Archive

Archive for September, 2007

LUST CAUTION – Alexandre Desplat

September 28, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There’s been quite a bit of controversy surrounding Lust Caution, the latest film from director Ang Lee. The winner of the prestigious Golden Lion at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival, the film tells the story of the dangerous, passionate relationship between a young woman named Wang Jiazhi (played by Wei Tang), and a shadowy political named Mr. Yee (Tony Leung), who may or may not be involved in espionage for the Chinese government in 1940s Shanghai. The controversy of the film lies not in its politics, but in its raw and realistic depiction of the sexual relationship between Wang and Yee – the MPAA slapped an NC-17 rating on the film following rumors that their lovemaking scenes were NOT simulated. Never afraid to shy away from difficult subject matters – as Brokeback Mountain attested – Ang Lee seems to be molding himself into a modern day version of Nagisa Oshima, whose equally controversial film In the Realm of the Senses polarized cinema-goers in 1976. Read more…

THE KINGDOM – Danny Elfman

September 28, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Peter Berg’s “The Kingdom” is a strange animal. It’s not really much of a thriller, or an educational film about another culture, or a slice-of-life movie, or a political sermon… and yet, there’s plenty of action, explosions, foreign locations, and sermonizing. The movie doesn’t quite work on any level, and yet it’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly everything went wrong. The movie fails by not succeeding, rather than by any major slip made along to road.

Danny Elfman’s score is unfortunately as underwhelming as the film itself, and also fails simply by not succeeding. Elfman manages to avoid all the usual clichés of middle-eastern scores… wailing women, duduks, and so on… but the generic thriller music he provides has very little of Elfman’s own voice Read more…

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD – Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

September 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The notorious American outlaw Jesse James was a living legend by the time he was 30, famous for his exploits as a civil war hero, and later as a train robber and a bank robber. James, while still on the run from the law, was killed by Robert Ford, a member of his own gang, at the age of 34 in 1882, thereby cementing his place in the folk history of the American west. James’s life, and death, is examined in director Andrew Dominik’s dark, contemplative film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which stars Brad Pitt as James, Casey Affleck as Ford, and has a sterling supporting cast comprising the likes of Mary-Louise Parker, Sam Shepard and Zooey Deschanel. Read more…

INTO THE WILD – Michael Brook and Eddie Vedder

September 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An acclaimed drama directed by Sean Penn, and based on a true story, Into the Wild charts the life of Christopher McCandless, a privileged upper-middle-class American kid from a wealthy family who, despite graduating from University as a top student and a gifted athlete, abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness – and in the process became the poster child for anti-establishment anti-materialists across the world. Penn’s film stars Emile Hirsch as McCandless, Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt as his parents, and Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn and Hal Holbrook in supporting roles. Read more…

THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB – Aaron Zigman

September 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ah, Jane Austen. She of the manners and etiquette, the unrequited love, the stoic heroes, the flighty maidens, the English countryside. Love her or loathe her, the work of popular English novelist has become a part of the modern literary – and cinematic – language through the popularity of titles like Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Emma. Robin Swicord’s film The Jane Austen Book Club, based on the novel by Karen Joy Fowler, tells the story of six romantic misfits who come together to read and discuss one Austen novel per month ion the hope that it will bring some sparkle back into their lives, only to find that their relationships – both old and new – begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels. Read more…

RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION – Charlie Clouser

September 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

After three movies, the Resident Evil franchise is still – amazingly – still going strong, with Milla Jovovich still kicking mutant ass as freedom fighter Alice, who has made her way to what remains of Las Vegas and trying to stay alive and stay out of the way of the evil creatures that now roam the earth, following the catastrophes of the first two films. Extinction is directed by veteran Russell Mulcahy, and also stars Oded Fehr, Ali Larter and Iain Glen.

After efforts by Marco Beltrami, Marilyn Manson and Jeff Danna, this movie features a score by the inexplicably popular Charlie Clouser, hot of his success on the similarly-grotesque Saw franchise. True to his roots as a former member of the metal rock band Nine Inch Nails, the score is entirely synthesized, performed by Clouser himself and his former band mate, guitarist Danny Lohner Read more…

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE – Elliot Goldenthal

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Full disclosure: I love The Beatles. Also, I love Julie Taymor (if my wife or Elliot Goldenthal are reading, I only love her in the artistic sense). So, when I heard about Julie Taymor (“Titus”, “Frida”) was directing a musical centered around songs of The Beatles (Greatest Band Ever), I was pretty thrilled. Of course, as a big Beatles fan, I approached the film with a certain amount of caution, too: though I was likely to enjoy the movie more than the average person, I was also more likely to be disappointed by the songs if they turned out to be bad covers of the tunes I loved.

Beatles musicals of the past (most of which starred The Beatles) were giddy, silly, joyful affairs full of campy comedy and terrific music… unless you count “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which was bad comedy and terrible music Read more…