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Archive for August, 2015

MR. HOLMES – Carter Burwell

August 28, 2015 1 comment

mrholmesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Mr. Holmes is a quiet, thoughtful film directed by Bill Condon, based on the novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, which features the famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes as a 90-year-old man looking back on his life in the aftermath of World War II. Sir Ian McKellen plays Holmes, long retired from his career as a sleuth, and now living simply on the south coast of England with his housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney), and her young son Roger (Milo Parker). As his mental health begins to deteriorate due to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, the increasingly frustrated and cantankerous Holmes struggles to recall the details of his last case, 30 years previously, the outcome of which led directly to his retirement; the only bright spot is his growing paternal relationship with the bright and inquisitive Roger, who he is teaching to tend to the bees in his apiary. Read more…

INSIDE OUT – Michael Giacchino

August 20, 2015 3 comments

insideoutOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The last couple of Pixar movies – Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University – have been comparative disappointments by their ludicrously high standards, and a turnaround in fortune was required. As such, directors Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen stepped up and produced Inside Out, a beautiful, moving portrait of what it means to grow up. The conceit of the story is built around the theory developed by renowned psychologist Paul Ekman that the human experience is built around six core emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and joy. The film follows Riley, a happy 11-year-old Midwestern girl, whose carefree life is thrown into turmoil when her parents move to San Francisco. Inside Riley’s head, the five emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) – try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event; throughout her life to date, Joy has been Riley’s dominant emotion, but ever since the move Sadness has been inexplicably compelled to move to the forefront. After one particularly traumatic event on the first day at her new school, Joy and Sadness are accidentally swept out of the Headquarters where Riley’s conscious thought is processed, and into the labyrinthine storage area where Riley’s long-term memories are kept; as such, the mis-matched pair must find a way to return to HQ, where Anger, Fear and Disgust have been left in control. Read more…

STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK – James Horner

August 19, 2015 1 comment

startrek3expandedMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan achieved tremendous critical and commercial success, and so Paramount quickly authorized the making of a third film. However, director Nicholas Meyer refused to return in protest over changes made to the prior film’s ending without his consent. When Nimoy was asked to reprise the role of Spock, he said yes, with the caveat that he wanted to direct the film. The studio hesitated, but ultimately agreed, and Harve Bennett was again hired to produce and write the script. The original crew ensemble returned including; William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelly as Dr. McCoy, James Doohan as Scott, George Takei as Sulu, Walter Koenig as Chekov and Nichelle Nichols as Uhura. Joining the cast was Christopher Llyod as the villain Captain Kruge, Robin Curtis replacing Kirstie Alley as Lieutenant Saavik, Mark Lenard as Sarek, Merritt Buttrick as Dr. David Marcus, and the renowned Dame Judith Anderson as the Vulcan high priestess T’Lar. Nimoy wanted the film to be operatic with a transpersonal exploration of the themes of life, death and rebirth. Yet he also wanted to explore on a more personal level, the deeper meaning of friendship. Nimoy relates: “What should a person do to help a friend? How deeply should a friendship commitment go? And what sacrifices, what obstacles, will these people endure?” Read more…

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – Daniel Pemberton

August 17, 2015 1 comment

themanfromuncleOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is director Guy Ritchie’s remake of the classic 1960s TV show of the same name, which starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, crack agents for the CIA and KGB, respectively, who are recruited by the British to work for the cross-agency spy organization U.N.C.L.E. (“United Network Command for Law and Enforcement”) at the height of the Cold War, to take down whatever was threatening world peace that week. This reboot of the show features Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as Solo and Kuryakin, who are teamed together to help an East German defector named Gabi Teller (Alicia Vikander) locate her missing scientist father, who may be helping wealthy shipping magnate Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki) build a nuclear weapon which could destabilize the world. The film is an absolute delight, featuring a trio of excellent central performances from Cavill, Hammer and Vikander, which spares no expense in playing up their fish-out-of-water mismatched buddy dynamics. The dialogue is witty and sharp, the action is exciting, the 1960s atmosphere is captured perfectly through the costume and set design, and there is a rich vein of clever humor punctuating the entire project. Read more…

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION – Joe Kraemer

August 4, 2015 9 comments

missionimpossibleroguenationOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I have, in my head, a list of composers whose level of talent is directly inverse to the number and quality of films they are asked to score. Some of them are composers who used to get major assignments but have fallen off the radar of late: people like Bruce Broughton, Cliff Eidelman, Trevor Jones, and David Newman. Others are composers who, for whatever reason, have yet to make that major breakthrough despite having talent in abundance: people like Neal Acree, Scott Glasgow, Federico Jusid, Nuno Malo, and too many others to list here. For the longest time Joe Kraemer was on that list too, but with the release of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, I might finally be able to cross him off. The film is the latest action extravaganza starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and others, as agents with the top-secret IMF espionage and counter-terrorism force, seeking to take down ‘the Syndicate’, a network of highly skilled operatives who are dedicated to establishing a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks and disasters. The movie globe-trots from Belarus to Cuba, to Vienna, to Morocco, and finally the UK, with the usual array of breathtaking stunts; it is directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Usual Suspects. Read more…

STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN – James Horner

August 3, 2015 4 comments

startrek2expandedMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

James Horner won my heart in 1982 with his score to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and he quickly became my favorite composer. His tragic and untimely death was personally devastating to me and I to this day continue to mourn his passing. I realized that I was about to reach a milestone, my 100th review, and thought what could be more fitting than to use this special occasion to celebrate his legacy with a heart-felt homage to one of his greatest scores.

Although disappointed by the lukewarm reception of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, Paramount was committed to continuing with its enormous investment in resurrecting the franchise, albeit with different leadership. Gene Roddenberry was assigned blame for the lethargic and plodding Star Trek: The Motion Picture and ‘promoted’ to executive consultant. Harve Bennett was given creative control and tasked with writing a better and more memorable story, which recaptured the spirit of the TV series. Bennett quickly realized that he faced a serious challenge in developing the new Star Trek movie, as remarkably, he was unfamiliar with its history, having never seen the television show! He studiously watched all the episodes, and had an epiphany after viewing “Space Seed”. He correctly reasoned that what was needed to make Star Trek successful again, was a villain worthy to serve as Kirk’s foil. The fierce and indomitable Khan Noonian Singh fully embodied the coveted perfect adversary for the film. Read more…