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Archive for October, 2012

CLOUD ATLAS – Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil

October 29, 2012 6 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Trying to write a brief synopsis of Cloud Atlas is an exercise in futility, given that it is one of the most dense, multi-layered, and complicated – but brilliant – films in several years, but I’ll give it a go. It’s based on David Mitchell’s sprawling 2004 novel, and at it’s core is a story about humanity’s continual yearning for freedom in all its forms, the way in which the threads of life are interlinked across time and space, and how the smallest gestures in one lifetime can have enormous and profound effects on generations to come. The film spans six separate time periods across multiple geographical locations, and even different genres. Contrary to appearances, these disparate elements all do connect with each other, having been expertly woven together by directors Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, who worked separately on three segments each, which were then edited together to form the final cut of the film. It stars an ensemble cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant, all of whom play multiple roles across the different stories, under varying applications of hair, false noses and prosthetic teeth. Read more…

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A WALK IN THE CLOUDS – Maurice Jarre

October 26, 2012 3 comments

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The screenplay for A Walk in the Clouds was adapted and updated from the original 1942 Italian film Quattro Passi Fra Le Nuvole. In this incarnation the setting is California following the end of WWII. Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves), a veteran adapting to civilian life, boards a bus and by chance meets Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon). She is headed home from college to help her family with the autumnal grape harvest of their estate called Las Nubes, or “the clouds.” Victoria is unmarried and with child and fears for her fate when she breaks the news to her traditionalist and old world Mexican father Alberto (Giancario Giannini). A sympathetic Paul proposes to masquerade as her husband in order to assist her in her time of need. As fate would have it, Paul and Victoria fall in love, weathering countless obstacles, including Alberto’s fierce opposition in the process. A crisis that threatens Las Nubes overcomes all opposition and serves to bring the lovers and family together for the quintessential happy ending. While not a critical success, the movie resonated with the public and also earned Maurice Jarre a Golden Globe win for best Film Score. Read more…

LINCOLN – John Williams

October 23, 2012 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the annals of American political history, virtually no-one is as universally admired, revered and respected as Abraham Lincoln. Born into relative poverty in Kentucky in 1809, Lincoln rose from being a simple country lawyer to being elected the 16th President of the United States in 1860. During the course of his presidency Lincoln essentially re-defined the United States as we know it today, successfully defeating the Confederacy in the four-year Civil War, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that essentially ended slavery in the country, and delivering the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous political speeches of all time. He was re-elected in 1864 but, as we all know, was assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth while watching a play in a Washington DC theatre in April 1865, before he could fully establish his second term. There have been many films over the years featuring Lincoln as a central figure, but director Steven Spielberg’s film – simply titled “Lincoln” – is a straightforward biopic of the man’s life and achievements. The film stars Daniel Day Lewis in the eponymous role, and features a stellar supporting cast including Sally Field as Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd, Tommy Lee Jones as republican leader Thaddeus Stevens, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Lincoln’s son Robert, David Strathairn as secretary of state William Seward, and Jackie Earle Haley, James Spader, John Hawkes, Jared Harris and Hal Holbrook in smaller roles. Read more…

WIR WOLLTEN AUFS MEER – Nic Raine

October 22, 2012 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Wir Wollten Aufs Meer (Shores of Hope) is a German-language drama/thriller directed by Toke Constantin Hebbeln and starring Alexander Fehling, August Diehl and Sylvester Groth, all of whom featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Set in East Germany before the wall came down, the film follows the lives of two friends, Cornelis and Andreas, who work as longshoremen on the docks at the port of Rostock, but dream of going to sea, and escaping their country’s crushing communist regime. However, their friendship is put to the test when the Stasi, the East German secret police, approach the pair, asking them to spy on their foreman, Matze, who is suspected to be planning a daring bolt for freedom. Faced with mounting pressure from the government, Cornelis and Andreas must make a terrible decision: can they betray their principles and their consciences and report Matze’s activities to the authorities, knowing full well that he will likely be sent to prison for life, if doing so increases their own chances of a better life? Read more…

ARGO – Alexandre Desplat

October 19, 2012 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979 saw 52 American diplomats being held for over a year by Iranian authorities after the American embassy in Tehran was stormed by students and military officials, in the wider context of the Iranian Revolution that ousted the pro-western Shah of Iran, and brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. Most people know that the public crisis was eventually ended diplomatically by the outgoing President Jimmy Carter, but what people didn’t know – at least, until documents were declassified in the 1990s – is that six embassy staffers escaped from the building before it was taken by the revolutionaries, and spent months hiding at the Canadian Ambassador’s house until they were dramatically rescued by a CIA operative working with a Hollywood makeup artist. This hitherto-unknown story is the basis of Argo, the latest film from actor-director Ben Affleck.

Affleck himself stars as CIA special agent Tony Mendez who, in collaboration with his boss Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston), Oscar-winning makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman), and crotchety studio producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), comes up with an outlandish plan Read more…

THE ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN – Max Steiner

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Warner Brothers had long been attracted to the idea of filming a tale of the legendary lover Don Juan. After six years and countless revisions, screenwriter George Oppenheimer finally completed a script that satisfied Warner Brothers executives. Director Vincent Sherman was able to secure a fine cast that included the mercurial Errol Flynn (Don Juan de Maraña), Viveca Lindfors (Queen Margaret), Alan Hale (Leporello) and Robert Douglas (Duke de Lorca). The story concerns Don Juan de Maraña, Spain’s ambassador to the English court, who has damaged the prestige of the Spanish King with his blatant and insatiable womanizing. Discredited in diplomatic circles, Don Juan attempts to restore his standing after he meets the beautiful Queen Margaret, with whom he falls in love for the first time of his life. Although Margaret is trapped in a loveless marriage with King Philip III, she strives to resist Don Juan’s alluring and seductive advances. In a bold move to restore his honor Don Juan uncovers a plot by the King’s ruthless minister Duke de Lorca, to usurp the King’s authority. Regretfully he is outmaneuvered after De Lorca intimidates the cowardly king into compliance and threatens to execute the Margaret. Yet all is not lost as Don Juan with the assistance of his servant Leporello, fencing master Don Serafino, and court jester Sebastian have the last word. In a series of fierce battles he saves the day with an epic final sword duel with Duke de Lorca. The film was a critical success earning two Oscars, but only a modest commercial success. Read more…

THE IMPOSSIBLE (LO IMPOSIBLE) – Fernando Velázquez

October 15, 2012 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

On December 26th 2004 a massive 9.1 earthquake struck off the coast of the island of Sumatra, causing a colossal tsunami tidal wave to spread violently across the Indian Ocean. Countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and India were severely damaged by the effects of the tsunami, but the country of Indonesia was affected most, with some 131,000 people confirmed killed in its immediate aftermath, and hundreds of thousands more left homeless, and forced to deal with the disease and poverty that inevitably followed. Almost eight years later, the tsunami is generally considered one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recorded history, having already been classified as the largest earthquake for over 40 years, and the third largest on record. Director Juan Antonio Bayona’s film The Impossible – known as Lo Imposible in Spanish speaking countries – stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as Henry and Maria, a normal family who happen to be on vacation in the country at the time the tsunami strikes, and who get caught up in the horrific tragedy. It is through their eyes, their plight, and their struggle to survive that we witness the devastating events unfold. Read more…