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Archive for July, 1999

DEEP BLUE SEA – Trevor Rabin

July 30, 1999 Leave a comment

deepblueseaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ever since Jaws, the concept of the “killer shark” has been the staple of many thrillers, from the original’s three sequels to watery mimics such as Leviathan, Deep Star 6, Deep Rising and other films beginning with the word deep. Unlike its predecessors, Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea returns to more familiar, more terrifying territory by making the villains of the piece a couple of Mako sharks instead of nasty alien crustaceans, and is a better and more believable film because of it. Starring Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane and Samuel L. Jackson, the film is a generally straightforward action thriller set on a Pacific Ocean research installation, where a team of scientists are conducting experiments on the aforementioned sharks in an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. When a storm hits the station and all power is lost, the sharks – which have become more intelligent as a result of the experiments – escape from their pens. All hell, as they say, breaks loose. Read more…

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THE HAUNTING – Jerry Goldsmith

July 23, 1999 Leave a comment

thehauntingOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although I personally enjoyed it immensely, Jan De Bont’s modern reworking of Robert Wise’s 1963 classic The Haunting was one of the more high-profile casualties in the summer of 1999’s blockbuster stakes. Despite a headline cast including Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and boasting some truly marvelous special effects, audiences complained that the film concentrated far too much on the visual side of the film and less on actually scaring the audience. To be fair, both visually and aurally, the film was absolutely magnificent, with Eugenio Zanetti’s Gaudi-inspired architecture teeming with cherubic faces and Gothic opulence, and Gary Rydstrom’s resonant sound design echoing majestically through the cinema’s surround sound stereo system. In terms of plot and acting, however, the film performed pretty badly, with several unrealistic contrivances and unconvincing performances from all the leads sealing its critical fate. Read more…

MUPPETS FROM SPACE – Jamshied Sharifi and Rupert Gregson-Williams

July 16, 1999 Leave a comment

muppetsfromspaceOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Perhaps it has something to do with my own preconceptions about films starring fuzzy puppets, but I never expect Muppet movies to have any good music in them. Of course, in the past, composers as eminent as Hans Zimmer and the late Miles Goodman have lent their talents to the adventures of Henson’s creations, but come on! How can a film in which the majority of the main characters are sculpted bits of material with a guy’s hand jammed up their asses produce anything worthwhile? Well, it can, and this time I have been proved wrong by the combined talents of Jamshied Sharifi and Rupert Gregson-Williams, whose music turns out to be surprisingly enjoyable, if a little lightweight and more than a little derivative. Read more…

LAKE PLACID – John Ottman

July 16, 1999 Leave a comment

lakeplacidOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In recent years, Hollywood has regurgitated the “mutant killer something-or-other” storyline for an alarmingly large number of films: cockroaches in Mimic, lizards in Godzilla, crustaceans in Deep Rising, sharks in Deep Blue Sea, the list goes on. Crocodiles are the newest addition, with the arrival of Steve Miner’s Lake Placid, a new horror thriller set in the very same mountain town that staged the Winter Olympics back in 1980. Read more…

ARLINGTON ROAD – Angelo Badalamenti

July 9, 1999 Leave a comment

arlingtonroadOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Arlington Road, directed by hot young independent filmmaker Mark Pellington, is a disturbingly convincing suburban fairy tale starring Jeff Bridges as a widowed college professor who slowly begins to suspect that his seemingly innocuous next door neighbors, Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack, may actually be terrorists involved in a bombing campaign across the United States. Composer Angelo Badalamenti, best known for his work with cult director David Lynch on films such as Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart and the Twin Peaks TV series, has collaborated with computer technology composers Tomandandy for the score which, while you’re hearing it in the cinema, sounds absolutely astounding. Alternatively, a friend describes the CD as “appropriately atmospheric” – his own expression which can be translated as meaning “a load of rubbish”. Personally, I quite enjoy it. Read more…

SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT – Marc Shaiman and Trey Parker

July 2, 1999 Leave a comment

southparkOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

For anyone who has been living in a cocoon for the last few years, South Park is an animated TV series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, set an the isolated Colorado town, and is all about four eight-year-old friends (Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovsky, Eric Cartman and the immortal Kenny McCormick) who, quite simply, wreak havoc in every episode, aided and abetted by recurring characters such as the sex machine school Chef (voiced by Isaac Hayes), Stan’s girlfriend Wendy Testaburger (who gets puked upon whenever Stan talks to her because he’s so nervous), and kooky schoolteachers Mr. Mackey and Mr. Garrison, who wears a puppet on his left hand called “Mr. Hat”. The thing about South Park is the style – the animation is extremely crude and simplistic, but the scripts are ironic, satirical, and surprisingly intelligent, with messages and morals easily identifiable in amongst each episode’s gross-out gags. Read more…

WILD WILD WEST – Elmer Bernstein

July 2, 1999 Leave a comment

wildwildwestOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Elmer Bernstein scores a western, you know exactly what you’re going to get. With a track record that includes scores like The Magnificent Seven, The Commancheros, True Grit and The Shootist (his last “true” western back in 1976), it is obvious that Bernstein is a master of the musical depiction of the vast open prairie, of six-shooters and ten-gallon hats, and Wild Wild West is a welcome return to the genre which made him world famous. Read more…