Archive

Archive for December, 2008

AFRIKA – Wataru Hokoyama

December 31, 2008 Leave a comment

GAME ZONE REVIEW

Original Review by Joseph W. Bat

Now here is an interesting combination: a Japanese developer making a game that is entirely set in Africa, and a musical score recorded in Hollywood. Announced in 2006 for Sony’s Playstation3 as simply Afrika, game developer Rhino Studios’ game has a simple approach. You play as a photographer hired to travel to Africa and are given missions to take photographs of the various wild animals and landscapes found within Africa. While not your typical game, Afrika has been praised for its vivid detailed recreation of Africa and many gamers have been importing the game from Japan since the game is only available in Asia.

For the musical requirements of Afrika, upcoming composer Wataru Hokoyama was hired to write a bold and lush score. Born in Japan and musically trained in America Read more…

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON – Alexandre Desplat

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A film by David Fincher based on the 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the tale of a man who is born old, and gets younger as his life progresses. Set in Louisiana in the late 1800s, it stars Brad Pitt as the titular Button, who is born with the physical appearance of an 80 year old man, much to the shock and embarrassment of his parents. As the years pass, Button gets younger and younger, fighting in wars, attending college, and falling in love – but backwards, and with the knowledge that, the longer time passes, the closer he is to losing everything and everyone around him. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Tilda Swinton, and is tipped to be a major player at the 2009 Academy Awards. Read more…

DEFIANCE – James Newton Howard

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the less well-known stories of heroism in World War 2 is that of the Bielski Partisans, a family of Jewish brothers who, following the invasion of Poland by the Nazis in 1941, managed to flee the advancing troops and make their way to the inhospitable forests of what is now western Belarus. Over the course of the next two years, the Bielski brothers rescued and sheltered more than 1,200 Polish Jews from the Nazis, often fighting in hand-to-hand skirmishes alongside Soviet forces, and survived the war, and in doing so made one of the most significant contributions to the Jewish cause in the Holocaust in terms of lives saved. Director Edward Zwick’s acclaimed film Defiance stars Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell as the Bielski brothers, and has an emotional, powerful, Oscar-nominated score by composer James Newton Howard. Read more…

LAST CHANCE HARVEY – Dickon Hinchliffe

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A contemporary romantic comedy-drama directed by Joel Hopkins, Last Chance Harvey stars Dustin Hoffman as the eponymous Harvey Shine who, while visiting London to attend his estranged daughter’s wedding, meets and forms an unlikely relationship with Kate (Emma Thompson), a middle-aged woman with a somewhat downbeat outlook on life and romance. However, as the pair spend more time together, Harvey finds himself renewed, and vows to repair not only his relationship with his daughter, but everything else wrong with his life before it’s too late.

The music for Last Chance Harvey is by English composer Dickon Hinchliffe, a former member of the indie rock band Tindersticks, and who previously worked on films such as Keeping Mum and Married Life. Read more…

MARLEY & ME – Theodore Shapiro

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A light romantic drama based on the hugely popular best selling novel by John Grogan, Marley & Me is the story of the ups and downs in the relationship of a married couple, John and Jenny Grogan (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston), told from the point of view of their boisterous, mischievous golden retriever, Marley. The film is directed by David Frankel, and has a score by Theodore Shapiro, who scored Frankel’s previous film, The Devil Wears Prada in 2006.

As one would expect, considering the film’s subject matter, Shpiro’s score is generally light, romantic and contemporary, consisting mainly of upbeat orchestral themes augmented by electric and acoustic guitars and various urban percussion items. Read more…

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD – Thomas Newman

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been almost a decade since Thomas Newman wrote, and was Oscar nominated for, his score for American Beauty. In the intervening period, Newman’s work on that film has, arguably, become the most copied piece of music in recent history: the plinking and plonking and rhythmic quirkiness of that score has become cinematic (and televisual) musical shorthand for suburban life, and the things that go on behind the manicured lawns and the white picket fences. Thomas Newman has collaborated with American Beauty’s director, Sam Mendes, twice since then, on Road to Perdition in 2002 and Jarhead in 2005, but Revolutionary Road marks the first return to the setting which initially inspired both men. Read more…

THE SPIRIT – David Newman

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A dark, highly-stylized super-hero action film, written and directed by comic book legend Frank Miller, The Spirit stars Gabriel Macht as rookie cop Denny Colt who, having been killed in the line of duty, returns from the dead to fight crime in Central City as the mysterious, shadowy Spirit. In this adventure, The Spirit locks horns with two master criminals: The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), as super-villain who wants to wipe Central City off the map, and Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), a sexy femme fatale who seduces and marries wealthy men, has them killed, and uses their money to fund her crime empire.

The film, which also stars Scarlet Johansson, was shot in moody black and white using green-screen technology Read more…

VALKYRIE – John Ottman

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Valkyrie is a film based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a German aristocrat and officer in the Wehrmacht who, despite progressing to a position of some power during the Hitler regime at the height of World War II, was a leading member of the anti-Nazi resistance movement, and led a plot to assassinate the Führer in 1944. The film, which is directed by Bryan Singer, stars Tom Cruise as Stauffenberg, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp and Eddie Izzard as Stauffenberg’s co-conspirators in the resistance, and Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten and Thomas Kretschmann in supporting roles. Inevitably, with Singer directing, his frequent collaborator John Ottman is also part of the production team, pulling double-duty as film editor and composer. Read more…

WALTZ WITH BASHIR – Max Richter

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Waltz With Bashir is a very unusual animated documentary, directed by Ari Folman, which examines the horrors of the 1982 Lebanon war from the point of view of the director himself, when he was a 19-year old soldier in the Israeli Defence Force. The film has been the recipient of much praise on the independent film and festival circuit, receiving award nominations from the Cannes Film Festival, the European Film Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. The score for Waltz With Bashir is by Scots-German composer Max Richter, a former student of Luciano Berio, and whose first major film score this is.

The word ‘eclectic’ doesn’t even come close to describing this score; it runs the gamut from modern dance music and percussive electronica Read more…

LARGO WINCH – Alexandre Desplat

December 19, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Largo Winch is a French action/thriller directed by Jérôme Salle, based on the popular Belgian comic book character created by Philippe Francq and Jean Van Hamme. It stars Tomer Sisley as the eponymous character, the estranged son of Nerio Winch, the incredibly wealthy international corporation, who is plucked from an Amazonian prison where he had been falsely accused of drug trafficking after Nerio is murdered. With the vast resources of his father’s company now at his disposal, Largo suddenly finds himself facing danger at every turn, as he tries to unravel the mysteries of his father’s death and his own imprisonment, and unmask those who want to take it the company, by any means possible. Read more…

SEVEN POUNDS – Angelo Milli

December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An affecting drama which reunited actor Will Smith with his Pursuit of Happiness director Gabriele Muccino, Seven Pounds tells the story of IRS agent Ben Thomas who, for reasons which initially are unclear, embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by changing the lives of seven strangers, including a greeting card maker with a heart condition played by Rosario Dawson, and a blind meat salesman played by Woody Harrelson.

The score for Seven Pounds is by 33-year-old Venezuelan composer Angelo Milli, whose only previous international exposure came in 2006 with the Peruvian drama La Mujer De Mi Hermano. Milli’s music for Seven Pounds is performed by a fairly traditional orchestral complement, with emphasis on piano and strings Read more…

THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX – William Ross

December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A delightful animated adventure based on the popular children’s book by Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux follows the fortunes of the titular mouse, a dashing knight gentleman in a fantasy kingdom who sets out to save a beautiful, lonely princess from unscrupulous rats, and bring sunshine back to his home. The film has an astonishing voice cast, including Sigourney Weaver, Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Robbie Coltrane, Christopher Lloyd, Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Richard Jenkins, Frank Langella, William H. Macy and Stanley Tucci, and has a score by the grossly under-valued William Ross.

Following the two appalling, annoying songs (“Soup” and “It’s Great to Be a Rat”) which open the album, Ross’s score finally begins, and what a charming affair it is. Read more…

THE WRESTLER – Clint Mansell

December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A critically acclaimed, Award-winning drama about the life of a washed-up former wrestler struggling to salvage what’s left of his dignity, The Wrestler is directed by Darren Aronofsky and features a career-changing performance by Mickey Rourke as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, an aging professional wrestler decades past his prime, who now barely gets by working small wrestling shows and as a part-time grocery store employee. As he faces health problems that may end his wrestling career for good he attempts to come to terms with his life outside the ring, trying to reconcile with the daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) he abandoned in childhood, and forming a closer bond with a stripper (Marisa Tomei) for whom he has romantic feelings. Read more…

CHE – Alberto Iglesias

December 12, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Marxist revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara led a fascinating life: born in Argentina, he first became politically active after witnessing first-hand the social injustices and abject poverty suffered by his countrymen while travelling around South America on a motorbike. He was later instrumental in overthrowing Fulgencio Batista and installing Fidel Castro as president of Cuba, and became a respected author, politician and philosopher, before eventually returning to his radical roots, instigating coups in other countries, prior to being eventually captured and executed in Bolivia in 1967.

Directed Steven Soderbergh’s film about his life stars Benicio Del Toro as Guevara, and features Julia Ormond, Rodrigo Santoro, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Matt Damon in supporting roles. Read more…

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL – Tyler Bates

December 12, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The original movie of The Day the Earth Stood Still, released in 1951 and directed by Robert Wise, remains to this day a seminal, well-respected science fiction watershed, one of the first times that a movie in the previously much-maligned genre has actually had something important to say. The original film starred Michael Rennie as Klaatu, a visitor from another world who comes to Earth in the company of his giant robot, GORT, to warn that mankind’s increasingly violent nature will lead to the planet’s destruction if it doesn’t change. Also a major part of the original film was Bernard Herrmann’s classic eerie score, most notable for its groundbreaking use of a theremin. Read more…