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Archive for November, 2015

SPECTRE – Thomas Newman

November 13, 2015 1 comment

spectreOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 24th official James Bond film, the fourth starring Daniel Craig, and the second directed by Sam Mendes, Spectre apparently concludes a four-movie storyline, bringing together the plots of the three preceding films – Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall – and re-introducing Bond to his greatest nemesis. As he globe-trots around the world from Mexico to Rome, to Austria, and beyond, Bond gradually discovers the existence of a shadowy organization which appears to be orchestrating a series of terrorist events, including the ones Bond investigated in the previous films, and whose leader may be a figure from his own past. The film co-stars Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, and Ralph Fiennes, and in many ways is a love letter to the entire James Bond franchise. Not only is this Bond a touch more light-hearted, with a little more emphasis on the gadgets and the girls than the previous films, there are innumerable nods and winks and in-jokes for the Bond connoisseur: the mountaintop clinic is straight out of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the “hollowed out volcano” in the desert is from You Only Live Twice, the car from Goldfinger makes a spectacular return, the fight on the train has echoes of both From Russia With Love and Live and Let Die, the “funhouse” in the remains of the MI6 building recalls The Man With the Golden Gun, and the monosyllabic henchman Hinx is clearly modeled after the similarly taciturn Jaws. The whole film is a loving homage to everything preceding it, and delighted this long-time fan of the genre, although of course you have to overlook the contrivances and plot holes that always come with this territory. Read more…

REVELATION – Neal Acree

November 12, 2015 1 comment

revelationGAME ZONE REVIEW

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Revelation is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) from the Chinese video game studio NetEase. I really don’t know much about the game itself; it seems to be one of those fantasy-based games where players create and design playable characters in a variety of classes and embark on various quests against a backdrop of beautifully-designed landscapes. The game apparently has a major focus on the concept of flight, using wings that characters have as well as flying mounts such as dragons. It’s also only playable in Chinese, making it a somewhat obscure title to western audiences, and it would likely have remained so had it not been for the fact that the score is by the superb young American video game composer Neal Acree. Read more…

EN MAI FAIS CE QU’IL TE PLAÎT – Ennio Morricone

November 10, 2015 Leave a comment

enmaifaiscequilteplaitOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

If the information on the Internet Movie Database is correct, En Mai Fais Ce Qu’il te Plaît is the 521st score of Ennio Morricone’s career, which stretches back to his first score, Il Federale, in 1961. In the intervening 54 years the Italian has written some of the most iconic music in the history of cinema; En Mai Fais Ce Qu’il te Plaît will likely not be remembered as one of his standout works but, considering the fact that he is now aged 86, that he is writing film music at all is a minor miracle. That it’s still this good is nothing short of astonishing. The film – the title of which translates to Darling Buds of May in English – is a French drama written and directed by Christian Carion, who previously directed the well regarded films Une Hirondelle a Fait le Printemps and Joyeux Noël. Set during the early days of World War II, the story follows a group of people from a small village in Pas-de-Calais in northern France, who flee from the advancing German troops, and essentially become homeless, traversing the French countryside trying to avoid the Nazis, while trying to retain some semblance of a normal life under new, terrible circumstances. Read more…

ALEXANDER NEVSKY – Sergei Prokofiev

November 9, 2015 2 comments

alexandernevsky100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Film director Sergei Eisenstein had secured the favor of Soviet dictator Stalin with two films, which extolled the revolution and Communist party; The Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October: Ten Days That Shook The World (1928). Unfortunately, a misguided foray to the West to make films unrestrained by the demands of Soviet Realism caused him to fall out of favor. Upon returning to the Soviet Union in 1932 he was slowly rehabilitated and fortune smiled upon him when Stalin approved production of a film about Alexander Nevsky. Dimitri Vasilyev was assigned by the Ministry of Culture to keep Eisenstein on schedule and budget. The screenplay would be written by Eisenstein and Pyotyr Pavlenko. The telegenic Nikolay Cherkasov would play the titular role and be supported by Nikolay Okhlopkov as Vasili Buslaev and Andrei Abrikosov as Gavrilo Oleksich. Sergei Eisenstein made Alexander Nevsky during the dark pall of the Stalinist era. The film offers an obvious allegory on the historic Germanic-Russian animus, as well as the escalating distrust and tension felt with the Nazi regime. The story celebrates Prince Alexander Nevsky, who achieves an apotheosis, passing unto legend after he leads the armies of Holy Mother Russia to victory over the crusading Catholic Teutonic Knights. Read more…

SECRETS OF A PSYCHOPATH – Scott Glasgow

November 6, 2015 Leave a comment

secretsofapsychopathOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I apologize in advance for what this review is about to become, because I know many of you will see it as a rant, but it’s something that’s been bothering me for quite a while and I need to get it off my chest. But first, the basics: Secrets of a Psychopath is a low budget horror-thriller starring Kari Wuhrer and Mark Famiglietti as Katherine and Henry, two siblings who lure unsuspecting victims to their house via an online dating site, and then subject the hapless women who respond their ad to increasingly gruesome games of torture and, eventually, murder, all in an apparent attempt to ‘heal’ Henry’s sexual dysfunction. It’s directed by 93-year old Bert Gordon, the man behind such cult shockers as The Amazing Colossal Man, Earth vs. the Spider, Empire of the Ants, and The Food of the Gods, and has an original score by the super talented Scott Glasgow, who has shown his skill at crafting memorable scores in this genre through previous titles like Lo and Riddle. Read more…

YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES – Bruce Broughton

November 5, 2015 1 comment

youngsherlockholmesTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The fascination with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes has often been such that people have ventured beyond the realms of the original 60 stories, and written extrapolations investigating both Holmes’s childhood and his life after his career ended, as well as re-imaginings of the character in more contemporary settings. The 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes is one such tale, an original story chronicling the supposed first meeting between Sherlock Holmes and his long-suffering friend John Watson, and their first adventure together. Written by Chris Columbus and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, the film stars Nicholas Rowe as Holmes and Alan Cox as Watson, who meet as teenagers at London’s Brompton Academy in the 1870s. After a series of murders in which the victims – one of whom is Holmes’s mentor and former professor Rupert Waxflatter – experience terrifying hallucinations before they die, and after having his suspicions rebuffed by an incompetent police chief, Holmes and Watson begin to investigate the case themselves, and uncover a secret cult of Egyptian god worshippers who appear to be responsible for the deaths. The film co-stars Anthony Higgins, Sophie Ward, and Nigel Stock, and received generally positive reviews, especially for its special effects: the film is notable for including the first fully computer-generated animated character in the shape of a knight made of stained glass, and was one of the first films worked on by pioneering animator John Lasseter, who would later go on to found Pixar. Read more…

TRUTH – Brian Tyler

November 3, 2015 Leave a comment

truthOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Truth is a film about journalistic integrity and ethics, which looks specifically at the 2004 ‘Killian documents controversy’ which essentially ended the careers of veteran CBS news producer Mary Mapes and the well-respected news anchor and journalist Dan Rather. In the lead up to the 2004 US presidential election Mapes and Rather presented a report on the news magazine show 60 Minutes containing some damning allegations about then-president George W. Bush’s service in the Air National Guard in the 1970s. However, following the airing of the show, it was revealed that the documents Mapes and Rather relied upon as the basis for the report had been entirely fabricated – ostensibly to cripple Bush’s re-election campaign – and the resulting scandal was intensely damaging to CBS, who were accused of poor journalistic standards and incomplete fact-checking. The film was directed by James Vanderbilt, and has an all-star cast, including Robert Redford as Rather, Cate Blanchett as Mapes, and Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss, and Bruce Greenwood in supporting roles. Read more…

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