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EVIL DEAD 2 – Joseph Lo Duca

April 6, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the wake of the unexpected success of the low-budget horror movie The Evil Dead in 1981, writer/director Sam Raimi was given $3.5 million by producer Dino Di Laurentiis to make a bigger-budget sequel, which both re-made the original film with better special effects and more professional production values, and continued the story. The result is 1987’s Evil Dead 2, in which the hapless hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) continues to do battle with the terrifying ‘deadites,’ re-animated corpses possessed by the evil power of an ancient book who prevent him from escaping the ‘cabin in the woods’ and returning to civilization with all his extremities intact. With it’s spectacularly gory blood-splattered special effects, overblown humor, and frenetic visual style, Evil Dead 2 quickly became a cult hit, almost doubling its budget at the box office, and initiating a franchise that continues to this day. The film co-starred Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, and Richard Domeier, and had an original score by Michigan-born composer Joseph Lo Duca. Read more…

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – Alan Menken

April 4, 2017 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Beauty and the Beast is the latest film in Walt Disney Studios’s series of live action remakes of their classic animated films, following on from Maleficent (a remake of Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, and The Jungle Book. For those who don’t know, the film is based on both the 1991 animated film, as well as the classic French fairytale La Belle et la Bête written by novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. It tells the story of a beautiful young woman, Belle, who is taken prisoner by a mysterious and terrifying beast who lives in an enchanted castle near her village; initially scared of the monster, Belle gradually grows to love him, especially when she learns that he is actually a handsome prince who was cursed by an enchantress years previously. The Beast and all the castle’s inhabitants – who now comprise a candelabra, a clock, and a teapot, among others – are cursed to remain in their enchanted state until someone falls in love with him. Meanwhile, Belle’s boorish and narcissistic suitor Gaston is manipulating Belle’s kindly father in order to win Belle’s hand in marriage, and will stop at nothing to bag his ‘trophy’ wife. The film, which is directed by Bill Condon, is a sumptuous visual delight, filled with spectacular fairytale imagery of magic and romance; it stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, and Luke Evans as Gaston, with Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and Josh Gad in supporting and voice roles. Read more…

THE ROBE – Alfred Newman

April 3, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century Fox Studio chief Darryl Zanuck chose to use “The Robe” to introduce his new creation Cinemascope to the world. Cinemascope used an anamorphic lens that allowed the filming process to create an image of up to a 2.66:1 aspect ratio, almost twice as wide as the industry standard. He hired veteran Henry Koster to direct and adapted the script from the novel by Lloyd Douglas, which he had envisioned for years. “The Robe” is a Biblical epic, a love story and a tale of a man’s struggle for redemption. Marcellus (Richard Burton) is a Roman military tribune from a noble family who offends Caligula, heir to the Roman throne. In retribution he is deployed to Palestine, thus separating him from his life of luxury and his lover Diana (Jean Simmons). Upon his arrival he is given command of the unit charged with executing Jesus Christ, which he dutifully discharges. While drunk he happens to win in a craps game Jesus’ homespun robe after the crucifixion. The death of Jesus affects Marcellus profoundly, and henceforth he is tormented by recurring nightmares, delusions and guilt for his role in his crucifixion. On orders from Tiberius he returns to Palestine in search of the robe, which he believes has bewitched him. He thus begins a personal journey that will lead him to discover faith, forgiveness and ultimately redemption. The film was a huge critical success, winning two Oscars and a Golden Globe for Best Picture. The film and Cinemascope were also a huge commercial success, earning profits seven times that of its production costs. Read more…