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Archive for August, 2006

THE ILLUSIONIST – Philip Glass

August 18, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I make no secret of the fact that, for the most part, I’m not a huge fan of Philip Glass’s music. Over the years, scores such as Kundun, The Hours, and his ‘qatsi’ trilogy, which were all acclaimed by the mainstream music media, have generally left me cold and un-moved. His style of writing, the repeated rhythmic patterns, the micro-motifs, and the entrenched ‘minimalism’ just doesn’t appeal to my ear. As far as Philip Glass the composer is concerned, however, I gained a great deal of respect for him as a person when, several years ago, he began conducting a fascinating ‘experiment’ on himself by agreeing to score mainstream Hollywood studio movies – the Angelina Jolie thriller Taking Lives, the Stephen King adaptation Secret Window, and so on – simply to see whether he could do it or not. Whereas the contemporary classical music world tends to sneer at film music as being a lesser art form, Glass took the trouble to discover for himself just how difficult a job being a mainstream film composer can be, and in doing so endeared himself to many who have been arguing this very point for years – myself included. It perhaps comes as no surprise, therefore, to discover that his latest effort is a very high-profile, mainstream studio picture: the elegant magical romantic adventure, The Illusionist. Read more…

PULSE – Elia Cmiral

August 11, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Once upon a time, for a short period, Elia Cmiral was considered a ‘hot property for the future’ in Hollywood music circles. Having taken a tortuous circuit to the mainstream – via his Czech homeland, his adopted country of Sweden, and work on the TV show Nash Bridges – his first major film, the 1998 Robert De Niro thriller Ronin was pretty much roundly praised. Then, two years later, came the nadir: the ill-fated, critically derided Battlefield Earth, which almost single-handedly re-destroyed John Travolta’s career, and catapulted Cmiral into the realms of straight-to-video Z-grade horror movies. Pulse is only his fourth cinematic feature since the turn of the millennium and, unfortunately, neither the film or the score is likely to alter his career trajectory. Read more…

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THE DESCENT – David Julyan

August 4, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the best received and acclaimed British horror movies in many years, The Descent is the sophomore effort of young British director Neil Marshall, who looks set to become a hot cinematic property in years to come if his first two movies are anything to go by. Following on from his hugely popular debut Dog Soldiers, The Descent is a gut-wrenching, viscerally terrifying, white-knuckle rollercoaster of a movie which manages to terrify its audience despite its deceptively simple plot. After the death of her husband and daughter in a freak car accident a year previously, one-time thrill seeker Sarah (Shauna MacDonald) agrees to visit a gang of her old friends on holiday in the Appalachian mountains for a pot-holing expedition, hoping that rekindling the camaraderie will shake her out of her post-traumatic funk. The group – which includes her best friend Beth (Alex Reid), team leader Juno (Natalie Mendoza), and adrenaline junkie Holly (Nora-Jane Noone) – head off into the hills and, at first everything goes to plan. However, a few wrong turns and a freak accident later, the friends find themselves trapped deep in an underground cave system with no obvious way out. Worse yet, someone – or something – seems to be down there with them. Read more…