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Archive for August, 2014

HERCULES – Fernando Velázquez

August 16, 2014 1 comment

herculesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There have been lots of films made about Hercules, the muscle-bound demi-god from Greek mythology, over the years. Steve Reeves played him in the classic Italian ‘swords and sandals’ movie in 1957, Arnold Schwarzenegger played him in his film debut in Hercules in New York in 1970, and Kellan Lutz played him in The Legend of Hercules just a few months ago, but in this latest version directed by Brett Ratner the bulging biceps and undersized loincloth are sported by former wrestling star The Rock, now thespianning under his real name, Dwayne Johnson. The film is based on the comic book series by Steve Moore and is a tale of revenge and betrayal involving the death of Hercules’s wife and sons years previously. The film co-stars Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt, and has done pretty brisk business at the box office in a summer crowded with action blockbusters. Read more…

RED DAWN – Basil Poledouris

August 14, 2014 1 comment

reddawnTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Red Dawn was a popular and successful action film, written and directed by John Milius, set in an alternate 1980s in which a Communist army, led by Russians and Cubans, launches an invasion of the United States in the aftermath of a devastating economic crisis. The story is centered around a small Colorado town, where a group of mostly teenagers embarks on a sustained campaign of guerilla warfare against the invaders, using the name ‘wolverines’, after their high school mascot. The film starred Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen in early career roles, co-starred C. Thomas Howell, a pre-Back to the Future Lea Thompson, a pre-Dirty Dancing Jennifer Grey, and Ben Johnson, and featured an original score by the then 39-year-old Basil Poledouris. Read more…

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES – Brian Tyler

August 12, 2014 3 comments

teenagemutantninjaturtlesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were all the rage for a few years when I was a kid in the 1980s, although to be fair I didn’t know they were ninjas until quite some time later, thanks to the busybody interference of the self-appointed guardian of Britain’s national morals, Mary Whitehouse, who decided that showing children scenes of ninjas doing things with nunchaku would contribute to the decline of a generation. To me they will always be the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, and no-one can tell me otherwise, although looking back I now realize I never was entirely sure how Michelangelo defeated his foes with nothing more dangerous than a slice of pizza. This has been an astonishingly long-lived franchise – with the world having already been exposed to three separate animated TV series, a Japanese anime, and a live-action TV series, we are now on our fifth movie based on the characters originally created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984, following the original three movies in 1990, 1991 and 1993, and the 2007 CGI flop “TMNT”. This latest installment is essentially an origin story reboot of the entire story, stars Megan Fox and Will Arnett, and is directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Read more…

CALVARY – Patrick Cassidy

August 9, 2014 3 comments

calvaryOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Calvary is an Irish comedy-drama film written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, starring Brendan Gleeson as Father James, a Catholic priest at a church in rural County Sligo. When Father James’s life is threatened during confession by an anonymous parishioner who claims he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a now-deceased former priest, he uses what he believes will be the final week of his life to right old wrongs and bury long-standing feuds involving a bitter millionaire (Dylan Moran), a wife-beating local business owner (Chris O’Dowd), a disaffected teenager (Domhnall Gleeson, Brendan’s real life son), an atheist doctor (Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen), and his estranged daughter from his pre-priesthood days (Kelly Reilly). It’s a deep, thoughtful, moving film, with a rich vein of black, black humor running through it, and with Gleeson’s lead performance being especially critically acclaimed. Read more…

GHOSTBUSTERS – Elmer Bernstein

August 7, 2014 6 comments

ghostbustersTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the seminal action comedies of the 1980s, Ghostbusters teamed together three of television’s greatest improvisational comedy geniuses – Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis – in a story about three failed parapsychology professors in New York who, after losing funding for their scientifically-debatable experiments, set themselves up as paranormal investigators catching and containing all manner of spectral nasties across the Big Apple. Things get a little more serious, however, when professional cellist Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) contacts the trio after having a strange experience with her refrigerator, and before long they are knee deep in a fight to save the world from an ancient Sumerian god who may be trying to bring about the apocalypse. The film co-starred Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts, and was directed by Ivan Reitman, hot from his success with the comedies Meatballs and Stripes a few years before. Read more…

Introducing Throwback Thirty

August 6, 2014 Leave a comment

calendarI have decided to introduce a new feature here at Movie Music UK, which will feature reviews of classic scores from my own childhood and one of my favorite periods for film music – the 1980s. Inspired by the “Throwback Thursday” idea from Facebook, in which people post old photos of themselves every Thursday, I have decided to call this feature Throwback Thirty!

My plan is that, every Thursday, I will debut a brand new review for a score from a film which was in theaters exactly thirty years ago (roughly – there will be a bit of leeway here and there), meaning that for the rest of the year I will be looking at scores released in 1984.

The first review will debut tomorrow; I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you enjoy the series going forward!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – Tyler Bates

August 5, 2014 12 comments

guardiansofthegalaxy-scoreOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I have waited for 15 years, ever since I heard his first major score for the 1999 film Rated X, to type the following sentence: finally, after all these years, here is a Tyler Bates score I enjoy quite a lot. I have made no secret of the fact that I have found the vast majority of Bates’s work over the past decade pretty underwhelming. Ignoring the controversy surrounding his work on 300, scores like The Day the Earth Stood Still, Watchmen, and Conan the Barbarian had the conceptual and thematic potential to inspire truly terrific music, but ended up being disappointments of the highest order. Guardians of the Galaxy, thankfully, is a significant step forward. While still lagging behind the upper echelons of the film scoring world, and despite still suffering from a curious lack of individual personality, it is nevertheless the best score of Bates’s career to date by a country mile, making use of a big orchestra, a big choir, electronics, and some rock and 1980s pop elements, all brought together under the banner of a rousing central theme. Read more…