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Archive for July, 2016

LEAGUE OF GODS [FANG SHEN BANG] – John Debney

July 29, 2016 Leave a comment

leagueofgodsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

League of Gods is an epic Chinese action fantasy film, directed by Koan Hui, based on a novel by Xu Zhonglin. It tells the story of King Zhou (Tony Leung), the last ruler of the Shang dynasty, who as a young man was bewitched by his concubine Daji (Fan Bingbing), an evil ‘vixen spirit’ in disguise as a beautiful woman. Zhou oppresses his people and persecutes those who oppose him. Ji Fa (Andy On), a rival king, assisted by his strategist Jiang Ziya (Jet Li), rallies an army to overthrow the tyrant and restore peace and order. Throughout the story, battles are waged, with both sides calling upon various supernatural beings – deities, immortals, demons, spirits, and humans with magical abilities – to aid them in the war. Read more…

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THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS – Alexandre Desplat

July 29, 2016 3 comments

secretlifeofpetsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Secret Life of Pets is the latest animated film from Illumination Entertainment, the successful studio behind the smash hits Despicable Me and Minions. Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, it follows the escapades of Max, a terrier who lives a life of luxury in an upscale New York tenement building with his owner. However, Max’s perfect life is spoiled when his owner adopts a new dog: Duke, a large and accident prone mongrel mutt who quickly makes Max’s life a misery. Before long, Max and Duke are involved in all manner of escapades, including a trip to the pound, a jailbreak masterminded by a streetwise bunny named Snowball, and a devilish plan to get revenge on the former owners of the city’s abandoned animals. The film features the voice talents of Louis CK, Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart, among others, and has a score from an unlikely source: Oscar-winning French composer Alexandre Desplat. Read more…

HOWARD THE DUCK – John Barry

July 28, 2016 Leave a comment

howardtheduckTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Howard the Duck was one of the most critically lambasted films of 1986, and probably represents the low point of George Lucas’s entire career as a filmmaker. The film was adapted from a cult comic book by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik by screenwriters Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, and was originally intended to be an animated film, but became live-action because of a contractual obligation, a decision which rendered much of the original comic book’s surrealist imagery difficult to convey. Despite being about a walking, talking, anthropomorphic duck, the comic book was essentially a satire on the human condition; desperate to appeal to a larger audience, Huyck and Katz stripped away most of Gerber’s scathing social commentary and adult story elements, and reduced it to an absurdist action-buddy-comedy – as such, it failed to satisfy fans of the original comic, nor did it have any real crossover appeal with the general public, and unsurprisingly it failed miserably at the box office. Read more…

STAR TREK BEYOND – Michael Giacchino

July 26, 2016 2 comments

startrekbeyondOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Star Trek Beyond is the third film of the ‘rebooted’ Star Trek series, and the thirteenth film overall since the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. Directed by Fast and the Furious veteran Justin Lin – taking over the helm from J. J. Abrams – the film sees the crew of the starship Enterprise half way through their five year mission to explore the farthest reaches of space, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). After briefly docking at the new starbase Yorktown, the Enterprise is dispatched to conduct a rescue mission inside a previously uncharted nebula, but falls victim to a surprise attack by a lizard-like warrior named Krall (Idris Elba), and crash-lands on a mysterious world. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off the hostile planet. Read more…

NOW VOYAGER – Max Steiner

July 25, 2016 1 comment

nowvoyager100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Now Voyager was unusual in that it was perhaps a film before its time, the first woman’s film, what we would describe today in the vernacular as a “Chick Flick.” Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) suffers under a cruel and tyrannical mother (Gladys Cooper) until a nervous breakdown sends her to a sanatorium. A kind physician (Claude Rains) heals her psychic wounds and we witness Charlotte reborn. She begins her new life with a Latin American cruise where she at last discovers love, with the unhappily married Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid). Their love and attraction is real, but they are reconciled to their fates. Charlotte leaves the cruise a stronger woman, and we retain hope that some day the two will reunite. It turns out that they do, through Jerry’s daughter Tina whom Charlotte helps heal, and in so doing, heals herself. The film was a critical success and firmly cemented Davis as the star of her day. Read more…

THE MONKEY KING 2 – Christopher Young

July 22, 2016 3 comments

monkeyking2Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Xi You Ji Zhi: Sun Wukong San Da Baigu Jing – known in English as The Monkey King 2 – is the second in the series of Chinese films based on “Journey to the West,” one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, which was written in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty by Wu Cheng En. Directed by Cheang Pou-Soi, the film continues the adventures of Sun Wukong, a monkey born from a magical stone who acquires supernatural powers. Following the events of the previous film, when he rebelled against heaven and was subsequently imprisoned under a mountain for 500 years, Sun Wukong (Aaron Kwok) is released and becomes the companion of a monk named Tang Sanzang (Shaofeng Feng), who is on a journey to India on a quest for enlightenment. However, their journey is fraught with danger, not least from Baigujing, White Bone Spirit (Gong Li), a demon who seeks immortality, and believes Tang Sanzang has the power to grant it to her. Read more…

ALIENS – James Horner

July 21, 2016 5 comments

aliensTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror masterpiece Alien was a watershed landmark, a seminal film that forever changed the genre, so it was something of a surprise that a sequel was not forthcoming straight away. With behind-the-scenes wrangling between executives at 20th Century Fox, and a script that languished in development hell, it actually took almost seven years for Aliens to hit the big screen, but with hindsight it was more than worth the wait. For me, Aliens is one of the greatest action films ever made; a blockbuster war movie allegory about the Vietnam War, inspired by several seminal works in classic sci-fi literature, written and directed by the young and hungry auteur behind the 1984 hit The Terminator. In James Cameron’s capable hands, Aliens became a masterpiece of tension and horror, pulsating adventure, and noble sacrifice. Read more…