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Archive for March, 2009

MONSTERS VS. ALIENS – Henry Jackman

March 27, 2009 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the biggest grossing films of 2009, Monsters vs. Aliens is an animated family sci-fi comedy about a young woman named Susan Murphy, who is hit by a meteorite from outer space and grows to enormous size. After being captured by the government, she is taken to a secret where she meets a ragtag group of other “monsters” who have also been rounded up over the years; however, the new friends find themselves thrust into the limelight when they are asked to help defeat a squadron of unfriendly aliens arrive on Earth, having discovered the meteorite’s amazing qualities, and wanting it for themselves. The film, which was directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon and has a stellar voice cast including Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Seth Rogen and Stephen Colbert, features an original score by composer Henry Jackman. Read more…

DUPLICITY – James Newton Howard

March 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Duplicity is a double-crossing spy caper written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who previously worked on films such as Michael Clayton and the Bourne series. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts star as Ray Koval and Claire Stenwick, ex-lovers who specialize in industrial espionage, who team up for one last job: to swindle their respective bosses out of millions of dollars. The film, which also stars Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti, has an original score by James Newton Howard, who received an Oscar nomination the last time he teamed up with Gilroy on Michael Clayton in 2007.

Howard’s score for Duplicity is an exercise in funk; it’s a departure from his usual lush orchestral sound, instead making use of a bank of synthesizers and samplers, a jazz combo Read more…

KNOWING – Marco Beltrami

March 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Knowing is a hugely impressive, enjoyable and thought-provoking sci-fi drama directed by Alex Proyas and starring Nicolas Cage as MIT professor John Koestler. Recently widowed and with a young son named Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), John spends much of his spare time staring into the bottom of a whisky glass, until a time capsule, buried 50 years ago by the class of 1959, is opened at Caleb’s school, and Caleb inadvertently becomes the recipient of a sheet full of seemingly meaningless numbers, scribbled onto the sheet by a strange little girl named Abby half a century ago. After finding the paper in Caleb’s bag, John discovers to his horror that the paper has accurately predicted the date, place and number of deaths of every major human disaster in recent history – and also seemingly shows where the next ones will take place. To reveal what takes place next would do the film a disservice – suffice to say that as the story develops it raises a number of interesting theological and sociological questions while presenting several visually spectacular, emotionally visceral action sequences that are as technically impressive as they are awe-inspiring. Read more…

LESBIAN VAMPIRE KILLERS – Debbie Wiseman

March 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As a red-blooded heterosexual man, there’s nothing I like seeing on my cinema screen more than vampire lesbians. OK, that’s not quite true, but they are still pretty high up on the list, and if you are going to watch people being brutally murdered by members of the undead, at least you should be able to enjoy a little bit of eye candy beforehand. Lesbian Vampire Killers is a new British comedy-horror, very much in the vein of recent hits such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, which takes a well-established genre – in this case the vampire movie – and gives it a fresh, comic spin. Directed by Phil Claydon, the film stars James Corden and Matthew Horne from the hit BBC comedy series ‘Gavin & Stacey’ as two lovable losers who, while on a hiking holiday in rural Wales, encounter a den of blood-sucking nymphomaniacs who are threatening to take over the world. The film also stars Paul McGann, MyAnna Buring, and Silvia Colloca as vampire queen Carmilla, and has an original score by Debbie Wiseman. Read more…

SIN NOMBRE – Marcelo Zarvos

March 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A thriller about illegal immigrants, Sin Nombre is directed by Cary Fukunaga and stars Paulina Gaitán, a teenager trying to cross the border from Honduras into Mexico and, eventually, the United States by stowing away on a train with her father and uncle. However, Sayra’s already difficult journey becomes deadly when she is targeted by members of a vicious local street gang as part of an initiation rite. The score for Sin Nombre is by Brazilian pianist and composer Marcelo Zarvos, who previously earned acclaim for his scores for The Door in the Floor, Hollywoodland and the TV movie Taking Chance. Read more…

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT – John Murphy

March 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A remake of the classic Wes Craven horror movie from 1972, this new version of The Last House on the Left is directed by Dennis Iliadis and stars Tony Goldwyn, Monica Potter and Garret Dillahunt. Like its predecessor, it examines the lengths reasonable people will take when placed in a life-or-death situation, and explores the human psyche, and its capacity for violence under extreme duress. The basic plot revolves around the suburban Collingwood family – Mom, Dad, daughter Mari – and the disintegration of the family unit that occurs when Mari is kidnapped, attacked and left for dead by a group of violent strangers who take refuge at the Collingwoods’ isolated summer home. Read more…

PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND – Christophe Beck

March 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Phoebe in Wonderland is a family drama examining the life of a 9-year-old girl with Tourette’s Syndrome. Elle Fanning (the little sister of Dakota) stars as Phoebe, an odd and insecure little girl, whose parents (Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman) are on the brink of divorce, and whose home-stresses manifest themselves through OCD-like behavior. However, when Phoebe discovers acting, and auditions for a part in the school production of Alice in Wonderland, she finally finds a way to cope with her life and her illness.

The film, which was directed by Daniel Barnz and won acclaim at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, has an original score by French-Canadian composer Christophe Beck. Read more…

RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN – Trevor Rabin

March 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A big-budget remake of the classic 1975 Disney film Escape to Witch Mountain, Race to Witch Mountain is directed by Andy Fickman and stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Las Vegas cab driver who gets drawn into an intergalactic conspiracy and, with the help of a beautiful UFO expert (Carla Gugino), must help two alien children (AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig) return to their space ship while avoiding the clutches of a nefarious research company who wants to exploit their powers.

The score for Race to Witch Mountain is by Trevor Rabin, continuing his collaboration with the Mouse House that he began with National Treasure in 2004. Rabin’s score is fun and adventurous Read more…

SUNSHINE CLEANING – Michael Penn

March 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A very unusual comedy-drama, Sunshine Cleaning stars Amy Adams as Rose Lorkowski, a down-on-her-luck single mom who, in order to raise the tuition funds to send her young son to private school, starts an unusual business – a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service. With her flaky sister Norah (Emily Blunt) in tow, the newly-named Sunshine Cleaning crew quickly find themselves up to their elbows in all manner of messy situations. The film was directed by Christine Jeffs and features an original score by Michael Penn, the musically-inclined older brother of Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn. Read more…

WATCHMEN – Tyler Bates

March 6, 2009 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Watchmen is, by all accounts, one of the most important comic books – or graphic novels – ever written, a critical watershed in the history of the art, and one which set the standard by which all future efforts in the genre were judged. Written by Alan Moore in 1986 with illustrations by Dave Gibbons, it marked one of the first times that the comic book genre had tackled the world of the ‘super hero’ with adult themes and sophisticated contemporary political overtones. Moore’s story is set in a world where the United States is on the verge of nuclear war, vigilantism has been outlawed, and the traditional costumed superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. When one of these government sponsored superheroes is murdered, five other super heroes – Nite Owl, Doctor Manhattan, Ozymandias, the mysterious Rorschach, and the sexy latex-clad Silk Spectre – come out of retirement and team up to solve the mystery. Read more…