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Archive for October, 2011

Craig Lysy accepted to IFMCA

October 30, 2011 4 comments

It is with great pleasure that I announce that my friend and colleague, and master Golden Age expert for Movie Music UK, Craig Richard Lysy, has been accepted as a new member of the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA), and will be eligible to vote for the upcoming 2011 IFMCA Awards, and beyond. Craig has been an invaluable asset to the site since joining a year ago, expanding the site’s reach in terms of Golden and Silver Age coverage and reviews, and providing a more balanced outlook for the site, which had previously concentrated on only newer material.

Congratulations, Craig, and welcome to the club!

PUSS IN BOOTS – Henry Jackman

October 28, 2011 6 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Given the worldwide success of the Shrek franchise, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing spinoffs, and so it comes as no surprise that the fall of 2011 sees the release of Puss in Boots. The feline lover-and-fighter quickly became an enormously popularly character following his initial appearance in Shrek 2, with his swashbuckling ways, his flirtatious voice (provided by Antonio Banderas), and his secret weapon – big, adorable eyes which turn grown men to jelly – and this new movie focuses solely on him. Directed by Chris Miller, the film again features Banderas as the leading voice, and is a prequel of sorts, telling the story of the events leading up to Puss’s introduction to Shrek and Donkey, from Puss’s point of view. The cast features the voices of Salma Hayek as Puss’s paramour Kitty Softpaws, Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty, Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris as Jack and Jill, and even Guillermo Del Toro as the mysterious Moustache Man. Read more…

THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE – Dimitri Tiomkin

October 25, 2011 7 comments

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Anthony Mann of El Cid fame sought to reprise his success with another ancient epic, this time set in the waning days of the Roman Empire. He assembled a stellar cast that included Sophia Loren (Lucilla), Alec Guinness (Marcus Aurelius), Stephen Boyd (Livius), Christopher Plummer (Commodus), James Mason (Tiomedes) and Omar Sharif as Sohamus. Regretfully, the film was less epic and more a wooden documentary as it plodded through its three-hour plus running time. The story centers on the intrigue and contest for love and power in the court of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. After the emperor is assassinated, a power mad, vain and unstable Commodus assumes the throne and begins a reign of terror, ultimately banishing all who earned his disfavor including Livius, Lucilla and Tiomedes. The film was a commercial failure bringing in only 20% of its 19 million dollar production costs. The score however achieved critical success being nominated by both the Academy of Motion Pictures and The Golden Globes. Tiomkin succeeded in winning a well-deserved Golden Globe. Read more…

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN – John Williams

October 23, 2011 5 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I think you have to be Belgian, or at least a Francophone, to fully appreciate all the subtleties and nuances of Tintin. Created by the Belgian artist and author Georges Rémi under his pen name Hergé, the character first appeared in print in 1929 and went on to appear in 23 adventure novels spanning a 46-year period up until 1975, followed by the posthumous publication of a final story in 1986, three years after Hergé’s death. Not only that, the stories have been adapted for radio, theatre, and a popular 1960s animated television show with its famous voiceover proclaiming that you are watching “Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin!” Despite all that, and for reasons I have never fully understood I was never a fan of the franchise – unlike Hollywood giant Steven Spielberg, who is not a Francophone, but who is adapting the story for its first major big screen adventure using state of the art-motion capture technology. Read more…

LE GRAND PARDON – Serge Franklin

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Le Grand Pardon is, for all practical purposes, a Jewish version/variation of the famous 1972 film “The Godfather”. The story focuses on the Bettouns, a family of Sephardic Jews and the expanding criminal enterprise run by head of the family Raymond, their godfather. Growing tensions play out as we see Raymond’s inability to compartmentalize his criminal enterprise from the intimacy of his family life as a turf war develops and escalates with a rival Arabic gang. It suffices to say unlike director Alexandre Arcady’s first film, the successful “Le Coup de Sirocco”, that “Le Grand Pardon” was unsuccessful both critically and commercially. Read more…

THE THING – Marco Beltrami

October 19, 2011 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s The Thing is a prequel to the popular and influential 1982 film of the same name, which was directed by John Carpenter and starred Kurt Russell and Wilford Brimley. The first few moments of that film show a Norwegian man in a helicopter shooting at a dog barreling across the frozen wastes of the Antarctic; the next 20 minutes reveal that the Norwegian was part of a scientific team, all of whose members have been gruesomely killed, and their research station burned to the ground. This film looks at the circumstances leading up to that awful discovery – who the Norwegians were, what they found buried deep beneath the ice, and more importantly, what killed them. The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, and a whole host of Norwegian character actors in the smaller roles, and has an original score by Marco Beltrami, who spends part of his time channeling Ennio Morricone, and the rest of the time drawing upon his considerable horror movie music experience. Read more…

DESCENTE AUX ENFERS – Georges Delerue

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The 1986 film Descente Aux Enfers was adapted from the murder mystery novel by author David Goodis. It tells the story of Alan Kolber (Claude Brasseur), a middle-aged alcoholic French crime novelist and his wife Lola (a very young Sophie Marceau in one of her first film roles), a young woman half his age who are struggling in an unhappy marriage. They resolve to take a holiday to Haiti in an attempt to reset their marriage. Things go terribly awry when a drunken Alan kills a mugger and ends up being blackmailed for murder when he fails to report the incident. What unfolds is a tale of drama and hidden secrets as aspects of Lola’s past come to light as they struggle to find funds to pay the blackmailer. Read more…

MONEYBALL – Mychael Danna

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

You would think it would be quite difficult to make an interesting film about baseball statistics, but that’s what the makers of Moneyball have done. It tells the story of the wonderfully-named Billy Beane who, in 2002, having been recently made the general manager of the struggling Oakland Athletics MLB franchise, rocks the baseball world to its core by embracing a controversial new statistical method of choosing players to sign called sabermetrics in an attempt to turn around the fortunes of his team. Directed by Bennett Miller and based on a popular book by Michael Lewis, the film stars Brad Pitt as Beane, Jonah Hill as his assistant Peter Brand, and features Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt and Casey Bond in supporting roles. Read more…

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA – Paul J. Smith

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

This classic Jules Verne’s novel was adapted to the screen by Earl Felton. It tells the story of the adventure of Professor Aronnax (Paul Lukas), Ned Land (Kirk Douglas) and Conseil (Peter Lorre) whom Captain Nemo (James Mason) captures after he sinks their ship. Aboard his submarine the Nautilus, they explore the underwater wonders of the sea and battle amazing sea creatures. But all is not well as Nemo, despite his scientific genius, is quite mad and uses the power of the Nautilus to pursue a course of vengeance upon humanity. Ultimately Nemo is undone by his own demons and arrogance as he and the Nautilus perish into the ocean depths as our three heroes escape. The film was the first to use the new Cinemascope technology and was both a commercial and critical success, earning Oscars for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects. Read more…

A SYMPHONY OF HOPE: THE HAITI PROJECT – Christopher Lennertz et al.

October 2, 2011 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

On January 12, 2010, the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti was effectively flattened when it was struck by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Within a matter of seconds over 50,000 people had been killed, and over a million people left homeless. Diseases such as cholera blighted the survivors and thwarted relief efforts, and since then the humanitarian crisis in the country has reached staggering proportions, with over 250,000 residences destroyed and basic services and infrastructure left in ruins. Reacting to the global call for help, film composer Christopher Lennertz was inspired to act. Calling upon his fellow composers and other members of the Los Angeles film music community of musicians and engineers, Lennertz teamed up with the charity Hands Together to create A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project, a musical fundraising project intended to help the people of Haiti. Read more…

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