert Parker, Appaloosa is the story of a tough marshal, Virgil Cole, and his deputy, Everett Hitch, two friends who are hired to defend a lawless 1880s wild west town from a ruthless rancher who is terrorizing the citizens. The film has an absolutely astonishing cast – Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, Renee Zellweger, Timothy Spall, Lance Henriksen – and is also directed by Harris, in his second outing behind the lens after his 2000 debut, Pollack. For the score, Harris turned once more to composer Jeff Beal, who also scored Pollack. Read more…

THE DUCHESS – Rachel Portman

September 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Duchess is what’s known colloquially in Britain as a ‘bodice-ripper’ – a period drama with strong romantic and sexual overtones, in which the corset-clad leading lady is repeatedly ravished by a previously refined gentleman, much to the collective outrage of the aristocracy. Keira Knightly plays the lady in question: Georgiana, the real life 18th century Duchess of Devonshire, who was reviled for her extravagant political and personal life. The film, which was directed by Saul Dibb, also stars Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper and Hayley Atwell, and features a new original score by the Queen of the English Costume Drama, Rachel Portman. Read more…

IGOR – Patrick Doyle

September 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pity the poor sidekick. Throughout literary history, the role of the sidekick has been one of benign subservience, forever scuttling away to do the master’s bidding, or bear the brunt of the master’s ire, never allowed to express an opinion, or to become a true, rounded personality. In the world of classic literary horror, the sidekick role was invariably filled by an Igor, a hunchbacked, lazy-eyed, nasal-voiced nobody, assisting Victor Frankenstein or Count Dracula with their nefarious plans. In Anthony Leondis’s new animated film, Igor, the sidekick finally steps into the sunlight; this is a story where the clichéd hunchbacked evil scientist’s assistant finally has his own story – one in which he aspires to become a scientist himself, much to the displeasure of the rest of the evil science community. The film features a star-studded voice cast that includes the likes of John Cusack, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Sean Hayes, Eddie Izzard, Jay Leno and Christian Slater, and has been roundly praised for being a funny, clever movie, with plenty of subversive humor to keep the adults happy. Read more…

BURN AFTER READING – Carter Burwell

September 12, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Coen Brothers return to the comedy arena after sweeping the 2007 Oscars with No Country For Old Men; Burn After Reading stars John Malkovich, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt and follows the fortunes of a pair of clueless health club employees who, after accidentally finding the memoirs of a retiring CIA operative, mistake the memoirs for top-secret classified information, and attempt to blackmail him.

As usual, the Coens composer is Carter Burwell, whose music for Burn After Reading ignores the comedic elements in the score almost entirely, instead concentrating on the darker, more thriller-esque parts of the story. Read more…

TOWELHEAD – Thomas Newman

September 12, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Towelhead – also known as Nothing Is Private – is the theatrical directorial debut of Alan Ball, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of American Beauty, and is based on a novel by Alicia Erian. It’s another one of those stories of suburban dissatisfaction and the evil that lurks behind the face of normality in America, and tells the story of a young Arab American girl named Jasira (Summer Bishil) who is sent to live with her father in Houston, Texas during the first Gulf War. While struggling with her father’s controlling influence and the racism she encounters at school, Jasira begins to develop an unhealthy sexual fixation with a bigoted army reservist (Aaron Eckhart), who is more racist than anyone else. Read more…

BANGKOK DANGEROUS – Brian Tyler

September 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A big-budget remake of the 1999 Thai film of the same name, Bangkok Dangerous stars Nicolas Cage as a hit man named Joe who finds himself in a series of increasingly dangerous situations when he is hired to carry out four assassinations by a shadowy Thai underworld gang. In remaking their own film, directors Danny Pang and Oxide Pang hired Brian Tyler to write the score; the resulting work is rooted in the same stylistics that have adorned Tyler’s scores for similar action thrillers – The Fast and the Furious – Tokyo Drift, War, Eagle Eye, and the like – albeit with a slight Oriental inflection in some of the instrumentation to reflect the geographic setting. Read more…

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