Archive for October, 2013


October 25, 2013 Leave a comment

mamamanestenameriqueOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ma Maman Est En Amérique, Elle a Rencontré Buffalo Bill is an animated French film directed by Marc Boreal and Thibaud Catel, based on the graphic novel of the same name by Jean Regnaud and Émile Bravo. It tells the story of Jean, a six year old boy starting a new school. Having grown up without a mother, and not knowing who or where she is, he begins to make up tall tales about her and her adventurous life in order to impress his new school friends – even going so far as to create fake postcards and letters from her from Africa and the United States. However, his neighbor Michele, knows the truth about Jean’s real life, and the young friends bond over their unusual, imaginary family. The score for Ma Maman Est En Amérique, Elle a Rencontré Buffalo Bill is by the French composer and songwriter Fabrice Aboulker, and is yet another unexpected delight. Light, playful, thematic, and with some lovely passages for piano, strings and woodwinds, the score belies its children’s cartoon roots almost entirely by containing surprisingly sophisticated writing, all performed superbly by the Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra, recorded in Skopje. Read more…


October 25, 2013 1 comment

thewindrisesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

If the rumors are true, it seems as though The Wind Rises will be the last feature film directed by the acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. His is a career that stretches back 50 years, during which he has been largely responsible for the popularization of the anime genre in the West, through films such as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, all of which were produced by his production company, Studio Ghibli. His emotional, sensitive films tackle weighty issues to do with the environment, pacifism, dreams, and destiny, often presented through a series of fantastical and magical stories, nearly all of which feature a strong female protagonist. Read more…


October 21, 2013 Leave a comment

eltiempoentrecosturasOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

El Tiempo Entre Costuras, “The Time Between Seams”, is an epic Spanish TV series based on the novel by María Dueñas. Broadcast on the Antena 3 network in October 2013, it stars Adriana Ugarte as Sira Quiroga, a seamstress in Madrid in the 1930s, who is forced to flee her home when the Spanish Civil War breaks out. The score for El Tiempo Entre Costuras is by Los Angeles-based Andalusian composer César Benito, and it’s absolutely sensational. There’s something captivating, emotional, entrancing about César Benito’s work here. Epic, yet intimate, sweeping, yet personal, it’s one of the best scores for television you are ever likely to here. Beginning with the rhapsodic “Tema de Sira”, written for solo piano, the score opens up into the sparkling, busy “Madrid, 1922”, which captures the life and energy of pre-war Madrid through central theme which effortlessly moves around all sections of the orchestra, and features an especially gorgeous sequence for various solo woodwinds. Read more…

AMBASSADA – Bartosz Chajdecki

October 18, 2013 Leave a comment

ambassadaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ambassada is a Polish science fiction comedy film written and directed by Juliusz Machulski, about a young couple who move into a new apartment building, only to find that the building’s elevator is actually a time machine; using the machine, the couple find themselves going back in time to the 1940s and coming face-to-face with none other than Adolf Hitler! Yes, it is a comedy – it stars Magdalena Grąziowska, Bartosz Porczyk and Robert Więckiewicz, and has a score by one of the young rising stars of Polish film music, Bartosz Chajdecki.

The score is an interesting mix of contemporary jazz and large-scale science fiction action, which sounds like it shouldn’t work at all, but actually does. The opening cue, “Kosmopolityczny-Wood” introduces the Cosmopolitan theme, a fun piece of jazz, with a bouncy trumpet line offset by an accordion, piano and stand-up bass, which introduces the main characters and their deft comedic natures. “Żydowski Szybki” brings a hint of Jewish-Polish folk music into the score with a whirligig dance for harpsichord and strings, while “Woln Spokój”, “Holly” and the flamboyant finale “Nalewki Zmontowane“ return later in the score to revisit the jazz flavors of the opening cue. Read more…

ROMEO & JULIET – Abel Korzeniowski

October 14, 2013 9 comments

romeoandjulietOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Since the very first years of cinema Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare’s timeless story of passionate doomed love, has been a well of inspiration for filmmakers, ranging from George Cukor’s 1936 film starring Norma Shearer, the classic Franco Zeffirelli version from 1968, and Baz Luhrmann’s revisionist interpretation from 1996, as well as the popular musical West Side Story, which replaces Montagues and Capulets with Sharks and Jets, and moves the story from Verona to New York City. Director Carlo Carlei’s new version was written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes and is a comparatively straightforward re-telling of the story, with Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth in the lead roles as the star cross’d lovers, and a supporting cast that includes Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Stellan Skarsgård, Ed Westwick and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The film is visually sumptuous, with opulent production design and costumes, and features an equally sumptuous and opulent score by Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski. Read more…

PRISONERS – Jóhann Jóhannsson

October 9, 2013 1 comment

prisonersOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Prisoners is a dark, difficult, compelling film about the lengths to which one will go to find truth and justice. It’s the English-language film debut of French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve; set around Thanksgiving in a snowy Pennsylvania town, it follows two families: Keller and Grace Dover (Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello) and Franklin and Nancy Birch (Terrence Howard and Viola Davis), whose lives are thrown into chaos when both their pre-teen daughters go missing, presumed abducted. A suspect, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), is quickly arrested, but is just as quickly released when the lead detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) can find no evidence linking him to the crime. However, with the girls still missing, Keller Dover remains convinced that Alex is responsible, and will stop at nothing to prove his guilt. Read more…

GRAVITY – Steven Price

October 8, 2013 3 comments

gravityOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There has never quite been a film like Gravity. In terms of plot, it’s fairly thin – two astronauts, played by George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, suffer a disaster while repairing the Hubble space telescope, and are left floating stranded in space, desperately trying to find a way to safety, and to home. Instead, it is the scope and majesty of Alfonso Cuarón’s film that takes audiences to a completely new sensory place. Space has never seemed so vast, so vivid, so beautiful, so terrifying. The cinematography and design of the film makes the viewer feel like it was genuinely shot in space, such is the sense of realism. Much more will be written about the film to convey how stellar it is, but I’m here to talk about the music, which also plays an enormous part in the success of the entire project. Read more…


October 4, 2013 Leave a comment

zip&zapOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang – known in its original Spanish as “Zipi y Zape y el Club de la Canica” – is an action-comedy-adventure for children, directed by Oskar Santos, and based on the comic book adventures of the titular characters. Zipi and Zape are two ten year old twins, mischievous but lovable, who are sent to summer camp by their parents after they are caught stealing. Once there, the devilish duo quickly form a gang with the other kids and misfits at the camp, in defiance of the eye patch-wearing camp counselor, and embark on a series of thrilling adventures involving a hunt for missing treasure. Read more…


October 4, 2013 Leave a comment

dieandereheimatOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

An expansive, 3½-hour German historical drama, Die Andere Heimat: Chronik Einer Sehnsucht is a theatrical sequel to the influential three-part 1980s mini-series Heimat, once again written and directed by Edgar Reitz. Set in a small village in the Hunsrück mountains, it centers on a young man, Jacob Simon (Jan Dieter Schnieder), who longs to leave home and settle in America with his love, Jettchen (Antonia Bill). However, when Jacob’s brother Gustav (Maximilian Scheidt) returns from Prussian military service, the love between Jacob and Jettchen is shaken, and Jacob’s life begins to head in a completely different direction from what he had originally planned.

The score for Die Andere Heimat: Chronik Einer Sehnsucht is by jazz clarinetist and composer Michael Riessler, who worked on previous Heimat stories in 2004 and 2006, but whose work is virtually unknown outside his native Germany. Read more…