Archive for November, 2012


November 30, 2012 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Films about mental illness aren’t usually side-splitting laugh-riots, but David O. Russell’s film Silver Linings Playbook, based on the novel by Matthew Quick, manages to stuff plenty of humorous moments into an otherwise quite serious film about an unlikely couple who bond over their respective psychoses. Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a former teacher who had a complete mental breakdown after his wife had an affair with a colleague; returning home from the hospital to live with his Philadelphia Eagles-obsessed parents (Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver), and fully intending to try to reconcile with his wife, Pat unexpectedly meets and bonds with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister of his best friend’s wife, an equally-damaged young woman whose own problems stem from the recent death of her police office husband. The film features career-best performances from Cooper and Lawrence, whose flawed and off-kilter relationship is a satirical reflection of contemporary life – the pair’s first meeting results in them happily regaling each other with tales of prescription psychoactive drug experiences, and develops from there – and I fully expect the top-billed cast and crew to receive Oscar nominations for their work in the New Year. Read more…


November 28, 2012 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The massively successful Twilight franchise reaches its conclusion with the the release of Breaking Dawn Part II, the fifth and final film based on Stephanie Meyer’s incomprehensively successful vampire romance novels that follows the relationship of Bella Swan and her undead paramour, Edward Cullen. Bill Condon returns to the director’s chair, picking up where the last film left off: following the birth of their hybrid child Renesmee, Bella begins her new life as a member of the Cullen vampire clan, and for a while life seems perfect for the newlyweds. However, before long, the Volturi – an ancient order of vampires who essentially set the laws of the vampire world – find out about Renesmee, and mistakenly believe that Edward and Bella have “turned” a human child, a terrible crime which carries the penalty of death for all involved. Fearing for their lives, the Cullens begin to traverse the globe, seeking out vampire allies, in the hope of convincing the Volturi that they have nothing to fear from Renesmee, thereby avoiding the unavoidable confrontation that could mean the end of Cullen family forever. Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson return to their most famous roles for the final time, and are supported by familiar faces Taylor Lautner, Michael Sheen, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellen Lutz, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Burke, Maggie Grace and Dakota Fanning. Read more…

ANNA KARENINA – Dario Marianelli

November 23, 2012 5 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Anna Karenina is a classic of Russian literature, written by the celebrated author Leo Tolstoy in 1873. It tells the story of the titular character, Anna, a Moscow socialite married to the taciturn Alexei Karenin, a stoic Government official 20 years her senior. Anna’s life is thrown into turmoil when she meets and falls for the dashing Count Vronsky, a handsome and wealthy cavalry officer who sweeps Anna off her feet, and shows her the true meaning of love. However, repressive societal norms, pressure from friends and family, and Anna’s own insecurities about what she wants from life means that her difficult choice between a safe, but dull life with Karenin and a wild, but potentially ostracizing life with Vronsky becomes agonizing. The story has been told on film many times over the years; this lavish new version is directed by Joe Wright from a screenplay by Tom Stoppard, stars Keira Knightley as Anna, Jude Law as Alexei, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Vronsky, and has a stellar supporting cast that includes Kelly Macdonald, Olivia Williams, Emily Watson and Matthew Macfadyen. Read more…

NORTH BY NORTHWEST – Bernard Herrmann

November 22, 2012 4 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1958 Screenwriter Ernest Lehman approached Alfred Hitchcock with an offer to “make a Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures.” After brainstorming to find common ground, a plot coalesced around North By Northwest, a case of mistaken identity, murder, romance and a cross-country chase, which ends dramatically atop Mount Rushmore. Hitchcock secured a stellar cast, which included Cary Grant as Roger Thornhill, Eve Marie Saint as Eve Kendall, and James Mason as Phillip Vandamm. The story concerns a Madison Avenue advertising man, Roger Thornhill, who finds himself thrust into the hidden world of spies and espionage when he is mistaken for a man by the name of George Kaplan. He is pursued and hunted by foreign spy Phillip Vandamm and his henchman Leonard who try to eliminate him. When Thornhill is framed for murder he is forced to flee from the police, boarding a 20th Century Limited bound for Chicago. On board he meets Eve Kendall, a beautiful blond who assists him to evade the authorities. Yet all is not as it seems as he discovers that Eve isn’t the innocent bystander but instead Vandamm’s lover. But in another twist Eve is revealed as a double agent and they fall in love. They then join forces and survive a harrowing dramatic escape from Vandamm on the face of Mt. Rushmore. The film is considered to be Hitchcock’s most stylish thriller and was both a critical and commercial success. Read more…

SKYFALL – Thomas Newman

November 20, 2012 9 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Coming in to write the music for your first James Bond movie must be a massively daunting task. In composing the score for Skyfall, Thomas Newman – the multi-Oscar nominated composer of such seminal scores as American Beauty and The Shawshank Redemption – not only had to cope with 50 years of cinematic history after Ursula Andress first slinked out of the Caribbean sea in Dr. No in 1962, but legions of fans who treat the movie franchise as sacred property, and the legacy of the legendary music of John Barry and his heir-apparent, David Arnold. The ‘James Bond sound’ is so iconic and so well-established that it presents a composer as unique as Newman with a dilemma: does he abandon his own sound in an attempt to fit in with the overall sound of the series, risking giving up the very thing that makes him him, or does he compose music in his own inimitable way, establishment be damned, risking the wrath of those who would then surely accuse him of not being ‘Bond’ enough? It’s a challenging tightrope, and one which Newman had to skillfully navigate. Read more…