Archive for October, 2004

RAY – Craig Armstrong

October 29, 2004 Leave a comment

rayOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ray Charles, who died on 10 June 2004, was inarguably one of the pioneers of “black” music of the 20th century. Born in extreme poverty in Georgia in 1930, and struck blind by glaucoma at the age of six, Charles overcame obstacles which would stop lesser men in their tracks and became a giant of music. By fusing Gospel music with jazz and rock & roll, he virtually invented a new style of music. With his soulful piano playing and unique vocal delivery, he won legions of fans, who bought records such as “Georgia On My Mind” and “What’d I Say” in droves. Jamie Foxx plays Charles in director Taylor Hackford’s biopic of the great man, and has been receiving accolades galore for his realistic, brave portrayal. The film, which also stars Kerry Washington, Regina King and Clifton Powell, looks set to become a major player at the 2004 Academy Awards, with all eyes on Foxx as a potential Best Actor nominee. Read more…

BIRTH – Alexandre Desplat

October 29, 2004 Leave a comment

birthOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

French composer Alexandre Desplat saw his stock rise considerably in 2003 following the international acclaim and multiple award nominations he received for Girl with a Pearl Earring. On the back of that success, Desplat was signed to score three fairly major movies in 2004: Hostage, The Upside of Anger, and Birth.  A controversial and challenging drama, Birth is director Jonathan Glazer’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Sexy Beast, and stars Nicole Kidman as Anna, a young woman whose husband Sean dies unexpectedly while out jogging in Central Park. Ten years later, having finally come to terms with her loss and become engaged to the kind and successful Joseph (Danny Huston), Anna’s life is thrown into turmoil once more when a 10-year old boy (Cameron Bright) appears, claiming to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. Read more…

SIDEWAYS – Rolfe Kent

October 22, 2004 Leave a comment

sidewaysOriginal Review by Peter Simons

Having received much critical and popular acclaim Sideways can be considered last year’s surprise hit. Being the winning film at the Toronto film festival, it also received seven Oscar nominations in addition to seven Golden Globe nominations of which it won two: for screenplay and film. Combining elements of a romantic comedy and a road movie, Sideways is about the two middle aged men Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) who set off for a week into California’s wine country in search of a good time, lots of wine and women. The chronically melancholy Miles is still recovering from his marital break up from two years ago; while the overly outgoing Jack is about to get wed. Before committing to one woman Jack insists on getting laid during this road trip, though Miles grudgingly disapproves of his friend’s behavior and would rather get drunk on Pinots. However, they meet the mature Maya (Virginia Madsen), who clearly like Miles a lot, and the frisky Stephanie (Sandra Oh) with whom Jack hits it off immediately. Miles’ compulsive obsession with wines and his shy struggle with women; in contrast to Jack’s generally exuberant and overly confident behavior make for many hilarious scenes. The cast perform terrifically and it’s easy to see why moviegoers were surprised by the Oscar’s passing on nominating Giamatti for his lead role. Read more…


October 22, 2004 Leave a comment

survivingchristmasOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Containing what is surely one of the most ill-advised premises ever to drive a mainstream studio movie, Surviving Christmas is one those most unfortunate creations: a Ben Affleck comedy. Ben stars as Drew Latham, one of those fabulously wealthy advertising executives who only exists in the movies, who is facing the holiday season alone after being dumped by his girlfriend (Jennifer Morrison). Desperate for companionship, Drew decides to return to his childhood home: now the house of the Valco family – father Tom (James Gandolfini), mother Christine (Catherine O’Hara), son Brian (Josh Zuckerman), and daughter Alicia (Christina Applegate). Being one of those movie characters who is both amazingly rich and slightly mentally unbalanced, Drew does what any normal person would do and offers the Valcos $250,000 if they will “pretend” to be his family over the Christmas period. Hilarity, as they say, ensues – or in this case, not, as the film sank without a trace at the US Box Office. Read more…

THE GRUDGE – Christopher Young

October 22, 2004 Leave a comment

thegrudgeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The story of The Grudge has a long history. Originally conceived as a TV movie in Japan in 2000 by writer/director Takeshi Shimizu, he adapted his own work for the big screen in Ju-On in 2003. Having been earmarked for the American re-make treatment by producers Sam Raimi and Bob Tapert, Shimizu was once again approached to give life to his subject, thereby putting him in the unique position of being the director of the remake of the remake of his own original film! Essentially a haunted house story, The Grudge tells the tale of Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an American nurse in Japan who, after visiting a seemingly catatonic patient in a everyday suburban neighborhood, finds herself experiencing terrible visions: a pallid, fish-eyed little boy named Toshio, who is virtually silent except when he meows like a cat, is hiding in a cupboard upstairs – and worse still, a ghastly, shadowy specter is hovering over the prone body of the old woman. Despite Karen fleeing the house, she – and everyone else who it comes into contact with – find themselves being haunted by these unearthly presences. Could it be that the house itself is causing these manifestations? And, if so, does it have anything to do with the murder of a mother and son at the hands of their husband/father there years previously? Read more…

BEING JULIA – Mychael Danna

October 15, 2004 Leave a comment

beingjuliaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A period drama with theatrical overtones, Being Julia is the latest film from respected Hungarian director István Szabó. Based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, and set in London during the 1930s, the film focuses on the popular and successful stage actress Julia Lambert (Annette Bening), a woman in her 50s whose youthful elegance allows her to play roles 20-30 years her junior. Bored with her marriage to theatre director Michael Gaslin (Jeremy Irons), and with her stage career, Julia embarks on a passionate affair with Tom Fennell (Shaun Evans), and young and ambitious American abroad. However, when Julia’s stage performances begin to flounder in the wake of her new ‘interest’, Michael replaces her with up-and-coming actress Avice Crichton (Lucy Punch) – who also happens to be Tom’s girlfriend. Intent on becoming the “next Julia”, Avice shines in her performances – but the current Julia isn’t ready to be replaced, and carefully plots her revenge. Read more…

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE – Harry Gregson-Williams, Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman

October 15, 2004 1 comment

teamamericaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In this post-9/11 world, where the threat of global terrorism looms overhead, where the fate of the people of Iraq hangs in the balance, and where political correctness in relation to sensitive subjects has reached fever pitch, thank God that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are around to bring everything back into perspective. The irreverent duo, who inject more intelligent humor into a single episode of South Park than most comedies can manage in a decade, have turned their satirical attention to the world of the American action movies and George W. Bush’s foreign policy with Team America: World Police. Read more…

ARSÈNE LUPIN – Debbie Wiseman

October 13, 2004 Leave a comment

arsenelupinOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Regular readers of Movie Music UK will know that I am a big fan of the British composer Debbie Wiseman. Not only is she blazing a trail for female composers in film music at a time when they are still vastly outnumbered in the battle of the sexes, but she has written a number of staggeringly good scores since she burst on the international scene in the mid-1990s: Tom & Viv, Haunted and especially her 1997 masterpiece Wilde are amongst my personal favorite scores. Taking that into account, you will understand what massive praise I am bestowing when I say that, unequivocally, Arsène Lupin is her finest score to date. Read more…

LADDER 49 – William Ross

October 1, 2004 Leave a comment

ladder49Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

For some reason, there aren’t very many movies made about fire fighters – Ron Howard’s 1991 blockbuster Backdraft being one of the few high-profile exceptions. This phenomenon is odd, as their exploits are inherently cinematic, approaching as they do raging infernos with a degree of selflessness and heroism that makes their exploits an engaging movie-going experience. Also, since many members of the New York Fire Department were killed in the aftermath of 9/11, the lives of the men and women who battle fires on a daily basis have taken on noble, almost mythic proportions in American culture – and it is this angle that director Jay Russell’s film Ladder 49 explores. Read more…