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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…

PONYO ON THE CLIFF (GAKE NO UE NO PONYO) – Joe Hisaishi

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…

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS – Kevin Kiner

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…