BAD BOYS FOR LIFE – Lorne Balfe

February 7, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Back in the spring of 1995, director Michael Bay and producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer brought the world Bad Boys, a buddy-cop action comedy starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, who at that point was still best known for his role in the TV sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and was making his ‘leading role’ debut. Lawrence and Smith played Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey, hotshot Miami detectives who leave a trail of bullets, bodies, and profane one-liners wherever they go. The film was a massive financial success at the time, and spawned a sequel in 2003, but no-one expected the boys to return for a third outing – and yet here we are, 25 years removed from the original, with Bad Boys For Life, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Lawrence and Smith return to the roles which made them famous; the plot revolves around Burnett, who wants to retire from police work, teaming up with Lowrey one final time as they investigate the murders of numerous people involved in an old drug cartel case. Read more…

IFMCA Award Nominations 2019

February 6, 2020 Leave a comment

INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED; HILDUR GUÐNADÓTTIR RECIEVES FIVE NOMINATIONS; MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS FOR ALEXANDRE DESPLAT, BEAR McCREARY, THOMAS NEWMAN, JOHN WILLIAMS

FEBRUARY 6, 2020. The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2019, for the 16th annual IFMCA Awards. For the first time in IFMCA history a female composer leads the field, with Icelandic composer and cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir receiving five separate nominations for her work on the critically acclaimed comic-book drama “Joker,” and for the devastating HBO television series “Chernobyl”. These are the first nominations for Guðnadóttir, who is nominated in the categories for Film Score of the Year, Composer of the Year, Drama Score, Television Score, and Film Music Composition of the Year. IFMCA member James Southall was particularly complementary about “Joker,” describing it as having ‘complexity in its extraordinary emotional depth,’ and calling it a ‘primal’ score which ‘made him think’.

Also nominated for both Score of the Year and Composer of the Year are veteran composers Alexandre Desplat, Thomas Newman, and John Williams. French composer Desplat’s most lauded score of 2019 is the one he wrote for director Greta Gerwig’s new adaption of the classic American novel “Little Women,” which is also nominated for Drama Score. IFMCA member Jon Broxton said that the score ‘overflows with gorgeous orchestrations, sublime instrumental combinations and harmonies,’ and has ‘a dramatic sense of freedom and movement, effortless elegance, and lush emotional content’. Desplat’s other major scores in 2019 include the French drama “Adults in the Room,” the animated sequel “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” and director Roman Polanski’s look at the Dreyfus Affair of 1906 in “J’accuse”. Desplat previously won the IFMCA Score of the Year award in 2008 for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. Read more…

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BAFTA Winners 2019

February 2, 2020 Leave a comment

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) have announced the winners of the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, honoring the best in film in 2019.

In the Best Original Music category, the winner was Hildur Guđnadóttir, who took home the award for her work on the dark comic book drama Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, and starring Joaquin Phoenix. With this victory Guđnadóttir became the first female winner of the award in BAFTA history. Accepting her award, Guđnadóttir said:

“Thank you BAFTA. I think my English in-laws are pretty proud of me right now, so I’d like to thank them! Joker… working on Joker was a journey of a lifetime, really, and Todd is a master for having steered that ship, and it was such an incredible, incredible honor to work on this film and create it with so many amazing artists that are here tonight who did such an incredible job, and I just really, really would like to share this with all of you. I’m such a fan of your work, and you are incredible. Thank you so much. Thank you”

The other nominees were Alexandre Desplat for Little Women, Michael Giacchino for Jojo Rabbit, Thomas Newman for 1917, and John Williams for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

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THE LAST FULL MEASURE – Philip Klein

January 31, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Last Full Measure is a military-themed drama film written and directed by Todd Robinson. It tells the true story of William H. Pitsenbarger, a sergeant in the US Air Force, who flew rescue missions to save downed soldiers and pilots during the Vietnam War. Pitsenbarger was killed during the Battle of Xa Cam My in April 1966, and the film tells the story of the 34-year struggle to have him awarded the Medal of Honor. The film stars Sebastian Stan as Scott Huffman, the Pentagon official charged with investigating the Medal of Honor request, and has an astonishing supporting cast that includes Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, Bradley Whitford, John Savage, and the late Peter Fonda, in what turned out to be his final screen role. Conceptually the film is very much in the vein of those earnest military dramas like Men of Honor, and especially Courage Under Fire, and those comparisons continue into its music too. Read more…

ALWAYS – John Williams

January 30, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Always is the Steven Spielberg film most people tend to forget. Sandwiched between such classics as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Schindler’s List, and Jurassic Park, it came during the period where Spielberg was alternating between making major box office blockbusters and smaller, more personal films that tackled intimate themes and emotions. Always is a remake of the 1943 Spencer Tracy film A Guy Named Joe, which was written by Dalton Trumbo. Richard Dreyfuss stars in the Tracy role as Pete Sandich, a daredevil pilot who works putting out forest fires; his long-time girlfriend Dorinda (Holly Hunter) and best friend Al (John Goodman) fear that his recklessness in the air will lead to tragedy. Their worst fears come true when Pete is killed in a plane crash saving Al’s life; in the afterlife, Pete is given guidance by an angel-like figure (Audrey Hepburn, in her final screen role), and told that he has one last life to save before he can move on to heaven – Dorinda’s, who has become overwhelmingly grief stricken and suicidal as a result of Pete’s death. Read more…

DRACULA – David Arnold and Michael Price

January 28, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There have been literally dozens and dozens of adaptations of and variations on the Dracula story in the years since Bram Stoker wrote it in 1897. The most recent version is this BBC mini-series developed by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, the brains behind such successful shows as Doctor Who, Sherlock, and The League of Gentleman. Danish actor Claes Bang is the latest to star in the title role as the undead aristocrat from Eastern Europe who drinks human blood to survive; the show begins with a fairly conventional re-telling of the Dracula myth – castles and brides, voyages to Whitby, Lucy and Mina and Jonathan Harker – but ends with a very unconventional contemporary twist that places Dracula in modern society and completely upends vampire lore. The show has not been entirely successful, but it certainly has handsome and impressive production values, which extend to its score by composers David Arnold and Michael Price. Read more…

ODNA [ALONE] – Dmitri Shostakovich

January 27, 2020 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Film-making in the 1930s Soviet Union was very tightly regulated by the state to ensure fidelity to the ideals of the revolution. Directors Leonid Trauberg and Grigori Kozintsev found inspiration in news reports of the dire challenges faced by two teachers. They conceived their film to address three political issues of the day; the State’s promotion of education, the elimination of the kulaks (land owning peasants), and the introduction of modern technology. The film was originally conceived as a silent film, but was later changed to include dialogue and music by composer Dmitri Shostakovich. With the additional demand by the State for realism in film, each actor would use their real names as the characters. Yelena Kuzima would star in the lead role as the school teacher Joining her would be Pyotr Sobolevsky as her husband, Sergey Gerasimov as the local Council Chairman and Mariya Babanova as the Chairman’s wife. Read more…