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Archive for July, 2019

MIDSOMMAR – Bobby Krlic

July 23, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although horror movies are pervasive and very popular in cinematic culture, one particular sub-genre of horror is not explored with as much frequency as others, and that is ‘folk horror,’ where the crux of the plot is derived from characters’ adherences to ancient pagan rituals in an otherwise contemporary setting. The most popular and well-known of these prior to this year was probably the 1973 British film The Wicker Man (we’re forgetting the risible Nicolas Cage remake), but director Ari Aster’s Midsommar looks set to challenge its status as the pre-eminent example of its genre. Whereas Aster’s debut film Hereditary explored the dark corners of devil worship in contemporary America, Midsommar takes place in the bright sunshine of Sweden. Florence Pugh plays Dani, a college student struggling to cope with the murder-suicide of her sister and parents, and whose boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) is distant and disinterested. Jack and two of his friends, Mark and Josh, are invited by another friend, Pelle, to spend the summer at Pelle’s home in Sweden; Pelle grew up on a small isolated commune, and his family continues to observe ancient ‘midsummer’ rituals. Despite his initial reluctance, Jack allows Dani to come with them, and before long the friends are happily taking part in psychedelic mushroom trips, experiencing the commune’s curious customs, and wearing a nice line in white linen smocks. Of course, as always happens in films like this, the charming quaintness quickly descends into chaos, as the true nature of the commune and its inhabitants is revealed. Read more…

LICENCE TO KILL – Michael Kamen

July 18, 2019 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second – and last – James Bond film to star Timothy Dalton was 1989’s Licence to Kill, directed by John Glen from a screenplay by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum. I have long been of the opinion that Dalton was a hugely underrated Bond who should have been given more opportunities to succeed and develop his gritty version of the character, and that Licence to Kill is one of the best of the entire series. In it, Bond finds himself disavowed by British secret service agency MI6 and ‘going rogue’ after his best friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter, and his new bride Della are viciously attacked on their wedding day. The perpetrator is Franz Sanchez, a drug lord and ruthless cartel boss in a fictional Central American country; seeking personal vengeance, Bond teams up with Pam Bouvier, an ex Army-pilot with a vendetta against Sanchez of her own, and crosses paths with two very different members of Sanchez’s entourage: the beautiful Lupe Lamora, and the sadistic henchman Dario. The film co-stars Robert Davi, Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto, and a very young Benicio del Toro, but unfortunately the film was not a commercial success; adjusted for inflation. It remains the lowest-grossing Bond film of all time, something which, sadly, hastened to the end of Dalton’s tenure and his subsequent replacement with Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye in 1995. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – Michael Giacchino

July 17, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

With Avengers Endgame having smashed almost every box office record in existence, it was always going to be difficult for Marvel to build on that movie’s enormous success. The two-part Avengers finale was one of those rare things that is both a commercial and cultural touchstone; it also marked the end of the ‘Third Phase’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which the existential threat of Thanos was finally eliminated, and the circle of movies that began with Iron Man in 2008 ended with Iron Man’s death. Spider-Man: Far From Home, despite being officially the last part of Phase III and the 23rd Marvel film overall, is actually something of a coda, acting both as a rumination on the events of Endgame and as a bridge to the Phase IV series which is scheduled to begin in 2020; it also seems to have successfully maintained the interest that peaked with Avengers, enjoying huge box office takings and good critical reviews. The film is set 8 months after Endgame and again stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man; he is still coming to terms with Tony Stark’s death and longs just to be a normal teenager again. As such, he agrees to go on a trip to Europe with his high school classmates, including his potential girlfriend MJ (Zendaya); unfortunately, Peter can’t escape from his responsibilities even there, and is called upon by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assist a multi-dimensional warrior named Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) in saving the world from creatures that wreak havoc by controlling the power of the four elements. The film is directed by Jon Watts and has an original score by Michael Giacchino. Read more…

GOOD OMENS – David Arnold

July 12, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I have been a fan of the late great British author Sir Terry Pratchett ever since I was a kid. Titles like The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Mort, and Pyramids were among my most treasured literary discoveries in the 1980s and 90s; the combination of fantasy, science-fiction, and historical adventure with a distinctly Pythonesque brand of English humor and wit appealed to my sensibility greatly. Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, very few of his works have been translated into film or television projects, and even fewer of them have been seen outside of the UK, which means that while he remains massively popular at home, he is something of an unknown quantity to the rest of the world. This is why I’m so pleased that Good Omens has been so well received; it’s a 6-part TV adaptation of the novel Pratchett wrote with sci-fi author Neil Gaiman in 1990, and is a comedy about the end of the world. Michael Sheen and David Tennant star as Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, who have been living on Earth since the beginning of time as the official representatives of God and Satan. When they learn that the son of Satan has been born – an event which will in time trigger the apocalypse – Aziraphale and Crowley team up to stop it happening. It turns out that, over the millennia, the pair have become unlikely friends, and are not willing to give up their pleasant and comfortable lives in England – even if Armageddon is part of God’s ineffable plan. Read more…