Archive for December, 2002

THE HOURS – Philip Glass

December 27, 2002 Leave a comment

thehoursOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In film music circles, Philip Glass is the victim of a certain degree of “reverse-snobbishness” that is rather unusual. As a classical composer, some of his film music work lacks the same depth of emotion as those by his contemporaries – not because he cannot write in this way but because, as he still maintains a high standing in the classical music world, he seems to embrace the “technique over emotion” standpoint favored by the classical glitterati. It is surprising, therefore, to discover that The Hours is by far his most emotional film score to date. Sadly, it sounds broadly like every other score he has written, and is repetitive to a point where you almost want to pull out your hair. Read more…

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN – John Williams

December 27, 2002 Leave a comment

catchmeifyoucanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Steven Spielberg and John Williams have been working together since 1974, when the then-young director hired Williams to score The Sugarland Express. Their subsequent creative collaboration has become near-legendary, spanning almost 20 movies in as many years. Catch Me If You Can, their latest offering, is something of a departure for both of them: a) because Spielberg has made his first “light hearted” movie since the lamentable 1941, and b) because John Williams has given it a jazz score. The film is based on the true life story of Frank Abagnale Jr, who in the 1960s became the youngest person to be placed on the FBI’s most wanted list after committing a series of elaborate confidence tricks. Leonardo Di Caprio stars as the eponymous Abagnale, oozing bravado and charisma, while all the while being shadowed but never quite outwitted by FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks, in an unusually low-key and monochrome role). Christopher Walken co-stars as Abagnale’s father, with Martin Sheen and Jennifer “Alias” Garner in extended cameos. Read more…

SPIDER – Howard Shore

December 20, 2002 Leave a comment

spiderOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Following the critical and commercial success of his scores for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it has somehow been forgotten that, prior to the world at large hearing his work for Peter Jackson’s epic masterpieces, Howard Shore was known as a “dark” composer. His scores, for directors such as David Fincher and David Cronenberg, were predominantly moody, themeless, atmospheric works which thrived in the grimmer aspects of film music, where evil things lurked in the shadows. Before Lord of the Rings, no one really knew that he was capable of the grand, orchestral-and-choral majesty he ultimately delivered, and since then his musical nightmares have almost been forgotten. But, with Spider, the latest film from David Cronenberg, Shore proves that he has not completely abandoned his roots. Read more…

ANTWONE FISHER – Mychael Danna

December 20, 2002 Leave a comment

antwonefisherOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’m almost certain I’ve written this sentence before, but Mychael Danna continues to surprise and delight me with each new score he pens. The 45-year-old Canadian composer first challenged my perceptions of him with his brilliant, breathtaking Western epic Ride With The Devil, and has continued to impress me with such wide and varied works as Girl Interrupted, Green Dragon, Monsoon Wedding and Hearts in Atlantis. His 37th feature score, Antwone Fisher re-asserts Danna’s standing as one of the most talented and consistently enjoyable composers working today. Read more…


December 20, 2002 Leave a comment

twoweeksnoticeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s nice to see the development of John Powell as a film composer is continuing apace. Although his modern action scores, for films such as Face/Off and The Bourne Identity, have never really impressed me, his thematic consistency in scores such as Antz, Chicken Run, Shrek and Evolution appeals to me a great deal. And, despite the high quality of his works with Harry Gregson-Williams, it’s also nice to see him developing a distinct individual persona away from the clutches of the old Media Ventures franchise. As far as I am aware, Powell has never attempted a “traditional” rom-com before but, if Two Weeks Notice is anything to go by, he has a career following in the footsteps of Alan Silvestri ahead of him. Read more…


December 20, 2002 Leave a comment

lotrtwotowersOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Howard Shore, welcome to the world of film music pressure. It’s a peculiar phenomenon, akin to the “second album” syndrome faced by rock and pop musicians whose debut works are hugely successful; John Williams faced it when embarking on the follow-up scores in the Star Wars saga. Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner, such is their popularity and fan base, face it each time they write a new score. Other composers face it when they write music for a beloved piece of fiction – especially in the fantasy or comic book genres – or have scored a major hit with their last effort in a series. With The Lord of the Rings, Howard Shore has joined this latter group. Read more…

STAR TREK: NEMESIS – Jerry Goldsmith

December 13, 2002 Leave a comment

startreknemesisOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Jerry Goldsmith’s involvement with Star Trek now stretches back almost 25 years. He is as associated with the franchise as the USS Enterprise, “Beam me up, Scotty” and “Make it so”, and with the possible exceptions of James Horner and Alexander Courage, is the only composer to truly get to the heart of the Star Trek universe – even though he himself has said that he does not fully understand the phenomenon, or why his work is so well-loved. Having written so much classic music over the years, it is therefore somewhat disappointing to report that his work on Star Trek: Nemesis is pretty standard, uninspiring stuff. A few snatches of thematic familiarity, some exciting action material, and echoes of Total Recall aside, it’s actually a rather predictable, albeit enjoyable, sci-fi score. Read more…