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Archive for August, 2017

SPACEBALLS – John Morris

August 31, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Comedy is such a subjective thing. What makes one person laugh uncontrollably leaves the next person totally confused as to what they could possibly find funny, and vice versa. My personal taste in comedy is one of extremes – on the one hand I like the smart and sophisticated comedy found in a lot of British films, while on the other hand I also love the absurdity, slapstick, and sight gags of things like Airplane and The Naked Gun. Mel Brooks is a director who made a career, at least in the movies, of parody. Blazing Saddles was a parody of westerns. Young Frankenstein was a parody of horror movies. And Spaceballs, my favorite movie of his, was a parody of Star Wars. It stars Bill Pullman as Lonestarr, a roguishly handsome space pirate, who has been hired to find and bring home Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) after she runs away from her wedding on her home planet, Druidia. Meanwhile, the evil Spaceballs, led by the incompetent President Skroob (Brooks) and the ruthless Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis), have hatched a plan to steal Druidia’s air supply, and want to kidnap Vespa before Lonestarr gets to her… Read more…

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THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD – Atli Örvarsson

August 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An unusual action-comedy buddy movie, The Hitman’s Bodyguard stars Ryan Reynolds as Michael Bryce, who was once one of the world’s most trusted and respected freelance bodyguards, but who fell into disgrace after one of his most high-profile clients was assassinated. Out of the blue Bryce is called back into action several years later; his job is to protect the key witness against the ruthless and bloodthirsty dictator of an east European country, who is about to be put on trial for crimes against humanity. The twist comes from the fact that the witness Bryce is assigned to protect is Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), formerly one of the world’s most notorious hitmen, and who was likely responsible for the death of Bryce’s previous client. The film, which was directed by Patrick Hughes and co-stars Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek, was met with generally positive reviews after it opened during the slow end-of-summer period in August 2017. Read more…

EXODUS – Ernest Gold

August 28, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1958 Otto Preminger and United Artists studio purchased the film rights to Leon Uris’s forthcoming novel, “Exodus”. Preminger, who would both produce and direct the film, felt that this was a story that needed to be told, and for him it became a passion project. He hired Dalton Trumbo who had been blacklisted as a communist by the infamous McCarthy Committee to write the screenplay. From day one he had Paul Newman in mind to play the lead role of Ari Ben Canaan. The stellar cast rounded off with Eva Marie Saint as Kitty Fremont, Ralph Richardson as General Sutherland, Peter Lawford as Major Caldwell, Lee Cobb as Barak Ben Canaan, Sal Mineo as Dov Landau, and John Derek as Taha. Read more…

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE – Bill Conti

August 24, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When I was a kid, He-Man was all the rage, a staple of playgrounds the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. The franchise began as a line of toys introduced by the Mattel company in 1981, which were accompanied by mini-comic books giving each figure a backstory; this morphed into an immensely popular animated TV series which debuted in 1983, telling the story of the heroic Prince Adam, who transforms into He-Man when he holds aloft his magic sword and says ‘by the power of Greyskull,’ and his battles the evil forces of Skeletor, who wants to take over Adam’s home planet of Eternia. Naturally, a film adaptation of the story was put into production, and in the summer of 1987 Masters of the Universe opened. Directed by Gary Goddard, it starred the muscle-bound Dolph Lundgren in the leading role, with Frank Langella hamming it up in full prosthetic makeup as his bone-faced nemesis. Read more…

FEUD: BETTE AND JOAN – Mac Quayle

August 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Building on the success of their hit TV anthology series American Horror Story, TV network FX and writer/director/producer Ryan Murphy have expanded into different areas with two additional shows. The first, American Crime Story, began in 2016 with The People vs. O. J. Simpson, an in-depth look at the celebrity murder trial which gripped the United States in the mid 1990s. The second, Feud, is intended to take a closer look at numerous different true-life inter-personal rivalries, and began by exposing the decades-long grudge between Hollywood actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, which came to a head during the filming of the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane in 1962. The 8-episode series, which starred Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon in the title roles and debuted in March 2017, reveled both in its Old Hollywood sheen and in the fading glamour of the two former starlets, while unearthing juicy details on a number of studio power players, ranging from Warner Brothers exec Jack Warner to director Robert Aldrich, and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. The show was an enormous success, and went on to pick up 19 Emmy Award nominations. Read more…

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN – Elmer Bernstein

August 21, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Yul Brynner had long explored the idea of an American retelling of Akira Kurosawa’s epic 1954 Japanese film The Seven Samurai. Brynner related; “I felt it was one of the great westerns of all time, only it was made by the Japanese, in the Japanese idiom. But the form, the whole design of it was the ideal western.” He worked with fellow actor Anthony Quinn to develop the concept, but when they had a falling out, he took over the reigns alone and presented his pitch to producer Walter Mirisch. Mirisch believed an Americana retelling of this epic story would resonate with the public, and so purchased film rights from Toho Studios and a distribution contract with United Artists. This was a passion project for Brynner, and he brought in friend John Sturges who acquainted himself well with Gunfight at the OK Corral in 1957, to both produce and direct the film. Read more…

ENNIO MORRICONE REVIEWS, 1966-1967

August 20, 2017 Leave a comment

In this second installment of my irregular new series looking at the early career of some iconic composers, we take a look at some more of the more obscure works written by the legendary Ennio Morricone. This group of reviews look at fifteen scores Morricone wrote in 1966 and 1967, including several outstanding jazz and pop pieces, war moves and historical drama, and more of his groundbreaking spaghetti western scores, one of which features one of the most iconic musical primal screams in cinema history! Read more…