Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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


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…


May 18, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton


Avengers: Infinity War is, essentially, the culmination of a 10-year project overseen by producer Kevin Feige, the likes of which had never been attempted before in the history of cinema. Of course there have been long-running franchises before – Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings – but the development and growth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is quite something to behold: it’s a series of 19 theatrical movies and 10 related TV shows, all of which feature the origin stories and subsequent adventures of a vast array of super heroes who come together periodically to face down an array of threats which jeopardize the future of the Earth and, in some cases, the entire galaxy. Each individual story is planned to fit within a specific timeline charting the development of each character, they all feature interlocking plot strands and cross-references, and they have all been leading to this film. Read more…

A WORLD APART – Hans Zimmer

April 26, 2018 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As I wrote in my review for James Newton Howard’s Russkies last year, one of my favorite things about the Throwback Thirty series is the opportunity it gives me to take a look back at the very beginnings of certain composers’ careers, and examine how they started and where they came from. But first, a little background on the movie: A World Apart is an anti-Apartheid drama from the acclaimed cinematographer Chris Menges, who was making his directorial debut; it was written by Shawn Slovo, and loosely based on the lives of her parents, Ruth First and Joe Slovo. Set in South Africa in 1963, the film tells the story of Diana and Gus Roth, who are strong and determined anti-Apartheid activists. Despite being white and wealthy the Roths are frequently involved in public demonstrations and high profile political activism against the racist South African government, and as a result are often subjected to police brutality, violence, and societal ostracism – something which their pre-teen daughter Molly struggles to understand. The film stars Barbara Hershey, Jeroen Krabbé, a young Tim Roth, and a then 10-year-old Jodhi May, and was a significant critical success in Europe, winning a BAFTA for Best Screenplay, and receiving commendations at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. Read more…


April 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s interesting to note that, for quite some time now, Hollywood has been out of love with the biblical epic. It’s not that long ago than an adaptation of a bible story was a film studio annual cornerstone, guaranteed to bring in the crowds and the money. Some of the greatest and most lavish films in cinema history – Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, Quo Vadis – drew their inspiration from the most important parts of Christian scripture, while a whole raft of others focused on ‘minor characters’ from the bible but were no less successful – Samson and Delilah, David and Bathsheba, The Robe, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Story of Ruth, Barabbas. However, at a certain point audience enthusiasm for these films dwindled away, and for many subsequent years biblical films were considered passé, a relic of the over-stuffed studio era. Read more…

ROCKY – Bill Conti

April 23, 2018 1 comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Sylvester Stallone was enduring hard times in 1975. Despite having appeared in a few movies – including The Lords of Flatbush, Farewell My Lovely, and Death Race 2000 – he had only $100 in the bank, and was seeking to sell his dog Butkus because he could not afford to feed it. Ending up on the street was a looming possibility, which focused his resolve to engineer the big career break he needed. Seeking inspiration, Stallone found it in a famous match between heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and underdog no-hoper Chuck Wepner, who somehow managed to take the legendary Ali to fifteen rounds. Over three nights Stallone wrote a quintessential American rags-to-riches story about a down-and-out boxer named Rocky Balboa. This is a classic underdog narrative, where we bear witness to a determined man, who through perseverance, guile and sheer force of will, overcomes all obstacles to achieve greatness. Entwined within the narrative is a surprisingly tender love story, which served to endear Rocky to audiences as a relatable and fallible hero, one of the common folk whose story informs us that anything is possible. United Artist producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler loved the script and bought the film rights, with Stallone leveraging its sale with the stipulation that he would star. Studio executives baulked, but when Stallone refused to blink, they acquiesced, but with a severely reduced budget of $1 million. John G. Avildsen was tasked with directing the film. Read more…

LOST IN SPACE – Christopher Lennertz

April 17, 2018 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Considering that American TV appears to be obsessed with nostalgic reboots, it was perhaps only a matter of time before producers began to look back even further than the 1980s for inspiration. Lost in Space was one of several TV series produced by the legendary Irwin Allen which, along with Land of the Giants, The Time Tunnel, and of course Star Trek (which was not produced by Allen), eventually came to be regarded as game-changers for science fiction television storytelling. Unlike anthology series like The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space was a sequential drama that followed the adventures of the Robinson family, who are chosen to lead an exploration to find a new planet for humans to colonize, but who become hopelessly lost in the depths of space when their mission is sabotaged by a sinister stowaway. Originally broadcast in 1965, it started out quite seriously, but gradually became sillier as it went on, concentrating much more on the antics of the stowaway Dr Zachary Smith, played by Jonathan Harris, and his relationship with the family’s youngest child Will Robinson, than the existential drama at the heart of the show. It was cancelled in 1968 after three seasons, and despite an initial attempt to re-boot it in 1998 as a movie starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, and Matt LeBlanc, it has nevertheless remained something of a quaint relic of the 1960s – until now. Read more…