Archive for April, 2011

HANNA – The Chemical Brothers

April 30, 2011 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s not often I find myself completely unable to finish listening to a film score due to me hating it so much, but that’s what happened with Hanna – twice. A contemporary thriller directed by Joe Wright (who previously directed the Oscar-winning Atonement), Hanna stars Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous character, a 16-year old assassin who has been trained by her father (Eric Bana) to be a perfect, and totally unlikely, slaughter machine. When Hanna is dispatched to a remote part of Europe on a mission, the baby-faced killer finds herself having to fight for her own life when she is targeted for elimination by government operatives with a covert agenda of their own. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng, and has garnered generally positive reviews, not least for Ronan’s star performance. Read more…

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS – James Newton Howard

April 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Water for Elephants is a romantic drama based on a popular novel by Sara Gruen. It stars Twilight’s Robert Pattinson as Jacob Jankowski, a young veterinarian during the great depression who leaves his Ivy League school and takes a job with a travelling circus looking after the animals after his parents are killed. It is there that he meets and falls in love with Marlena Rosenbluth (Reese Witherspoon), the circus’s star performer – despite the fact that she is married to August (Christoph Waltz), the circus’s head animal trainer and ringmaster, who has a deeply cruel streak. The film was directed by Francis Lawrence, co-stars Hal Holbrook, Paul Schneider and Jim Norton, and has a quite lovely score by James Newton Howard, reuniting with director Lawrence after their collaboration in I Am Legend in 2007. Read more…

TESTAMENT – James Horner

April 26, 2011 2 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Testament was adapted from a short story “The Last Testament” written by Carol Armen. Originally conceived as a TV movie, Paramount executives were so impressed with the final product that they instead chose to release it in theatres across the country. The story concerns itself with the aftermath of a cataclysmic nuclear war. Its intimate narrative is seen through the eyes of Carol Wetherley, a mother who lives in the northern California town of Hamlin outside of San Francisco. After her husband is lost with the destruction of San Francisco, she struggles with determination and dignity to ensure the safety and continuity of her family. Yet all seems for naught as one by one her neighbors and family begin to succumb to the horrific ravages of radiation poison. The film earned critical acclaim for its intimate portrayal and was a commercial success. Read more…


April 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

For many years I had assumed – entirely incorrectly, as it turns out – that the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth was a one-man show committed by a single opportunist. In actual fact, the events of April 14, 1865, were much more far reaching, in so much as three other co-conspirators attempted to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward on the same evening, but only Booth was successful in dispatching his quarry. Booth was killed by soldiers a few days later, but two of the other conspirators – Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt – were captured and tried. The fourth conspirator, John Surratt, was not caught and so John’s mother, Mary Surratt, was tried in his place, accused of allowing her guesthouse to be used as the base for the assassination plot to be conceived. Robert Redford’s latest film, The Conspirator, looks at these events with fresh eyes, concentrating specifically on the relationship between Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) and Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy), the young attorney assigned to defend her. The film also stars Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood and Danny Huston, and features an excellent dramatic score by Mark Isham. Read more…


April 12, 2011 3 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Robinson Crusoe on Mars was conceived by Ib Melchoir (Angry Red Planet), who envisioned it as the first in a series of literary classics that he would update to the 20th century and adapt to an outer space setting. The film was directed by Byron Haskin (Conquest of Space) and featured stunning cinematography of Martian vistas that were designed by the brilliant team of art directors. It starred Paul Mantee (Kit) as a marooned astronaut who is forced to eject from his spacecraft due to a malfunction. Stranded on an unforgiving surface, he struggles to find food, water, oxygen and combat a terrible loneliness born of his isolation. He is eventually joined by an escaped slave (Victor Lundin), who becomes his man “Friday.” Together they must evade cruel aliens that seek to regain their lost property. Adam West of Batman fame also appeared in the film as Mantee’s co-pilot along with the monkey Mona who steals the show! Regretfully Melchoir would not realize his grand vision of an outer space series as the film just did not resonate with audiences. Read more…

YOUR HIGHNESS – Steve Jablonsky

April 7, 2011 5 comments

yourhighnessOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

While not quite a spoof in the same way that Robin Hood: Men in Tights was a spoof, Your Highness nevertheless is a lighthearted variation on those medieval costume dramas, in which damsels in distress and knights in armor do battle with dangerous enemies and fall in love in the forest. Directed by David Gordon Green, the film stars Danny McBride and James Franco as Thadeous and Fabious, a pair of royal knights – one a lazy oaf, the other a noble warrior – who team up with a warrior princess named Isabel (Natalie Portman) to rescue Fabious’s virginal bride-to-be Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) from the clutches of Leezar (Justin Theroux), an evil sorcerer. The film also stars Toby Jones, Charles Dance and Damien Lewis, and has an original score by Steve Jablonsky. Read more…


April 4, 2011 3 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story is an iconic television movie that was adapted from an Earl Hamner Jr. story starred Patricia Neal and Richard Thomas in a traditional heart-warming story of a poor rural family’s Christmas. The story takes place on Christmas Eve in 1933 during the Great Depression with the children awaiting, with great anticipation, the miracle in the barn when at the stroke of midnight all off the animals speak. The family is also awaiting the homecoming of their beloved father who had to seek employment in the city and is returning home. A snowstorm places Mr. Walton’s return in peril and the family struggles to remain optimistic as the night wears on. But this is a happy tale and when he returns with a bag of gifts all is made right as the family celebrates the joy and warmth of Christmas. The film was made on a very modest budget, but it was an immediate hit, spawned The Waltons – a highly successful television series and remains an enduring classic holiday favorite. Read more…