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Archive for June, 2005

LAND OF THE DEAD – Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek

June 24, 2005 Leave a comment

landofthedeadOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

George A. Romero and zombies go together like peaches and cream, Tom and Jerry, or peanut butter and jelly. The 65-year old American director has built his career on movies such as Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, up to the point where today his name is virtually synonymous with the shambling, moaning creatures of our nightmares. His latest horror effort is Land of the Dead, the fourth installment in the “Dead” series, which stars Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo and Asia Argento as some of the last surviving humans, battling to stay alive in their fortified walled city after the zombies have finally taken over the world. Although some of the previous “Dead” films have included cult-like scores by artists as varied as Italian pop group Goblin and composers Claudio Simonetti and John Harrison, I have never seen their appeal. Although they inarguably suit the bleak nature their films, and though I acknowledge the fact that many of them are extremely popular with devotees of the genre, they have always seemed to me to be too bizarre, too experimental, too much out in left field to be truly enjoyable listening experiences. Read more…

IN MY FATHER’S DEN – Simon Boswell

June 24, 2005 Leave a comment

inmyfathersdenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A searing, dramatically potent, quietly devastating film from New Zealand, In My Father’s Den is the debut feature by writer-director Brad McGann. Based on a novel by Maurice Gee, the film explores the tragic events that befall a small South Island community when one of its long-lost sons returns home. Paul Prior (Matthew McFadyen) is a celebrated but world-weary war photographer who, following the death of his father, returns to his childhood home to seek reconciliation with his brother Andrew (Colin Moy) and sister-in-law Penny (Miranda Otto) and sort out their estate. While exploring in the old house, Paul stumbles across a long forgotten escape: the den of the title, where he and his father once shared their love of life and literature, and where he and his old girlfriend Jax (Jodie Rimmer) explored teenage passions. Read more…

SHALLOW GROUND – Steve London

June 24, 2005 Leave a comment

shallowgroundOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Shallow Ground is the debut international feature from young director Sheldon Wilson, a low-budget independent horror movie with lots of good ideas, but a disappointing lack of sense and professionalism. It focuses on a small sheriff station in a remote California mountain town, staffed by three officers (Timothy V. Murphy, Stan Kirsch, Lindsey Stoddart), all of whom are packing up, ready to leave town following the completion of building work on a nearby dam. Their journey is halted, however, by the macabre appearance of a naked teenage boy (Rocky Marquette), covered from head to toe in blood, who refuses to speak, but who emits a palpable sense of malevolence and menace. Thus begins a terrible night for the Sheriff and his deputies, who try to piece together the mystery of who – or what – this boy is, and what his appearance has to do with the unsolved murder of a local girl a year previously. Read more…

BATMAN BEGINS – Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard

June 17, 2005 Leave a comment

batmanbeginsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The general consensus about the fifth modern Batman movie, Batman Begins, is that the franchise has finally been revitalised. Personally, I always considered Joel Schumacher, the director of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, to have completely undermined the effectiveness of the series, shattering the feelings of gothic grandeur Tim Burton initiated and replacing it with gaudy, neon-lit overkill. In the hands of director Christopher Nolan – whose previous films include the excellent thrillers Memento and Insomnia – Batman Begins is a more introspective film that tempers its large-scale action scenes with a thoughtful, serious edge that marks, for me at least, a step in the right direction. Read more…

THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY AND LAVAGIRL – Robert Rodriguez, John Debney and Graeme Revell

June 10, 2005 Leave a comment

adventuresofsharkboyandlavagirlOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Director Robert Rodriguez’s career continues to confound me: having wowed the world with his ultra low budget thriller El Mariachi in 1992, and subsequently risen to be a “darling of the cool independent set” with films such as Desperado, From Dusk Til Dawn and The Faculty, he has simultaneously developed a sideline in action-adventure children’s movies, notably the Spy Kids series. Rodriguez’s bizarre duel life had arguably reached its nadir in 2005 with the release of the ultra-slick, ultra-violent Sin City, and this polar opposite film: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Co-written by Rodriguez’s 7-year-old son Racer, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl is an unashamedly juvenile action adventure starring young actors Taylor Dooley (female) and Taylor Lautner (male) as the titular Sharkboy and Lavagirl, the imaginary creations of a young kid named Max (Cayden Boyd), who spends most of his time daydreaming up adventures for his super-heroes to have. However, one day, Sharkboy and Lavagirl appear in real life, and bring Max to their home of Planet Drool, which is apparently being destroyed, and only he can save it… It’s a perfect childhood fantasy, and wholesome entertainment for younger kids, but much has been made of the fact that Rodriguez has filmed significant portions of it in rather shoddy 3-D, a cinematic technology that should have been consigned to history a decade ago. Nevertheless, I won’t personally be venturing to the cinema to confirm or deny this for myself, having suffered enough during Spy Kids 3. Read more…

MR. & MRS. SMITH – John Powell

June 10, 2005 Leave a comment

mr&mrssmithOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the kind of high-concept action movies that Hollywood often unleashes during the summer months, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a knockabout action-comedy from director Doug Liman. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star as happily married couple John and Jane Smith who, unbeknownst to each other, work as assassins for rival firms. For a while, and with the exception of the occasional trip to a marriage guidance counsellor, all is rosy in the suburban Smith household – until, one day, two different clients hire them to eliminate the same target, and the pair discover the truth about each other. With their covers blown, all hell breaks loose, initiating the mother of all domestics… Read more…

CINDERELLA MAN – Thomas Newman

June 3, 2005 Leave a comment

cinderellamanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Cinderella Man is a wonderful example of everything that is great and everything that is so frustrating about Thomas Newman’s music. As he has proved in the past through scores such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Meet Joe Black and others, there are few finer composers than Newman when it comes to delivering a big emotional pay-off. The problem is that he does it so rarely that, with each new score, you are never sure whether the right buttons are going to be pressed the first time you slip the CD into the player. Tedious scores such as White Oleander, The Salton Sea and In the Bedroom showed plenty of innovation, but very little “enjoyment”, despite having the potential to sit atop his impressive filmography. Fortunately Cinderella Man falls in the camp of the former scores, although it does lack the thematic beauty and emotional impact of some of his better-known works. Read more…