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Archive for March, 2011

A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Last Saturday, March 26th, I had the honor attending the recording sessions for “A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project” at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, CA. The brainchild of composer Christopher Lennertz, the Symphony is musical fundraising project designed to help the people of Haiti in their desperate time of need.

A year after the terrible earthquake which destroyed the lives of thousands of Haitians, it was clear to Lennertz that the need for assistance was greater than ever. In response Lennertz came up with the idea of the “Symphony of Hope”, and invited 25 leading film composers to collaborate with him on a project to benefit the Haiti Earthquake Relief fund. Read more…

Movie Music UK Awards 2010

March 27, 2011 10 comments

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Read more…

THE GREAT MIRACLE – Mark McKenzie

March 26, 2011 3 comments

greatestmiracleOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I regularly have conversations with fellow film music aficionados about which composers don’t get the public acclaim, respect and – most importantly – regular assignments we feel they should. Time and again, Mark McKenzie’s name is repeated as one of those men whose music is so amazing, but no-one can adequately give a reason why he isn’t scoring the most important and acclaimed films Hollywood produces. He writes some of the most beautiful, lyrical and emotionally resonant music ever written for film – and I do mean ever written for film – but yet seems quite content to stay out of the limelight, orchestrating diligently for other composers, and writing one score of his own every couple of years. From a purely selfish point of view, this frustrates me immensely, because he quite obviously has the talent to be one of the all-time greats. As it stands, he has scored fewer than 20 films in his entire career, which spans back to 1991. Read more…

THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES – Ron Goodwin

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

thosemagnificentmenintheirflyingmachinesMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

It is 1910 and Lord Rawnsley, an English press magnate of the Daily Post, conceives a great contest designed to affirm to the world, English supremacy of the air. He offers an enormous £10,000 to the winner of an air race from London to Paris. This rich offer serves to bring flyers of all makes from across the world to enlist. What follows is a truly wild, zany and comedic adventure tale with many twists and sub-plots as the various flyers jockey not only for position but also for the affections of countless women. The film was conceived by writer director Ken Annakin who said “I wanted lots of gags, but also wanted to pay tribute to the inventiveness of the early aviators.” The film was a commercial and critical success securing BAFTA, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. Ron Goodwin, the stalwart of British film scoring, was hired and took up the challenge with his usual determination. Embracing the film at face value, Goodwin deliberately wrote unabashedly to the various cultural and actor stereotypes, and so you will hear national anthems, marches, waltzes and folk songs that are woven into a wonderful and outrageous comedic tapestry. And so my friends, buckle up, and let’s fly off on our zany adventure! Read more…

RED RIDING HOOD – Brian Reitzell and Alex Heffes

March 22, 2011 1 comment

redridinghoodOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Poor old Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm must be rolling in their graves, seeing how their old fairy tale has been modernized. Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first Twilight film, has now “Twilightified” the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood in an attempt to capture the same teenage girl demographic by adding a whole load of sex appeal, rippling abdominal muscles, and brooding teenage angst to the story of wolves and grandmothers and little girls in red walking through the woods. Amanda Seyfried stars as Valerie, a young girl from a village in a remote forest who finds herself caught between Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), the man she loves, and Henry (Max Irons), the man she was promised to by her parents – not to mention the looming threat of a werewolf, who has a nasty habit of picking off villagers who wander too far off the beaten path. The film also stars Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Virginia Madsen and Julie Christie. Read more…

COPERNICUS’ STAR – Abel Korzeniowski

March 21, 2011 3 comments

copernicusstarOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2009 for A Single Man, I – like many other film music fans no doubt – went to his website to see who this hitherto unknown composer was and where he came from. There was a section on his site housing MP3s from his previous scores, one of which was the intriguingly titled Copernicus’ Star. Again, no doubt like many others, I was absolutely enthralled and captivated by the staggeringly good music from this unknown, mysterious film. One of the others who had a similar reaction was soundtrack producer Dan Goldwasser, who has since worked with the good people at La La Land Records to get a full soundtrack release – the result of which is this excellent album. Read more…

JANE EYRE – Dario Marianelli

March 17, 2011 3 comments

janeeyreOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë’s timeless tale of love, madness and female empowerment, has been brought to life several times on the big screen, and inspired some excellent scores, most notably by Bernard Herrmann and John Williams. This new film, directed by Cary Fukunaga, stars Mia Wasikowska as the eponymous heroine, who was mistreated and downtrodden as a young girl in 17th century England, but eventually grows up to be the governess of a young girl at the rambling, imposing Thornfield Hall. Jane falls in love with the dashing master of the house, Rochester (Michael Fassbender), but as her relationship with the raffish gentleman develops, increasingly strange things begin to happen during the night in the dark and dusty corridors of Thornfield, testing Jane’s nerve, and her sanity. The film also stars Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins and Judi Dench, and features a sumptuous, utterly beautiful score by Dario Marianelli. Read more…

L’INCORRIGIBLE/VA VOIR MAMAN, PAPA TRAVAILLE – Georges Delerue

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

lincorrigibleMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In L’Incorrigible, lead character Victor played by (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is the quintessential con man, totally beyond redemption, who resumes his nefarious craft following his release from prison. He rents apartments he doesn’t own, sells nonexistent fighter planes to African countries, and assumes many different guises from a gardener, lawyer, private detective, government official, and yes, even a transvestite in order to reap profit from his unsuspecting victims. Remarkably, he manages to fool his charming but very naive parole officer Marie-Charlotte (Genevieve Bujold). When Victor finds out that Marie-Charlotte’s father curates a museum that displays an extremely valuable painting, well, you need little imagination to realize what lies next! The film enjoyed modest commercial success in France. Read more…

AO, LE DERNIER NÉANDERTAL – Armand Amar

March 11, 2011 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Films about prehistoric man tend to fall into one of three camps: they are either straight-out action adventures in which the lead characters all happen to be cavemen (think 10,000BC), or they are hybrids in which modern humans and our Neolithic forebears interact (think Iceman or The Land That Time Forgot), or they are deadly serious character studies which try to genuinely recapture what life might have been like for our ancestors (think Clan of the Cave Bear or Quest for Fire). The French film Ao, Le Dernier Néandertal – The Last Neanderthal – is one of the latter. Directed by Jacques Malaterre and starring Simon Paul Sutton, Craig Morris and Aruna Shields, it tells the story of Ao, a Neanderthal man who, after the death of his entire clan – including his wife and child – decides to make the long trek to the area in which he was born, to try to reconnect with his long-lost brother. While making the perilous journey, Ao must cope with all manner of hardships, terrible weather, and animal attacks, and fears the worst – until he meets a woman called Aki, who is a member of a new and unusual clan which we know as homo sapiensRead more…

GNOMEO & JULIET – Chris Bacon and James Newton Howard

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

gnomeojulietOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There’s not a lot you can say about gnomes, really. They’re ugly little buggers, with their pot bellies and their pointy hats and beards and pipes and fishing rods. They look benign, like little miniature Santa Clauses, but they have evil in their hearts, every one of them. Beloved the world over by seriously deluded expatriate Germans and middle-aged gardeners who have run out of things to do with their flowerbeds, they have become figures of ridicule, in British culture at least – but this hasn’t stopped Touchstone from making a feature length animated film featuring the loathsome little bastards.

Incredibly, Gnomeo & Juliet takes the classic Shakespeare story of tragic romance and re-imagines it with gnomes and Elton John songs. Directed by Kelly Asbury, the film has attracted an astonishingly distinguished voice cast – James McAvoy as Gnomeo, Emily Blunt as Juliet, and supporting turns from Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters and Ozzy Osbourne – as well as a contribution from world famous rock artist Elton John. Read more…

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU – Thomas Newman

March 8, 2011 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Looking back over Thomas Newman’s career to date, it’s interesting to note how much his musical style has altered over the years. During the late 1980s and 1990s he was very much his father’s son; scores such as The Shawshank Redemption, Little Women, Oscar and Lucinda, Meet Joe Black and The Horse Whisperer showcased his lush, theme-driven, string-heavy music, and made him a popular favorite within the film music world. Then, in 1999, he wrote American Beauty, and from then on began his gradual transformation into a composer whose music relies on sound design, instrumental texture and unusual instrumental combinations than the straightforward orchestral through-composing that made many – including me – such an admirer. Since the turn of the millennium, for every Cinderella Man or Angels in America, there have been a half-dozen other “quirky” scores dominating his filmography: Erin Brockovich, White Oleander, In the Bedroom, Jarhead, Little Children, Revolutionary Road. These scores show flashes of the orchestral brilliance of which he is capable, but more often than not eschew the lyricism in favor of rhythm and texture, with very little thematic content to grab hold of. Unfortunately, The Adjustment Bureau is more of the same. Read more…

PATTON – Jerry Goldsmith

March 3, 2011 1 comment

pattonMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

A Patton biopic film was first conceived by Frank McCarthy, a retired general working as a producer for 20th Century Fox in the 1950s. After selling the concept to Studio Executive Richard Zanuck, a screenplay was commissioned that resulted in two incarnations, one by Francis Ford Coppola and another by Edmund H. North. Over time these two screenplays were eventually merged into a single version. Both efforts drew inspiration from two books, Patton: Ordeal And Triumph, a biography by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier’s Story, the memoir of General Omar Bradley. After many years of ‘fine-tuning’, a final script was born and the search for a director and lead actor proceeded in earnest, eventually settling upon Franklin J. Schaffner and George C. Scott respectively. The film from the start was a one-man show, a biopic of a giant among men. Patton can best be described as charismatic, complicated and contradictory; he was deeply religious and yet both vulgar and profane, he was an insufferable narcissist and yet a supreme patriotic, and lastly he was a military tactical genius and yet a poor post war administrator. The film covered Patton’s rise to prominence in World War II during his military campaigns in Tunisia, Sicily, France and the occupation of Germany. It suffices to say that Scott’s performance was a tour de force that transcended the film and earned him a best actor Oscar award that he ungraciously declined to accept. The film went on to win seven Oscars including best picture and remains a popular film to this day. Read more…