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Archive for November, 2004

A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT – Angelo Badalamenti

November 26, 2004 Leave a comment

averylongengagementOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

With the exception of the cult TV series Twin Peaks and the Golden Globe-nominated score for David Lynch’s poetic drama The Straight Story, the vast majority of Angelo Badalamenti’s work has been written for projects on the fringes of the mainstream. He works with offbeat, independent directors like Paul Schrader, and often writes music for films with little or no commercial potential, and often in languages other than English. I’ve been telling myself that I’m a fan of his for quite some time but, when I actually sit down and think about the numbers involved, there are really only four or five titles I actually like: Cousins, The Straight Story, The Beach and Secretary are among them. For this reason I approached his score A Very Long Engagement with a combination of anticipation and unease; on too many occasions, Badalamenti has slightly disappointed me with his final product, despite each film having great potential for excellent music. Fortunately, this is not the case here. Read more…

ALEXANDER – Vangelis

November 26, 2004 Leave a comment

alexanderOriginal Review by Peter Simons

Since the unexpected success of Ridley Scott’s 2000 sword-and-sandals hit Gladiator, historical biopics are in fashion again; showing us glimpses of the lives of Attila, Helen of Troy, Hannibal and, in this instance, Alexander the Great. Oliver Stone’s film primarily focuses on the eight years of the Macedonian king’s life during which he conquered the vast majority of the then known world. By the age of 25, Alexander (played here by Colin Farrell) had led his armies from Macedonia to India and paved the way for Greek culture to spread its influence. Somewhat controversially, the film also emphasizes Alexander’s bisexual nature and his relationship with boyhood friend Hephaestion (Jared Leto). The spectacular supporting cast Stone gathered together includes Angelina Jolie as Alexander’s mother Olympas and Anthony Hopkins as Old Ptolemy, as well as Val Kilmer, Christopher Plummer and Rosario Dawson. Read more…

NOUVELLE-FRANCE – Patrick Doyle

November 19, 2004 Leave a comment

nouvellefranceOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been a while, but Patrick Doyle is back. Having been displaying his considerable talents in the arenas of quiet British comedy (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Calendar Girls) and period farce (Gosford Park) since the turn of the millennium, Scottish composer Doyle has finally returned to the romantic soundscapes he created regularly in the early 1990s and applied them to Nouvelle-France, a lavish French-Canadian film which called for the broad themes, lush orchestrations and powerful melodies many of us fell in love with a decade ago. Read more…

NATIONAL TREASURE – Trevor Rabin

November 19, 2004 Leave a comment

nationaltreasureOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of late-2004’s surprising smash hit movies, National Treasure is a ludicrous but enjoyable action-adventure romp starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Jon Turteltaub. Cage plays Ben Gates, a sort of combination archaeologist/historian/treasure hunter who is carrying on the family legacy by searching for the ‘national treasure’, a hoard of fabulous wealth passed on from generation to generation by Knights Templar and Freemasons, which he believes was hidden in a secret location by the United States’s founding fathers, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Having been double crossed by his former partner Ian Howe (Sean Bean) and left for dead in the Arctic Circle, Ben escapes and returns to home soil, where he teams up with technical whiz Riley (Justin Bartha) and beautiful museum curator Abigail (Diane Kruger). Together, the trio try to locate a map which Ben believes is hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence, and find the treasure before Ian does… Read more…

KINSEY – Carter Burwell

November 12, 2004 Leave a comment

kinseyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Regular readers of Movie Music UK will know that I have often found Carter Burwell to be a ‘hit and miss’ composer. For as much as I enjoyed his work on things like Fargo, Conspiracy Theory, The Hi-Lo Country and Rob Roy, I was left unimpressed with Gods & Monsters, Hamlet, The General’s Daughter, and many of his more popular and successful scores for the Coen Brothers. I don’t really know what my problem is – he is obviously intelligent, talented, and well-liked by directors such as James Foley, Michael Caton-Jones and Spike Jonze, who return to him time after time to score their films. The only think I can chalk it up to is personal musical taste – his scores just don’t “do” it for me on a regular basis. However, having said all that, I safely say that Kinsey is most definitely one which will join the list of Burwell works I admire – for me, it’s easily his most satisfying score of the last five years. Read more…

THE POLAR EXPRESS – Alan Silvestri

November 12, 2004 1 comment

polarexpressOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A film surely destined to be a future Christmas classic, Robert Zemeckis’s film version of Chris Von Allsberg’s children’s tale The Polar Express is one of the most anticipated films of late 2004. Using the revolutionary “motion capture” technique that brought Gollum to life in Lord of the Rings, state-of-the-art animation, and featuring Tom Hanks in a number of vocal roles, The Polar Express brings to life the adventures of a nameless little boy who has come to believe that Santa Claus does not exist. However, late on Christmas Eve night, while the boy is lying in bed listening for the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof, he is amazed to discover a steam engine pulling up outside his bedroom window. The cantankerous but kindly conductor invites the boy on board to accompany several other children on a magical journey to prove that Santa does exist, and that the spirit of the season is alive and well in those who still believe. Read more…

DOGORA: OUVRONS LES YEUX – Étienne Perruchon

November 10, 2004 Leave a comment

dogoraOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A film from the same mold as Godfrey Reggio’s “qatsi” trilogy (Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, Naqotqatsi), Dogora: Ouvrons Les Yeux is a documentary feature which ruminates on life, a film without narrative which uses the powerful combination of imagery and music to tell its story. Directed by Patrice Leconte, who was inspired to make the film after an eye-opening visit, Dogora is a film about Cambodia: its people, the landscape, and the culture. By focusing on the lives of everyday Cambodians as they go about their daily business – eating, sleeping, working, playing, travelling – Dogora provides the world with an intimate, realistic portrait of a still largely undiscovered culture, which is still best-known to the West for its bloody history under the Khmer Rouge regime, and the iconic images of the beautiful Angkor Wat temple which adorns the nation’s flag. Read more…