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Posts Tagged ‘Alan Silvestri’

THE WITCHES – Alan Silvestri

November 3, 2020 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Roald Dahl’s The Witches has become one of the world’s most beloved fantasy/horror stories for children in the years since it was first published in 1983. The story takes place in a reality where secret covens of child-hating witches exist all over the world; the witches are governed by the evil and powerful Grand High Witch, who has just arrived at a luxurious hotel in England to organize her final plan to eradicate all the children in the country by turning them into mice. However, the plot is uncovered by an unnamed ‘hero boy’ and his grandmother, a former witch hunter, who are coincidentally staying in the same hotel, and the two of them resolve to stop the witches’ plan – and end the Grand High Witch’s reign of terror for good. The story was turned into a well-loved film in 1990 by director Nicolas Roeg, which saw Anjelica Huston playing the Grand High Witch. This newer version, directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Zemeckis, Guillermo del Toro, and Alfonso Cuarón, relocates the action from England to 1960s Alabama, and casts Anne Hathaway as the beautiful but evil Grand High Witch, Jahzir Kadeem Bruno as the Hero Boy, Octavia Spencer as his grandmother, and Stanley Tucci as the downtrodden hotel manager. Read more…

BACK TO THE FUTURE, PART III – Alan Silvestri

May 21, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Following the massive success of Back to the Future in 1985, director Robert Zemeckis shot a pair of sequels back-to-back, both of which continued the time traveling exploits of Marty McFly, the suburban kid from 1980s California, and his eccentric inventor friend Doc Brown, who built a time machine out of a DeLorean. Back to the Future II was less of an icon than the original, but has since proven prescient with its vision of a dystopian alternate world where Marty’s nemesis Biff Tannen becomes a Donald Trump-like multi-billionaire. The ending of the second movie saw the 1985 version of Doc, and the DeLorean, being hit by lightning and sent back in time to Hill Valley in 1885, when it was a newly-build town in the Old West. However, Marty discovers some devastating news about his friend’s fate, and manages to convince the 1955 version of Doc to send him back in time too. Marty finds Doc happily working as a blacksmith, unaware of his future, but before long the pair starts getting into trouble, with Marty encountering both his own great-grandparents, and running afoul of one of Biff’s ancestors, the ruthless gunslinger Mad Dog Tannen. With time running out to save the day and finally return home, one final issue arises when Doc falls in love with Clara Clayton, a beautiful schoolteacher played by Mary Steenburgen. Read more…

BACK TO THE FUTURE, PART II – Alan Silvestri

December 5, 2019 3 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The enormous critical, cultural, and financial success of Back to the Future in 1985 meant that a sequel was inevitable. In the fall of 1989 director Robert Zemeckis returned with the first of not one but two further installments, shot back-to-back and ready to continue the time traveling exploits of Marty McFly, the suburban kid from 1980s California, and his eccentric inventor friend Doc Brown, who built a time machine out of a DeLorean. The ending of the original movie saw Doc picking up Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer literally the following morning after their adventure ended, and whisking them away in his now-upgraded flying automobile, promising them that “where they’re going they don’t need roads.” Where they end up going is the year 2015, to fix a problem with Marty and Jennifer’s future children – however, while they are there, Marty’s now-elderly arch-rival Biff Tannen contrives to steal the time machine himself, resulting in the creation of an alternate-timeline 1985 where Biff is a sleazy multi-billionaire and Marty’s stepfather. To fix things, Marty and Doc must travel even further back in time, once again to 1955, where they must re-restore the original timeline without screwing up the courtship between Marty’s parents Lorraine and George, which is happening at the same time! Read more…

THE ABYSS – Alan Silvestri

August 1, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review byJonathan Broxton

The third and best of 1989’s claustrophobic underwater action thrillers, The Abyss was director James Cameron’s long-awaited follow up to Aliens. It stars Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Bud and Lindsey Brigman, an estranged husband-and-wife who work on a hi-tech underwater oil drilling platform which sits along the lip of a massive marine trench deep beneath the Caribbean Sea. When a military submarine sinks in mysterious circumstances near the platform, the government sends a team of Navy SEALS in to investigate, using the platform as a base of operations. There is immediate tension between the rough-and-ready oil drillers and the aggressive and testosterone-fuelled soldiers, and this is exacerbated even more when they encounter a mysterious creature that can seemingly manipulate and control water. The film co-starred Michael Biehn, J. C. Quinn, and Leo Burmester, and was both a critical success and a box office hit; it received special attention for its then-groundbreaking use of CGI special effects, which won its creative team an Academy Award. However, the film production itself was notoriously troubled; the shoot went massively over-budget, and the actors were subjected to near-torturous conditions by Cameron, who made them spend literally hours on end in freezing cold underwater temperatures. Cameron also spent a great deal of time editing the film, removing whole swathes of footage to try to create a more coherent cut, including the original ending which featured enormous special FX shots of tsunamis (although much of this was restored in a subsequent director’s cut). Read more…

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – Alan Silvestri

April 30, 2019 8 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

When Marvel and Paramount Pictures made and released the movie Iron Man in the spring of 2008, I doubt anyone involved had any inkling of what would occur over the course of the next 11 years. To put it bluntly, Marvel and its controlling executive Kevin Feige revolutionized the movies, not only in terms of technical advancement, but in how movies are made and released. Over the course of the next decade the Marvel Cinematic Universe expanded into an interlocking series of 22 movies, most of which reference back to one another, and which follow a group of super-heroes as they defend the Earth from various threats, foreign, domestic, and inter-galactic. There have been hundreds of articles written about what this has done to the very nature of cinema, how potential ‘expanded universes’ are now designed into the development of every new franchise, and whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m not going to go into this here – but I will say this: I doubt I will ever see a storytelling effort more ambitious than this in my lifetime. The combined Marvel movies have grossed more than $18 billion worldwide, and this final one – Avengers: Endgame – looks poised to be the biggest of them all. Read more…

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT – Alan Silvestri

July 26, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When cinematic scholars make lists of truly groundbreaking films, very few of them ever mention Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but in my opinion they absolutely should. It’s an anarchic action-comedy-murder mystery directed by Robert Zemeckis, adapted from a novel by Gary K. Wolf. Set in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the film stars Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant, a down-on-his-luck private detective who is hired by the head of a movie studio to investigate the wife of one of its box office stars; there are rumors that she is having an affair, and the studio feels that the scuttlebutt is affecting their star’s performances. But here’s the catch: the star in question is a cartoon rabbit named Roger, and this version of Los Angeles is an alternate universe where all the classic animated characters from Disney and Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes live side-by-side with humans. As the plot progresses Eddie and Roger team up when Roger is accused of murder; as Eddie tries to exonerate the bothersome bunny he crosses paths not only with Roger’s sensationally seductive wife Jessica, but a creepy law enforcement officer named Judge Doom, who has a pathological hatred of cartoons, and wants Roger to pay the ultimate price for his alleged crime. The film co-stars Christopher Lloyd and Joanna Cassidy, as well as the voices of Charles Fleischer and Kathleen Turner. Read more…

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – Alan Silvestri

May 18, 2018 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

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…

READY PLAYER ONE – Alan Silvestri

April 3, 2018 5 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Nostalgia for the late 1970s and 1980s is massively pervasive in pop culture right now, with TV shows like Stranger Things and big screen remakes and re-imaginings of period icons like Star Wars and It proving to be massively popular with audiences across the world. The new film Ready Player One may prove to be the pinnacle of the nostalgia festival; it’s a science fiction action adventure film based on an enormously popular novel by Ernest Cline, directed by the cinematic king of the 1980s, Steven Spielberg. The film is set 50 years into the future, in the aftermath of some sort of economic collapse which has left American society in disarray. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is a teenage kid living in The Stacks – a futuristic trailer park from hell – who escapes from his bleak daily life by retreating to The Oasis, a virtual reality alternative universe, along with literally billions of other people all over the world. The Oasis was created years before by James Halliday (Mark Rylance), a Steve Jobs-esque wunderkind, and after he died he left instructions for a ‘quest’ in his will: somewhere hidden deep inside the Oasis are three magical keys – Easter Eggs – and the first person to find all three will inherit control of the Oasis universe, as well as Halliday’s trillion dollar fortune. As his Oasis alter-ego avatar Parzival, Wade has spent years searching for the first of the Easter Eggs, with little success; however, shortly after teaming up with another avatar named Artemis (Olivia Cooke), Wade/Parzival locates the first key – an event which brings him to the attention of Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), the unscrupulous executive of IOI, a rival tech company which wants to control and exploit the Oasis for their own gain. Read more…

PREDATOR – Alan Silvestri

June 29, 2017 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Predator is one of the seminal action films of the 1980s, a masterpiece of testosterone-fuelled machismo and inventive storytelling that cemented Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of Hollywood’s most bankable and beloved movie star heroes. Schwarzenegger plays Dutch Schaefer, the leader of a team of elite covert ops commandos which is sent deep into the South American jungle to rescue hostages held by guerrillas; however, it soon becomes apparent that the mission is a cover for an illegal intelligence-gathering exercise, orchestrated by the team’s CIA liaison and Dutch’s old colleague Dillon (Carl Weathers). Worse yet, as the team prepares for a helicopter extraction, they are suddenly attacked by an unknown and seemingly invisible entity – a predator – which has significant firepower and appears to be hunting them for sport. The film, which was directed by John McTiernan and co-stars Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, and Elpidia Carrillo, was a major commercial hit, and is now regarded as a landmark of the action genre. Read more…

ALLIED – Alan Silvestri

November 29, 2016 3 comments

alliedOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Allied is a romantic drama/thriller set in World War II, directed by Robert Zemeckis, and starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. Pitt plays Max Vatan, a Canadian Air Force officer attached to the British military, who is sent undercover to French Morocco to carry out a dangerous mission among the Nazis stationed there. In Casablanca he meets his contact, French resistance operative Marianne Beauséjour (Cotillard), who is posing as his wife. However, during the course of their mission, they genuinely fall in love, and commit to moving to London together once their assignment is complete. Several years and one baby later, and despite the ongoing war in Europe, Max and Marianne seemingly have an otherwise idyllic life in suburban England, until Max receives some shocking news from his superior officers at the Special Operations Executive (Jared Harris, Simon McBurney): classified information has been leaked to the Germans, and they think that Marianne is the spy. Read more…

FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR – Alan Silvestri

August 4, 2016 Leave a comment

flightofthenavigatorTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A science fiction film for children, Flight of the Navigator was a popular hit at box offices during the late summer of 1986. Directed by Randal Kleiser, the film starred 12-year old Joey Kramer as David, a young boy who lives in Florida in 1978 with his parents and young brother. After accidentally falling into a ravine near his home on the evening of the fourth of July, David awakes to find that eight years have passed, but he has not aged a day; he returns home to his shocked parents, who believed he was dead. Before long, various government agencies come knocking on David’s door, revealing that he was apparently abducted by an alien spaceship on the night of his disappearance, and that the spaceship – which subsequently crashed, and is now being held by NASA – appears to be trying to communicate with him telepathically. The film co-stars Cliff De Young, Veronica Cartwright, Howard Hesseman, a young Sarah Jessica Parker, features the voice of Paul Reubens, and has an original score by Alan Silvestri. Read more…

THE DELTA FORCE – Alan Silvestri

March 3, 2016 Leave a comment

deltaforceTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Action movies were box office gold in the 1980s, and in the wake of the success of films starring the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger a number of B-movie action-heroes enjoyed their own moment in the sun. One of those heroes was Chuck Norris, a Korean War veteran and martial arts grand master, who began making a series of action-adventure films in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the Cannon Films studio, and enjoyed a slew of moderate box office hits including 1983’s Lone Wolf McQuade, and 1984’s Missing in Action. The Delta Force, which was released early in 1986, remains the most successful film of Norris’s career; directed by Menahem Golan, it stars Norris as Major Scott McCoy, the leader of an elite commando unit tasked with rescuing the passengers of a commercial airliner taken hostage by Lebanese hijackers. The film co-starred Lee Marvin, Robert Vaughn, Robert Forster, and Martin Balsam, and had an original score by the then 35-year-old Alan Silvestri. Read more…

BACK TO THE FUTURE – Alan Silvestri

July 9, 2015 1 comment

backtothefutureTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the spring of 1985, Robert Zemeckis was a young up-and-coming director who had enjoyed some success with the Michael Douglas-Kathleen Turner adventure flick Romancing the Stone the year before, but for the most part was still largely an unknown quantity. His breakthrough came with the release of Back to the Future, a classic time-travelling comedy adventure which went on to become the biggest grossing film of the year, made Michael J. Fox a movie star, and cemented the much-derided DeLorean automobile into cinematic folklore forever. Fox stars as Marty McFly, a typical 1980s kid from suburban California, who is accidentally sent back to the year 1955 by his friend, scientist and inventor Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), who has built a time machine out of the aforementioned DeLorean. Stranded in time and without enough fuel to return home, Marty must seek help from the 1955 version of Doc – but, unfortunately, he inadvertently puts his own future at risk when the teenage version of his mother Lorraine (Lea Thompson) meets and develops a crush on him rather than George (Crispin Glover), the man destined to be his father… Read more…

THE CROODS – Alan Silvestri

April 2, 2013 1 comment

thecroodsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Croods is the latest animated film from Dreamworks Pictures, about a family of dysfunctional Neanderthals trying to find a new place to live when the cave that has been their home for years is destroyed. The film is directed by Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders – the latter of whom also directed Lilo & Stitch and How To Train Your Dragon – and has an all-star voice cast featuring Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener and Cloris Leachman. Providing the music for the prehistoric adventure is composer Alan Silvestri, who worked with Sanders on Lilo & Stitch back in 2002, and who is writing his fifth animation score since the turn of the millennium, following The Polar Express, The Wild, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol and the aforementioned Lilo & Stitch. Read more…

OVERBOARD – Alan Silvestri

December 19, 2011 1 comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Gary Marshall, who was well known for his comedic success on TV with shows like Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, hired writer Leslie Dixon to write a new romantic comedy, Overboard. This outrageous story concerns a wealthy and pretentious married couple, Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn) and Grant Stayton III (Edward Herrmann) and Dean Proffitt (Kurt Russell) a local redneck carpenter. Joanna is a bitch of a woman who, after stiffing Dean for carpentry work, happens to fall overboard. She wakes up with amnesia and so begins a comic and outrageous story. Grant takes the opportunity to deny knowing her and seizes his long desired chance to escape a horrific marriage. Meanwhile Dean falsely claims to be her husband – seeking her household care of his four kids as recompense for his unpaid job. Well, be careful what you ask for! As the plot develops Joanna and Dean begin to fall in love, Joanna’s mother closes in on a search for her daughter, and the return of Joanna’s memory looms. To say the plot was silly and contrived is an understatement! Nevertheless the chemistry between Hawn and Russell worked and it suffices to say that Americans just love a romantic comedy. As such the film went on to become a big commercial success. Read more…