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Archive for July, 2008

BRIDESHEAD REVISITED – Adrian Johnston

July 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A romantic drama based on Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 classic British novel, Brideshead Revisited stars Ben Whishaw and Matthew Goode as Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder, two young men who meet at Oxford University, and experience love, life and aristocratic decadence in England prior to the Second World War. Having already been turned into an acclaimed TV series in 1981 with classic music by Geoffrey Burgon, Julian Jarrold’s big screen update boasts an impressive supporting cast – Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon, Greta Scacchi – and new music by composer Adrian Johnston, who seems to excel at writing music for these very austere, very English costume dramas. Read more…

THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE – Mark Snow

July 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A very belated second sequel to the classic X-Files sci-fi TV series, “I Want to Believe” reunites director Chris Carter with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson who, as paranormal investigators Mulder and Scully, are seeking to uncover the details of a mystery involving defrocked priests, missing FBI agents, and black market organ donation rings. Also returning to his most celebrated project is composer Mark Snow, for whom this the most high-profile cinematic score since the teen thriller Disturbing Behavior back in 1998.

Outside of the classic whistled main theme, I’ve never been a fan of Snow’s dark, synthetic music for the original X-Files series or the subsequent movie, and this is no exception. Read more…

THE DARK KNIGHT – Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard

July 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Dark Knight, the second film in the new rebooted Batman franchise, is a truly great motion picture. Since Christopher Nolan picked up the twitching remnants of the series from out of the hands of Joel Schumacher in 2005’s Batman Begins, the character has again become a cinematic force, free of the gaudy neon excesses of Batman & Robin, and back to the dark, gritty, tortured origins people like Bob Kane and Frank Miller envisaged.

Christian Bale again returns as the caped crusader, who this time has to save Gotham from a villainous new adversary: the Joker (a superb Heath Ledger), whose anarchic reign of terror and seemingly mindless spates of violence is causing chaos in the city. Read more…

MAMMA MIA! – Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus

July 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Mamma Mia was one of the first of the current spate of “jukebox musicals”, which take existing pop or rock music – in this case from 70s Swedish super-group ABBA – and write a loose story around a framework of songs by the band in question. Since Mamma Mia premiered on stage in 1999 it has been followed by productions featuring music by everyone from Rod Stewart to Queen and Elvis Presley, but Mamma Mia is also the first one to jump to the big screen.

The film stars Meryl Streep as Donna, a middle-aged woman who owns a taverna on a Greek island, whose daughter (Sophie) is getting married. Sophie harbors dreams of having her father walk her down the aisle Read more…

DEATH DEFYING ACTS – Cezary Skubiszewski

July 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Death Defying Acts is a romantic thriller directed by Gillian Armstrong and starring Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta Jones, which charts the life of the legendary escapologist and illusionist Harry Houdini in the height of his career in 1920s England, and specifically his relationship with Scottish con artist Mary McGarvie.

The music for Death Defying Acts is by Polish/Australian composer Cezary Skubiszewski; despite having worked in the Australian film industry since the mid 1990s, this film represents one of his first internationally recognized works. Surprisingly, there is quite a bit of Philip Glass in Skubiszewski’s work, from the precise rhythmic element that runs through the score, to the little thematic blocks from which the melodic element of the score is derived. Read more…

HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY – Danny Elfman

July 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

After my first few listens through Danny Elfman’s score for Hellboy II: The Golden Army, I had pretty much decided that too much of it was unfocused noise; it was certainly written in Elfman’s easily-identifiable sound, but never quite seemed to gel together as a cohesive score. But then, quite suddenly, the whole thing opened up, and it hit me. I got it, and the wonders of this quite excellent work were revealed. This is probably the best Elfman super-hero score since Batman Returns some fifteen years ago, eclipsing such fan-favorites as Hulk, and his two massively popular Spider-Man scores. Read more…

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH – Andrew Lockington

July 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The last time a major movie was made of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth was 1959, and the composer was Bernard Herrmann. It’s a big pair of shoes for composer Andrew Lockington to step into, but step into them he has, and although his score for the 2008 version certainly does not emulate or surpass Herrmann’s excellent work, the young Canadian has nevertheless created a fun, exciting, enjoyably old-fashioned score which stands as an unexpected highlight in what has otherwise been a largely lackluster summer.

2008’s Journey is the directorial debut of special effects whiz Eric Brevig, whose previous films include Total Recall, Hook, Men in Black and Pearl Harbor. Read more…