Archive for December, 1999

THE HURRICANE – Christopher Young

December 31, 1999 Leave a comment

thehurricaneOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Over the years, Christopher Young has continually found himself scoring the most dismal films Hollywood has the cheek to release, which makes it all the more gratifying to see him attached to a movie of such genuine quality as The Hurricane. Already, The Hurricane has garnered a Golden Globe for Denzel Washington for Best Actor, multiple nominations in other categories, and it tipped to be a hot property at the Oscars. Brilliant but under-appreciated composers like Young need this kind of exposure to ensure that they continue to score high-profile, worthy pictures which actually befit the excellent music Young is able to provide. Read more…

TITUS – Elliot Goldenthal

December 24, 1999 Leave a comment

titusOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I was, quite literally, stunned into silence by Titus, both the film and the score. A visually breathtaking, emotionally shattering, conceptually brilliant restaging of William Shakespeare’s timeless play, Titus represents modern film making at its most vibrant. With Julie Taymor, the near-legendary director of several acclaimed Broadway plays (including the recent version of The Lion King) at the helm, and with an intriguing cast that mixes several heavyweight thespians with a group of talented newcomers, Titus is a film which has the power to shock and overwhelm, while still remaining entertaining and (comparatively) true to the original. Read more…

SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS – James Newton Howard

December 24, 1999 Leave a comment

snowfallingoncedarsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It was with a combination of surprise and great disappointment that I first listened to Snow Falling on Cedars, James Newton Howard’s fifth and final score of 1999. The word of mouth had hitherto been wholly positive, with many citing the rich ethnic textures, beautiful string themes and powerful choral passages supposedly inherent in the score. Well, I’m sorry to say that, with a few brief exceptions, I was totally bored by the whole experience, and was left wondering whether the rest of the world was listening to the same score as me. Read more…

ANGELA’S ASHES – John Williams

December 24, 1999 Leave a comment

angelasashesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

With The Phantom Menace out of the way, John Williams has finally been able to write for a film which isn’t met with the same expectations as a cure for cancer or the second coming of Christ. With hindsight, it could be said that Williams tried a little too hard to please too many masters on Star Wars, and although enjoyable and well-written, the end result came out just a little muddled. His forceful follow up is Angela’s Ashes, a beautiful, if a little downbeat score which is totally and utterly wrecked on CD by a whole load of intrusive dialogue tracks. Read more…


December 24, 1999 Leave a comment

girlinterruptedOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Stories about people in mental hospitals are a great cinematic breeding ground, especially when they are true. Girl Interrupted has been described as “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest with chicks”, which is actually a pretty neat summary. James Mangold’s film effectively re-captured the sense of friendship and camaraderie that exists between the patients, the trivialities of their lives, the nuances and eccentricities of each character, and how they all rally round to help each other in times of need. Winona Ryder stars as Susanna Kaysen, a troubled young girl in 1960s America who, following prompting by family and friends, voluntarily checks into Claymoore state mental hospital to combat her “borderline personality disorder”. While inside, Susanna meets her fellow patients: compulsive liar Georgina (Clea Duvall), self-mutilator Daisy (Brittany Murphy), arsonist Polly (Elisabeth Moss), and uncontrollable sociopath Lisa (Angelina Jolie), whose anti-social presence has the greatest effect on Susanna’s rehabilitation. Read more…

GALAXY QUEST – David Newman

December 24, 1999 Leave a comment

galaxyquestOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

With all the fan-based hoopla that surrounds many of the classic science fiction serials, it was surely only a matter of time before someone made a spoof. So enter Galaxy Quest, Dean Parisot’s spot-on parody of the whole Star Trek merchandising industry. Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman star as the three most popular members of the hit 70s TV series “Galaxy Quest”, who still make the rounds on the sci-fi convention circuit twenty years after their show was cancelled. But a group of real aliens mistakenly believe that the TV show is for real, and kidnap the actors so that they may help them fight a deadly adversary who is threatening their planet. As the liner notes proclaim, “with no script, no director, and no clue about real interstellar travel, the make-believe crew of the NESA Protector has to turn in the performance of their lives to become the heroes the aliens believe them to be”. Read more…


December 24, 1999 Leave a comment

talentedmrripleyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Talented Mr. Ripley is the least impressive Gabriel Yared score I have ever heard. But before you leap up and down, you should be aware that my statement is tempered by the fact that I have only heard six of his efforts to date, and that he has scored many obscure movies in his native France and across Europe, so to make such a sweeping generalization is doing his work a bit of a disservice. But, whereas his recent efforts in City of Angels and Message In A Bottle transported the listener into the realms of high romance, The Talented Mr. Ripley is less well-defined, less thematically strong, and suffers the same fate as The English Patient by completely overshadowed on album by a load of irresponsibly-programmed songs. Read more…

SUNSHINE – Maurice Jarre

December 17, 1999 1 comment

sunshineOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It seems to have taken forever, but Maurice Jarre is finally back in the scoring saddle again. After enduring the least-productive decade of his entire career, and after taking the longest sabbatical of all the top film composers, Jarre’s return to form has been cemented with his score for Sunshine, an epic drama tracing the social and political history of a Hungarian family before, during and after World War II. Director Istvan Szabó’s film traces the lineage of the Sonnenschein family, Hungarian Jews whose lives alter forever with the onset of the Anschluss and the Nazi take-over of what was then Austro-Hungary. The three male members of the family are all played by Ralph Fiennes (with varying degrees of facial hair, both in quantity and success): firstly Ignatz, a lawyer and pharmacist whose “miracle tonic” makes the family a fortune; then Ignatz’s son Adam, a lawyer and Olympic fencing champion who falls victim to the Holocaust; and finally Adam’s son Ivan, whose influential role in post-War politics allows him to bury the ghosts of his past. With a supporting cast that includes William Hurt, Jennifer Ehle, Rachel Weisz and Deborah Kara Unger, Sunshine is every bit an “epic period drama”, running for almost three hours in length and featuring stunning production values. Contributing immeasurably to the latter is Jarre’s captivating orchestral score, easily his best work in years. Read more…

ANNA AND THE KING – George Fenton

December 17, 1999 Leave a comment

annaandthekingOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

During the last couple of years, British composer George Fenton has suddenly burst to the forefront of the film music world, after years of being considered nothing more than a talented journeyman. As the force behind the sensational Ever After and Dangerous Beauty in 1998, Fenton’s reputation as the man for the romantic drama has been cemented beyond all doubt. However, the jewel in Fenton’s lyrical crown is surely Anna and the King, a new reworking of the classic romantic tale which first captured the imagination of the cinema-going public with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. Read more…


December 17, 1999 Leave a comment

bicentennialmanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the past, under pain of death and despite the protestations of many film music aficionados, I have always fervently defended the musical style of James Horner. “A modicum of self-referencing is unavoidable as a composer develops a musical style,” I would say. “He doesn’t do it any more or any less than the other composers.” “It’s the effect on the audience that counts. The genuine emotion in Horner’s music is what’s important.” And, for the majority of his considerable output, I still believe this to be true. However, the amount of self-referencing that goes on in Bicentennial Man is simply beyond a joke. Read more…

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DIAMONDS – Joel Goldsmith

December 10, 1999 Leave a comment

diamondsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I would imagine that being constantly overshadowed by a more famous relative cannot be an easy thing with which to cope. When you are an aspiring film composer named Joel Goldsmith, and when your father is none other than the near-legendary film music composer Jerry Goldsmith, I would imagine the difficulties increase tenfold. Joel, of course, has been around for twenty years or more, initially doing sound design work for the film industry, before graduating to scoring motion pictures such as Moon 44, Shiloh and Kull the Conqueror. His latest score is, ironically, for a film starring another famous father of a famous son – Diamonds, with Kirk Douglas in his first major film role since suffering a stroke several years ago. Read more…


December 10, 1999 Leave a comment

ciderhouserulesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Considering that the screen versions of the majority of John Irving’s novels have been largely fluffed (Simon Birch, The World According to Garp), it is immensely encouraging to hear that Lasse Hallström’s version of The Cider House Rules is well in the running for being voted the best film of 1999. Set in a New England orphanage, the film stars Tobey Maguire as a young orphan named Homer who lives under the care and tutelage of kindly gynecologist Dr. Larch (Michael Caine). When Homer decides that he wants to experience the world outside the orphanage walls, he hooks up with a young married couple, Wally (Paul Rudd) and Candy (Charlize Theron), who run an apple farm. However, when Wally joins up for service and Homer and Candy are left alone, things begin to develop between the two. Read more…

THE GREEN MILE – Thomas Newman

December 10, 1999 Leave a comment

greenmileOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It seems to be that Stephen King’s best works all take place in prisons. The same can be said of director Frank Darabont, although this statement is just a little misleading because he has only made two movies to date, both of which are Stephen King adaptations set in prisons. The former, The Shawshank Redemption, was one of the best movies of the last decade. It could be said that Darabont made a rod for his own back by taking on such a similar movie so soon, thereby inviting comparisons between the two that the new movie could never hope to achieve. The Green Mile does not quite emulate the success of Shawshank, but is an excellent movie in itself, boasting a core of superb performances, several moving scenes, one horribly realistic execution-gone-wrong, and a whole load of none-too-subtle religious connotations. Read more…


December 3, 1999 Leave a comment

endoftheaffairOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Michael Nyman was nominated for a Golden Globe for Gattaca in 1997, he wrote an article in the Guardian newspaper in England chronicling his experience at the ceremony. The long and the short of was that he hated every moment of it, and in doing so questioned why he was writing film music in the first place, as it gave him far less pleasure than writing pure classical music. I have often wondered about Nyman’s work ethic since then, especially as his film music output has increased considerably, both in volume and quality, during the last couple of years. Has he changed his mind about liking film scores? Does he still consider its creation nothing more than a chore he undergoes in order to pay the bills? Or has he undergone a catharsis, awakening a new found love for the music of the silver screen? Read more…