Archive for September, 2005

DUMA – John Debney and George Acogny

September 30, 2005 Leave a comment

dumaOriginal Review by Peter Simons

A return to director Carroll Ballard’s favorite subject, Duma is based on the semi-autobiographical book by Carol and Xan Hopcraft, and tells the story of young South African boy Xan (Alexander Michaletos), who adopts an orphaned cheetah and becomes its best friend. This simple, uncomplicated plot is virtually a retelling of Ballard’s previous directorial effort Fly Away Home – albeit with big cats rather than geese – as Xan sets out on a quest to release the big cat back in to the wild, struggles with the sudden loss of his father, and adapts to other difficulties with adolescence and growing up. Read more…


September 30, 2005 Leave a comment

motherofmineOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Finland, a country of 5.3 millions people in the extreme north of Europe, doesn’t have the greatest pedigree when it comes to internationally successful cinema. Their most revered artist, Aki Kaurismäki, is virtually unknown outside of art houses, and their most popular success, Renny Harlin, was famously described by Michael Kamen as “a Finnish motorbike rider – not a director. Nice guy, but not in command of that kind of thing” when talking about their collaboration on Die Hard II. Musically, Finland gave the world composers Jean Sibelius and Einojuhani Rautavaara, and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, but have never managed to combine the two arts and provide a world-renowned film music composer. This could all change for Tuomas Kantelinen, however, if Mother of Mine is successful. Read more…

SERENITY – David Newman

September 30, 2005 Leave a comment

serenityOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A big screen re-working of the short-lived TV series Firefly, Serenity marks the return to the cinema of writer-producer-director Joss Whedon, whose first abortive attempts to crack the big screen market resulted in the laughable Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie in 1992. Of course, Whedon’s revamping (pardon the pun) of his own idea became a smash hit through the subsequent Buffy TV series, and as such his stock has risen to the stage where he can now develop his own projects without fear of studio meddling. To this end, and to many people’s surprise, Whedon hired David Newman to score Serenity – an assignment many people had been hoping would come Newman’s way, having been subjected to little more than pointless comedy and sequel scores from him for most of the new millennium. Read more…

DEAR WENDY – Benjamin Wallfisch

September 23, 2005 Leave a comment

dearwendyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A new name in the film scoring community, until now Benjamin Wallfisch has been best known for his work orchestrating and conducting Dario Marianelli’s acclaimed scores Pride & Prejudice, The Brothers Grimm and V for Vendetta. What may not be immediately apparent from those projects is that the 27-year-old Englishman is a talented hugely talented composer in his own right – as his debut score for Dear Wendy attests. A Danish/British co-production directed by Thomas Vinterberg and produced by Lars Von Trier, Dear Wendy stars Jamie Bell as Dick, a young boy in a nameless, timeless American town, who establishes a gang of misfits who are in love with guns as a way of livening up their lives. It’s an unusual, typically Scandinavian film about youthful angst, socio-political issues, and alienation, which opened in the UK in August 2005, but has not received wide distribution in North America beyond the festival circuit, despite actors such as Bill Pullman appearing in supporting roles. Read more…

FLIGHTPLAN – James Horner

September 23, 2005 Leave a comment

flightplanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Up until now, James Horner has had a quiet 2005: with no films since the forgettable The Forgotten last September, he’s done what he invariably tends to do and done nothing, then ended up having six films come out at the end of the year in the space of three months. Discounting the low-budget independent The Chumscrubber, the first of these is Flightplan, a high-concept action thriller set on a sophisticated aeroplane, directed by German debutant Robert Schwentke. The film stars Jodie Foster as Kyle Pratt, an aeronautics engineer who is traveling from Berlin to New York with her young daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston) on a state-of-the-art airliner she helped design. Shortly after takeoff, Kyle drifts into a deep sleep, and when she awakens three hours later, the plane is over the Atlantic Ocean, and Julia is missing. Read more…

OLIVER TWIST – Rachel Portman

September 23, 2005 Leave a comment

olivertwistOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There have been dozens of cinematic versions of Oliver Twist over the years, from the earliest days of Hollywood, to David Lean’s 1948 classic with Alec Guinness and music by Sir Arnold Bax, and the beloved 1968 Lionel Bart musical starring Ron Moody and Oliver Reed. Almost the last person you would expect to make one is Roman Polanski, but make one he has – this time featuring the talents of Ben Kingsley as Fagin, the relatively unknown Jamie Foreman as Bill Sikes, and the totally unknown Barney Clark in the title role. For those who have never seen any of the screen versions, or read Charles Dickens’ classic 1838 novel, about a young orphan boy in a workhouse in London who, having had the temerity to ask for “more food”, is thrown out onto the streets. There he meets a young tearaway known as The Artful Dodger (Harry Eden), the leader of a gang of child pickpockets overseen by the nefarious Fagin, who keeps the ragamuffins fed and clothed in exchange for a home. Read more…

LORD OF WAR – Antonio Pinto

September 16, 2005 Leave a comment

lordofwarOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s interesting to chart the careers of certain film music composers, who they are, and where they come from. I’d be willing to wager that no-one outside of Brazil had heard of Antonio Pinto prior to 1998. He contributed guitar performances and additional music for Jaques Morelenbaum on the Oscar-nominated Central Station in that year, and wrote the score for the surprisingly popular urban drama City of God in 2002 – and now all of sudden he’s scoring a major studio movie in Hollywood, starring Nicolas Cage, directed by man behind The Truman Show, and Gattaca. It’s strange because for the life of me I can’t figure out why he’s suddenly so popular – by and large his music I have found his music to be downbeat and generally unimpressive. Lord of War is no different. Read more…