Posts Tagged ‘James Horner’

IN COUNTRY – James Horner

April 16, 2013 1 comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

For years Director Norman Jewison had eschewed making a film about the Vietnam War. Yet with over a decade passing since the fall of Saigon in 1975 he felt the time was at last right to address the war. As such, he chose to adapt Bobbie Ann Mason’s celebrated novel “In Country” for the screen. He did not wish to comment on the politics of the war, instead choosing to embark on a more intimate exploration of the lives of the men who fought bravely and honorable for their country. For his film he chose to explore the aftermath of the war on four men who fought it, as well as their families. The story reveals teenager Samantha Hughes (Emily Lloyd) who yearns to fill the void left by her father’s (Dwayne) death in Vietnam, or “In Country” as veterans describe. She also seeks to better understand her uncle Emmett and his friends Tom, Earl and Pete. Each man has returned home scarred and damaged by their tour of duty and unable to discuss their war experiences. Ultimately Samantha’s unyielding quest to discover her father initiates a liberating catharsis when she and Emmett visit the Vietnam War memorial in Washington D.C. Regretfully the film was a box office disaster and also failed to evoke any critical acclaim. Read more…


July 9, 2012 10 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite it only being ten years since Sam Raimi brought the latest incarnation of Spider-Man to the silver screen with Tobey Maguire in 2002, Sony Pictures have given the world one of the dreaded “re-boots” of the story in The Amazing-Spider Man, intending to re-ignite interest in a franchise which has struggled to maintain popularity since the disappointing Spider-Man 3 in 2007. Sam Raimi is replaced in the director’s chair by the aptly-named Marc Webb; Tobey Maguire is replaced by Andrew Garfield; Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane Watson is replaced by Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, and the entire supporting cast is changed too. The film is yet another origin story, explaining how the mild-mannered science buff Peter Parker is transformed into the Astonishing Arachnid Boy by way of a helpful spider bite, and sets about cleaning up New York City in the face of a super-villain, the Lizard. The truly amazing thing about The Amazing Spider-Man is that, contrary to all expectations, it’s better than Raimi’s Spider-Man on almost all levels: story, screenplay, acting, special effects, and even its score, which sees James Horner replacing Danny Elfman (and Christopher Young and all the uncredited ghost writers). Read more…

TESTAMENT – James Horner

April 26, 2011 2 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Testament was adapted from a short story “The Last Testament” written by Carol Armen. Originally conceived as a TV movie, Paramount executives were so impressed with the final product that they instead chose to release it in theatres across the country. The story concerns itself with the aftermath of a cataclysmic nuclear war. Its intimate narrative is seen through the eyes of Carol Wetherley, a mother who lives in the northern California town of Hamlin outside of San Francisco. After her husband is lost with the destruction of San Francisco, she struggles with determination and dignity to ensure the safety and continuity of her family. Yet all seems for naught as one by one her neighbors and family begin to succumb to the horrific ravages of radiation poison. The film earned critical acclaim for its intimate portrayal and was a commercial success. Read more…


April 4, 2011 3 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story is an iconic television movie that was adapted from an Earl Hamner Jr. story starred Patricia Neal and Richard Thomas in a traditional heart-warming story of a poor rural family’s Christmas. The story takes place on Christmas Eve in 1933 during the Great Depression with the children awaiting, with great anticipation, the miracle in the barn when at the stroke of midnight all off the animals speak. The family is also awaiting the homecoming of their beloved father who had to seek employment in the city and is returning home. A snowstorm places Mr. Walton’s return in peril and the family struggles to remain optimistic as the night wears on. But this is a happy tale and when he returns with a bag of gifts all is made right as the family celebrates the joy and warmth of Christmas. The film was made on a very modest budget, but it was an immediate hit, spawned The Waltons – a highly successful television series and remains an enduring classic holiday favorite. Read more…

JADE – James Horner

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Weintraub Entertainment purchased the script for Jade from the famous writer Joe Eszterhas, who had gained earlier acclaim and commercial success for sexual thrillers such as Jagged Edge and Basic Instinct. Paramount Studios eventually came to select William Friedkin (of The Exorcist and The French Connection fame) to direct. The film deals with a woman’s secret life and a classic love triangle consisting of psychologist Dr. Katrina Gavin (played by Linda Florentino), her husband Matt Gavin (played by Chazz Palminteri) and politically ambitious District Attorney David Corelli – her ex-boyfriend – played by David Caruso. Read more…

AVATAR – James Horner

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

James Cameron makes a habit of being groundbreaking. Whether he is creating a planet full of ferocious xenomorphs in Aliens, experimenting with liquid metal robots in Terminator II, or making a realistic recreation of a sinking boat in Titanic, the Canadian director has always been at the forefront of cutting edge cinematic technology, pushing the envelope of what is creatively and technologically possible on the screen. His latest film, Avatar, continues that trend; with an estimated budget of $320 million, it’s the most expensive film ever made, and looks set to become one of the biggest grossing films of all time too. Read more…


November 7, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, directed by Mark Herman from the novel by John Boyne, is a harrowing, yet life-affirming drama set in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Bruno (Asa Butterfield) is the 9-year old son of the camp commandant (David Thewlis); not understanding where he is or why he is there, and bored with his life away from the city where he used to live, Bruno makes friends with a young boy named Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), who lives on the other side of a wire fence and wears ‘striped pyjamas’. The innocence of their friendship soon becomes strained, however – Shmuel is Jewish, and is of course scheduled to die in a gas chamber. Critics have lauded the film, both for its delicate handling of the difficult subject matter, and for its performances. Similarly, James Horner’s score has been pretty much roundly praised, especially during the emotionally overwhelming finale. Read more…


October 25, 2008 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

On 29 April 1995, I went to the Warner Village Cinema at the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield to see Legends of the Fall. 133 minutes later, my life had been changed forever. You see, that day was the day I fell in love with film music; absolutely, head over heels in love. As a result of seeing this film, and hearing this score, I embarked on a relationship which has since played an enormous part in my life for the past decade, and will likely continue to do so for the rest of my life. I had been aware of film music prior to this day, of course; I knew about Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Superman, and all the other classic John Williams scores that most children of the late 1970s know. But it was only after seeing Legends of the Fall was I ever actually aware of the effect the music was having on me in the cinema; that a creative artist was actually creating this incredible sound, making me feel these emotions. I was hooked. I wanted to know more. After the film ended, I immediately went to the HMV in Meadowhall and bought the soundtrack CD – my first – and in doing so became a film music fan. Read more…


April 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Life Before Her Eyes is a quietly devastating drama based on the novel by Laura Kassischke, directed by Vadim Perelman and starring Uma Thurman as a woman who, 15 years after surviving a Columbine-like school tragedy in which her best friend was killed, finds herself becoming increasingly withdrawn and distant from her family, and increasingly wracked by survivors guilt, especially after attending a memorial service for the event. It’s a moving, gently shattering motion picture which features a standout performance by Thurman, and solid support by young actresses Evan Rachel Wood and Eva Amurri. Read more…


February 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Once upon a time, James Horner was considered one of the kings of fantasy film music. Brassy, exciting efforts from the early part of Horner’s career included “Krull”, “Aliens”, “Brainstorm”, “Cocoon”, and two “Star Trek” films. Around the mid-1990’s, Horner seemingly dropped the fantasy genre (and indeed, many other genres) to focus pretty much exclusively on prestigious dramatic efforts. With rare lighthearted exceptions like the “Zorro” films and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, Horner’s writing has been quite serious and introspective. While this certainly isn’t a bad thing, many wondered when the composer would return to something more fanciful. Read more…

APOCALYPTO – James Horner

December 8, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

What with all the furore surrounding Mel Gibson, his DUI arrest on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and his subsequent drunken anti-Semitic rant to the highway patrol officers, it’s easy to forget that he remains a truly tremendous filmmaker. Apocalypto is Gibson’s fourth film as director, after The Man Without a Face, Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ. Filmed entirely in the Yukatek language of the ancient Mayans, who inhabited what is now Mexico, Belize and Guatemala for millennia prior to the arrival of the Europeans in the late 1400s, Apocalypto is a detailed look at the lives, cultures and traditions of that ancient civilisation, dressed up as an exciting chase-fuelled action movie. Read more…

ALL THE KING’S MEN – James Horner

September 22, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

When it was originally slated for a late 2005 release, “All the King’s Men” was being touted as one of those “can’t-miss” Oscar nominees, with a good director and a cast that Academy members couldn’t help but drool over. Then it disappeared. Many rumors surfaced, as they always do, the most prominent one being that it was feared “All the King’s Men” couldn’t hold up against the 2005 competition. After a year of retooling and new marketing, it’s finally here, and despite the relatively weaker movie crop of 2006, “All the King’s Men” doesn’t stand a chance.

The film is based on the 1946 novel of the same name, which was made into an Oscar-winning 1949 film. Our narrator and central figure, Jack Burden (Jude Law) tells us a familiar story… an idealistic, charming politician (Sean Penn) with big goals who was hindered by his weaknesses… most notably, his weakness for women. If Bill Clinton’s name is coming to mind, it should come as no surprise that James Carville played a major role in helping get this film off the ground. Read more…

THE NEW WORLD – James Horner

December 23, 2005 Leave a comment

newworldOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

James Horner’s fourth and final score for 2005 is without doubt his most prestigious: The New World, directed by Terrence Malick, tells a new dramatic version of the familiar story of Native American princess, Pocahontas (newcomer Q’Orianka Kilcher), and her first encounter with John Smith (Colin Farrell), the leader of the first English Settlers to land on the shores of what is now the United States of America. Despite the misgivings of Pocahontas’s tribal elders, Smith’s colleagues, and the girl’s age (she was just 14) the pair fall deeply in love – but it soon becomes apparent that their relationship cannot last, and that their forbidden romance will have terrible repercussions for both sides. The film, which also stars Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer, Ben Chaplin, David Thewlis, and Native American character actors Wes Studi, August Schellenberg and Irene Bedard, is about as far from the Disney animated feature as it is possible to be, concentrating on the reality of what life in Virginia in 1607 was like, and the hardships faced by the new settlers in a dangerous and unfamiliar land. Read more…


October 28, 2005 Leave a comment

legendofzorroOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Considering its $94 million success at the box office in 1998, it’s rather surprising that it’s taken Hollywood seven years to make a sequel to The Mask of Zorro, the film which turned Antonio Banderas into a swashbuckling heartthrob and introduced to the world a little-known Welsh actress called Catherine Zeta-Jones. With director Martin Campbell once again at the helm, the film takes place ten years after the events in Mask of Zorro. Don Alejandro de la Vega (the real identity of Zorro) and his wife Elena are now the parents of a ten year old son, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso). With California on the verge of joining the United States of America, Alejandro keeps the promise he made to his wife and agrees to hang up his cape and end his swashbuckling lifestyle forever to spend more time with his family. However, his retirement is prematurely ended by the nefarious Armand (Rufus Sewell), whose labyrinthine plot involves sabotaging California’s plans for statehood and could lead to civil war… Read more…

FLIGHTPLAN – James Horner

September 23, 2005 Leave a comment

flightplanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Up until now, James Horner has had a quiet 2005: with no films since the forgettable The Forgotten last September, he’s done what he invariably tends to do and done nothing, then ended up having six films come out at the end of the year in the space of three months. Discounting the low-budget independent The Chumscrubber, the first of these is Flightplan, a high-concept action thriller set on a sophisticated aeroplane, directed by German debutant Robert Schwentke. The film stars Jodie Foster as Kyle Pratt, an aeronautics engineer who is traveling from Berlin to New York with her young daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston) on a state-of-the-art airliner she helped design. Shortly after takeoff, Kyle drifts into a deep sleep, and when she awakens three hours later, the plane is over the Atlantic Ocean, and Julia is missing. Read more…


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