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Archive for June, 2009

CHÉRI – Alexandre Desplat

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A romantic period comedy-drama based on a novel by the popular French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette and directed by Stephen Frears, Chéri is the story of an unusual romance between Léa de Lonval, an ageing courtesan in 1900s Paris, and Frederic Peloux – nicknamed ‘Chéri’ – the 19 year old son of Léa’s friend Charlotte Peloux. Despite the differences between them in age and class status, Léa teaches the eager Chéri about life, love, and sex, shattering stereotypes and upsetting the inflexible social order of the period. The film stars the luminous Michelle Pfeiffer as Léa – still as gorgeous as ever at the age of 51 – Rupert Friend as Chéri, and Kathy Bates, Felicity Jones and Frances Tomelty in supporting roles. The film also has an original score by Alexandre Desplat, whose work and stylistics would seem to fit this genre above any other. Read more…

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MY SISTER’S KEEPER – Aaron Zigman

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A moving family drama directed by Nick Cassavetes from the popular novel by Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper tells the story of Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin), the youngest daughter of Sara and Brian Fitzgerald (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric). The unique thing about Anna is that she was conceived solely to be a blood and tissue donor for her elder sister Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), who has leukemia; now, at the age of eleven and having undergone dozens of medical procedures in order to keep her sister alive, Anna seeks out successful lawyer Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin), with a view to hiring him to earn medical emancipation from her mother.

The sensitive score for My Sister’s Keeper is by Aaron Zigman, working with director Cassavetes for the third time following John Q and The Notebook. Read more…

THE STONING OF SORAYA M. – John Debney

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A devastating drama exploring the subjugation of women in modern day Iran, The Stoning of Soraya M. is a tragic look at how women are mistreated under the stifling confines of Islamic Sharia law. Jim Caviezel stars as Freidoune Sahebjam, a journalist travelling through a remote part of Iran, when his car breaks down near a small village. While looking for help, Sahebjam is approached by a local woman named Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo), who tells him the story of her niece, Soraya (Mozhan Marnò), who was stoned to death by her husband, who wanted nothing more than an easy way out of his marriage.

While not based specifically on any one story, it’s easy to see parallels between Cyrus Nowrasteh’s film and real-life cases such as that of Du’a Khalil Aswad, who was stoned to death in Iraq for supposed adultery in 2007. Read more…

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN – Steve Jablonsky

June 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I recently joked on a film music message board that I should simply recycle my review of Steve Jablonsky’s first Transformers score in order to pay homage to the sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I fully appreciate that sequel scores should maintain a certain thematic consistency with their predecessor, and predicted that in all likelihood Jablonsky would trot out the same tired power anthems and banal über-heroism that he saddled the first film with… but, really, it’s just going to be the same score again, right? Wrong. Somehow, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is actually worse.

The film, which again is directed by Michael Bay and stars Shia LaBoeuf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel and John Turturro, picks up the story a couple of years after the events of the first movie Read more…

YEAR ONE – Theodore Shapiro

June 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A high concept comedy directed by Harold Ramis and starring Jack Black and Michael Cera, Year One follows the fortunes of two prehistoric hunter-gatherers named Zed and Oh, who are banished from their tribe after eating from a forbidden tree, and embark on all manner of adventures, meeting the historical Biblical figures Cain and Abel, becoming slaves in the ancient city of Sodom, and falling in love with two fellow slaves, Maya and Eema. Despite taking a number of peculiar liberties with classical bible stories, following a very odd timeline, Year One features a quirky supporting cast (Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Juno Temple, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and even Vinnie Jones), and was a surprising box office success during the summer of 2009.

The score for Year One is by Theodore Shapiro, who seems to be stuck in a rut of scoring big-budget comedies, despite his talent in other genres. Read more…

MOON – Clint Mansell

June 12, 2009 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An existential sci-fi drama written and directed by Duncan Jones (formerly known as Zowie Bowie, and son of rock icon David Bowie), Moon stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, an employee of Lunar Industries who is coming to the end of his three year stint working at a gas production facility on the moon. As the sole employee of the lunar station, and with limited communication possible with Earth, Sam spends most of his time conversing with GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey), an intelligent super-computer programmed to attend to his needs. However, after Sam is knocked unconscious in accident, he awakens to find that he is no longer alone on the moon, and slowly begins to realize that his world is not what he thought it was. Read more…

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 – Harry Gregson-Williams

June 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A remake of the classic 1974 film of the same name, The Taking of Pelham 123 is a taut thriller about a gang of criminals led by mastermind Ryder (John Travolta), who hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom. However, Ryder doesn’t count on coming into contact with subway dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington), whose normal work day suddenly turns into a battle of wits. The film was directed by Tony Scott, co-stars Luis Guzman, John Turturro and James Gandolfini, and has an original score by Scott’s composer of choice Harry Gregson-Williams.

Whereas the original Pelham 123 has a groundbreaking jazz score from David Shire, Gregson-Williams version is a fairly straightforward modern thriller score; orchestra, grungy electronics and urban rhythms Read more…