Archive for December, 2008

DOUBT – Howard Shore

December 12, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A challenging religious drama, Doubt is the latest film from writer/director John Patrick Shanley, and is based on his own acclaimed stage play. The film stars Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, a nun who runs a Catholic school in New York in 1964, whose old fashioned traditional beliefs are challenged and is forced to make a difficult decision when she receives word from a fellow sister (Amy Adams) that one of the school’s teachers – the convention-challenging, progressive young priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) – may be abusing a young black student.

An actor’s dream – all four leads (Streep, Hoffman, Adams and Viola Davis have received multiple Award nominations) – Doubt is not a film which required a flashy, showy music to hammer home its challenging, weighty subject matter Read more…

GRAN TORINO – Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens

December 12, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Gran Torino is the second of Clint Eastwood’s films as director; this time he also stars, as grizzled, grumpy, racist former auto worker and Korean War vet Walt Kowalski, who having been recently widowed now spends his time sitting on his porch in suburban Detroit, growling at anyone who ventures on to his lawn, and generally being a disagreeable old bastard to his family and neighbors.

His one true love is his beloved 1972 Ford Gran Torino, which he has lovingly restored to its former glory – so, when his Hmong neighbor Thao (Bee Vang) attempts to steal it as part of a street gang initiation, Walt is understandably not very happy. However, it soon becomes clear that the bookish Thao is not really very interested in being a gangbanger, and gradually Walt and Thao form an unlikely friendship. Read more…

THE READER – Nico Muhly

December 12, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’m trying to remember the last time a composer in his 20s scored a film with as much importance, class and critical acclaim as Nico Muhly has with The Reader. Certainly none of the biggies – John Williams was 34 when he scored his first “serious” movie, The Rare Breed in 1966. Jerry Goldsmith was 33 when he scored Lonely Are the Brave in 1962. Elmer Bernstein was 33 when he scored The Man with the Golden Arm in 1955. The only one who springs to mind is James Horner, who was 29 in 1982 when he scored Star Trek II, but since then film composing has become, if not an old man’s game, then certainly a game for men older than Nico Muhly, who is but a comparative child at just 27. However, listening to his score for The Reader, one would be forgiven for thinking that it was the work of an older, seasoned, and more experienced composer, such is its confidence and technical strength. Read more…

FROST/NIXON – Hans Zimmer

December 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

From a modern vantage point it’s remarkably easy to look back at the events of 1974, to the presidency of Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal and forget just what a momentous moment in American political history it was. The aftermath of scandal – which included incidences of campaign fraud, political espionage and sabotage, illegal break-ins, tax fraud and illegal wiretapping – were far-reaching, and changed the political landscape of the nation forever. Three years after Nixon’s resignation he was interviewed by the British TV journalist and satirist David Frost for the show ‘Frost on America’, and the resulting encounter between the men became one of the most notorious moments in television history when, during the interviews, Nixon made a tacit admission of guilt regarding his role in Watergate, despite having been officially absolved of responsibility and pardoned by President Gerald Ford. This fascinating series of encounters between these two remarkably intelligent and astute men was turned into a play by screenwriter Peter Morgan starring Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost. The play was hugely successful, and was nominated for several Tony Awards, and has now been turned into a feature film by acclaimed director Ron Howard, with Langella and Sheen reprising their roles on the big screen. Read more…