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Archive for December, 2004

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – Andrew Lloyd-Webber

December 24, 2004 Leave a comment

phantomoftheoperaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most beloved musicals in modern history, The Phantom of the Opera was written by British composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber in collaboration with lyricists Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe. It premiered on the London stage with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman in the lead roles, and was an immediate smash hit, with its combination of lush romance, Gothic horror and classic themes of love and loss. Fifteen years later, director Joel Schumacher has finally brought this well-loved musical to the cinema screen as a lavish, large-scale costume-drama which looks set to be successful both at the box-office and at awards ceremonies in 2005. Read more…

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THE AVIATOR – Howard Shore

December 17, 2004 Leave a comment

theaviatorOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The latest movie from acclaimed film-maker Martin Scorsese, The Aviator is an in-depth bio-pic examining the life of movie mogul, businessman and industrialist Howard Hughes who, during the 1930s and 40s was one of the richest men on the planet. Born in Texas in 1905, Hughes (played as an adult by Leonardo DiCaprio) claimed as a teenager that his ambitions in life were to “the world’s best golfer, the world’s best pilot, and the world’s best movie producer”. By the time he died in 1975 he was a recluse, having been reduced to a shadow of a man by his various mental problems, and the increasing severity of his obsessive compulsive disorder. But his life in between was nothing if not eventful: he inherited his father’s drill bit company and was a multi-millionaire by the time he was 19; he produced and directed a number of movies in Hollywood, including the famous “Hell’s Angels” (1930) and “The Outlaw” (1943); he dated many famous actresses of the day, including Jean Harlow (played in the film by Gwen Stefani), Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale); and most importantly (according to this film) he had a life-long fascination with aeroplanes, becoming the owner of TWA, effectively inventing Trans-Atlantic passenger air travel, and breaking numerous air-speed records before a horrific crash in 1946 put an end to it all. Read more…

FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX – Marco Beltrami

December 17, 2004 Leave a comment

flightofthephoenixOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Marco Beltrami, by popular consensus, has enjoyed the most fruitful year of his career in 2004. Having already written excellent sci-fi scores for Hellboy and I Robot, he finishes the year with a score for director John Moore’s re-make of the classic 1965 disaster thriller Flight of the Phoenix. The original was directed by Robert Aldrich, starred Jimmy Stewart and Richard Attenborough, and featured a good score by Frank De Vol. The new version stars Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi and Miranda Otto, but the basic stories are the same: a group of contractors from an oil company are forced to make a crash landing in the Mongolian Gobi desert after the plane taking them home runs into a huge sandstorm. Hundreds of miles from civilization, and with virtually no hope of rescue, the disparate group of survivors are forced to put their trust in the least trustworthy member of the group – a mysterious and insecure man who claims to be an engineer, and who says he can rebuild their wrecked plane and return them safely home. Read more…

SPANGLISH – Hans Zimmer

December 17, 2004 Leave a comment

spanglishOriginal Review by Peter Simons

A comedy about the barrier of language, Spanglish is not exactly the most original movie out there. Newcomer Paz Vega stars a Flor, a Mexican immigrant who moves to America hoping to find a better future for herself and her daughter Christina (Victoria Luna). She finds a job as the personal housekeeper of the Clasky family (Tea Leoni and Adam Sandler). Of course, the fact that she doesn’t speak a word of English does complicate things a little. Directed by James L. Brooks who previously made As Good As It Gets and I’ll Do Anything among others, Spanglish was reasonably successful and showed the world that Adam Sandler is not that bad an actor if given half a chance. Read more…

LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS – Thomas Newman

December 17, 2004 Leave a comment

lemonysnicketOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In what can almost be seen as an extension of the playfulness he showed in writing Finding Nemo in 2003, Thomas Newman has written the score for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, the first big-screen adaptation of the popular children’s stores by author Daniel Handler. Essentially a distillation of three of the Lemony Snicket books – The Bad Beginning”, “The Reptile Room”, and “The Wide Window” – director Brad Silberling’s film stars child actors Emily Browning and Liam Aiken as the Baudelaire children, made orphans in a mysterious fire and sent to live with their thespian uncle, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). What results are – as the title suggests – a series of unfortunate events as Olaf hatches plot after plot to bump off the children and get his hands on their inheritance. With a supporting cast that includes Meryl Streep, Billy Connolly and Timothy Spall, Lemony Snicket looks set to rival Harry Potter in the coming years as the “literary franchise for children” – especially with another ten stories from which to choose future film storylines. Read more…

HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS – Shigeru Umebayashi

December 3, 2004 1 comment

houseofflyingdaggersOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the wake of the success of the Oscar-winning 2000 film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hollywood seems to be in love with Chinese martial arts films. It’s not difficult to see why: with their simple tales of love, honor and revenge, exotic locales and breathtaking scenery, and highly stylized action sequences (which, more often than not, feature characters performing gravity-defying stunts on wires), the genre is inherently cinematic. In 2002, revered director Zhang Yimou made the critically acclaimed Hero starring Jet Li. Having loved the experience so much, he immediately followed it with another film of a similar nature: House of Flying Daggers. Read more…