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Archive for March, 2010

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – John Powell

March 26, 2010 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

We’re in a Golden Age of animated motion pictures. When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s you got one, maybe two films from Disney in a calendar year, plus the odd independent movie like Watership Down or The Secret of NIMH, or some arty foreign language thing with bad dubbing, but that was about your lot. Since the Disney renaissance began in 1989 with The Little Mermaid the strength and popularity of the animated feature has grown exponentially, to the point where every major studio has its own animation department, well over a dozen full length feature animations are released each year, and companies like Pixar break box office records with apparent ease. The competition is fierce, but the Dreamworks studio seems to have managed the right blend of hip comedy and family-friendly action, spinning off from their massively successful Shrek series with hits such as Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and their 20th and most recent feature, How to Train Your Dragon. Read more…

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THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (MÄN SOM HATAR KVINNOR) – Jacob Groth

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A Swedish-language murder-mystery thriller, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is the first film based on the exceptionally popular series of books by the late author Stieg Larsson. Released under its original title, Män Som Hatar Kvinnor, to great box office success in Scandinavia in the spring of 2009, it is receiving a brief theatrical run in art houses the United States in 2010. The film stars Mikael Nyqvist as investigative journalist Mikael Blomqvist, who is hired by wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) to investigate the disappearance of his niece Harriet some 40 years previously. Meanwhile, punk computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) has been hired by another company to monitor Mikael’s activity, and contacts Mikael when she solves some of the puzzles that Mikael could not; working together, the unlikely pair find out more about the Vanger family than Henrik intended, involving generations of corruption and murder. Read more…

THE PACIFIC – Hans Zimmer, Geoff Zanelli and Blake Neely

March 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When the TV mini-series Band of Brothers first aired in 2001 it was hailed as a great piece of television art; a thoughtful, emotional, well-produced, well-acted and well-directed look at the lives – and deaths – of the men who served in the US military in Europe during World War 2. Almost a decade later, the same group of talented individuals have come together again to make The Pacific, which tells the simultaneous story of the men and women who fought in the Pacific theater against the Japanese at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and all across the Pacific Ocean. The series stars Joseph Mazzello, Jon Seda, William Sadler and James Badge Dale, and began airing on HBO in the United States on March 14, 2010.

The late, great Michael Kamen wrote one of the finest scores of his career for the original Band of Brothers series. For The Pacific, the producers turned to the composing trifecta of Hans Zimmer, Geoff Zanelli and Blake Neely to write almost nine hours Read more…

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Danny Elfman

March 5, 2010 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Much has been written over the years about the creative partnership between director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman. It now stretches back 25 years and encompasses such successful and well regarded films as Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as the animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. Despite it having been repeated ad nauseum to the point that it’s almost a cliché, theirs is one of the most enduring and fruitful composer/director collaborations in cinema today; the two men complement each other intellectually and stylistically, and clearly Burton’s visual style brings out the best in Elfman’s music. Alice in Wonderland is a prime example of this. Read more…