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Archive for June, 2019

DEAD POETS SOCIETY – Maurice Jarre

June 13, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There have been a lot of great movies about inspirational teachers over the years, from Goodbye Mr. Chips in 1939 (and its musical remake in 1969), to Dangerous Minds and Mr. Holland’s Opus in the 1990s, but for my money the best of them all is Dead Poets Society. Directed by Peter Weir and written by Tom Schulman, the film is set at an elite all-male New England prep school in 1959, a stuffy establishment whose school motto – tradition, honor, discipline, excellence – tells you everything you need to know about the faculty. Everything changes when a new English teacher, John Keating, joins the school, bringing with him a brash and innovative philosophy that teaches students to think for themselves. Keating has a particular influence on a group of seven young men who, having been inspired by Keating’s love of classic poetry, form the eponymous society and begin to embrace their lives, loves, and ambitions more than they had ever done before. The film is anchored by an utterly astonishing lead performance by Robin Williams as Keating, who brings depth and emotion and sincerity and manic energy to what is, to my mind, the greatest role of his entire career. The young men of the society are also superb, notably Robert Sean Leonard as a boy whose passion for acting is constantly crushed by his overbearing father, and Ethan Hawke, who overcomes his crippling shyness as a result of Keating’s encouragement. Read more…

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS – Bear McCreary

June 12, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ever since he first appeared on film in 1954 in director Ishiro Honda’s classic film Gojira, the gigantic amphibious reptile known in the West as Godzilla has become something of an icon, an instantly recognizable element of Japanese pop culture. Godzilla has appeared in an astonishing 32 films in Japan, plus a number of associated video games, novels, comic books, and television shows, but did not make his American debut until the 1998 film directed by Roland Emmerich. When that film was a comparative financial flop, audiences would have to wait a further 16 years for director Gareth Edwards’s 2014 film of the same name. The success of that film solidified Warner Brother’s plans for a future franchise, and now we have the first sequel – Godzilla: King of the Monsters – directed by Michael Dougherty from a screenplay by Dougherty, Max Borenstein, and Zach Shields. Read more…

WINGS – J. S. Zamecnik

June 10, 2019 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME
SILENT ERA BONUS SCORE

Original Review by Craig Lysy

John Monk Saunders served in the US Air Corp during WWI as a flight instructor in Florida. He had lifelong regrets that he was never able to serve his country in combat, and so conceived a story, which would allow him to realize that ambition in film. He pitched his idea to producer Jessie Lasky who was unreceptive due to the logistics required to film aerial combat. Yet Saunders would not be denied and secured support from the War Department, which included 220 planes, and airmen, artillery, tanks, trucks and troops. Lasky was impressed and decided to proceed with his Famous Players-Lasky company financing the project and Paramount Studio securing distribution rights. A massive budget of $2 million was budgeted and Louis Lighton and Hope Loring were hired to write the screenplay. Lasky and four others would produce the film, and William Wellman was tasked with directing as he was the only director in Hollywood who had actual combat pilot experience. Securing a cast was an adventure however when Paramount’s greatest star Clara Bow, demanded a rewrite stating “Wings is a man’s picture and I am just the whipped cream on top of the pie”. Her demands were met and the story evolved into a war time romance. She would star as Mary Preston, with Charles “Buddy” Rogers as Jack Powell, Richard Arlen as David Armstrong, Gary Cooper as Cadet White, and Jobyna Ralston as Sylvia Lewis. Read more…

LONESOME DOVE – Basil Poledouris

June 6, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Lonesome Dove, an epic western mini-series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Larry McMurtry, was one of the television successes of the year after it premiered on CBS in the spring of 1989. Directed by Simon Wincer and starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, and set in the closing years of the Old West, the story focused on the relationship between Gus (Duvall) and Call (Jones), two retired Texas Rangers who decide to leave their quiet town on the Mexican border and drive a herd of cattle north to Montana. McMurtry’s original novel – which explores themes of old age, death, unrequited love, and friendship – was based on a screenplay that he had co-written with Peter Bogdanovich for a movie that was intended to star John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda, but the project collapsed when John Ford advised Wayne to reject the script. Prior to its airing, the ‘classic western’ was considered to be a virtually dead genre, but Lonesome Dove almost singlehandedly re-vitalized it. The series drew staggering viewership numbers of more than 20 million homes, went on to win 7 Emmys from 18 nominations (including Best Director and a slew of technical awards), and paved the way for the cinematic resurrection of the genre with Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves in 1990 and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven in 1992. Read more…

RIM OF THE WORLD – Bear McCreary

June 4, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Rim of the World is a sci-fi action adventure film for children, written by Zack Stentz and directed by ‘McG’. It tells the story of four misfit friends attending a summer camp in the mountains above Los Angeles – when all of a sudden the Earth is invaded by aliens. Somehow, these four intrepid teenage adventurers find themselves in possession of a key which holds vital information about how to stop the invasion, and must trek across through the wilderness, down the mountain, and deliver the key to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, before the aliens find them first. The whole thing is a fun, kid-friendly adventure that has proved to be a popular success since its premiere on Netflix in the summer of 2019. Read more…