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Archive for November, 2014

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART I – James Newton Howard

November 29, 2014 11 comments

hungergamesmockingjay1Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The third movie in the massively popular Hunger Games franchise based on the novels by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay is the first part of the epic finale to the story of Katniss Everdeen and her efforts to overthrow the cruel and corrupt government of Panem. It picks up immediately after the events of the second film, Catching Fire, and finds Katniss, having destroyed the hunger games dome built to stage the ‘quarter quell’, being rescued by the rebels and taken to District 13, the stronghold previously thought to be in ruins, but which is actually under the control of rebel leader Alma Coin. Katniss’s actions have instigated an uprising in the other districts, inspiring the ruthless President Snow to retaliate with sadistic military action; not only that, Snow has taken Katniss’s friend Peeta Mullark prisoner, and is using him to spread propaganda against Katniss. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland, is directed by Francis Lawrence, and sees composer James Newton Howard returning for the third time. Read more…

SUPERGIRL – Jerry Goldsmith

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment

supergirlTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Supergirl was envisaged as a spin-off, capitalizing on the enormous success of the Christopher Reeve Superman franchise. Originally created in 1959 by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, the character was a popular but under-utilized member of the DC Comics family until this, her first big-screen appearance in 1984. Directed by Jeannot Szwarc from a screenplay by David Odell, the film starred Helen Slater as Clark Kent’s cousin Kara, an inhabitant of Argo City, the last surviving remnant of the planet Krypton following its destruction in the first reel of Superman: The Movie. When Kara’s teacher and mentor Zaltar (Peter O’Toole) accidentally allows a special and exceptionally powerful jewel called the Omegahedron to travel to Earth, Kara follows it, intending to retrieve it and bring it home; once there, she finds she has acquired powers similar to that of her cousin, which she must use to stop an evil witch named Selena (Faye Dunaway), who has found the Omegahedron and intends to use it to increase her powers. Read more…

THE HOMESMAN – Marco Beltrami

November 24, 2014 2 comments

thehomesmanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Homesman, based on the acclaimed novel by Glendon Swarthout, is the third film directed by the Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones. Set in Nebraska in the late 1850s, in the earliest days of the American expansion west, it stars Hilary Swank as Mary Bee Cuddy, a middle-aged spinster from New York, a former teacher who journeyed to the Midwest seeking a new life, and a husband, but who has continually had her marriage proposals rejected. Following an especially harsh winter, three young women – Arrabella Sours (Grace Gummer), Theoline Belknapp (Miranda Otto), and Gro Svendsen (Sonja Richter) – begin to show signs of insanity due to the hardships they faced; in an effort to save the women, Mary Bee agrees to transport them across several hundred miles of rugged and dangerous terrain to Iowa, where the women of a church have agreed to take them in. To accompany and protect her on her journey, Mary Bee acquires the reluctant help of George Briggs (Jones), a disheveled claim jumper who she saves from being lynched, but who has a mysterious past of his own. Read more…

INTERSTELLAR – Hans Zimmer

November 22, 2014 7 comments

interstellarOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is a science fiction epic on a grand scale. Set in a future where life on Earth is in jeopardy due to a series of environmental disasters, the film follows Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former pilot turned corn farmer, whose precocious daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) believes she is receiving messages written in dust from a ghost in her bedroom. One of these messages eventually leads Cooper to a secret NASA installation where, under the radar and away from the public eye, Professor Brand (Michael Caine) and astronauts Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and Doyle (Wes Bentley) have been working on a project to save humanity. Their plan involves piloting a ship to the space around Saturn, where friendly ‘fifth-dimensional beings’ have placed a wormhole to the far side of the galaxy. The hope is that, on the other side of the wormhole, a new planet capable of sustaining human life can be found and colonized. Read more…

THE LAST STARFIGHTER – Craig Safan

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment

laststarfighterTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Last Starfighter was a popular science-fiction adventure film for kids, directed by Nick Castle. The film tells the story of Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), an average teenage boy living in a trailer park, who passes the time playing – and getting very good – at an arcade video game called Starfighter. One day, shortly after Alex breaks the all-time record points score of the game, he is approached by Centauri (Robert Preston), the ‘inventor of the game’. Before he knows what’s happening, Alex is whisked off into outer space, where he is recruited by an alien defense force to fight in an interstellar war: it turns out that Starfighter was actually a training tool to find the best starship pilots in the galaxy, and Alex is now the last line of defense for the peace-loving people of our solar system against the threat of the evil Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada. The film was a major commercial success in 1984, and has the distinction of being one of the earliest films to use extensive CGI effects to depict its many starships and battle scenes. Not only that, but the film boasts a rousing score by the great Craig Safan, in what was one of the most significant box-office hits of his career. Read more…

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING – Jóhann Jóhannsson

November 18, 2014 1 comment

theoryofeverythingOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the annals of human history, it is likely that Professor Stephen Hawking will go down as one of our most important scientific figures, alongside Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. As a theoretical physicist, he is known for his contributions to the fields of cosmology, general relativity and quantum gravity, especially in the context of black holes; however, to the public at large, he is also known for being disabled, having suffered from motor neuron disease since 1963, a condition which has rendered him almost entirely incapable of voluntary movement or speech, and which gets progressively more severe each passing year. However, these overwhelming health problems have not stopped Hawking from becoming a scientific celebrity, working non-stop on his ideas and theories, making many public appearances, writing books, and even appearing in TV shows like The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory, complete with his instantly recognizable American-accented speech generating computer. Read more…

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA – Dimitri Tiomkin

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment

oldmanandtheseaMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Old Man and the Sea was a novel written by Ernest Hemmingway in 1951 during his stay in Cuba. Warner Brothers Studio purchased the film rights, selected Fred Zinnemann to direct, hired Paul Osborne to adapt it to the big screen and used Hemmingway as a technical consultant. When live sea filming failed and Hemmingway raged against both the script and marlin prop, Zinnemann and Osborne resigned from the project. John Sturges took over directing and at Hemmingway’s insistence Peter Viertel reworked the script. Given that this was an intimate story of a man’s personal struggle, veteran actor Spencer Tracy was hired to play the lead role of Santiago, with Felipe Pazos Jr. playing the boy Manolin. Read more…