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Archive for December, 2006

THE PAINTED VEIL – Alexandre Desplat

December 22, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The winner of the Golden Globe for Best Score of 2006, The Painted Veil caps off a truly remarkable year for 45 year old French composer Alexandre Desplat. His other two major 2006 scores – Firewall and The Queen – were both met with general critical acclaim, and further cemented his position as one of the most exciting composers to emerge in Hollywood in recent years. It’s easy to forget that just three years ago he was a virtual unknown outside of his native country, and that his international stature has been built up over the course of just four or five scores. Read more…

WE ARE MARSHALL – Christophe Beck

December 22, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Marshall University, in Huntington, West Virginia, is a fairly unremarkable higher education establishment, famous for sciences, health studies, technology and engineering, and for Billy Crystal having attended one semester there in his youth on a baseball scholarship. Unfortunately, the school is also famous for the worst tragedy in American college sports history when, on 14 November 1970, virtually the entire squad of the ‘Marshall Thundering Herd’ varsity American football team were killed in a plane crash on their way back from a game in North Carolina. Read more…

CHARLOTTE’S WEB – Danny Elfman

December 15, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s a testament to how well-loved E.B. White’s classic children’s tale Charlotte’s Web is when Hollywood stars of the calibre of Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Garner, Kathy Bates, Dakota Fanning and Robert Redford agree to lend their voices to it. The simple tale of young girl named Fern who saves a pig named Wilbur from the chopping block, and who in turn makes friends with a wise a spider named Charlotte, has enchanted youngsters around the world since it was first published in 1952, and was previously made into an animated film in 1973 with songs by Richard and Robert Sherman. This new version, which mixes live action with Babe-like animal CGI, was directed by Gary Winick, and features a delightful score from Danny Elfman. Read more…

DREAMGIRLS – Henry Krieger and Stephen Trask

December 15, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

In the wake of “Chicago” becoming a hit with audiences and Oscar voters, there has been something of a futile effort to revive movie musicals in recent years. We’ve seen one disappointment after another: the poorly-cast “Phantom of the Opera”, the entertaining but hollow remake of “The Producers”, and that simply atrocious theatrical version of “Rent”. Not only are movie going audiences not particularly receptive to musicals, it seems there aren’t many filmmakers who know how to make good ones. The latest stage-to-screen adaptation, Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen’s “Dreamgirls”, is an exception. The film may not be strong enough to give the genre a second wind, but it’s certainly an excellent piece of entertainment. Read more…

ERAGON – Patrick Doyle

December 15, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The back story of Eragon is an interesting one. It was written between 1998 and 2002 by teenage author Christopher Paolini, and is the first book in a projected three-book cycle called The Inheritance Trilogy. A sword and sorcery fantasy featuring dragons, warriors, elves, dwarves and noble quests, it has been criticized in some quarters for being little more than a mishmash of ideas from other, better sources – and not a very well-written one at that. However, such has been its enduring popularity with young adult readers that the story has been adapted into a multi-million dollar movie by 20th Century Fox and debutant director Stefen Fangmeier, who previously worked as a special effects technician, and received Oscar nominations for his work on Twister, A Perfect Storm, and Master and Commander. Read more…

APOCALYPTO – James Horner

December 8, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

What with all the furore surrounding Mel Gibson, his DUI arrest on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and his subsequent drunken anti-Semitic rant to the highway patrol officers, it’s easy to forget that he remains a truly tremendous filmmaker. Apocalypto is Gibson’s fourth film as director, after The Man Without a Face, Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ. Filmed entirely in the Yukatek language of the ancient Mayans, who inhabited what is now Mexico, Belize and Guatemala for millennia prior to the arrival of the Europeans in the late 1400s, Apocalypto is a detailed look at the lives, cultures and traditions of that ancient civilisation, dressed up as an exciting chase-fuelled action movie. Read more…

THE NATIVITY STORY – Mychael Danna

December 1, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

With the festive season almost upon us, what better time is there to look at the history behind Christmas? Director Catherine Hardwicke’s film chronicles the events which form one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith – the story known as The Nativity – and covers all the main elements of the story: the early life of Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, the young couple’s betrothal, Mary’s immaculate conception, Joseph’s visitation by angels, the couple’s arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a census, their desperate search for shelter and being told there is “no room at the inn”, Jesus’s birth in a stable and the adoration by shepherds and magi, and the desperate family’s subsequent flight to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod, who fears for his throne following the birth of the ‘King of the Jews’ and orders a mass cull of all baby boys under his reign. Whale Rider actress Keisha Castle-Hughes plays Mary, Oscar Isaac plays Joseph, Ciaran Hinds plays King Herod, and there are significant supporting roles for Shohreh Aghdashloo, Alexander Siddig, Hiam Abbass and Nadim Sawalha. Read more…