Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

TOMB RAIDER – Tom Holkenborg

March 21, 2018 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Back in the 1990s, someone had an idea to make a film based on a popular video game, and it was quickly seen as a fertile new ground from which to draw cinematic inspiration. Unfortunately, the first few films – 1993’s Super Mario Bros., 1994’s Street Fighter, 1995’s Mortal Kombat – were all significantly awful, meaning that it was not until 2001’s Tomb Raider that a video game movie saw any real traction, either with critics or at the box office. The original film starred Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, the eponymous globe-trotting adventurer searching for artifacts and hidden treasure among the ancient ruins of the world. Now, 17 years later, Lara Croft has been rebooted, and this new film stars Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, the eponymous globe-trotting adventurer searching for… well, you get the idea. The film is directed by Norwegian Roar Uthaug, co-stars Walton Goggins and Dominic West, and has done some brisk business, achieving the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any major video game adaptation movie to date, and taking in well over $100 million on its opening weekend. Read more…



March 19, 2018 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Godfather proved to be a sensational critical success and cash cow for Paramount Studio. That there would be a sequel was a foregone conclusion, and studio executives planned to capitalize quickly. Francis Ford Coppola desired to produce, not direct the film, however he returned grudgingly to the franchise as director after the studio rejected his selection of Martin Scorsese to replace him as director. Regretfully Marlon Brando, who felt mistreated by the studio, refused to reprise his role, but six of his fellow stars did including Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, Talia Shire as Connie Corleone, Diane Keaton as Kay-Adams Corleone, Abe Vigoda as Salvatore Tessio, and Joe Spinelli as Willi Cicci. Joining the cast for the first time were Robert De Niro as the young Vito Corleone, and John Cazale as Fredo Corleone. Read more…

A WRINKLE IN TIME – Ramin Djawadi

March 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A Wrinkle in Time is a fantasy adventure film for children, adapted from an apparently immensely popular and influential 1962 novel by Madeleine L’Engle. It follows the adventures of a young girl named Meg, whose astrophysicist father went missing several years previously. One day, Meg and her friends are visited by three ‘astral travelers’ – Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who – who reveal that Meg’s father is still alive, and that together they are able to save him from the clutches of ‘the darkness’ that is taking over the universe. So begins a fantastical journey, as Meg is whisked across the galaxy using a mysterious object known as a tesseract to face her darkest fears – and, hopefully, reunite her family. The film stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Storm Reid in the main role as Meg, and is directed by Ava DuVernay, the woman behind the critically acclaimed Selma. Read more…

SHOOT TO KILL – John Scott

March 15, 2018 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Shoot to Kill is a fun, enjoyable action thriller directed by Roger Spottiswoode, starring Sidney Poitier as FBI agent Warren Stanton, who is on the trail of a brutal jewel thief who killed two people during his last heist. Stanton discovers that the murderer is trying to escape north to Canada by joining a group of sports hunters on a guided expedition in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest; unbeknownst to the guide, Sara (Kirstie Alley), he has killed one of the hunters, and is now pretending to be him. In order to stop the killer before he crosses the border, Stanton hires Jonathan (Tom Berenger), a local outdoorsman – and Sarah’s boyfriend – to help guide him through the wilderness, and they set off in hot pursuit. The film has two quirks which make it stand out from other films of its type. The first is the constant bickering between the hardy Berenger and city boy Poitier, who don’t like each other but have to rely on each other to survive in true buddy cop fashion. The second is the fact that the audience doesn’t find out which of the group of sports hunters is the killer until well into the second half of the movie – a conceit made cleverer due to the producers casting four men known for playing ruthless movie villains as the hunters: Clancy Brown, Frederick Coffin, Richard Masur, and Andrew Robinson. Read more…

EARLY MAN – Harry Gregson-Williams and Tom Howe

March 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

British film studio Aardman have been producing high quality, massively popular stop-motion animated films for more than 30 years, including the four Wallace and Gromit shorts, the Oscar-winning big screen W&G adventure The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and the brilliant Chicken Run, which remains the highest-grossing stop-motion film of all time. Their latest effort is Early Man, directed by Nick Park, and featuring a stellar voice cast including Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddlestone, Timothy Spall, and Game of Thrones’s Maisie Williams. The story follows a tribe of Stone Age cavemen, led by the amiable Dug, whose valley is threatened by an invading army led by the greedy Bronze Age aristocrat Lord Nooth, who wants to mine the valley for its minerals. With the help of a Bronze Age girl named Goona, Dug convinces Nooth to take part in a winner-takes-all game of soccer, with the fate of the valley at stake. Read more…

PATTON – Jerry Goldsmith

March 12, 2018 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

A Patton biopic film was first conceived by Frank McCarthy, a retired general working as a producer for 20th Century Fox in the 1950s. After selling the concept to Studio Executive Richard Zanuck, a screenplay was commissioned that resulted in two incarnations, one by Francis Ford Coppola and another by Edmund H. North. Over time these two screenplays were eventually merged into a single version. Both efforts drew inspiration from two books, Patton: Ordeal And Triumph, a biography by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier’s Story, the memoir of General Omar Bradley. After many years of ‘fine-tuning’, a final script was born and the search for a director and lead actor proceeded in earnest, eventually settling upon Franklin J. Schaffner and George C. Scott respectively. The film from the start was a one-man show, a biopic of a giant among men. Patton can best be described as charismatic, complicated and contradictory; he was deeply religious and yet both vulgar and profane, he was an insufferable narcissist and yet a supreme patriotic, and lastly he was a military tactical genius and yet a poor post war administrator. The film covered Patton’s rise to prominence in World War II during his military campaigns in Tunisia, Sicily, France and the occupation of Germany. It suffices to say that Scott’s performance was a tour de force that transcended the film and earned him a best actor Oscar award that he ungraciously declined to accept. The film went on to win seven Oscars including best picture and remains a popular film to this day. Read more…

MAX AND ME – Mark McKenzie

March 9, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Max and Me is an animated film from the Mexican production company Dos Corazones. It tells the story of Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan friar who during World War II was imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Nazis and became its de-facto priest. He became renowned for his kindness and, later, his bravery, when he volunteered to die in place of another prisoner who had been unjustly sentenced to be executed. Kolbe was canonized and made a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1982, and remains one of the most respected and admired Polish religious figures of modern times. In terms of this film, Kolbe’s life provides the contemporary frame of reference for the overarching story of an old man trying to help a young, rebellious teenager through some difficult life choices. As was the case with Dos Corazones’s last film, The Greatest Miracle, Max and Me wears its religious convictions proudly on its sleeve – it is an unashamedly pro-Catholic, pro-God, pro-faith film – and this sense of emotion and spiritual reverence informs its score, by composer Mark McKenzie. Read more…