Archive for October, 1999

THE LEGEND OF 1900 – Ennio Morricone

October 29, 1999 Leave a comment

legendof1900Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

To date, the critical reception for Ennio Morricone’s score The Legend of the 1900 has been completely positive. To quote from James Southall’s superlative review at Movie Wave, “once in a while there comes a score blessed with the hand of genius; so good it makes you feel privileged to be listening to it, so good it makes you feel proud to just be alive at the same time as the composer.” At this moment I’d like to apologize to all the film score fans across the world who hold the score in that same high esteem because now, to continue with a seafaring analogy, I’m going to rock the boat. Read more…


October 29, 1999 Leave a comment

princessmononokeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Japanese Anime – or Manga, as it is often mistakenly referred to in this country – has been the subject of something of a boom in recent years. Until the release of respected films such as Roujin Z, Space Adventure Cobra, Legend of the Overfiend, Wings of Honneamise and Akira, Japanese animation was widely regarded as merely being the stuff of Saturday morning kids shows: badly dubbed adventure cartoons starring wide-eyed characters surrounded by garishly colorful backgrounds. Since the genre’s migration west, big-screen Anime has slowly built up a devoted cult following, and has become a highly respected art form in its own right. Princess Mononoke, which is hitting these shores two years after it broke all the domestic box-office records, is touted as being the genre’s pinnacle. Read more…


October 29, 1999 Leave a comment

houseonhauntedhillOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the annals of horror movie history, House on Haunted Hill will surely go down as one of the worst efforts the 1990s had to offer. The genre having been revitalized by the Scream phenomenon, House on Haunted Hill is the epitome of everything the savvy protagonists of Wes Craven’s movie decried. It is a film populated by stupid people who say and do stupid things at the wrong time. It has a director who mistakes gratuitous gore and “shock” sound effects for fright, and a screenwriter with no sense of reality or common sense. Ultimately, the film is a disaster from start to finish, with only the special effects crew – and Don Davis – emerging with anything resembling an intact reputation. Read more…

PAN TADEUSZ – Wojciech Kilar

October 22, 1999 1 comment

pantadeuszOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The vast majority of Wojciech Kilar’s work remains undiscovered by the film music public at large. Despite having written music for well over 100 films during a career which started in 1959, only four of these have been in the English language: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Death and the Maiden, The Portrait of a Lady and The Ninth Gate. As a result, a huge amount of music written by Kilar for European (and especially Polish) cinema has passed by without the slightest hint of recognition. A couple of domestic albums and compilations of his work exist, albeit on rather obscure labels which make obtaining them somewhat difficult, but those whose opinion of Kilar and his work are based solely on his American projects would do well do seek them out. There are many, many gems to be found. Read more…


October 22, 1999 Leave a comment

crazyinalabamaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Another actor cashing in on a currently in-vogue trend by turning his hand at direction is heartthrob Spanish thespian Antonio Banderas, who has cast his wife Melanie Griffith in the lead role of his unlikely debut, Crazy In Alabama. The film is a comedy-drama based on the novel by Mark Childress, and tells the story of a backwoods Alabama boy named Peejoe (Lucas Black), whose life is altered dramatically when he gets an education in life from his glamorous, eccentric Aunt Lucille (Griffith), who herself has escaped from her abusive husband to pursue her dream of Hollywood TV stardom. The film also features supporting performances from an unlikely group of actors, including David Morse, Cathy Moriarty, Rod Steiger, 70s heartthrob Robert Wagner, novelist Fannie Flagg, rock legend Meatloaf and film directors Paul Mazursky and Randal Kleiser. Read more…

THE STRAIGHT STORY – Angelo Badalamenti

October 15, 1999 Leave a comment

straightstoryOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Having regard to a track record that includes such brilliantly off-the-wall films as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart and the Twin Peaks TV series, one would have never expected director David Lynch to craft such a beautiful, poignant, heart-warming movie as The Straight Story. Although the title is something of a pun, and although Lynch has never made one before, this is a completely straightforward story about a man named Straight, who leaves his slightly backward daughter at home in Iowa and travels across the American Midwest to Wisconsin on a converted lawn mower to see his estranged brother before one of them dies. Read more…


October 10, 1999 Leave a comment

aristocratsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The BBC have always been good at costume dramas. Whether it be Jane Austen or Emily Brontë or Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare, the Brits lead the way in showing the world how to lace up a corset, adopt a regal tone and keep a respectful distance from your potential suitors. The BBC are also good at television music. In recent years, established composers such as Carl Davis, Geoffrey Burgon and Jim Parker have rubbed shoulders with talented new names such Richard G. Mitchell, Murray Gold and Julian Nott in composing some of the finest television music around. In my opinion, Aristocrats marks the absolute pinnacle in BBC television music, and is by far the best score to emerge from Auntie’s vaults in years. Read more…


October 8, 1999 Leave a comment

randomheartsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite having written some truly lovely orchestral scores in his career, notably Havana and On Golden Pond, Dave Grusin’s first love is and always will be jazz. In the liner notes for this release of his score for Random Hearts, Grusin muses that “no-one loves romantic music more than Sidney Pollack”, but it was felt that on this project he was “looking for something a little more lean and stark” than on their other nine collaborations. A consummate craftsman, Grusin responded with an intriguing, engaging jazz score. Random Hearts stars Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott-Thomas, two secure professional people in fulfilling relationships whose lives are torn apart when their respective partners are killed in the same plane crash. It soon transpires that, unbeknown to Ford and Thomas, his wife and her husband were having an affair with each other, a fact which, when combined with the sense of grief and betrayal felt by the surviving spouses, gradually draws them together. Part tragedy, part melodrama, part romance, Random Hearts sounds great on paper but, unfortunately, failed to set the box office alight, instead ending up as Harrison Ford’s first major flop in over a decade. Read more…

PLUNKETT & MACLEANE – Craig Armstrong

October 1, 1999 Leave a comment

plunkett&macleaneOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The phenomenal success of the film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet was not only responsible for making bonafide movie stars out of its leading players, Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes – it also thrust the name of Scottish composer Craig Armstrong into the soundtrack limelight. Armstrong, who won a BAFTA Award for his work with Nellee Hooper and Marius De Vreis on that film, is an interesting and somewhat unconventional writer. He doggedly refuses to be labeled either as an orchestral or electronic specialist, and has proven that he is adept at creating both modern soundscapes, as in Romeo + Juliet and his other recent work, Best Laid Plans, as well as “proper” music, as heard in Peter Mullan’s acclaimed drama Orphans. With Plunkett & Macleane, Armstrong has shifted again and combined both these markedly different styles into one engaging whole. Read more…