Archive

Archive for December, 2018

MARY POPPINS RETURNS – Marc Shaiman

December 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Is there a more beloved screen musical than Mary Poppins? The Walt Disney-produced 1964 classic, based on the series of novels by P. L. Travers, made a star of actress Julie Andrews, entered songs like “Feed the Birds,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” into the enduring cinematic lexicon, and won the hearts of children and adults all around the world. When it was announced that, more than 50 years later, a sequel was in production, it was inevitable that comparisons between it and the original would be made – how could they not be? The potential for disaster was enormous. Thankfully for all concerned, Mary Poppins Returns is a triumph in every respect, an overwhelmingly joyous ‘happiness bomb’ that pays respectful homage to the legendary first film while continuing the story in a thoughtful, respectful, fun, and emotional way. The film is set some thirty years after the first one, in pre-War rather than Edwardian London, and finds the original Banks children Jane and Michael as adults. Michael is a widower with three children of his own, living in his father’s home; however, in the aftermath of his wife’s death, Michael has sunk into a depression, and is in danger of losing the house to the bank. Just as all hope seems lost their magical childhood nanny, Mary Poppins, returns, and with the help of a London lamplighter named Jack, sets about putting things right for the Banks children for a second time. Read more…

Advertisements

Golden Globe Nominations 2018

December 7, 2018 1 comment

goldenglobeThe Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has announced the nominations for the 76th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and American television of 2018.

In the Best Original Score category, the nominees are:

  • MARCO BELTRAMI for A Quiet Place
  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT for Isle of Dogs
  • LUDWIG GÖRANSSON for Black Panther
  • JUSTIN HURWITZ for First Man
  • MARC SHAIMAN for Mary Poppins Returns

This is the first Golden Globe nomination for Beltrami, and the first major film music nomination of any kind for Göransson, although Göransson has been a multiple Grammy award nominee and winner for his work as a producer for Donald Glover and Childish Gambino.

This is the 2nd nomination for Hurwitz, who previously won the Globe for La La Land in 2016, the 2nd nomination for Shaiman, and the 10th nomination for Desplat, who previously won the Globe for The Painted Veil in 2006 and The Shape of Water in 2017.

In the Best Original Song category, the nominees are:

  • JÓN ÞÓR BIRGISSON (JÓNSI), TROYE SIVAN, and BRETT McLAUGHLIN for “Revelation” from Boy Erased
  • KENDRICK LAMAR DUCKWORTH, ANTHONY TIFFITH, MARK SPEARS (SOUNWAVE), SOLÁNA ROWE (SZA), and AL SHUCKBURGH (AL SHUX) for “All the Stars” from Black Panther
  • STEFANI GERMANOTTA (LADY GAGA), MARK RONSON, ANTHONY ROSSOMANDO, and ANDREW WYATT for “Shallow” from A Star Is Born
  • ANNIE LENNOX for “Requiem for A Private War” from A Private War
  • DOLLY PARTON and LINDA PERRY for “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin’

The winners of the 76th Golden Globe Awards will be announced on January 6, 2019.

THE LAND BEFORE TIME – James Horner

December 6, 2018 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Land Before Time is an animated feature film for children, directed by Don Bluth and produced by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. It’s set in the late cretaceous period, and follows the adventures of a group of orphaned dinosaurs searching for a fabled oasis where there is food, water, and safety. The main character is Littlefoot, a young Apatosaurus, who along with his friends – each of whom is a different species, such as a triceratops or a pteranodon – find themselves having to escape from numerous dangers, not least of which is a deadly ‘sharptooth’ Tyrannosaurus Rex that is hunting them. The film was incredibly popular at the time, and it works on multiple levels. Firstly, it is a fun story for children, with playful characters and a friendly cartoonish animation style. However, it also has some deeper meaning, addressing issues of racism (some of the adult dinosaurs are prejudiced against different species), climate change (the dinosaurs don’t know it, but they are living through a famine that heralds the beginning of their extinction event), friendship, and family. There is also some surprisingly dark material too, including some quite intense and frightening sequences involving the Tyrannosaurus, as well as character deaths which left real emotional scars on an entire generation of kids. Amazingly, the film spawned an incredible thirteen direct-to-video sequels and even a TV series, although none of them reached the level of acclaim the original had. Read more…

THE GRINCH – Danny Elfman

December 4, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Whenever I tell this fact to Americans they invariably look at me like I’m from Mars, but I swear I’m telling the truth: growing up as a child in England, I had never really heard of Dr Seuss. I think I might have had some passing awareness of The Cat in the Hat, but beyond that the literary canon of the rhyming Theodor Geisel remained a complete mystery to me. My childhood literary icons were Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, A. A. Milne, E. Nesbit, and people like that, and so when director Ron Howard made a feature film based on Seuss’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey in 2000, I went into it blind (it perhaps says something that the film was released simply as ‘The Grinch’ in UK cinemas, such was the nation’s general unfamiliarity with the character). I have since become aware of the 1966 Boris Karloff-voiced animated short film, and come to understand it’s status as a festive American television staple, and as such it is no longer surprising to me that there is now a full-length animated film based on the same story. Like the previous incarnations, it tells the tale of the eponymous mean and grumpy green creature who hates Christmas so much that he decides to ‘steal’ it by ruining the holiday for the citizens of Whoville, who live in the valley beneath his mountaintop home. Of course, in the process of ruining things, the Grinch actually comes to learn the true meaning of the season – and they all live happily ever after. The film is directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney, and features Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the title role. Read more…

THE VIKINGS – Mario Nascimbene

December 3, 2018 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Kirk Douglas came upon the novel 1951 The Viking by Edison Marshall and thought it offered a great opportunity to showcase his talents as a leading man. His production company Bryna Productions purchased the screen rights, and he brought in Jerry Bresler to produce. He tasked veteran Richard Fleischer whom he had successfully collaborated with on 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954) to direct. Calder Willingham and Dale Wasserman were hired to write the screenplay, and after several incarnations, a final script was realized. To achieve his vision, Douglas insisted on authenticity and so the film was shot on location in Norway, whose harsh, damp and cold weather placed actors and crew under great duress. Douglas would play the lead role of Einar and be supported by Tony Curtis as Eric, Ernest Borgnine as Ragnar Lodbrok, Janet Leigh as Princess Morgana, James Donald as Lord Egbert, Alexander Knox as Father Goodwin, Frank Thring as King Aella of Northumbria, with narration provided by Orson Welles. Read more…