Archive for August, 2008

BABYLON A.D. – Atli Örvarsson

August 29, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s funny how career trajectories change. Five years ago, Vin Diesel was a hot new action hero in Hollywood, off the back of smash hit films such as Pitch Black, The Fast and the Furious, and XXX. Recently, however, his star seems to be fading somewhat, and this downturn in popularity will not be helped by Babylon A.D. Based on the comic book by Maurice G. Dantec, the film stars Diesel as Toorop, a futuristic mercenary who takes the job of escorting a woman named Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) from Russia to New York. Initially, Toorop thinks this is just an ordinary mission, but he gradually finds out that his assignment is more dangerous than he realized – Aurora is intended to be the host for an organism that a cult wants to harvest in order to produce a genetically modified Messiah. Despite having an impressive supporting cast (Michelle Yeoh, Gérard Depardieu, Charlotte Rampling), director Mathieu Kassovitz allegedly disowned the film during post-production, stating that it had been “ruined” by the distributors, 20th Century Fox, his fellow producers and other partners, and that his film was now “like a bad episode of 24”. Read more…

TRAITOR – Mark Kilian

August 29, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Traitor is an espionage action thriller directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff and starring Don Cheadle as Samir, an arms dealer and former US Army Special Forces Operative who joins an Islamic Brotherhood organization which conducts suicide bombing missions against western targets; however, unknown to the terrorists, Samir is actually a deep cover intelligence operative, who is actually working to undermine the terrorists for the US government. However, when the only federal agent who knows his true identity is killed, Samir finds himself caught between the Americans and the Muslims, both of whom seem to want him dead. Read more…


August 15, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The creative partnership between filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and composer Joe Hisaishi, despite existing strictly outside the Hollywood world, it nevertheless one of the most fruitful and fulfilling in all of film music. Since first scoring Miyazaki’s 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Hisaishi has scored all of their collaborations since then, including the likes of Laputa, Princess Mononoke, the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Ponyo on the Cliff – or ‘Gake No Ue No Ponyo’ to give it its proper Japanese title – is their ninth film together. It tells the story of a young boy named Sosuke who, while out walking near his cliff top Read more…

FLY ME TO THE MOON – Ramin Djawadi

August 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An animated adventure about three flies who become astronauts on the Apollo 11 moon mission – yes, you did read that correctly – Fly Me to the Moon has an impressive voice cast (Tim Curry, Robert Patrick, Christopher Lloyd, even Buzz Aldrin himself) and even more impressive 3D visual effects, but apparently suffers from a lack of sophistication in its childish writing, and even more worrying lack of a world view in its depiction of the space race – but what do you expect when your lead hero is a musca domestica!

The score for Fly Me to the Moon is by Ramin Djawadi, flying high following his commercial success on Iron Man, and tackling the animated adventure genre for the second time after Open Season in 2006. Read more…

MIRRORS – Javier Navarrete

August 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Yet another American remake of an Asian horror film, Mirrors is loosely based on the 2003 Korean film Geol Sokeuro (Into the Mirror), is directed by Alexandre Aja, and stars Kiefer Sutherland as a troubled ex-cop, now working as a security guard in a high-end department store, who finds himself drawn into a horrific mystery when people start being murdered in grisly fashion by their own mirror images.

The score for Mirrors is by Spanish composer Javier Navarrete, his first major international work since his Oscar nomination for Pan’s Labyrinth in 2006. Read more…


August 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the Star Wars saga has finally lost the plot. After captivating the world between 1977 and 1983 with the original trilogy, and again in 1999 prior to the release of The Phantom Menace, the magic touch of George Lucas has finally vanished following the release of the animated feature The Clone Wars, a badly-rendered adventure telling the story of what happened to Anakin Skywalker in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. It looks like something that would be more at home on the Cartoon Network – in fact, that is where the spin-off TV series ended up – but with a wisecracking Jedi padawan who sounds like Miley Cyrus and a farting baby Jabba the Hutt, the whole think reeks of a franchise stuttering to its final, floundering demise. Read more…

TROPIC THUNDER – Theodore Shapiro

August 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A puerile, abysmally unfunny ‘comedy’ starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Nick Nolte, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder tells the story of a group of pampered, self-absorbed actors making “the ultimate Vietnam movie”, who inadvertently become caught in the middle of a real-life drug war which they mistakenly believe to be part of their hyper-realistic set. Despite deriving the majority of its humor from incessant bad language and gratuitous gore, the film became one of the biggest-grossing comedies of 2008.

One of the few things to work superbly in context, and on CD, is Theodore Shapiro’s score, which follows the tried and tested format of treating the movie absolutely seriously, and as a result is probably the most successful thing about the entire project. Read more…


August 8, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Once upon a time, four teenage girls shared a pair of pants over the course of one memorable summer. Now they’re a little older and a little wiser, they’re starting to fall in love and discover new things, and they’re taking turns wearing the pants again. Yes, it’s called “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.” Bearing that in mind, it’s not surprise to discover that the score has been provided by Rachel Portman, who is drawn to romantic movies like a paper clip to a magnet. Even so, I found the choice of Portman to be a particularly disappointing one in this case. The first film was scored by the perpetually overlooked Cliff Eidelman, whose pleasant music served the film well. Read more…


August 1, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The fourth film in the Mummy franchise, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, was unceremoniously ripped apart by film critics as by the far the weakest link in the franchise. The films have been getting progressively worse and worse as they made their way from The Mummy to The Mummy Returns to The Scorpion King to this film, and straight-to-DVD sequels notwithstanding, director Rob Cohen’s film looks to have finally sounded the death knell over what was once a successful set of films. Brendan Fraser returns as adventurous archaeologist Rick O’Connell, who this time finds himself in the far east in the company of his wife Evie (Maria Bello) and almost-adult son Alex (Luke Ford), crossing paths with the resurrected mummy of an ancient Chinese emperor named Han (Jet Li), whose vengeful spirit was encased – along with his vast army – inside terracotta statues by a sorceress (Michelle Yeoh). Read more…

SWING VOTE – John Debney

August 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A timely film in Barack Obama’s election year, Swing Vote is a conceptually preposterous but light and breezy comedy directed by Joshua Michael Stern starring Kevin Costner as a good natured blue collar guy who, following an unexpected turn of events, finds himself holding the single deciding vote in the US presidential election, and subsequently being courted by both candidates – incumbent Kelsey Grammar, and challenger Dennis Hopper. The film features a stellar supporting cast (Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, George Lopez) and a whole host of real life politicos as themselves, notably Arianna Huffington, Larry King, Bill Maher and Chris Matthews. Read more…