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Posts Tagged ‘James Horner’

COCOON – James Horner

June 25, 2015 Leave a comment

cocoonTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Cocoon was one of the major box-office successes of 1985, a winning combination of science fiction adventure and family drama directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn as three old-timers living in a retirement community in Florida; part of their daily routine is to sneak into an unoccupied house next door and swim in its swimming pool. One day they find a number of strange, rock-like objects at the bottom of the water, but after checking them out, decide to swim there anyway; following their swim, the three geezers suddenly find themselves rejuvenated with a vigorous, youthful energy, and they share their discovery with their respective wives and lady friends, played by Gwen Verdon, Maureen Stapleton, and Jessica Tandy. However, much to the shock of the senior citizens, the ‘rocks in the pool’ turn out to be cocoons containing dozens of sick aliens, left behind by friendly extra-terrestrials centuries ago, and which were about to be returned to their home planet by their leader, Brian Dennehy, with the help of a local ship captain, played by Steve Guttenberg – until the pool was drained of its life force by the old folks. As such, the sextet of retirees must work with the aliens to help them find a way home, without revealing the secret of the pool. The film earned two Academy Awards – one for Best Supporting Actor for Don Ameche, and one for Best Visual Effects – and boasted a magnificent score by the then 32-year-old James Horner. Read more…

James Horner, 1953-2015

June 22, 2015 Leave a comment

James HornerComposer James Horner has been killed in a plane crash. Horner died when the single engine S312 Tucano plane he was piloting crashed in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, California. He was 61 years old.

James Roy Horner was born in Los Angeles in August 1953, the son of Harry Horner, an Oscar-nominated Hollywood production designer and occasional film director who emigrated from Austria. He attended high school in California and Arizona, but spent most of his formative years living in London, where he attended the Royal College of Music, and later completed his PhD at UCLA in Los Angeles. After scoring several short film projects for the American Film Institute in the late 1970s, and spending several years teaching, Horner joined the staff at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, scoring several low-budget genre films, including the popular Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), and working with soon-to-be Hollywood bigwigs such as director James Cameron and producer Gale Ann Hurd.

Horner launched into the big time in 1982 with his score for the critically acclaimed and commercially popular science fiction sequel Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and from that point on Horner quickly rose to become one of the most in-demand composers in Hollywood. In the 1980s and 90s Horner became known for his grand, large-scale, emotional orchestral works; he scored a succession of box office hit movies including 48 HRS. (1982), Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989), The Pelican Brief (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994), Apollo 13 (1995) and Ransom (1996), and wrote enormously popular scores for films such as Krull (1983), Cocoon (1985), Willow (1988), Field of Dreams (1989), Glory (1989), Legends of the Fall (1994) and Braveheart (1995), culminating in the massive Titanic in 1997, which remains one of the biggest-selling orchestral score albums of all time. Following the turn of the millennium Horner’s career continued apace, with scores for further box office successes such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The Perfect Storm (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Avatar (2009) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) amongst his efforts. Read more…

WOLF TOTEM – James Horner

March 11, 2015 2 comments

wolftotemOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been a long 2½ years, since the summer of 2012 and The Amazing Spider-Man, to wait for a new James Horner score. In the intervening period he has had at least one score rejected (Romeo & Juliet, eventually scored by Abel Korzeniowski), and left at least one other project under unclear circumstances (Ender’s Game, eventually scored by Steve Jablonsky), all the while making dark mutterings about how unhappy and disillusioned he is about the state of the Hollywood film music scene overall. The fact that all this was coming from a man who, for almost 30 years, had been at the forefront of the entire genre, one of the leading public faces of the industry, with literally dozens of scores for mainstream blockbusters under his belt, was troubling; was Horner’s career about to follow that of composers like Bruce Broughton, Trevor Jones, and the late Basil Poledouris, whose bold, emotional, symphonic writing had become passé for Hollywood’s young directors? Thankfully, the answer to this question, at least for now, appears to be a resounding no: he’s back with a full slate of five films scheduled for 2015 and 2016, the first of which – this one – ranks among his very best. Read more…

IN COUNTRY – James Horner

April 16, 2013 1 comment

incountryMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

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…

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – James Horner

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

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

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…

THE HOMECOMING: A CHRISTMAS STORY/RASCALS AND ROBBERS: THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER AND HUCK FINN – Jerry Goldsmith/James Horner

April 4, 2011 3 comments

homecomingMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

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…

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