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Archive for October, 2000

PAY IT FORWARD – Thomas Newman

October 20, 2000 Leave a comment

payitforwardOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There’s a worrying trend developing in the career of Thomas Newman – peculiarity. Now, I’m all for innovation in film scoring. When a composer does something unexpected to enhance the mood or feel of a film, it is a refreshing and invigorating experience. When Thomas Newman did it on American Beauty, I was pleased. Newman has always been one of Hollywood’s most unconventional mainstream composers, equally at ease with lush symphonic writing (a la The Shawshank Redemption or Meet Joe Black) and experimental sound design (as in Flesh & Blood or Red Corner). Of late, though, Newman seems to have been stuck in this percussive rut, with seemingly no way out. In effect, he has written the same score for his last three movies: American Beauty, Erin Brockovich, and now Pay It Forward. Read more…

THE CONTENDER – Larry Groupé

October 13, 2000 Leave a comment

thecontenderOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Established orchestrators often find it difficult to disassociate themselves and carve out a solo composing career for themselves, out of the shadow of the (usually) more famous composer they have assisted for many years. Over the years, Jerry Goldsmith, Alexander Courage and the late Arthur Morton have been perfect examples. In recent years, artists such as Nicholas Dodd, Tim Simonec, Thomas Pasatieri and Ken Kugler have remained firmly behind their employers, while others such as Mark McKenzie, Hummie Mann and most noticeably Don Davis have emerged as composing talents in their own right. Larry Groupé looks likely to join this latter group very shortly; finally appearing from out of composer/director John Ottman’s backroom and taking center stage on a project worthy of his talents. Read more…

TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN – Debbie Wiseman

October 13, 2000 Leave a comment

tomsmidnightgardenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I first heard Debbie Wiseman’s score to Tom’s Midnight Garden way back in the fall of 1998, at a special concert she gave at London’s Royal Festival Hall. It has taken well over two years for the film to be released, and for her lavish, sumptuous music to finally become available for all to enjoy. Scores of the quality of Tom’s Midnight Garden are rare indeed, and are worth waiting for. The film is based on the classic children’s novel by Philippa Pearce, and stars Anthony Way (the child star of the popular series The Choir) as Tom, one of many young boys who were sent away into the English countryside to escape the horrors of war raining down on the cities where they lived. Tom is sent to stay with his prissy Aunt and Uncle (Greta Scacchi and James Wilby) in a rambling old house away from London, and at first Tom is unhappy at being separated from his parents and his friends. But soon Tom discovers that unusual things happen in the old house: when the antique grandfather clock in the hall strikes thirteen instead of twelve, a magical gateway appears in the house’s walled garden, which takes him back in time – and into the company of a beautiful young girl named Hatty. Read more…

MEET THE PARENTS – Randy Newman

October 6, 2000 Leave a comment

meettheparentsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Daft comedies have never been my favorite genre, but I have to admit Meet the Parents made me laugh – a lot. It is surely one of the most nerve-wracking days of any young man’s life when he goes home to meet his fiancé’s folks. First impressions count for a lot, and if the woman you are with is the one you intend to marry, having a healthy relationship with her family is of paramount importance. All these things are weighing heavily on nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller)’s mind when he accompanies his girlfriend Pam (Teri Polo) home to meet her retired mother Dina and father Jack (Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner). Unfortunately, Greg’s weekend plans for presenting himself as the “model son” go seriously awry in the face of her father’s overbearing presence. You see, Jack is not a florist, as Greg first believed: he is, in fact, a former CIA agent – who takes his daughter’s marital welfare very seriously! Read more…