Archive for April, 2013

KON-TIKI – Johan Söderqvist

April 30, 2013 3 comments

kontikiOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Norwegians have always been great explorers, from the days of Viking invasions almost a thousand years ago, all the way through to the Antarctic voyages of Roald Amundsen, who in 1911 led the first team to reach the South Pole. One of the less well-known but no less heroic figures was Thor Heyerdahl, who in 1947 was the captain of a team of adventurers who successfully sailed across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to the Tuamoto Islands on a balsa wood raft named the Kon-Tiki to prove a scientific point. Heyerdahl’s exploits were captured in a famous 1951 documentary which won an Academy Award, and this new film – also called Kon-Tiki – is a dramatic reconstruction of the story for modern audiences. The film, which was filmed simultaneously in both Norwegian and English for domestic and international audiences, was directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, stars Pål Sverre Hagen in the leading role, and went on to be nominated as Best Foreign Language film at the 2012 Oscars, as well as one of the biggest-grossing Norwegian films of all time. Read more…


April 29, 2013 Leave a comment

startrekfirstcontactexpandedMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

As is consistent of the ethos of the Star Trek universe, we are again treated to a classic morality play that speaks to obsession and the powerful, yet ultimately self-destructive drive for vengeance. The script purposely draws upon classical references of Herman Melville’s great novel “Moby Dick”, which lends a potent gravitas to this latest voyage. The story reveals a bold attack by the Borg to destroy humanity by conquering it not in the present, but instead by destroying its past. Through use of a temporal vortex, the Borg time travel backwards to 21st century Earth, which lays vulnerable having been decimated by a third World War. Their plan hinges on destroying the Phoenix, Earth’s first warp capable ship. History reveals that its inaugural flight elicited a first contact encounter with the Vulcans who happened to be exploring the Terran system. This first contact laid the seed from which arose the United Federation Of Planets. Captain Picard follows the Borg back through time and must overcome his personal demons having been once assimilated by the Borg, as well as his obsession for revenge to save humanity’s future. The film was a critical success earning many awards as well as the most profitable Star Trek film of the franchise. Read more…

42 – Mark Isham

April 26, 2013 Leave a comment

42Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Growing up in England, you don’t really get to know much about the history of baseball. Obviously, we know that the sport exists (even though it is nothing more than fancy rounders!), and having lived in the United States for as long as I have now, I can now throw out some of the most famous names – Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson – and have a basic idea of who they were and what they did. Beyond that paltry smattering, however, the details of most of the rest of baseball lore is still unknown to me, and prior to watching 42 I knew as much about the life of Jackie Robinson as I would expect the average American to know about, say, Laurie Cunningham – and if you just had to Google him you just proved my point. Read more…

OBLIVION – Anthony Gonzalez and Joseph Trapanese

April 25, 2013 1 comment

oblivionOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the things I love most about being a film score reviewer is the opportunity to discover new composers at the beginning of their careers. It’s even more exciting when the said composers find themselves attached to a potential box office smash – which is exactly what has happened to Anthony Gonzalez and Joseph Trapanese with Oblivion. Both these composers worked on the soundtrack for Tron Legacy a couple of years ago, with Trapanese orchestrating and conducting Daft Punk’s score, and Gonzalez having some fun with various remixes via his band M83, and Tron’s director Joseph Kosinski has continued his mini-oeuvre of taking a popular electronica band and translating their music to film with a larger orchestral component. French-born Gonzalez’s band M83 is already pretty well-established, having had several successful albums over the past decade or so, but this is his first film project as a composer in his own right. Similarly, New Jersey-born Trapanese had only orchestrated for Daniel Licht on the TV show Dexter before working on Tron Legacy, which was his first major motion picture experience. Read more…


April 19, 2013 Leave a comment

dienordseeunsermeerOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Die Nordsee: Unser Meer is a feature-length nature documentary directed by Klaus Müller, which looks as the fauna and flora that resides in the water and along the coastlines of the North Sea in northern Europe; from gray seals swimming in the waters off Heligoland in Germany or basking on the chalk cliffs of Dover in England, to large squid in the Dutch Oosterschelde, the film uses helicopters and underwater cameras to observe these lovely creatures from all possible perspectives. Nature documentaries have often elicited some excellent music, ranging from George Fenton’s scores for the BBC over the course of the last 20 years, to Finnish composer Panu Aaltio’s exquisite score for the documentary Metsän Tarina last year, and Die Nordsee: Unser Meer continues the trend. Read more…

EVIL DEAD – Roque Baños

April 18, 2013 2 comments

evildeadOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The original Evil Dead was a groundbreaking and convention-shattering horror movie when it was first released in 1981; it launched the career of director Sam Raimi as a new and exciting voice in genre cinema, and the film itself became notorious as a bloody, darkly funny, brilliant assault on the senses – so much so that, in the UK, it became the poster child of the ‘video nasty’ campaign initiated by the self-appointed monitor of British morals, Mary Whitehouse, and was banned on VHS in England for quite some time. 35-year-old Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez’s new version of the film takes what is essentially the same story – a group of friends make their way to an isolated cabin in the woods, and inadvertently release a terrifying demon into the world by way of an ancient book – but dispenses with much of the original film’s gallows humor, while simultaneously increasing the gore content exponentially for jaded new millennium audiences. Blood, guts, vomit, and other assorted entrails splatter the screen for 92 stomach churning minutes, but somehow the film feels less satisfying than the original, taking itself a little too seriously, and in no way living up to its hyperbolic publicity tagline of being “the most terrifying film you will ever experience”. The film stars Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore, and is produced by Raimi and the original film’s star, Bruce Campbell. Read more…

IN COUNTRY – James Horner

April 16, 2013 1 comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

For years Director Norman Jewison had eschewed making a film about the Vietnam War. Yet with over a decade passing since the fall of Saigon in 1975 he felt the time was at last right to address the war. As such, he chose to adapt Bobbie Ann Mason’s celebrated novel “In Country” for the screen. He did not wish to comment on the politics of the war, instead choosing to embark on a more intimate exploration of the lives of the men who fought bravely and honorable for their country. For his film he chose to explore the aftermath of the war on four men who fought it, as well as their families. The story reveals teenager Samantha Hughes (Emily Lloyd) who yearns to fill the void left by her father’s (Dwayne) death in Vietnam, or “In Country” as veterans describe. She also seeks to better understand her uncle Emmett and his friends Tom, Earl and Pete. Each man has returned home scarred and damaged by their tour of duty and unable to discuss their war experiences. Ultimately Samantha’s unyielding quest to discover her father initiates a liberating catharsis when she and Emmett visit the Vietnam War memorial in Washington D.C. Regretfully the film was a box office disaster and also failed to evoke any critical acclaim. Read more…


April 15, 2013 2 comments

theplacebeyondthepinesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Place Beyond the Pines is a crime drama directed by Derek Cianfrance and starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne and Ray Liotta. Set in Schenectady, New York, over a 20-year period, the film is a riveting drama about fathers and sons, and the ramifications that the actions of one generation can have on the next. Gosling stars as motorcycle daredevil Luke Glanton, who turns to a life of crime robbing banks in order to provide for his baby son, Jason, and the mother, Romina (Mendes), who accepts Luke’s help only reluctantly. Luke’s increasing desperation brings him into contact with Avery Cross (Cooper), a Schenectady cop with a family history of running for political office, who is dealing with a shaky marriage to his wife Jennifer (Byrne) and a young son named AJ, pressure from his own father, and his own discovery of corruption among his colleagues. The film takes some unexpected twists and turns in its second half – which I won’t reveal here – suffice to say that Cianfrance’s measured direction and languid pacing allows the film to develop into a slow-burning familial drama that is both hypnotic and engrossing, especially as the true depth of the generational secrets are revealed. Read more…


April 9, 2013 4 comments

olympushasfallenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Olympus Has Fallen is essentially “Die Hard in the White House”, an action thriller set in America’s capital. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, it stars Gerard Butler as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, who is ‘relieved of duty’ from guarding President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) following an accident in which the first lady (Ashley Judd) is killed. Flash forward a year, and Banning – twiddling his thumbs at a desk job – is suddenly called into action once more when North Korean terrorists led by the ruthless Kang (Rick Yune) manage to successfully capture the White House and take the President and his senior staff hostage. Working alone inside enemy territory, Banning manages to contact acting-President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), and keeps them appraised of the situation behind enemy lines, while he picks off the North Koreans one by one, attempting to get the President to safety. Read more…

ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW – Abel Korzeniowski

April 4, 2013 4 comments

escapefromtomorrowOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Unless you attended the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, it’s likely that you don’t know much about Escape from Tomorrow. It’s a low-budget independent drama/fantasy/horror from director Randy Moore about a man (Roy Abramsohn) who starts to gradually lose his grip on sanity and reality during a family trip to a theme park. What’s so interesting about the film is that it was shot entirely on-location at Walt Disney World in Florida, without the permission or knowledge of the Disney corporation, meaning that Moore and his crew had to resort to guerilla-style filmmaking techniques in order to get the film made. Moore even sent his film to be edited in South Korea so that Disney execs would not find out about the film and shut it down for trademark infringements before it was ever seen in public. Apparently, the film has some less-than complementary things about the Magic Kingdom and its anthropomorphic rodents, and despite its success and popularity with audiences at Sundance, it’s unclear whether the film will ever receive a conventional theatrical release. Read more…

THE CROODS – Alan Silvestri

April 2, 2013 1 comment

thecroodsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Croods is the latest animated film from Dreamworks Pictures, about a family of dysfunctional Neanderthals trying to find a new place to live when the cave that has been their home for years is destroyed. The film is directed by Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders – the latter of whom also directed Lilo & Stitch and How To Train Your Dragon – and has an all-star voice cast featuring Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener and Cloris Leachman. Providing the music for the prehistoric adventure is composer Alan Silvestri, who worked with Sanders on Lilo & Stitch back in 2002, and who is writing his fifth animation score since the turn of the millennium, following The Polar Express, The Wild, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol and the aforementioned Lilo & Stitch. Read more…