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Archive for May, 2018

RAMBO III – Jerry Goldsmith

May 31, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Sylvester Stallone’s position as one of the decade’s most bankable Hollywood stars continued in 1988 with Rambo III, the third film about the exploits of John Rambo, a bitter and damaged Vietnam-era Special Forces veteran who keeps getting dragged back into war zones no matter how much he tries to live a quiet life. Directed by Peter MacDonald and written by Stallone himself with Sheldon Lettitch, Rambo III begins with Rambo being visited by his old army colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna), who tries to recruit him for a covert special ops mission to bring weapons to mujahedeen freedom fighters battling the Soviets in Afghanistan. Rambo refuses, but is eventually drawn into the conflict anyway weeks later when he learns that the mission was a disaster, and Trautman is now being held captive by a the sadistic Soviet colonel Alexei Zaysen (Marc de Jonge). Vowing to rescue his friend and bring him home, Rambo travels to the region alone, intending to wage a one-man war on the kidnappers. Read more…

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SOLO – John Powell

May 29, 2018 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

In the years since Disney bought the rights to Lucasfilm from Twentieth Century Fox, the Star Wars universe has grown exponentially. Not only have we had two films in the official sequel trilogy – The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi – but a number of side projects have also been greenlit, all expanding on the history and mythology of the franchise. The first of those ‘Star Wars stories’ was Rogue One in 2016, which looked at the events of how the Rebel Alliance came to possess the plans to the original Death Star, and eventually came to be seen as an immediate prequel to the first 1977 movie. Further movies are in development, including ones which would explore the origins of characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Lando Calrissian, and Boba Fett. But, before all that, we have this movie: Solo, which looks at the early life of everyone’s favorite scoundrel and scruffy-looking nerf herder. The basic story of Han Solo’s life have long been known: he was an orphan and petty criminal on his home planet, Corellia, and eventually became an intergalactic smuggler, picking up a partner in the shape of the wookiee Chewbacca, and a ship in the shape of the Millennium Falcon, along the way – winning the latter in a card game from fellow smuggler and handsome playboy Lando Calrissian. What Solo does is look at the detail: his life on Corellia, the people he knew there at the time, how he first meets Chewbacca, how he acquires the Falcon, and what adventures he embarks up on during those first journeys among the stars. Read more…

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND – John Williams

May 28, 2018 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Since his youth, Steven Spielberg had aspired to create a feature length science fiction film. His 1970 short story Experiences was his initial conception, which explored teenagers witnessing a wondrous “meteor shower light show” in the night sky. He pitched his idea and secured backing from Columbia Studios to proceed with “Watch the Skies”. Rewrites caused delays, and it was decided that he proceed with another project first, “Jaws”. The enormous financial success of “Jaws” resulted in Columbia Studios granting him significant creative control, which allowed for the development of the science fiction film he had always dreamed of. The script was written by Spielberg, but had input and additional refinements by several screenwriters. The title was changed to its final form as a derivation of ufologist J. Allen Hynek’s classification methodology for “close encounters”. Spielberg assembled a fine cast anchored by “Jaws” star Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary, Francois Truffault as Claude Lacombe, Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler, Teri Garr as Veronica Neary, and Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler. Read more…

THE MIRACLE SEASON – Roque Baños

May 25, 2018 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The very curious American phenomenon of turning schoolchildren into sporting heroes has resulted in some fine films, but the whole concept is still somewhat alien to me. When I was growing up in the UK, there were (more or less) three team sports which dominated the national consciousness: football/soccer, cricket, and rugby. Of those, soccer is really the only equivalent sport which Brits follow with a level of passionate interest that is similar to the way Americans follow their big four sports here – American football, basketball, baseball, and ice hockey. Some of you may be interested to learn that I played ‘high school soccer,’ both at ymy school, Newfield, and for my boy scout team, St. Paul’s, and knowing that American readers may now be imagining that I played in front of crowds of hundreds, possibly thousands, in the same way that ‘high school football’ or ‘high school basketball’ players do in the States. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the almost religious zeal with which people in the UK follow professional sports, their college and high school equivalents mean absolutely nothing – no one watches, and no one cares, because we are children, simply getting a bit of exercise and having some fun playing an organized sport, and are viewed as such. We don’t make the news. We don’t sign multi-million dollar contracts at age 14. We’re kids. The biggest crowd I played in front of was probably 30 people, most of whom were the parents of players. It is for this reason that films like The Miracle Season still feel slightly ridiculous to me. Read more…

WILLOW – James Horner

May 24, 2018 3 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Willow is a high fantasy film, which takes well-loved genre tropes from Lord of the Rings and elsewhere, and casts them in an adventure filled with magic, monsters, evil queens, beautiful princesses, soaring romance, daring sword fights, and much much more. Written by Bob Dolman from a story by George Lucas, and directed by Ron Howard, Willow is the story of a newborn baby prophesized to bring about the downfall of the evil witch Queen Bavmorda; to prevent the prophecy from coming to pass Bavmorda imprisons all expectant mothers, but after it is born, the baby is smuggled out of Bavmorda’s castle by a midwife, and eventually finds its way into the hands of Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn (dwarf) farmer and aspiring magician. Determined to protect the baby, Willow journeys far from his home, and eventually finds himself in the company of a roguish swordfighter named Madmartigan, the good witch Fin Raziel, and a pair of mischievous woodland sprites. As the story progresses they all become involved in a large scale war between Bavmorda’s army and those who oppose her, while Bavmorda’s daughter Sorsha and the fearsome General Kael continue to hunt for the baby. The film stars Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, and Jean Marsh, and has a spectacular original score by James Horner. Read more…

DEADPOOL 2 – Tyler Bates

May 22, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Considering that super hero movies in both the main Marvel and DC universes have become enormously serious affairs in recent years, it’s a breath of fresh air to have something like Deadpool 2 come along. A wholly irreverent, self-aware, and unashamedly profane affair, director David Leitch’s film is a sequel to the unexpectedly popular 2016 original. Ryan Reynolds returns in the lead role as the reluctant hero, a mutant in the X-Men timeline with the ability to heal himself from literally any wound or illness; in this film, he becomes embroiled in an unexpectedly complicated plot involving a time-travelling cyborg named Cable (Josh Brolin) who has travelled from the future to assassinate an anguished, overweight teenage mutant orphan with the ability to shoot fire from his hands (Julian Dennison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople). It touches on themes of family, revenge, and even child abuse, but the main selling point is the character of Deadpool himself, who is entirely aware of his ridiculous super hero circumstances, and who offers scathing commentary and snarky pop-culture references on his own adventures while dispatching the bad guys. It’s gleefully gory, and massively overblown, but has a surprisingly heartwarming and touching emotional core too, with the latter element involving Deadpool’s ex-stripper girlfriend (Morena Baccarin) and the members of the X-Force team that Deadpool assembles; I really enjoyed it. Read more…

STAR WARS – John Williams

May 21, 2018 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

George Lucas conceived of a space adventure drawn from the Flash Gordon sequels in 1971 following the completion of his first feature film, THX 1138. When his efforts to secure film rights were rebuffed, he resolved to create his own fantasy adventure. He wrote a script in 1973 and producer Larry Kurtz assisted him in securing financing, but United Artists, Disney and Universal Studios all declined, stating that they found the story strange. Lucas however persevered and finally obtained backing by 20th Century Studio exec Alan Ladd Jr. The script evolved through several incarnations, finally coalescing into the film version in 1975. Lucas formed a visual effects company, Industrial Light & Magic to realize his technical vision, which would demand visuals not seen before by the industry. The film and company would provide a seminal event, which would usher in a new age of filmmaking. Read more…