SAUSAGE PARTY – Christopher Lennertz and Alan Menken

August 23, 2016 Leave a comment

sausagepartyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There hasn’t been a mainstream R-rated animated film in many years – at least since the South Park boys released Team America: World Police in 2004 – which, considering the success and popularity of shows like Archer and Bojack Horseman on television, seems to be something of an anomaly. Thankfully, that balance may be redressed with the success of Sausage Party, the brainchild of screenwriters Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir, and directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. The film follows the adventures of a sausage named Frank who lives in Shopwell’s supermarket. He is in love with Brenda, a hot dog bun, and together they dream of being taken to ‘the great beyond’ when they are bought by one of the supermarket’s patrons. Unfortunately, an unexpected incident leaves Frank and Brenda stranded on the wrong side of the supermarket, and they must team up with a Jewish bagel, a Muslim lavash, and a sexy taco named Teresa, in order to get home. Meanwhile, Frank’s friends Barry and Carl have been successfully taken to ‘the great beyond’, but quickly realize that all their preconceptions about supermarket heaven have been terribly, terribly wrong. Read more…

HENRY V – William Walton

August 22, 2016 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

It was WWII and Great Britain was in the midst of her greatest struggle as the Allies prepared for the 1944 Normandy invasion. Prime Minister Winston Churchill exhorted Laurence Olivier to fashion a film to rally and boost British morale for what he envisioned to be her finest moment – taking the offence to the Nazi’s and liberating France. For Olivier this became a passion project, which consumed him. After William Wyler turned down his offer to direct, Olivier took an unprecedented and audacious move – he would assume the roles of producer, director and actor! He cast himself in the titular role and surrounded himself with a fine cast, which included Renee Asherson as Princess Katherine, Robert Newton as Ancient Pistol, Leslie Banks as the Chorus, Felix Aylmer as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Robert Helpmann as the Bishop of Ely. Olivier’s vision was clear from the very beginning; he would maintain fidelity to the original Shakespeare play although he would stylize it for the cinematic presentation. Read more…

PETE’S DRAGON – Daniel Hart

August 19, 2016 1 comment

petesdragonOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pete’s Dragon is a new Disney remake of its own original 1977 film, a musical which starred Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, and an entirely cartoon dragon, and which was nominated for an Oscar for its iconic original song, “Candle on the Water.” The new version, written and directed by David Lowery, is a very different, less comical take on the story. It follows the adventures of a young boy named Pete (Oakes Fegley), whose parents are killed in a car accident on a road trip, but who escapes without injury and flees into the woods. Pete spends the next six years living in the wild, where he is looked after by a huge, green, friendly dragon, a local legend in the area, whom Pete names Elliott. However, Pete’s idyllic life in the forest is interrupted when he is discovered by the young daughter of a forestry service ranger and taken back into civilization; meanwhile Elliott, who misses his young friend, ventures out of the woods and into town, where his existence risks being revealed to the townsfolk. It’s a lovely, sentimental, heartwarming film about childhood friendships, families, and respect of nature; it co-stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, and Robert Redford, and has been lauded by critics as a warm and appealing family film. Read more…

THE BOY WHO COULD FLY – Bruce Broughton

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

boywhocouldfly-vareseTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Boy Who Could Fly was a popular family drama, written and directed by Nick Castle, about a friendship that helps two children overcome deep emotional wounds. Lucy Deakins stars as Millie, a 14-year old girl who makes friends with Eric (Jay Underwood), the similarly-aged boy next door, after the suicide of her terminally ill father. Eric has autism, and lives with his alcoholic uncle (Fred Gwynne), because both his parents were killed in a plane crash when he was much younger. Despite Eric’s verbal inability to communicate, the two teenagers nevertheless seem to help each other deal with their personal issues, but before long a series of unusual events lead Millie to think that, somehow, Eric has the ability to fly. The film was both a critical and popular success at the box office in the late summer of 1986 (it subsequently won the prestigious Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film); it co-starred Bonnie Bedelia, Fred Savage, and Colleen Dewhurst, and had its sense of magic enhanced immeasurably by Bruce Broughton’s gorgeous score. Read more…

STRANGER THINGS – Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein

August 16, 2016 3 comments

strangerthingsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Nostalgia for the 1980s appears to have peaked during the summer of 2016. Mainstream films, TV shows, and their musical accompaniments are all relishing their trips down amnesia lane, digging up thirty years worth of long-forgotten pop culture references, busting out with outdated lingo, and embracing the questionable fashion choices that defined the decade. Children’s adventure movies were especially popular in the 1980s, and it is that sub-genre that the Netflix original series Stranger Things lovingly emulates. Set in suburban Indiana in 1983, the show begins with the disappearance of a 12-year-old boy named Will Byers (Noah Schnapp); as his mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) panics, the local police department led by Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) begins a formal investigation. Meanwhile, Will’s nerdy Dungeons-and-Dragons-playing friends (Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin) begin their own investigation – and before long the boys are knee-deep in an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and a strange little girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) who appears to display psychokinetic abilities. Read more…


August 12, 2016 1 comment

huntforthewilderpeopleOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the latest film from Kiwi writer-director Taika Waititi, who enjoyed popular success with his previous films Boy and What We Do in the Shadows, and is now hard at work on his latest film, the marvel super hero sequel Thor Ragnarok. Based on the iconic 1986 book ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’ by bestselling New Zealand author Barry Crump, the film stars young Julian Dennison as Ricky Baker, a rebellious and delinquent teenage boy who has bounced around from foster home to foster home in New Zealand’s social services system, and has now found himself placed at a rural farm belonging to the kindly Bella (Rima te Wiata) and her grizzled, crotchety husband Hec (Sam Neill). Ricky, who is sarcastic and defiant and fancies himself as a gangster rapper, is initially reluctant to embrace his new life on the edge of the wilderness, but soon finds himself becoming happy in his new home. However, a tragic event forces Ricky and Hec to flee from the farm and into the bush, where Hec’s survival skills allow them to remain safe, despite Ricky’s near-constant complaining. Unfortunately, the police mistakenly believe that Hec – who has a mysterious past – has kidnapped Ricky, and soon the pair are on the lam, running from the authorities who don’t understand that the unlikely pair are changing each other for the better. Read more…

THE FLY – Howard Shore

August 11, 2016 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Fly is one of the greatest horror films ever made, a masterpiece of so-called ‘body horror’ and a cautionary tale about science gone wrong. Based on a short story by George Langelaan and directed by David Cronenberg, the film stars Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle, a brilliant but desperately eccentric scientist working on a teleportation device in an attempt to solve the world’s transportation problems. Brundle meets reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) when she comes to his laboratory to interview him, and the two develop a mutual attraction which blossoms into a romantic relationship. However, Brundle is frustrated with his lack of progress with the device, and rushes into trying new and increasingly dangerous experiments in order to speed up the process. One day, despite Veronica’s protestations, he tests the device on himself; after successfully jumping from one teleportation pod to another, he declares his machine a triumph – but, unknown to Brundle, a common house fly found its way into the machine with him. Now, having had his human DNA merged with that of the fly at a cellular level, Brundle begins to slowly, grotesquely, mutate, with terrible consequences for all. Read more…


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