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RUBY – John Scott

March 31, 2022 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

November 22, 1993, marked the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, and in the years leading up to that memorial several films and TV shows were made looking at the details surrounding the event. The JFK assassination had fascinated the American public for decades, and the stories and conspiracy theories surrounding it had become stock-in-trade for filmmakers and authors. The most high profile film made during that period was JFK, written and directed by Oliver Stone and released in late 1991, but the spring of 1992 saw another film about the event – Ruby, directed by John Mackenzie. It takes a look at the life of one of the other important figures of the event: Texas nightclub owner Jack Ruby, who shot and killed JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement garage of a Dallas city police station two days after JFK’s death. The film starred Danny Aiello as Ruby, and has a supporting cast that included Sherilyn Fenn, Arliss Howard, David Duchovny, and Tobin Bell. Read more…

UNCHARTED – Ramin Djawadi

March 29, 2022 Leave a comment

Original Review by Christopher Garner

Uncharted is a long-delayed action-adventure film based on a video game franchise (that was in turn inspired by Indiana Jones), but this new film feels more like National Treasure than anything else. It tells the story of Nathan Drake (Tom Holland), a young thief who meets Sully (Mark Wahlberg), a seasoned treasure hunter that used to work with Nate’s long-lost brother. Nate teams up with Sully to find Magellan’s lost treasure and encounters plenty of bad guys and double-crosses along the way. Critics have been hard on the film, but I thought it was more fun than its tomatometer score would suggest, despite the ridiculous finale. Uncharted is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who helmed the Zombieland films and the first Venom film, and it has probably done well enough at the box office ($330+ million) to get a sequel, though none has been announced yet. Read more…

A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Franz Waxman

March 28, 2022 1 comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

MGM Studios decided that they wanted to bring the 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens to the big screen. They secured the film rights and assigned Joseph L. Mankiewicz to production. Hugo Butler was hired to adapt the novel and write the screenplay, however, the studio insisted that the final product be a “Family Film” as was its historic practice with literary adaptations. As such, much of the grimmest, and scariest elements of Dicken’s tale was excised, which robbed the film of much of its potent social commentary. Edwin L. Marin was tasked with directing and after recasting the lead actor role, a great cast was assembled, including Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge, Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit, Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Cratchit, Terry Kilburn as Tiny Tim Cratchit and Barry MacKay as Fred. Read more…

Academy Award Winners 2021

March 27, 2022 Leave a comment

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have announced the winners of the 94th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film in 2021.

In the Best Original Score category composer Hans Zimmer won the award for his score for Dune, the epic science fiction adventure based on the classic novel by Frank Herbert, directed by Denis Villeneuve. This is Zimmer’s second Oscar, him having previously won for The Lion King in 1994. Zimmer was not present at the ceremony to accept the award as he was in the middle of his concert tour in Europe, but he later posted a video on his official Facebook page in which he made an impromptu speech – while dressed in pyjamas and a bathrobe! – in the lobby of his hotel in Amsterdam, and said:

“Who else has pyjamas like this! Actually, let me say this, and this is for real: had it not been for you, and most of these people in this room, this would never have happened. You know it I mean, had it not been for Guthrie [Govan]’s amazing bagpipe, had it not been for Loire [Cotner]’s incredible vocal, had it not been for all the incredible musicians in this band, all the musicians in my life, who have given me the confidence to go and do these things. And had ultimately it not been for Denis Villeneuve quietly one day saying to me ‘have you ever heard of a book called Dune?” and I instantly knew I had found a soulmate. I mean, seriously, usually you discuss things with a director, with Denis, he starts a sentence I finish it, I start a sentence he finishes it, so… you know… that! That’s it!”

The other nominees were Nicholas Britell for Don’t Look Up, Germaine Franco for Encanto, Jonny Greenwood for The Power of the Dog, and Alberto Iglesias for Parallel Mothers.

In the Best Original Song category, the winners were Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell for “No Time to Die” from the James Bond film of the same name.

The other nominees were Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Darius ‘Dixson’ Scott for “Be Alive” from King Richard, Lin-Manuel Miranda for “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, Van Morrison for “Down to Joy” from Belfast, and Diane Warren for “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days.

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STREET ANGEL [MALU TIANSHI] – Luting He

March 21, 2022 1 comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director-Actor-Screenplay writer Yuan Mushi was seeking to direct the second film of his career. As part of his vision, he wrote a screenplay in support of China’s “Left Wing Movement” in cinema, which sought reveal the harsh struggle and bitter life of the poor urban underclass. Filmed during tumultuous times against the backdrop of the Second Sino-Japanese war, the film proved to be trendsetting by its innovative use of thematic music, singing, and choreographed art. Yuan secured financial backing and distribution support from the Mingxing Film Company. Yuan would also direct the film, and brought in a fine cast, including Zhou Xuan as Xiao Hong, Zhao Huishen as Xiao Yun, Zhao Dan as Chen Shaoping, and Wei Heling as Wang. The film would be the company’s last as it was shut down by the war. Read more…

WIND – Basil Poledouris

March 16, 2022 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the years immediately prior to his death in 2006, composer Basil Poledouris essentially retired from scoring and moved from the Los Angeles area to Vashon Island, off the coast of Seattle, Washington, where he indulged in his second greatest passion after music: sailing. Many composers are well known for their non-film music endeavors. Alan Silvestri owns a vineyard and makes his own wine, for example, and James Horner famously (and tragically) loved flying vintage planes. Once in a while the two passions are able to intersect, and for Poledouris that happened with the only score he wrote in 1992 – Wind. The film is a romantic adventure set in the world of America’s Cup yachting, which stars Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey, and was directed by Carroll Ballard. The film is mostly forgotten today, but film music fans would be remiss if they forgot Poledouris’s score for it, because it allowed him to fully embrace the emotional rush that sailing provided for him, and inspired him to write one of his most personal scores. Read more…

ANOTHER DAWN – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

March 14, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1935 Warner Brothers Studio executive Jack L. Warner decided that the 1919 play “Caesar’s Wife” by W. Somerset Maugham offered opportunity for a big screen adaptation. He purchased the film rights, provided a budget of $552,000, and would personally join Harry Joe Brown and Hal B. Wallis in producing the film. William Dieterle was tasked with directing and sought to capitalize on rising star Errol Flynn by casting him as Captain Denny Roark. Bette Davis was originally cast to play Julia Ashton Wister but her suspension by the studio resulted in Kay Francis winning that role; they were joined by Ian Hunter as Colonel John Wister. Read more…

BAFTA Winners 2021

March 13, 2022 1 comment

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) have announced the winners of the 75th British Academy Film Awards, honoring the best in film in 2021.

In the Best Original Music category, the winner was Hans Zimmer, who won the award for his work on the sci-fi epic Dune, based on the classic novel by Frank Herbert. This was Zimmer’s first BAFTA win, but he was not present in London to accept the award as he is currently on tour in Europe with Hans Zimmer Live.

The other nominees were Nicholas Britell for Don’t Look Up, Alexandre Desplat for The French Dispatch, Jonny Greenwood for The Power of the Dog, and Daniel Pemberton for Being the Ricardos.

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WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD – Rachel Portman

March 10, 2022 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Where Angels Fear to Tread was one of several cinematic adaptations of novels by the British writer E. M. Forster in the 1980s and early 1990s, the others being A Passage to India, A Room With a View, and Howard’s End. Like all of Forster’s work it is a scathing examination of the British class system, its rigid mores and morals, and how those formal rules butt up against the passions bubbling underneath the proverbial stiff upper lips. This film adaptation is directed by Charles Sturridge and stars Helen Mirren as Lilia, a recent widow who travels from London to Tuscany in 1905 with her young companion Caroline (Helena Bonham-Carter). Shockingly, Lilia falls in love with a handsome and roguish Italian named Gino (Giovanni Guidelli), marries him, and falls pregnant, much to the dismay of her conservative and status-obsessed siblings (Rupert Graves and Judy Davis) back in England. As the two halves of the family fight over Lilia’s perceived unsuitable relationship, especially as it relates to the future of her unborn child, the disagreements quickly turn to tragedy for all involved. The title comes from the famous line in Alexander Pope’s 1711 poem ‘An Essay on Criticism’: for fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Read more…

SCL Award Winners 2021

March 9, 2022 Leave a comment

The Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) has announced the winners of the third annual SCL Awards, honoring the best in film and television music in 2021. The SCL is the premier professional trade group for composers, lyricists, and songwriters working in the motion picture, television, and game music industry, and is headquartered in Los Angeles. The winners are:

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A STUDIO FILM

  • GERMAINE FRANCO for Encanto

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN INDEPENDENT FILM

  • DANIEL HART for The Green Knight

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION OR STREAMING PRODUCTION

  • CRISTOBAL TAPIA DE VEER for The White Lotus

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SONG FOR VISUAL MEDIA – DRAMA/DOCUMENTARY

  • BILLIE EILISH and FINNEAS O’CONNELL for “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SONG FOR VISUAL MEDIA- MUSICAL/COMEDY

  • NICHOLAS BRITELL, ARIANA GRANDE, SCOTT MESCUDI, and TAURA STINSON for “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SCORE FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • HILDUR GUÐNADÓTTIR and SAM SLATER for Battlefield 2012

DAVID RAKSIN AWARD FOR EMERGING TALENT

  • STEPH ECONOMOU

SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION AWARD

  • ETHAN COEN, JOEL COEN, and CARTER BURWELL
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THE BATMAN – Michael Giacchino

March 8, 2022 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Warner Brothers announced that there was going to be yet another Batman reboot movie, with a sixth actor donning the famous black cowl, I admit I initially rolled my eyes. How many more different versions of this story do we need? How could they possibly differentiate it from the character portrayals by Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, and most recently Ben Affleck, among all the others? I was getting bat fatigue, and went into this with somewhat low expectations, despite the caliber of the actors and filmmakers involved. Well, I’m very happy to eat my words because Matt Reeves’s The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz, is excellent: the caped crusader re-imagined as a film noir antihero. It’s important to remember that the media behemoth we know now as DC actually began as Detective Comics, and that the character was originally that – the world’s greatest detective. The Batman is very much a return to those roots, pitting the character as an ally to the Gotham City police, helping to solve the murders of several local politicians and public figures in increasingly disturbing ways. Read more…

FIRE OVER ENGLAND – Richard Addinsell

March 7, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1936 producer Alexander Korda came across the novel Fire Over England by A. E. W. Mason and believed it could be successfully brought to the big screen as a historical drama set in the Elizabethan era. He purchased the film rights and joined with Erich Pommer to manage production. Clemence Dane and Sergei Nolbandov collaborated on writing the screenplay and William K. Howard took the reins for directing. A fine cast was assembled including; Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth I, Raymond Massey as King Philip II of Spain, Leslie Banks as Robin, Earl of Leicester, Laurence Olivier as Michael Ingolby, Vivien Leigh as Cynthia and James Mason as Hillary Vane. Read more…

CAT BURGLAR – Christopher Willis

March 4, 2022 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A new project from the mind of the British satirist and filmmaker Charlie Brooker – whose anthology series Black Mirror received general critical acclaim – Cat Burglar is something very, very different. Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were a kid? Actually, probably not, if you were born at any point after 1990, but they were basically novels where, at certain points in the story, you were asked to make a decision about what the hero did next. Walk through Door A? Turn to page 28. Walk through Door B? Turn to page 23. And so on and so on… and depending on what you chose, the hero lived or died or got the girl. Cat Burglar is something like that, except it’s animated and on Netflix. The story follows a cartoon cat named Rowdy who is trying to steal valuable artwork from a museum which is being protected by a security guard dog named Peanut. The viewer uses their remote control to answer a series of trivia questions in order to advance the story, with the animation having different outcomes depending on how the viewer answers. It’s a clever idea that combines interactive video games with classic cartoon animation, and it will be interesting to see whether the concept takes off or becomes a one-off novelty. Read more…

DIÊN BIÊN PHÚ – Georges Delerue

March 3, 2022 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The city of Diên Biên Phú is located in the north-west of Vietnam, and was the site of the decisive battle of the First Indochina War in 1954. The conflict climaxed with 55 days of intense combat in which the French colonial army fought against local Vietnamese forces for the fate of the region. It was a terrible and bloody battle, with thousands killed as a result of anti-aircraft batteries, tank warfare, and ground assaults; the eventual result was a humiliating loss for the French, and victory for the Chinese and Russian-backed Viet Minh communist revolutionaries. In the immediate aftermath of the battle the Geneva Accords were signed, ending the war; France withdrew all its forces from its regional colonies in French Indochina, and the independent countries of North Vietnam and South Vietnam were created, although that would not be the end of the conflict, as less than a year later in 1955 the two sides then began battling each other for control of the entire country. The resulting Second Indochina War – known in the United States as the Vietnam War – would then rage on for twenty more years. Read more…

KIMI – Cliff Martinez

March 1, 2022 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I was initially disappointed to learn that Kimi is not a biopic of the Formula 1 driver Kimi Räikkönen, but is instead a new techno-thriller from director Steven Soderbergh. It’s essentially a new spin on the trope of someone witnessing an apparent crime from afar, but when the witness tries to report the crime they are met with disbelief from the authorities. The whole thing began with Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window back in 1954, and has seen a resurgence of late through films such as Disturbia, Gone Girl, and last year’s The Woman in the Window. Zoe Kravitz stars as Angela, a tech expert with agoraphobia who works for a company that makes ‘Kimi,’ a smart home appliance similar to Siri and Alexa. Part of Angela’s job is to monitor the voice commands given to Kimi by its users, ostensibly to improve the device’s search algorithm; however, when Angela apparently discovers recorded evidence of the murder of a Kimi user, she tries to report it to her superiors – and quickly finds her own life in danger as a result. Read more…