Archive for October, 2016


October 14, 2016 2 comments

missperegrineshomeforpeculiarchildrenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the latest fantasy film from director Tim Burton. The film was adapted by Jane Goldman from the 2011 novel by Ransom Riggs, and stars Asa Butterfield as Jacob, a young man who, throughout his life, has been regaled with tall tales about his grandfather’s childhood at a home for “special children”. After his grandfather is killed by a mysterious monstrous creature, Jacob is compelled to visit Wales and seek out the home; eventually, Jacob discovers the house, its owner Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), and the children who still reside there – all of whom have mutations or abilities which make them unique. Gradually, Jacob learns the secrets of the house and its inhabitants, and the constant dangers they face from outside forces who want to obtain the powers of the ‘peculiars’ for their own ends. The film co-stars Ella Purnell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Judi Dench, and has been a popular success at the box-office, where audiences have responded well to Tim Burton’s eye-popping visual style. Read more…

ROUND MIDNIGHT – Herbie Hancock

October 13, 2016 3 comments


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

During the 1980s the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made some truly baffling decisions with regard to the Oscar for Best Original Score. In 1980 Michael Gore’s light pop score for Fame beat out The Empire Strikes Back. In 1981 Vangelis’s one-theme electronic noodling on Chariots of Fire somehow defeated Raiders of the Lost Ark. In 1988 Dave Grusin won for The Milagro Beanfield War – a film and score which, at least amongst my casual acquaintances, virtually no-one has seen or heard. Perhaps the strangest decision, however, came in 1986 when jazz composer and musician Herbie Hancock won for his score for Round Midnight, beating composers of such eminence as James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith, and Ennio Morricone, whose losing score for The Mission was not only the best score of 1986, but is on the list of the best scores ever written. Read more…


October 11, 2016 1 comment

girlonthetrainOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Girl on the Train was one of the best-selling and most controversial novels of 2015, a psychological thriller about the murder of a beautiful young woman, and the mystery surrounding her death; the inevitable film version stars Emily Blunt in the lead role as Rachel Watson, whose life fell apart when she separated from her husband Tom (Justin Theroux), due to a combination of his infidelity, their inability to conceive a child, and her increasing alcoholism. A year later, Tom is happily re-married to Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and has a young daughter; Rachel, however, is unable to let go, and repeatedly turns up at her old house, which she passes every day on the train during her morning commute. Rachel also fantasizes about Megan and Scott (Haley Bennett and Luke Evans), a seemingly perfect couple who live two houses away from Tom and Anna, and who she also sees from her train carriage. Things come to a head when Megan disappears and Rachel, who blacked out from drinking on the day of her disappearance, genuinely believes she may have had something to do with it. The film was directed by Tate Taylor, written by Erin Cressida Wilson from Paula Hawkins’s novel, and has an original score by Danny Elfman. Read more…

RAN – Tôru Takemitsu

October 10, 2016 2 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Ran, which translates as Chaos, was a passion project for the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, and most critics believe it to be his last great film. He had envisioned the film for many years, and he even made detailed paintings of the castles and sets he hoped to one day construct. He began writing the screenplay in 1976 but production was delayed by Tōhō Studios executives who balked at the estimated $5 million price tag, which would have made it the most expensive Japanese film ever made. The fact that his last film, Dodes’kaden, was a box office flop also served to harden studio resistance. Fortunately the great success of his film Kagemusha restored studio confidence in Kurosawa, and he was able to forge a partnership, securing funds from French producer Serge Silberman. There are recognizable parallels between Ran and Shakespeare’s King Lear, although Kurosawa related that the similarities did not become apparent to him until after he had conceived his script. Ran was Kurosawa’s last great epic film, one that offers a classic morality play, which affirms the truism that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. We are offered an excruciating tragedy, which reveals deception, envy, treachery, betrayal and hubris. Read more…

CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD – Michael Convertino

October 6, 2016 Leave a comment

childrenofalessergodTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Children of a Lesser God is a thoughtful, powerful romantic drama directed by Randa Haines, based on the Tony Award–winning stage play of the same name by Mark Medoff, adapted for the screen by Medoff and fellow writer Hesper Anderson. It stars William Hurt as James Leeds, a teacher who starts a new job as an instructor at a New England school for the deaf. One day James meets Sarah Norman (Marlee Matlin), a young deaf woman who works at the school as a member of the janitorial staff. Sarah is a sign language user, and refuses to speak out loud. As James and Sarah slowly develop a romance, it is gradually revealed that her silence is due in part to her difficult relationship with her mother (Piper Laurie), who is domineering and unreasonable, as well as her sexual history – Sarah has been raped before, and is struggling to come to terms with the repercussions of this in her life. The film was a critical success, receiving five Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture, and special praise was reserved for Matlin, who made her acting debut in this film, is deaf in real life, and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress at the age of just 21. Read more…


October 4, 2016 2 comments

deepwaterhorizonOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In April 2010 the Deepwater Horizon – an oil rig owned by the British Petroleum company (BP) and located in the gulf of Mexico – suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure, resulting in an enormous explosion, the deaths of eleven engineers who worked on the rig, and an ecological disaster of astronomical proportions, with more than 210 million gallons of oil spilling into the ocean and eventually onto the southern coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Director Peter Berg’s film looks at the events surrounding the disaster, focusing mainly on the men and women whose lives were impacted most by the event; the film stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien, and Kate Hudson, and has been the recipient of mainly positive reviews, who praised its realism, accuracy, and emotional portrayal of the disaster’s human cost. Read more…

IVAN THE TERRIBLE – Sergei Prokofiev

October 3, 2016 Leave a comment

ivantheterrible100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Josef Stalin had always admired Tsar Ivan IV, AKA Ivan Grozny (Ivan the Terrible), for his brilliance, decisiveness, and success as a powerful and resolute leader of the Russian people. Stalin saw himself as the incarnation of Ivan and when he became aware that filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein was also interested in the man, he ordered him to make a film with himself as author and director. Eisenstein understood his task and sought to create a narrative that extolled Ivan as a national icon and hero. The story would offer a trilogy of films, which covered the three stages of his life; part 1 would portray his childhood, coronation and early reign. Part 2 would focus on the Boyar plot, and Part 3 would cover his final days. The right cast was needed to realize his vision, so he brought in Nikolay Cherkasov to play the titular role. Joining him would be Serafima Birman as Efrosinia Staritska, Pavel Kadochnikov as Vladimir Staritsky, Mikhail Zharov as Malyuta Skuratov, Amvrosi Buchma as Alexei Basamanov, Mikhail Kuznetsov as Fyodor Basamanov and Lyudmilia Tselikovskaya as Tsarina Anastasia. Read more…