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Archive for December, 2001

CHARLOTTE GRAY – Stephen Warbeck

December 28, 2001 Leave a comment

charlottegrayOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the four years since he won the Oscar for his score for Shakespeare In Love, British composer Stephen Warbeck’s stock has risen considerably. At first, I was guilty of dismissing him as a flash in the pan: after all, prior to that film, his only work of note was for the popular UK crime series Prime Suspect and the critically acclaimed Mrs. Brown, at that time his only internationally released score. Since then, however, Warbeck has continually surprised and delighted me with score after score of exquisite music. First came Billy Elliott, then Quills, and then Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, easily one of my favorite scores of 2001. The new level of expectation on Warbeck is such that now I look forward to each new work by him, hoping that he can surpass his last effort each time – and it comes as something of a shock to learn that, with Charlotte Gray, he has not. Read more…

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THE SHIPPING NEWS – Christopher Young

December 28, 2001 Leave a comment

shippingnewsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Films set in Newfoundland are few and far between, and scores based upon the musical heritage of that uniquely isolated part of Canada are rarer still. The Shipping News, Miramax’s big Oscar movie of 2001, is not a film about the indigenous people of Newfoundland, but the white European settlers who moved there centuries ago, and as such embraces their culture wholeheartedly, allowing composer Christopher Young to explore a musical style he had never before attempted: Celtic music. Adapted from the novel by E. Annie Proulx and directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), The Shipping News stars Kevin Spacey stars as Guy Quoyle, a lonely New Yorker who returns to his childhood home in Newfoundland with his daughter after emerging from a tragic, loveless marriage to Petal (Cate Blanchett). Moving in with his long lost aunt (Judi Dench) and taking a job writing the shipping news column in the local newspaper, “The Gammy Bird”, Quoyle finds his world-vision slowly changing his life… that is, until he meets widow Wavey (Julianne Moore), an emotionally damaged woman with whom Quoyle begins to come to terms with his own life, heal the rift with his daughter, and put his past behind him. Read more…

A BEAUTIFUL MIND – James Horner

December 21, 2001 Leave a comment

abeautifulmindOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A Beautiful Mind, directed by Ron Howard, has become one of the most critically successful movies of 2001. Telling the true-life story of Nobel Prize winning genius John Forbes Nash Jr. and his battle with schizophrenia, A Beautiful Mind has been nominated for multiple Academy Awards in 2002 and looks set to go-head with The Lord of the Rings for top honors on Oscar night. Russell Crowe stars as Nash, a brilliant mathematician and innovative thinker, whose groundbreaking work at Princeton and MIT in the 1940s and 1950s made him the cause celebre of the academic world. Before long, Nash is approached by the military to work on a top secret code-breaking operation run by the mysterious and sinister William Parcher (Ed Harris), and his success in the field indirectly leads to him meeting and marrying the love of his life, the beautiful and equally talented Alicia Larde (Jennifer Connelly). However, as time passes, Nash’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, it becomes apparent that Nash is suffering from increased paranoia and a persecution complex than can mean only one thing – that his beautiful mind is being attacked by schizophrenia. Read more…

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – Howard Shore

December 21, 2001 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

To say that Peter Jackson took on a mammoth task in undertaking a 9-hour, three-film cinematic version of The Lord of the Rings is an understatement indeed. Adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s mammoth literary work for the screen took three years of the affable New Zealander’s life, and as the first part of the trilogy hits the world’s multiplexes, his vision and talent are for all to see. The Fellowship of the Ring is quite possibly the best fantasy film ever made, putting to shame Ralph Bakshi’s lamentable 1978 attempt to tell the same story through animation.

The story of The Fellowship of the Ring – for those who don’t know – is set in a fantasy land named Middle Earth, where a great war has taken place for control of nine rings, the owners of which wield the power to dominate the world. Read more…

IRIS – James Horner

December 14, 2001 Leave a comment

irisOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In collaborating with the virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell on his latest score, Iris, it would seem that James Horner is developing a reputation akin to that of John Williams in the way that he is attracting top-quality classical talent with whom to work. With Charlotte Church also working with him on A Beautiful Mind, these two latest scores could be taken as an indication that Horner’s standing in the crossover classical music world is growing at a steady rate, after the commercial successes and album sales his scores have enjoyed of late. It is perhaps worth noting that Horner, Bell and Church are all contracted Sony Classical artists, and it is no coincidence that Sony are marketing both scores by heavily publicizing the soloists, but the optimist in me would like to think that it is Horner’s creativity rather than a marketing strategy who have brought them together. Nevertheless, an artist as talented as Bell brings a definite sense of class to the project – and it doesn’t hurt that Horner’s music is superb in its own right. Read more…

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