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Archive for July, 2013

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – Richard Rodney Bennett

July 31, 2013 1 comment

murderontheorientexpressMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Richard Goodwin secured film rights for Murder on the Orient Express from author Agatha Cristie, determined to create a “glamorous star-studded film that was gay in spirit… a soufflé.” He recruited some of the finest stars of the day, which included Albert Finney (Hercule Poirot), Lauren Bacall (Mrs. Hubbard), Ingrid Bergman (Greta), Sir John Gielgud (Beddoes), Sean Connery (Col. Arbuthnot) and Venessa Redgrave as Mary Debenham. The famous Orient Express was a train that ran from Istanbul to Calais and provided transit from Europe to the Middle East. Set in 1935, the story finds renowned and fastidious Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, as a late addition passenger who needs to get back to London immediately. As fate would have it a fellow passenger is found murdered in his stateroom. As Poirot questions the train’s valet, the victim’s accompanying staff, and the first class passengers he finds that many have both opportunity and motive. He soon realizes that several passengers have a connection to the Armstrong family kidnapping and thus he begins to solve a very complex crime. The film had sensational success commercially and received critical acclaim. Richard Rodney Bennett’s score was nominated for both Academy and BAFTA awards, and secured the BAFTA Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music award. Read more…

WHITE HOUSE DOWN – Thomas Wanker and Harald Kloser

July 29, 2013 1 comment

whitehousedownOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Honestly, you wait around forever for a movie about terrorists blowing up the White House, and then two come along at once. Hot on the heels of Olympus Has Fallen is the second of 2013’s big screen demolitions in DC, White House Down, directed by the master of worldwide destruction, Roland Emmerich. Actually, White House Down was the first of the two films in pre-production, but Olympus Has Fallen was rushed out first, stealing some of this film’s thunder and potentially some of its box office spoils too. The film stars Channing Tatum as John Cale, a US Capitol police office and wannabe Presidential secret service agent, who is forced into action when a paramilitary group storms the White House, attacking the incumbent president James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). The film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins and James Woods, and is by far the better of the two similar films, containing a better and more plausible plot, an underpinning of prescient political ideology, and some truly spectacular action. Read more…

THE CONJURING – Joseph Bishara

July 25, 2013 4 comments

theconjuringOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Conjuring is the latest in a series of high profile ‘demonic possession’ movies, following on from such recent successful theatrical efforts as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Devil Inside, The Possession, and the Last Exorcism series. Based on the supposedly true experiences of two paranormal investigators from the 1970s, the film stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga and Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are called to help a married couple, Carolyn and Roger Perron (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston), and their daughters, who have recently moved into an old farmhouse in rural Rhode Island, and who have since been terrorized by a malevolent spirit who appears in the form of an old woman. The film is directed by James Wan, who directed the first (and best) Saw movie, and has opened to generally favorable reviews and good box office returns. Read more…

SPELLBOUND – Miklós Rózsa

July 24, 2013 2 comments

spellboundMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The 1945 Alfred Hitchcock mystery/suspense film Spellbound dealt with the new field of psychoanalysis and the inner workings of the human mind. The story offers testimony to Hitchock’s supreme mastery of suspense, camera work, and cinematography. The stellar cast included Ingrid Bergman playing Dr. Constance Peterson, a psychoanalyst working at the Green Manors mental hospital and Gregory Peck playing her love interest, the dashing Dr. Edwards. This is, at its crux, a love story. We see a cool and analytical Constance lose her professional detachment and immediately fall in love with Dr. Edwards upon his arrival. Sadly unsettling aspects of his personality slowly begin to reveal themselves. As the story unfolds she discovers that her love interest is really an imposter, an outsider trying to falsely portray himself as Dr. Anthony Edwards. Driven by love, Constance seeks to illuminate his path back to sanity by trying to resurrect repressed memories without shattering him in the process, as such the story is a classic commentary on the eternal conflict of heart vs. mind. Read more…

COPPERHEAD – Laurent Eyquem

July 23, 2013 3 comments

copperheadOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Copperhead is the third of director Ronald F. Maxwell’s ongoing series of films examining various elements and aspects of the American Civil War, the first two being the epic Gettysburg (1993) and its sequel Gods and Generals (2003). Based on the novel by Harold Frederic, Copperhead is the story of Abner Beech, a stubborn and righteous farmer from Upstate New York, who defies his neighbors and his government in the bloody and contentious autumn of 1862 by joining the Copperhead movement. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, “Copperheads” were Democrats located in the Northern United States of the Union who opposed Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War, and wanted an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates; they were so named because many saw them as similar to their “poisonous snake” namesakes. The film stars Bill Campbell, Angus MacFadyen and Peter Fonda, and has opened in a small number of theatres in the United States to – unfortunately – generally negative reviews. Read more…

THE LONE RANGER – Hans Zimmer

July 9, 2013 9 comments

thelonerangerOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The character of The Lone Ranger first appeared on WYXZ radio in Detroit, Michigan in 1933, the brainchild of station owner George Trendle and writer Fran Striker. Over the course of the next 70 years the character appeared in almost 3,000 radio shows, countless books and comics, in a much-loved 1950s TV series starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, and in several theatrical movies, the most of recent of which – The Legend of the Lone Ranger – was released in 1981. Following the adventures of a former Texas ranger, morally forthright and unfailingly just, battling bad guys in the Wild West with the aid of his trusty Indian guide Tonto and his horse Silver, The Lone Ranger was massively popular during the early part of the 20s century, but has become something of an old fashioned cliché in recent years, despite numerous attempts to resurrect the character for modern audiences. Sadly, Disney’s $250 million blockbuster seems to be following the trend on the back of appalling reviews and disappointing box office returns, possibly consigning the masked man to the annals of history forever. Read more…

STAR TREK: GENERATIONS – Dennis McCarthy

July 3, 2013 Leave a comment

startrekgenerationsexpandedMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

This seventh film in the franchise was conceived as a vehicle to pass the baton from the original series cast to the Next Generation cast. Set in the late 23rd century, we witness the maiden voyage of the Starship Enterprise B. Members of the original crew, Pavel Chekov, Montgomery Scott and James Kirk attend as honored guests. The maiden voyage quickly turns to disaster as an unseasoned captain and not fully functional ship are forced to rescue two transport ships from a destructive energy ribbon. The Enterprise B manages to save a handful of the ships’ passengers, including a scientist called Soran, but with heavy costs as Captain Kirk is lost when a destructive bolt breeches the hull. Seventy-eight years later, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D seek to defeat a now obsessed scientist Soran who is destroying entire star systems in an effort to regain the alternative reality of the Nexus energy ribbon. In a truly heroic battle, Picard and Kirk join forces to stop Soran before he destroys yet another civilization. The film was a commercial success, earning three time its production costs. Read more…