Archive

Archive for April, 2008

HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY – George S. Clinton

April 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The sequel to the surprise 2004 hit Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay sees the two perennial stoners – John Cho and Kai Penn – attempting to travel to Amsterdam so Harold can pursue a budding romance with his neighbor Maria (Paula Garces). After running into Kumar’s old girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris) and her obnoxious fiancèe at the airport, Kumar remembers his old feelings for her and decides to try to win her back. However, when Kumar is mistaken for a terrorist, the pair are sent to Guantanamo Bay detention camp – from which, as the title of the film suggests, they must escape. Read more…

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STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE – Danny Elfman

April 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Watching Danny Elfman grow into a sophisticated and technically excellent film composer over the last few years has been one of the most satisfying parts of reviewing soundtracks. His score for Standard Operating Procedure – a devastating documentary by Errol Morris about the appalling events surrounding the Abu Ghraib prison torture abuse scandal in Iraq in 2004 – is probably the most mature and intellectual film score of his entire career.

Morris usually hires Philip Glass to score his films, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that a shorthand way of describing Standard Operating Procedure is ‘Elfman doing Glass’, but should in no way insinuate that Elfman is merely copying Glass Read more…

THE LIFE BEFORE HER EYES – James Horner

April 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Life Before Her Eyes is a quietly devastating drama based on the novel by Laura Kassischke, directed by Vadim Perelman and starring Uma Thurman as a woman who, 15 years after surviving a Columbine-like school tragedy in which her best friend was killed, finds herself becoming increasingly withdrawn and distant from her family, and increasingly wracked by survivors guilt, especially after attending a memorial service for the event. It’s a moving, gently shattering motion picture which features a standout performance by Thurman, and solid support by young actresses Evan Rachel Wood and Eva Amurri. Read more…

PATHOLOGY – Johannes Kobilke and Robert Williamson

April 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

I didn’t see “Pathology”, but most critics seem to agree that it’s yet another dreary horror film without much artistic merit. Starring Milo Ventimiglia of “Heroes”, the film tells the grisly tale of a group of doctors using their medical skills to perform nasty murders. Most film scores for this sort of thing tend to be incredibly boring unless they’re being written by the likes of Christopher Young. Sadly, “Pathology” is no exception.

The music is provided by composers Johannes Kobilke and Robert Williamson, who both had a breakout year in 2008; in addition to “Pathology”, they were also given the horror film “The Midnight Meat Train”. Read more…

THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM – David Buckley

April 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Martial arts fans got a small treat during the summer of 2008 when popular genre stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li appeared together in “The Forbidden Kingdom”. The film received generally positive reviews, and was warmly received by most moviegoers. The score was provided by relative newcomer David Buckley, who had previously scored some very minor features and written additional music for several films scored by Harry Gregson-Williams.

As you might have guessed at this point, Buckley comes from Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control factory, but his work on “The Forbidden Kingdom” proved to a be a bit more inspired than one might expect. Read more…

THE VISITOR – Jan A.P. Kaczmarek

April 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

If you missed “The Visitor”, I strongly suggest giving it a look. It’s a very fine independent drama starring the wonderful Richard Jenkins, who gives one of the finer performances of his increasingly compelling career. The film also receives a score from Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, who won an Oscar for his pretty “Finding Neverland” score. The win didn’t appear to do Kaczmarek any favors, as he hasn’t exactly received many high-profile scoring assignments. While I don’t think Kaczmarek deserved an Oscar win in the first place, he’s certainly a talented composer who typically provides very pleasant albums of music.

For “The Visitor”, Kaczmarek provides a low-key chamber music score that is sentimental without ever getting too soppy. Read more…

LEATHERHEADS – Randy Newman

April 4, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

George Clooney’s third film as a director – Leatherheads – is a real departure from his first two efforts, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck. Whereas those films were serious political dramas, Leatherheads is a light-hearted 1920s caper about the early days of professional American football. Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, captain of the struggling Duluth Bulldogs, who convinces a good looking college football star and war hero, Carter “the Bullet” Rutherford (John Krasinski), to join his team. However, before long, the two men find themselves competing for the attentions of Chicago newspaper reporter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), a stereotypical flapper whose beauty belies her hard-bitten journalistic temperament. Read more…