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Archive for June, 2016

LEGAL EAGLES – Elmer Bernstein

June 30, 2016 Leave a comment

legaleaglesTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Legal Eagles is a fun comedy-drama-thriller written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps, and directed by Ivan Reitman. It stars Robert Redford as New York assistant district attorney Tom Logan, who teams up with his rival, public defender Laura Kelly (Debra Winger), after he becomes convinced that her client, eccentric art dealer Chelsea Dearden (Daryl Hannah), is genuinely innocent of the crime she is accused of committing. As Tom and Kelly delve deeper into the case they find themselves becoming embroiled in a web of mystery, cover-ups, and police corruption, dating back to the night 20 years previously when Chelsea’s father was killed in a mysterious fire; not only that, and despite their own better judgment, the two lawyers find themselves developing romantic feelings for each other. The film is a breezy, enjoyable caper, with Redford and Winger’s relationship clearly inspired by the sexual tension between Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, and was one of the box office successes of 1986. Read more…

WARCRAFT – Ramin Djawadi

June 28, 2016 1 comment

warcraftOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

World of Warcraft has been one of the most popular MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) in the world since it was first launched in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. The game has grown over the course of the past decade and a half, through five or six different expansions, and had 5.5 million active players in October 2015. Rumors of a big-screen adaptation of the game surfaced as early as 2006, but delays in production resulted in it not being released until almost a decade later. Directed by Duncan Jones – son of the late David Bowie – the film stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, and Toby Kebbell, and is a vast canvas of humans and orcs battling for supremacy in a fantasy-inspired world of knights and monsters and magic. Unfortunately, the film has not been a success, critically or commercially, with many reviewers focusing on its wooden screenplay, overly-complicated plotting, and clichéd comparisons to the Lord of the Rings series, instead of its really quite astonishing visual splendor. Read more…

CITIZEN KANE – Bernard Herrmann

June 27, 2016 1 comment

citizenkane100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

RKO Studio executives were impressed with Orson Welles success on Broadway as well as his historic ground-breaking 1938 radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds”. They perceived genius and offered him an unprecedented contract to direct a film of his creation, his own cast and crew, and most remarkably, final cut privileges. Welles conceived a searing quasi-biopic on an American magnate’s life and legacy, collaborating with Herman Mankiewicz to fashion what is now regarded as one of the finest screenplays in cinematic history. Welles was audacious in casting the film, selecting unknowns who had never before acted in motion pictures including; himself as Charles Foster Kane, Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland, Dorothy Comingore as Susan Kane, Everett Sloane as Ray Collins as Susan Alexander Kane, George Coulouris as Walter Parks Thatcher, Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane, Paul Stewart as Raymond, Ruth Warrick as Emily Kane, Erskine Sanford as Herbert Carter, and William Alland as Jerry Thompson. Read more…

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE – Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser

June 22, 2016 2 comments

independencedayresurgenceOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Independence Day: Resurgence is the sequel to the 1996 sci-fi disaster movie classic Independence Day, and sees director Roland Emmerich returning to the genre that made his name, him having spent much of the last decade trying to prove himself as a serious filmmaker in other arenas, with varying degrees of success. Twenty years have passed since the events of the first movie, and in the intervening period the world has used the technology of those defeated aggressive aliens to boost Earth’s military prowess. Scientist David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) is the man in charge of the EDS Earth Defense System, which has its headquarters on the Moon. Dylan Hiller (Jessie Usher), the son of Will Smith’s character from the first film, is a hotshot pilot in the EDS, along with his best friend and colleague Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth). The then-President of the United States, Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman), remains a close advisor of the current President Elizabeth Lanford (Sela Ward). When the alien forces return to Earth, this time with bigger and more powerful weaponry, and attempt to conquer the planet for a second time, all are called into action to face this new, even more terrifying threat to humanity. Read more…

CHINATOWN – Jerry Goldsmith

June 20, 2016 2 comments

chinatownMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Robert Evans of Paramount Studio was determined to bring F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic, The Great Gatsby (1925) to the big screen. He hired trusted screenplay writer Robert Towne for $175,000 to write the script. Towne however had a different ambition and managed to convince Evans to take on his own 1930’s detective mystery thriller titled “Water and Power” for $25,000. Well, Evans liked the script saw opportunity, and so moved forward with production. He greatly enjoyed his collaboration with Roman Polanski with Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and so brought him in to direct. They assembled a fine cast, which included Jack Nicholson as detective J.J. “Jake” Gittes, Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Cross Mulwray, John Huston as Noah Cross, John Hillerman as Russ Yelburton, Perry Lopez as Lieutenant Lou Escobar, and Darrell Zwerling as Hollis Mulwray. Read more…

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS – Steve Jablonsky

June 17, 2016 2 comments

teenagemutantninjaturtles2Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’ve been rather hard on Steve Jablonsky over the years. Back in 2004, after he wrote his magnificent score for the Japanese animated film Steamboy, I confidently predicted that he would go on to become “the next John Powell,” and follow in the illustrious footsteps of his one-time Media Ventures colleague to become one of Hollywood’s best composers. It’s true that, financially, many of Jablonsky’s films have done very well. His quartet of Transformers films were gargantuan box office successes, and his quartet of classic horror movie reboots – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street – all grossed more than $50 million each. Unfortunately, the music that has accompanied these films has, for me, been mostly disappointing, especially considering the wonderful heights that Steamboy attained. Parts of scores like The Island, Dragon Wars, and Your Highness remain guilty pleasures, and with the benefit of hindsight the original Transformers score has actually held up remarkably well over time, but most of the rest have been predictable and by-the-numbers, contributing greatly to the endless parade of boring Hollywood summer blockbuster scores that all sound the same and have no soul. As such, going into the score for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, I had mentally prepared myself for another entry in a long catalogue of mind-numbing dumbed-down action scores. However, I’m very happy to report that my expectations were significantly surpassed, to the point where I can confidently say that, for me, this score is Jablonsky’s best work in almost a decade. Read more…

SPACECAMP – John Williams

June 9, 2016 Leave a comment

spacecampTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Having enjoyed what will, in all probability, go down in history as the most successful creative period of any composer in film music history from 1975 through 1984, when he wrote the scores for Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, three Star Wars films, Superman, two Indiana Jones films, and E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial, among others, John Williams quite rightly decided to take a break. With the exception of a couple of episodes of the TV series Amazing Stories, he didn’t write anything in 1985, while in 1986 his only score was this one: the children’s adventure film SpaceCamp. Directed by TV veteran Harry Winer, the film followed the escapades of five brilliant teenagers (including Lea Thompson, Tate Donovan, Kelly Preston, and Joaquin Phoenix) who enroll in NASA’s SpaceCamp program with a view to becoming astronauts when they grow up. After meeting their instructors (Kate Capshaw and Tom Skerritt), and a friendly robot named Jinx, the kids are allowed into the cockpit of the Space Shuttle Atlantis during a routine engine test; however, a malfunction occurs, launching the shuttle into space, and forcing the inexperienced children to work together to try to bring the shuttle safely back to Earth. Read more…

THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY – Scott Glasgow

June 7, 2016 1 comment

curseofsleepingbeautyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is a Gothic horror film from Singapore-born director Pearry Teo, starring Ethan Peck, India Eisley, Natalie Hall, and Bruce Davison. A dark, modernistic retelling of the classic Grimm fairy tale, the film follows Thomas Kaiser, who inherits a mansion that has been in his family for generations – only to learn that he has also inherited an ancient curse stemming back to the Crusades. The curse surrounds a beautiful young woman named Briar Rose, whose physical form is in a seemingly eternal sleep deep in the house’s bowels, but whose mind is held captive in a terrifying netherworld which Thomas has seen previously in his dreams. Despite being visually splendid – as evidenced by the wonderful imagery on the CD cover – the film has, unfortunately, not proved to be popular with critics, opening in cinemas to muted reviews, and subsequently banished to the dreaded black hole of video-on-demand. Read more…

A LITTLE ROMANCE – Georges Delerue

June 6, 2016 2 comments

alittleromanceMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director George Roy Hill enjoyed success with the romance film The World of Henry Orient in 1964, and when he came across the novel “E=MC2 Mon Amour” by Patrick Cauvan he decided it was time to revisit the genre. He and screenwriter Alan Burns crafted the script and set about finding their cast. Renowned thespian Laurence Olivier was hired to play Julius Edmund Santorin, and provide gravitas to the film, along with the two teenage lovers, Lauren King, played by Diane Lane making her acting debut, and Daniel Michon, played by Thelonius Bernard. The story offers a coming of age romance between Lauren, a 13-year-old American with an astounding IQ of 167, and her French beau Daniel, a street wise 13 year old who loves Hollywood film and betting on the horses. They meet one day at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and fall in love. Their romantic adventure begins when the meet septuagenarian Julius who tells them that if they board a gondola in Venice and kiss under the Bridge of Sighs at sunset as the bells of Saint Mark’s toll, they will be in love forever. Well, since they cannot cross the border as minors without an adult, they join together on this romantic quest. With Julius’ assistance, and after much intrigue and side steps, Lauren and Daniel finally achieve their supreme romantic moment! Although Lauren’s outraged parents take her back to America, the film closes with our lovers locked in a parting gaze, knowing that Venice ensures they will again be together. The film had modest commercial success and received mixed critical reaction. Never the less it secured two Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay and best Film Score, winning one, Best Film Score. Read more…

THE NICE GUYS – John Ottman and David Buckley

June 5, 2016 2 comments

theniceguysOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A comedy crime thriller written and directed by Shane Black, The Nice Guys stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as Healy and March, a pair of private detectives in Los Angeles in the late 1970s who become embroiled in a labyrinthine plot involving a dead porn star, the missing daughter of a local politician, sinister hit men, and the Detroit auto industry, all set against a backdrop of sex, drugs, and disco. The film also stars Matt Bomer, Kim Basinger, and the wonderfully spunky Angourie Rice as Gosling’s unfazeable 14-year-old-daughter; it moves along at a breezy clip, combining buddy-movie action with a healthy helping of humor, while the nostalgic setting allows director Black to luxuriate in the Los Angeles of his childhood, when large parts of it were still sleazy and seedy. Contributing enormously to the period atmosphere is the disco-jazz score by composers John Ottman and David Buckley, Ottman having worked on Black’s directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005. Read more…