Archive for July, 2012

BEL AMI – Lakshman Joseph de Saram and Rachel Portman

July 23, 2012 10 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Bel Ami is a historical romantic drama based on the 1885 novel by Guy de Maupassant. Directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, the film is set in Paris in the late 1880s and stars Robert Pattinson as the amoral Georges Duroy, a journalist for the newspaper La Vie Française, who rises from being a junior officer in the French Army in Algeria, to being one of the most powerful and influential men in the city, which he achieves by manipulating a series of well-connected, intelligent, and wealthy mistresses. The film also stars Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci as the women Duroy takes advantage of – both morally, socially and sexually – as he makes his ascent through the decadent world of the rich and the privileged. The film’s equally rich and decadent score is by Lakshman Joseph de Saram and Rachel Portman, who share composing duties equally between them. Read more…

THE ROBE – Alfred Newman

July 19, 2012 2 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century Fox Studio chief Darryl Zanuck chose to use “The Robe” to introduce his new creation Cinemascope to the world. Cinemascope used an anamorphic lens that allowed the filming process to create an image of up to a 2.66:1 aspect ratio, almost twice as wide as the industry standard. He hired veteran Henry Koster to direct and adapted the script from the novel by Lloyd Douglas, which he had envisioned for years. “The Robe” is a Biblical epic, a love story and a tale of a man’s struggle for redemption. Marcellus (Richard Burton) is a Roman military tribune from a noble family who offends Caligula, heir to the Roman throne. In retribution he is deployed to Palestine, thus separating him from his life of luxury and his lover Diana (Jean Simmons). Upon his arrival he is given command of the unit charged with executing Jesus Christ, which he dutifully discharges. While drunk he happens to win in a craps game Jesus’ homespun robe after the crucifixion. The death of Jesus affects Marcellus profoundly, and henceforth he is tormented by recurring nightmares, delusions and guilt for his role in his crucifixion. On orders from Tiberius he returns to Palestine in search of the robe, which he believes has bewitched him. He thus begins a personal journey that will lead him to discover faith, forgiveness and ultimately redemption. The film was a huge critical success, winning two Oscars and a Golden Globe for Best Picture. The film and Cinemascope were also a huge commercial success, earning profits seven times that of its production costs. Read more…


July 17, 2012 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is the first movie based on the very popular series of “mashup” novels by Seth Grahame-Smith, in which a real, famous person or an established literary classic is re-imagined with a science fiction or horror twist. Other entries in the mini-genre include “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, “Queen Victoria: Demon Slayer” and “Unholy Night”, but Abraham Lincoln is the first to make the transition to the big screen. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the film stars as Benjamin Walker as the 16th President of the United States, recounting the story of his early life: having discovered that his beloved mother was murdered, young Lincoln vows vengeance against the man responsible, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas), but is overpowered and almost killed by Barts, who is actually a vampire. Lincoln is rescued and nursed back to health by the enigmatic Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), who trains Lincoln to be a vampire hunter, and promises the idealistic young man that he can exact his revenge when the time is right. The film, which also stars Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rufus Sewell, was originally going to be scored by the Oscar-winning duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, before the film eventually fell into the hands of one of the most talented and creative recent graduates from Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control stable, Henry Jackman. Read more…

MOONRISE KINGDOM – Alexandre Desplat

July 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It is becoming apparent to me that I just don’t get Wes Anderson. The writer-director of a series of quirky comedies with highly specific visual and narrative aesthetics, Anderson’s films – which have included Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox – tend to polarize cinema audiences, who either connect with his wholly unique hipster sensibilities, or find them impenetrable and slightly pretentious. Unfortunately; I fall into the latter camp. His latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, is a similarly oddball comedy-drama about two teenagers falling in love on a New England island in the 1960s: nerdy orphan Sam (Jared Gilman), who is camping there with his scout troupe, and rebellious Suzy (Kara Hayward), who lives on the island with her parents. Sam and Suzy, having met briefly during the previous summer, conspire to run away together, sending the island’s adults into a lather as they frantically comb the island for the missing children. Read more…


July 13, 2012 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

The screenplay for Island at the Top of the World was based on the novel “The Lost Ones”, which was written by Ian Cameron and set in the location of Prince Patrick Island. The film is a classic adventure and discovery tale set in London circa 1907. British nobleman Sir Anthony Ross organizes a rescue party to the Arctic in a desperate search to recover his lost son Donald, who had embarked on an expedition in search of the fabled isle – the “Graveyard of Whales”. Joined by famous archaeologist Professor Ivarsson and Captain Brieux, an aeronaut who pilots the expedition, the team sets off in the Hyperion, an incredible mechanized French dirigible. Fate would have it that they discover an uncharted island named Astragard, or “Garden Of The Gods”, which is home to a lost colony of Vikings separated from humanity for centuries. The team ultimately must contend with a romance between Donald and the Viking Freyja, xenophobic Vikings who are unwilling to let their existence be revealed to the outside world, a fanatical High Priest Godi intent on executing these “invaders”, and lastly, killer whales that defend their sacred Graveyard. The film regretfully was neither a critical or commercial success. It suffered from inferior production quality, rare for a Disney film, and just did not resonate with the public. Read more…

TED – Walter Murphy

July 11, 2012 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Picture the scene: it’s the mid 1980s in suburban America. You’re a ten year old boy, and not very popular, but on Christmas morning your parents give you the most adorable, cuddly teddy bear imaginable. You suddenly have a new best friend – and, that night, you make a wish on a shooting star that your bear would come to life. Amazingly, through the magical power of a young boy’s dreams, the bear does come to life, and everyone lived happily ever after… except that, 25 years later, the bear is still with you, smokes pot out of a bong in your living room, brings hookers home to party, and is a constant irritation to your friends and family. This is the premise of Ted, the live-action cinematic debut of the television-animation icon Seth MacFarlane, whose comic creations on the small screen include Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. Mark Wahlberg stars as John Bennett, the poor schmuck whose life is constantly being ruined by his furry friend, Mila Kunis supports as his beautiful long-suffering girlfriend Lori, and MacFarlane himself voices the eponymous bear. It sounds ridiculous but, truthfully, Ted is one of the funniest films I have seen in a LONG time, filled with a wonderful combination of gross-out humor, verbal sparring and absurd physical violence, but counterbalanced with a genuinely heartwarming story of love, friendship and forgiveness. Read more…

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July 9, 2012 10 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite it only being ten years since Sam Raimi brought the latest incarnation of Spider-Man to the silver screen with Tobey Maguire in 2002, Sony Pictures have given the world one of the dreaded “re-boots” of the story in The Amazing-Spider Man, intending to re-ignite interest in a franchise which has struggled to maintain popularity since the disappointing Spider-Man 3 in 2007. Sam Raimi is replaced in the director’s chair by the aptly-named Marc Webb; Tobey Maguire is replaced by Andrew Garfield; Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane Watson is replaced by Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, and the entire supporting cast is changed too. The film is yet another origin story, explaining how the mild-mannered science buff Peter Parker is transformed into the Astonishing Arachnid Boy by way of a helpful spider bite, and sets about cleaning up New York City in the face of a super-villain, the Lizard. The truly amazing thing about The Amazing Spider-Man is that, contrary to all expectations, it’s better than Raimi’s Spider-Man on almost all levels: story, screenplay, acting, special effects, and even its score, which sees James Horner replacing Danny Elfman (and Christopher Young and all the uncredited ghost writers). Read more…