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Archive for May, 1999

THE PHANTOM MENACE – John Williams

May 21, 1999 Leave a comment

phantommenaceOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

At long, long last, the waiting is over. I don’t think I can ever remember a soundtrack being as highly anticipated as The Phantom Menace was – not even Titanic. Ever since George Lucas announced his intentions to make a second Star Wars trilogy, score fans the world over literally started drooling as they pondered the possibilities. Of course, John Williams would write the music, but what would he do? Would any of the familiar themes make an appearance? Would the full score be released? Would it be a 2-CD release? What would be the cue titles? Such has been the speculation and avid discussion, especially on the Internet, that with only a few weeks to go until its premiere, it has almost become a frenzy. As such, reviewing a score like this impartially and without bias is now virtually impossible – even I have been caught up in Phantom Menace fever, especially with the tantalizing glimpses of the trailer in my local multiplex. Read more…

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BESIEGED – Alessio Vlad

May 21, 1999 Leave a comment

besiegedOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The curse of Bernardo Bertolucci strikes again. Bernardo – or, as one British film critic recently called him Bore-nardo Bertolucci – has never recreated the masterful triumphs of Last Tango in Paris or The Last Emperor, despite having an excellent eye for detail and a sumptuous cinematic style. Besieged (also known as L’Assedio), his latest offering, is the story of a love triangle between an English composer and pianist (David Thewlis), his black African housekeeper (Thandie Newton), and her unseen political prisoner husband. The crux of the film is to do with love, and how it is expressed in different ways by different people. It’s all very stately and very “arthouse”, and has been dismissed by many as being nothing more than a dry and dusty character study. Read more…

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – Simon Boswell

May 14, 1999 Leave a comment

midsummernightsdreamOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A film score that opens with the entire 11-minute Overture from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream can’t be all bad, and in fact this album from Decca is one of the finest examples I have heard with regards to combining true classical music with modern film music into a satisfying, enjoyable whole. Director Michael Hoffman restaged Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in renaissance-era Tuscany, allowing him to shroud his film in the sights and sounds of one of the history’s most romantic periods. As a result, the images on screen glow with vivid shades of green and gold, reveling in the opulence of luxurious production design, glittering costumes and natural, healthy beauty. For those who don’t know the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows the fortunes of four bickering lovers: Helena (Calista Flockhart), who loves Demetrius (Christian Bale), who loves Hermia (Anna Friel), who loves Lysander (Dominic West). One midsummer’s night, the four venture into the woods near their home and become embroiled in the war of words between Oberon (Rupert Everett), the king of the fairies, and his bride Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer). Receiving instructions from Oberon, the mischievous sprite Puck (Stanley Tucci), casts a spell which causes the four to fall regularly in and out of love with each other, turns an innocent weaver named Bottom (Kevin Kline), who is rehearsing a play in the same woods, into an ass, and causes Titania to fall in love with him. Read more…

THE CASTLE – Edmund Choi

May 7, 1999 Leave a comment

thecastleOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Initially, the music for the quirky Australian comedy The Castle consisted of a few original cues by composer Craig Harnath and a multitude of “library cues” picked arbitrarily to fill the gaps in the dialogue. It was released across most of the world in this original format but when the might Miramax corporation bought the film for distribution in the USA, the head honchos decided that a new musical approach was needed. Enter Edmund Choi, a young, talented 28 year old, whose remit was to take the orchestration of the original score, but write his own new themes to fit the bill. Choi, whose only previous scoring work was for Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan’s earlier features Praying With Anger and Wide Awake, responded with a lovely, lush orchestral work which pegs him as a talent to watch. Read more…

THE MUMMY – Jerry Goldsmith

May 7, 1999 Leave a comment

themummyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Jerry Goldsmith’s first effort of 1999 is a barnstorming action score of epic proportions. The density of the orchestrations and the complexity of the melodic lines put you in mind of vibrant works such as First Knight, Deep Rising, and especially The Wind and the Lion with its intoxicating ethnic percussion and pervading sense of Arabic mystique. A loose remake of Boris Karloff’s 1932 horror classic, The Mummy is an old-fashioned, tongue-in-cheek Saturday matinee flick with more than a few passing resemblances to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Universal Pictures and director Stephen Sommers hope it will be the first big action movie to smash the box office in a summer market already dominated by the imminent release of The Phantom Menace. It stars Brendan Fraser as a treasure-seeker who travels to 1930s Egypt searching for lost artefacts. What he finds, though, is far worse – the mummified body of the ancient Egyptian priest Imhotep, who was buried alive in disgrace by the then Pharaoh, and who unleashes a terrible vengeful power on those who disturbed him from his slumber. Read more…