Archive for December, 2005

THE MATADOR – Rolfe Kent

December 30, 2005 Leave a comment

thematadorOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A rather peculiar buddy movie directed by Richard Shepard and starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear, The Matador is about an unlikely friendship between two men who shouldn’t get along, but do. Brosnan plays Julian Noble, a burned-out hitman trying to perform a few last jobs before getting out of the business. One night in a Mexico City hotel bar, he encounters businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), and strikes up a conversation. They click, and the next day Julian takes Danny to a bullfight – hence the movie title. Feeling enough of a connection to be able to open up to one another, Julian reveals to Danny that he’s an assassin. At first horrified, then fascinated, the two men part as friends, but never expect to see each other again – until Julian shows up at Danny’s Denver home a year later with a business proposition… Read more…

MUNICH – John Williams

December 23, 2005 Leave a comment

munichOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The events of 4 September 1972 are forever etched into the memories of those who saw them unfold. At the 20th Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, members of the Palestinian terrorist organisation Black September took hostage eleven members of the Israeli team – wrestlers, weightlifters, and coaches from the shooting and fencing squads – demanded the release of 234 Palestinians and non-Arabs jailed in Israel, and threatened to kill the hostages if their demands were not met, while the horrified world looked on. As the terrorists attempted to escape to Cairo with their prisoners, German police staged a botched rescue attempt at Fürstenfeldbruck airbase: in the ensuing chaos, all the hostages, all but three of the terrorists, and several policemen were killed. Read more…

THE NEW WORLD – James Horner

December 23, 2005 1 comment

newworldOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

James Horner’s fourth and final score for 2005 is without doubt his most prestigious: The New World, directed by Terrence Malick, tells a new dramatic version of the familiar story of Native American princess, Pocahontas (newcomer Q’Orianka Kilcher), and her first encounter with John Smith (Colin Farrell), the leader of the first English Settlers to land on the shores of what is now the United States of America. Despite the misgivings of Pocahontas’s tribal elders, Smith’s colleagues, and the girl’s age (she was just 14) the pair fall deeply in love – but it soon becomes apparent that their relationship cannot last, and that their forbidden romance will have terrible repercussions for both sides. The film, which also stars Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer, Ben Chaplin, David Thewlis, and Native American character actors Wes Studi, August Schellenberg and Irene Bedard, is about as far from the Disney animated feature as it is possible to be, concentrating on the reality of what life in Virginia in 1607 was like, and the hardships faced by the new settlers in a dangerous and unfamiliar land. Read more…

THE FAMILY STONE – Michael Giacchino

December 16, 2005 Leave a comment

familystoneOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s a wonderful thing to see the career of Michael Giacchino developing in the way it has. In many ways he is the trailblazer of his generation – a massively successful composer in the video game arena who has made the successful transition over into movies, and is now well on his way to becoming a top name there too, off the back of scores such as The Incredibles and Sky High. The fact that he is now regularly scoring major studio movies is one of the most pleasing developments in years, and one can only hope the trend continues. His latest assignment is the romantic comedy The Family Stone, which is likely to surprise many of his most ardent fans, because for the most part it sounds like nothing he’s ever written before. Read more…

KING KONG – James Newton Howard

December 16, 2005 1 comment

kingkongOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There was much controversy surrounding Peter Jackson’s new version of King Kong from the get-go. Initially, there was surprise that the Oscar-winning director would choose this film as his follow up to the massively successful Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then, there were stories of unrest amongst the cast and crew, the need for re-shoots, and the film not playing well with test audiences. Finally, almost as a final insult, original composer Howard Shore had his score rejected at the eleventh hour, officially as a result of “differing creative aspirations”. This left new composer James Newton Howard with less than six weeks to write a replacement score. Many in the industry were worried as to whether Newton Howard could pull it off – but the truth of the matter is that composers often write their best music when under enormous pressure, and King Kong is very much an example of that. The score is, in my opinion, a qualified success. Read more…


December 9, 2005 1 comment

lionthewitchandthewardrobeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A beloved children’s fantasy for generations, C.S. Lewis’s tales The Chronicles of Narnia have been made into radio plays, audio books, and even an acclaimed mini-series made for British TV in 1988, but never before for the big screen. Walt Disney, Walden Media and Shrek director Andrew Adamson have finally managed to right this wrong, with this lavish setting of the first part of the seven-book series, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The story follows the adventures of the Pevensie children – Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) – who, having been evacuated from London at the height of World War II, are sent to the English countryside to live with their eccentric uncle, Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent). While playing hide and seek in the house one day, the children accidentally discover a doorway at the back of an old wardrobe, which transports them to a magical kingdom called Narnia, which is ruled by an evil White Witch (Tilda Swinton), and is in a perpetual state of winter. Read more…

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN – Gustavo Santaolalla

December 9, 2005 2 comments

brokebackmountainOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

When I first read the plot summary of Brokeback Mountain, I half-wondered whether it was a joke at the expense of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, specifically the episode of South Park where Cartman attends the Sundance film festival and loudly complains that “every fucking independent movie is about gay cowboys in Wyoming!” This is because Brokeback Mountain is, in fact, a movie about gay cowboys in Wyoming. It also happens to he a very, very good one, and is fully deserving of all the critical praise it has been receiving. Adapted from Annie Proulx’s short story by Lonesome Dove writer Larry McMurtry, and directed with sensitivity by Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, two young men – a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy – who meet in the summer of 1963 while working on a sheep farm in rural Wyoming, and unexpectedly embark on a brief, but passionate, homosexual encounter with each other. Read more…


December 9, 2005 Leave a comment

memoirsofageishaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of 2005’s most prestigious film projects, Memoirs of a Geisha is a lavish cinematic version of Arthur Golden’s popular novel of the same name. Originally slated to be directed by Steven Spielberg, the film was eventually taken over by Chicago director Rob Marshall, but not before Spielberg had secured the services of his long-time collaborator John Williams to write the film’s score. As regular readers of this site will know, scores which combine oriental sensibilities with western orchestras often receive high ratings and glowing plaudits. Unsurprisingly, Memoirs of a Geisha is not going to buck that trend. Read more…

AEON FLUX – Graeme Revell

December 2, 2005 Leave a comment

aeonfluxOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I sometimes feel quite sorry for film music composers, and what they have to put up with. Un-cooperative uninformed directors, clueless meddling producers, insane deadlines, technical glitches – it’s a wonder certain scores ever turn out as good as they do, considering the difficult circumstances in which they were written. Aeon Flux is one such project: a troubled film from the day it was given the go-ahead, it suffered everything from last minute script re-writes to multiple composer changes. Originally Theodore Shapiro was on board, but before he could record his score he was replaced by Australian/German electronica duo Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek. However, AFTER they had recorded their score, the producers from MTV decided they were still dissatisfied with the finished product, and brought in Graeme Revell to save the day, with just a couple of weeks until the film’s premiere. Revell has been in this situation before, of course, being the last stop on the Tomb Raider merry-go-round back in 2001. That Aeon Flux is this good is testament to his professionalism and time-management skills. That Aeon Flux is this disappointing is testament to more film studio indecisiveness with respect to the part of the process they continually seem to understand the least – the music. Read more…