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THE BOXTROLLS – Dario Marianelli

September 30, 2014 1 comment

boxtrollsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Boxtrolls is a stop-motion animated film from the people who brought us Coraline and Paranorman. Based on the novel “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow, it follows the adventures of a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in an amazing cavernous home beneath the streets of the fictional English town of Cheesebridge. When the town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher, comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls – who are mistakenly believed to kidnap children – Eggs decides to venture above ground, “into the light,” where he meets and teams up with a feisty young girl named Winifred to save the Boxtrolls from an untimely fate. The film features the voices of Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Simon Pegg, and Game of Thrones’s Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and features an original score by Dario Marianelli, in what is his first significant work since Anna Karenina in 2012. Read more…

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LILI – Bronislau Kaper

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment

liliMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

MGM producer Edwin Knopf hired director Charles Walters to bring to life Lili, a fantasy tale based on a Saturday Evening Post short story “The Man Who Hated People” by Paul Gallico. For the film a talented cast was chosen; Lili Daurier (Leslie Caron), Paul Berthalet (Mel Ferrer), Marc (Jean-Pierre Aumont), Rosalie (Zsa Zsa Gabor) and Jacquot (Kurt Kaznar). In our story Lili, a naive country girl travels to a small provincial town in hopes of locating an old friend of her late father’s. When she discovers that he has died, a shopkeeper offers her employment as a guise to take sexual advantage of her. Marc, a handsome carnival magician whose Nome de plume is “Marcus the Magnificent” perceives her danger, covets her for himself and comes to her rescue. Yet her purity of heart dissuades his intentions and through him she gains work at the carnival assisting its master puppeteer Paul. Her wonderment and childlike innocence supports just endearing story-telling through his puppets; a brash red-haired boy named Carrot Top, Reynardo, a sly fox, Marguerite, a vain ballerina, and lastly Golo, a cowardly giant. Paul begins to fall in love with Lili but is embittered with life due to a leg injury he suffered during the war that ended his career in the ballet. We sadly see him reduced to expressing his true feelings for Lili through his puppets, while being mean-spirited when out of character. Lili eventually leaves Paul’s torment and while walking out of town, imagines the three puppets, now life-size, joining her as she finds a new life path. As she celebrates by dancing with each puppet, they all magically transform one by one into Paul. Lili realizes through each of them that they are a facet of Paul. She realizes her love for Paul and runs back to the carnival where they embrace and kiss passionately as the puppets applaud. The film was a critical success, earning composer Bronislau Kaper an Academy Award for Best Score. Read more…

THE NEVERENDING STORY (DIE UNENDLICHE GESCHICHTE) – Klaus Doldinger and Giorgio Moroder

September 25, 2014 2 comments

neverendingstory-deTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Neverending Story is one of my most cherished childhood fantasy films, a love letter to books and the power of imagination, dressed up as a fantasy adventure set in a far-off world. Based on the novel Die Unendliche Geschichte by Michael Ende, it marked German director Wolfgang Petersen’s first English-language film after the international success of Das Boot in 1980, and starred Barret Oliver as Bastian, a young boy in suburban America who regularly suffers at the hands of school bullies. After being chased one day into a used book store owned by a grumpy bookseller, Bastian ‘borrows’ a book – The Neverending Story of the title – and begins reading it in his school’s attic. Bastian becomes quickly immersed in a story set in a world called Fantasia, which is being threatened by a force called “The Nothing”, a void of darkness that consumes everything. Fantasia’s child-like Empress (Tami Stronach) entreats Atreyu (Noah Hathaway), a young warrior, to find out how to stop The Nothing. In response, The Nothing summons Gmork, a highly intelligent werewolf, to find and kill Atreyu. The film has a rich and vivid cast of fantasy characters, most notably the luck dragon Falkor, and was a popular success when it was first released in the summer of 1984. Read more…

THIS ISLAND EARTH AND OTHER ALIEN INVASION FILMS – Various Composers

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

thisislandearthMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Includes music from WAR OF THE SATELLITES by Walter Green, THIS ISLAND EARTH by Herman Stein, EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS by Daniele Amfitheatrof, and THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS by Ron Goodwin

THIS ISLAND EARTH

Universal-International’s producer William Alland well known for his penchant for Sci-Fi films, hired Joseph Newman to direct his latest project “This Island Earth”. Writers Franklin Coen and Edward O’Callaghan adapted a screenplay from ”Thrilling Wonder Stories”, three novelettes written by Raymond F. Jones. Principle actors Jeff Morrow (Exeter), Faith Domergue (Dr. Ruth Adams) and Rex Reason (Dr. Cal Meacham) were hired for the project. The story reveals the inhabitants of the planet Metaluna succumbing in their war with the plant Zahgon. Desperation leads them to Earth’s for its abundant uranium deposits, which they require to fuel their failing planetary shields, and for Earth’s greatest scientists whom they abduct to assist in their war efforts. The film earned praise for its story telling, cinematography and was also a commercial success. Read more…

WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL – John Paesano

September 21, 2014 Leave a comment

whenthegamestandstallOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’ve never fully understood the American obsession with high school sports. When I was a teenager I played football – soccer, for North Americans – pretty regularly, at school, and for my scout troupe team, and despite the game being by far the most popular one in the UK I never played in front of a crowd of more than, probably, 50 people, most of them being the parents of the players. By contrast, American high school football teams draw crowds in tens of thousands to near-professional standard stadiums, especially in places like Texas. The games are shown on local television, the results are reported and scrutinized in the newspapers, and the best players are treated like celebrity athletes. I’ve always considered the notion of treating teenagers like professional sportsmen somewhat odd and potentially damaging – who has the mentality and personality to handle pressure like that at that age? – but that’s the way things are here; it’s also the basis of the film When the Game Stands Tall, which is set in the world of high school football. Read more…

SNOW ON THE BLADES (ZAKUROZAKA NO ADAUCHI) – Joe Hisaishi

September 19, 2014 Leave a comment

zakurozakanoadauchiOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Based on a classic short story in the collection Goroji Dono Oshimatsu by Jiro Asada, Snow on the Blades (Zakurozaka No Adauchi) is a Japanese samurai revenge action-drama directed by Setsuro Wakamatsu. The film stars Kiichi Nakai as Kingo Shimura, a fierce and noble samurai in the service of Lord Naosuke (Kichiemon Nakamura). After Naosuke is killed by a gang of mercenary ronins – samurai without a master to serve – Shimura is forbidden from committing ritual seppuku, and is instead sent on a secret mission to exact revenge. Over the curse of the next 13 years Shimura travels the length and breadth of Japan, searching for those who murdered his master, until only one remains: an equally fearsome samurai named Jyubei Sahashi (Hiroshi Abe). Read more…

UNTIL SEPTEMBER – John Barry

September 18, 2014 Leave a comment

untilseptemberTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Until September is a romantic drama directed by Richard Marquand – his first film after completing Return of the Jedi – written by Janice Lee Graham, and starring Karen Allen and Thierry Lhermitte. Allen plays Mo Alexander, an American tourist traveling through Europe, who misses a plane connection and gets stuck in Paris. While her new visa gets approved she goes to stay at the apartment of a friend who is away for the summer; there she meets her friend’s neighbor, Xavier, a wealthy French banker who is married but estranged from his wife and family. As Mo and Xavier spend time together in that most romantic of cities, their mutual attraction is overwhelming, and they eventually fall in love. Despite being a simple, uncomplicated story of passion and romance, Until September was not a major box office success in 1984, and today is known mainly for its sumptuous score by John Barry. Read more…