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Archive for September, 2006

THE QUEEN – Alexandre Desplat

September 29, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997, was something of a turning point in the modern history of the United Kingdom. Up until that time, the British royal family were generally looked upon with fondness. Sure, they had their moments of scandal, Prince Phillip continually said stupid things to people on foreign tours, and there was a section of society which called for them to be abolished and the country turned into a republic. But, beyond this, the House of Windsor was seen as a mighty figurehead, as people who represented the best interests of Britain at home and abroad, as a family to be looked up to and admired. However, the reaction of the Royal Family to the death of Diana caused unprecedented resentment and outcry. The Royal Family’s rigid adherence to protocol was interpreted by the public as a lack of compassion, and all of a sudden the tide turned against them. Now, the Royal Family was cold and insular, out of touch with the thoughts and feelings of the nation they ruled, and totally irrelevant to modern British life. Queen Elizabeth II in particular came in for special criticism, initially for her refusal to allow the Royal Standard on top of Buckingham Palace to fly at half mast, and later for her seemingly forced and insincere broadcast to the nation several days later. Read more…

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THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND – Alex Heffes

September 29, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

There were several “based on true events” historical dramas in 2006 about different parts of Africa, and “The Last King of Scotland” is the best of them. It is a somewhat flawed film, but reaches remarkable heights during it’s best moments, and it lingers with you long after the credits have rolled. Nicolas Garrigan (James McAvoy) is a young Scottish man who’s just gotten his medical degree. Desperate not to become stuck in his father’s medical practice, he runs off to Uganda (of all places) and decides to work in a small medical clinic there, healing the needy and so on. The year is 1971, and Uganda is in the middle of being overthrown by an up-and-coming general named Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). Read more…

RENAISSANCE – Nicholas Dodd

September 22, 2006 1 comment

ALL THE KING’S MEN – James Horner

September 22, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

When it was originally slated for a late 2005 release, “All the King’s Men” was being touted as one of those “can’t-miss” Oscar nominees, with a good director and a cast that Academy members couldn’t help but drool over. Then it disappeared. Many rumors surfaced, as they always do, the most prominent one being that it was feared “All the King’s Men” couldn’t hold up against the 2005 competition. After a year of retooling and new marketing, it’s finally here, and despite the relatively weaker movie crop of 2006, “All the King’s Men” doesn’t stand a chance.

The film is based on the 1946 novel of the same name, which was made into an Oscar-winning 1949 film. Our narrator and central figure, Jack Burden (Jude Law) tells us a familiar story… an idealistic, charming politician (Sean Penn) with big goals who was hindered by his weaknesses… most notably, his weakness for women. If Bill Clinton’s name is coming to mind, it should come as no surprise that James Carville played a major role in helping get this film off the ground. Read more…

THE BLACK DAHLIA – Mark Isham

September 15, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The enduring mystery of the ‘black dahlia’ murder case has intrigued and confounded Hollywood since 1947. It involves the grisly death of an aspiring young actress named Elizabeth Short, who was found dead – literally chopped in half at the waist and dismembered – in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, 8 miles south of downtown Hollywood. The shocking brutality of her killing made her much more of a media figure in death than she ever was in life, who dubbed her “The Black Dahlia”, a pun on the title of the Alan Ladd film The Blue Dahlia, which had recently been released. Despite the efforts of hundreds of police, and the enormous media coverage, Short’s killer has still never been found, although the suspects at the time included such high profile names as publisher Norman Chandler, folk singer Woody Guthrie, gangster Bugsy Siegel, and even Orson Welles. This fascinating history is the basis of director Brian De Palma’s latest film, based on the novel by James Ellroy, which hypothesises one possible version events. The all-star cast includes Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank, and Mia Kirshner as Short. Read more…

HOLLYWOODLAND – Marcelo Zarvos

September 8, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

There’s been an awful lot of buzz surrounding “Hollywoodland” in the past month or two, and that’s not so surprising… at a first glance, the film looks like Oscar material. It’s a handsomely crafted movie boasting a cast with a lot of credentials. To top things off, the movie is based on a true story, which somehow always manages to increase the chances of a film during awards season. Given these elements, it is a bit surprising to find that “Hollywoodland”, on the whole, is rather unremarkable. No, it is not a bad film, and I wouldn’t think of advising anyone not to go see it, but at the same time, I can’t really recommend it. Read more…

LASSIE – Adrian Johnston

September 1, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

The world’s most loveable bitch is back! I refer not to Sir Elton, but to Lassie, that much-acclaimed wonder dog to top all wonder dogs. Sure, Rin-Tin-Tin and Toto had their fifteen minutes, and Scooby-Doo isn’t far behind, but surely Lassie bests them all. If that fact was ever in doubt, this latest adventure seals the deal. One might expect a 2006 version of Lassie to feature a bunch of pop culture references, cameo appearances, in-jokes, and perhaps even a celebrity voiceover for Lassie herself. This “Lassie” is, thankfully, nothing like that, and we can be equally grateful that Timmy and his constantly-trapped leg are nowhere to be found, either. Director Charles Sturridge has crafted a beautiful retelling of Eric Knight’s original novel, which had previously been adapted into the charming “Lassie, Come Home” in 1943 with Elizabeth Taylor and Donald Crisp. Read more…