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Archive for May, 2014

MILLION DOLLAR ARM – A. R. Rahman

May 31, 2014 Leave a comment

milliondollararmOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There aren’t many films about cricket, especially in the United States, where the sport is viewed as a foreign curiosity with impenetrable rules, archaic terminology and a sense of incredulity that it is the only contemporary competitive sport which builds breaks for meals into its schedule. This is despite the fact that much of the world is obsessed with the sport – especially in the Indian subcontinent – to the extent that legendary players are household celebrities. Disney’s film Million Dollar Arm isn’t likely to put the names Sachin Tendulkar or Muttiah Muralitharan on the lips of the average American, but it at least goes some way to trying to illustrate the importance of the game in Commonwealth countries. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm as the real-life American baseball sports agent J.B. Bernstein, a man down on his luck, who comes up with a radical idea to revitalize his career: after accidentally catching a cricket match on TV while channel surfing late one night, he decides to organize a reality competition to find India’s first professional baseball pitcher. Along with cantankerous scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin) and his business partner Ash Vasudevan (Aasif Mandvi), Bernstein travels to Delhi to search for talent, and is surprised when two young men (Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma and Slumdog Millionaire’s Madhur Mittal) impress him with their skills. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie, based on Tom McCarthy’s screenplay, and has a score by A. R. Rahman. Read more…

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LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – Maurice Jarre

May 29, 2014 2 comments

lawrenceofarabiacompilationMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

David Lean and Sam Spiegel purchased the film rights to T. E. Lawrence’s book “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” and hired Robert Bolt to write the screenplay on the enigmatic war hero. A stellar cast was hired that included Peter O’Toole (T.E. Lawrence), Alec Guiness (Prince Feisal), Anthony Quinn (Auda Abu Tayi), Jack Hawkins (General Allenby) and Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali. The film centers on Thomas Edward Lawrence, a complex and insolent British Lieutenant assigned to Cairo during World War I. He is ordered to assess the possibility of recruiting Prince Feisal of Arabia as an ally in their struggle against the Ottoman Turks. On his own initiative he instead chooses to rally the recently defeated Arab army for an audacious trans desert assault against the port city of Aqaba. He succeeds and returns to Cairo in triumph where he is promoted and ordered to return and lead the Arab revolt. His guerrilla army harasses the Turks with surprise desert raids and train line assaults that disrupt their command and control. Along the way the war violence and his complicity in a massacre serves to plague his conscience and forever scar him. Eventually, he leads his army northward captures Damascus and helps end the control of the Ottoman Empire. With his mission complete, he is sent back to England only to die young at the age of 46 in a motorcycle accident. The film was a stunning success winning seven Academy Awards including Best Score for Maurice Jarre. Read more…

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST – John Ottman

May 26, 2014 14 comments

xmendaysoffuturepastOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the seventh film in Marvel’s “other” long-running super franchise, set in the world of mutants. The film begins in the future, long after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand and The Wolverine, in a world where civilization – both human and mutant – has been decimated almost to the point of extinction by massive machines known as Sentinels, which were initially created to combat ‘evil’ mutants, but eventually took it upon themselves to destroy all humanity. In a last, desperate attempt to literally save the world, the remaining mutants led by Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen) devise a complicated plan to send the consciousness of Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to inhabit the body of his younger self in 1973; once there, he will locate the younger versions of Xavier and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender), and task them with helping him avert the individual event they believe triggered the creation of the Sentinels: the assassination of industrial scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) by their fellow mutant Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). The film is based on the extremely popular X-Men comic storyline by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, co-stars Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters and Shawn Ashmore, and is directed by Bryan Singer, returning to the X-Men director’s chair for the first time since 2003. Read more…

GODZILLA – Alexandre Desplat

May 24, 2014 2 comments

godzillaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

American film makers have been trying to do justice to Godzilla ever since he first appeared in director Ishiro Honda’s classic Japanese monster movie in 1954; although Godzilla is considered to be a significant icon of Japanese culture, Honda was himself inspired to create the King of the Monsters by watching Schoedsack and Cooper’s King Kong, and as such he has his roots in classic Hollywood. There have been 28 official Godzilla films released in Japan, the most recent coming in 2004, but only two American movies (three, if you count Cloverfield): the ill-fated Roland Emmerich directed disaster epic from 1998, which was scored by David Arnold, and this one, which is significantly superior to its predecessor, but still fails to capture the character’s essence according to the purists. Read more…

THE BLUE MAX – Jerry Goldsmith

May 21, 2014 Leave a comment

bluemaxMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director John Guillermin was inspired by the Jack Hunter novel “The Blue Max” and so adapted it for film. He assembled a stellar cast, which included George Peppard as Bruno Stachel, James Mason as General Count von Klugermann, Ursula Andress as Countess Kaeti von Klugermann and Jeremy Kemp as Willi von Klugermann. Set in the waning year of World War I on the Western front, it tells the story of a young man’s rise to glory and his tragic end. Stachel, is a classic anti-hero, a member of the lower cast who is driven by blind ambition. As such he leaves the Wehrmacht to join the Luftwaffe in search of personal glory – Germany’s most prestigious medal, Pour le Mérite, or the Blue Max. The prized medal is bestowed upon pilots for meritorious service and requires 20 dog fight kills. Driven with a grim, and relentless determination Stachel will allow nothing to stand in his way. His raw and unchivalrous demeanor offends his fellow pilots who hail from the German aristocracy and disdain this commoner among their ranks. Stachel’s rise is noticed by General von Klugermann, who seeks to exploit him as a national symbol in an effort to rally a weary public tiring of war. A tryst with the General’s wife only adds to Stachel’s ego and notoriety. While he ultimately succeeds in gaining the coveted prize, he does so by defiantly disobeying orders to defend ground troops. Von Klugermann does not wish to disgrace his ‘hero’ with a court marshal and so selects him to fly a proto-type mono-wing plane whose support struts he knows will not hold up. When Stachel dies in a crash von Klugermann’s dilemma is solved, he gains his “man of the people” hero and his air corps is not disgraced by scandal. The film was both a critical and commercial success. Read more…

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 – Hans Zimmer

May 19, 2014 3 comments

amazingspiderman2Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As the second movie in Sony’s “reboot” of the Spider-Man franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sees Andrew Garfield returning as the teenage web-slinging super hero Peter Parker, still attending high school by day, while battling super-villains at night. The plot this time round sees young Peter in a healthy relationship with the lovely Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) as they prepare to graduate from Midtown Science, although he is haunted by the promise he made to Gwen’s late father to keep her safe, as well as the memory of the death of his parents several years earlier, and the mystery surrounding their work and legacy. Peter’s world is shattered further, however, with the emergence of a new threat: Electro (Jamie Foxx), a mild-mannered engineer working for the multinational conglomerate Oscorp, who develops the capacity to manipulate and control electricity – and a deep hatred of Spider-Man – following an industrial accident. Not only that, but Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to the city following the death of his father Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper), the head of Oscorp, only to discover that the illness that killed his father is hereditary, and that the only cure may be inside Spider-Man’s blood. The film is again directed by the appropriately-named Marc Webb, and has an original score by Hans Zimmer, replacing the first film’s composer James Horner. Read more…