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Archive for June, 2008

WALL·E – Thomas Newman

June 27, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

If one was to try to work out the most financially successful film production company (adding up all the grosses, and dividing by the number of films), I would hazard a guess that Pixar would be up there with the most successful of all time. Since first appearing on the scene in 1995 with Toy Story, every single one of their films has grossed over $200 million at the US box office, with the highest – Finding Nemo – ratcheting up $389 million in 2003. Similarly, the scores for Pixar films have been almost universally lauded amongst critics; seven of the eight films to date have received Oscar nominations for score, or song, or both. Randy Newman won his first (and only) Oscar for Monsters Inc in 2001. The only score to miss out was Michael Giacchino’s The Incredibles in 2004. Read more…

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WANTED – Danny Elfman

June 27, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Wanted is the American directorial debut of Timur Bekmambetov, the Kazakh director of the cult Russian-language science fiction action hits Night Watch and Day Watch. The film stars James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson, an office drone cube-jockey who lives a life of never-ending day-to-day tedium. However, everything is turned upside down when Wesley meets Fox (Angelina Jolie), a sexy assassin, who recruits Wesley into ‘The Fraternity’, an ages-old brotherhood of assassins.

Bekmambetov’s film is a flashy, glitzy, souped-up action flick, completely unlike anything one would expect from a filmmaker from the former Soviet Union, and although the film was not a groundbreaking box office success, it more than illustrates the way in which the language of cinema is becoming less and less separated. Read more…

GET SMART – Trevor Rabin

June 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Get Smart is a remake of the classic 1965 action/comedy TV series of the same name, which followed the comic misadventures of bumbling spy Maxwell Smart as he unintentionally outwits Russian agents and various bad guys without really having the faintest idea of what he’s doing. This version, which is directed by Peter Segal, stars Steve Carell as Smart and Anne Hathaway as his sexy partner Agent 99, plus Alan Arkin, The Rock, James Caan, Terence Stamp and Bill Murray in supporting roles.

The music for Get Smart is by Trevor Rabin, who is going through a quiet period in his career; the score is entertaining enough, but rather throwaway, consisting mainly of faux-heroic martial anthems Read more…

THE HAPPENING – James Newton Howard

June 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s unfortunate that the former wunderkind M. Night Shyamalan’s career seems to be on a downward spiral. The Happening is probably his worst film yet – a bizarre, disconnected ‘thriller’ starring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo and Betty Buckley about the onset and effects of a mysterious air-borne virus which seems to make people want to commit suicide. Much was made of the fact that The Happening was Shyamalan’s first R-r ated film, when in reality the film was little more than a series of peculiar sequences in which people try to outrun the wind while talking in an oddly unrealistic manner, and occasionally suffering gruesome deaths. Read more…

THE INCREDIBLE HULK – Craig Armstrong

June 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Incredible Hulk is the second time they’ve tried to kickstart Marvel’s ‘Hulk’ character with a big-screen adventure after the popular 1970s TV series starring Bill Bixby; the first, critically maligned movie starred Eric Bana as the ill-fated scientist who turns into a green-skinned monster when he gets angry. This new version is directed by Louis Leterrier stars Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, William Hurt and Tim Roth, and stays more within the traditional realms of the accepted comic book history, with Dr Bruce Banner on the run from the US Government after experiments in gamma radiation and military weaponry left him susceptible to his little problem. Read more…

KUNG FU PANDA – Hans Zimmer and John Powell

June 6, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An animated action comedy from DreamWorks that features an astonishing voice cast – Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu – Kung Fu Panda follows the fortunes of Po, a clumsy but well-meaning panda who, despite his enthusiasm, is the worst student at the kung fu academy run by the noble, severe Master Shifu. However, when Tai Lung, an evil snow leopard, escapes from prison and vows revenge on Shifu and his students, Po is unexpectedly revealed to be the one prophesized to stop Tai Lung’s plan and save the academy.

The film, which was enormously popular and successful at the box office, has an original score by Hans Zimmer and John Powell, collaborating on an animated film for the second time, after The Road to El Dorado in 2000. Read more…

MONGOL – Tuomas Kantelinen

June 6, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

For a long time now I have been of the opinion that Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen is one of film’s music’s greatest undiscovered talents, whose expertise and excellence would enliven a partially stagnant Hollywood film music scene. It’s ironic therefore that his biggest international assignment to date – the epic biographical drama Mongol – features one of his least accessible, but conversely most impressive scores.

Mongol, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2008, and was directed by Sergei Bodrov, recounts the early life of Genghis Khan (Tadanobu Asano), who endured life as a slave on the cold, inhospitable steppes of Central Asia Read more…