Posts Tagged ‘Basil Poledouris’


March 5, 2020 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The character Jack Ryan is ubiquitous in American popular culture. He was created by author Tom Clancy and starred in a series of ‘techno-thriller’ spy novels, the first of which was published in 1984. Depending on how old you are, most people associate two actors with the character: either Harrison Ford, who played him on the big screen in the films Patriot Games in 1992 and Clear and Present Danger in 1994, or John Krasinski, who currently plays him on the small screen in the eponymous Amazon TV series. However, Ryan’s first appearance was actually in this film: The Hunt for Red October, which was released in theaters in the spring of 1990. Here Ryan is played by Alec Baldwin, and the plot of the film revolves around Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), the captain of the nuclear-capable Soviet submarine Red October, which has disappeared while on maneuvers in the north Atlantic. When it is eventually re-discovered, the CIA realizes that the Red October is headed directly for the US eastern seaboard, and immediately fears that an attack is imminent. However Ryan, a respected intelligence analyst, offers a different theory: that Ramius is actually trying to defect. So begins a cat and mouse game between the CIA, the KGB, Ryan, and Ramius, in which each of them is trying to uncover the truth before the incident sparks World War III. The film was directed by John McTiernan, and has an excellent supporting cast including Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, Tim Curry, and a young Stellan Skarsgård. Read more…

LONESOME DOVE – Basil Poledouris

June 6, 2019 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Lonesome Dove, an epic western mini-series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Larry McMurtry, was one of the television successes of the year after it premiered on CBS in the spring of 1989. Directed by Simon Wincer and starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, and set in the closing years of the Old West, the story focused on the relationship between Gus (Duvall) and Call (Jones), two retired Texas Rangers who decide to leave their quiet town on the Mexican border and drive a herd of cattle north to Montana. McMurtry’s original novel – which explores themes of old age, death, unrequited love, and friendship – was based on a screenplay that he had co-written with Peter Bogdanovich for a movie that was intended to star John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda, but the project collapsed when John Ford advised Wayne to reject the script. Prior to its airing, the ‘classic western’ was considered to be a virtually dead genre, but Lonesome Dove almost singlehandedly re-vitalized it. The series drew staggering viewership numbers of more than 20 million homes, went on to win 7 Emmys from 18 nominations (including Best Director and a slew of technical awards), and paved the way for the cinematic resurrection of the genre with Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves in 1990 and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven in 1992. Read more…

FAREWELL TO THE KING – Basil Poledouris

April 18, 2019 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Farewell to the King is an action-adventure-drama written and directed by John Milius, adapted from the 1969 novel L’Adieu au Roi by Pierre Schoendoerffer. The film stars Nick Nolte as Learoyd, an American soldier during World War II, who escapes from a Japanese firing squad and flees into the jungles of Borneo. Over time, Learoyd is adopted into a tribe of Dayaks, the original inhabitants of the island, and becomes their leader, finding peace and tranquility in his new, simple life. That life is shattered, however, when British soldiers led by Captain Fairbourne (Nigel Havers) and Colonel Ferguson (James Fox), approach the tribe and try to convince Learoyd to re-join the war against the Japanese. When he refuses to do so, Learoyd quickly finds himself having to fight to protect his new tribe. The film, which shares tonal and story similarities with films ranging from The Man Who Would Be King, Heart of Darkness, and Dances With Wolves, to Avatar, is virtually forgotten today. Behind-the-scenes in-fighting between Milius and the studio led to the film staggering into cinemas in the spring of 1989, having been heavily re-edited against the director’s wishes. It was not a success, either critically or financially, and would likely not be on anyone’s radar today were it not for the score, by Basil Poledouris. Read more…

CONAN THE BARBARIAN – Basil Poledouris

August 13, 2018 2 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Conan The Barbarian is based on the Conan stories penned by author Robert E. Howard. The movie adaptation tells the story of a young Conan who lives in the mythic Hyborean Age and suffers grievously at the hands of an evil ruler of the Snake Cult, Thulsa Doom, who kills his parents and sells him into slavery. Eventually after much suffering he gains his freedom and trains to become a mighty warrior. He then sets out to solve the riddle of steel and avenge his parent’s death. As such, this is a classic morality tale with an unambiguous hero and villain. The film was a commercial success, which spawned a sequel and served to reinvigorate the fantasy genre. Read more…

CHERRY 2000 – Basil Poledouris

September 7, 2017 1 comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Like most composers, Basil Poledouris scored his fair share of terrible films in his career. 1977’s Tintorera, one of the first films he ever scored, was a Mexican rip-off of Jaws. Amazons, from 1984, was basically a sexier version of Conan the Barbarian with warrior women in fur bikinis. However, 1987 may have seen him reach a low point in terms of ‘quality of movie’ when he was asked to score Cherry 2000, a low-budget sci-fi thriller. Directed by Steve De Jarnatt, the film is set in a post-apocalyptic America circa 2017 and stars Don Johnson wannabe David Andrews as Sam, who sets off on a dangerous mission across the lawless wasteland of what was once Nevada in order to find someone who can repair his Cherry 2000 sex robot (Pamela Gidley); to help him, he hires a tough-but-beautiful tracker named E (a strangely-cast Melanie Griffith), and together they set off into the desert. Read more…

ROBOCOP – Basil Poledouris

July 27, 2017 1 comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 1980s was an especially good decade for films which blended extensive, sometimes quite brutal action with pointed social and political commentary that bordered on satire. Robocop is one of the best examples of its type; it stars Peter Weller as Alex Murphy, a dogged cop in crime-ridden Detroit in the near future. After being transferred to a new precinct, and meeting his new partner Lewis (Nancy Allen), Murphy is unexpectedly murdered during his first patrol by a gang of ruthless criminals led by the vicious Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith). Meanwhile Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer), an ambitious executive at Omni Consumer Products, the corporate behemoth that runs Detroit’s police department, pitches his ambitious Robocop program to the head of the company after a presentation by the ruthless Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) of his competing ED-209 program goes disastrously wrong. The Robocop program would use the remains of a recently-deceased police officer to form the biological component of a near-unstoppable human-robot cyborg, controlled by OCP. After being given the green light by OCP’s chairman (Daniel O’Herlihy), Morton selects the luckless Murphy to be his test subject, and Robocop quickly embarks on a single-handed crusade to clean up the city. However Jones, never one to be outdone, plots revenge against his rivals on the other side of the boardroom, and enlists Boddicker and his gang to carry it out – bringing Robocop back into conflict with the men who killed him. Read more…

AMERIKA – Basil Poledouris

March 9, 2017 1 comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the spring of 1987 viewers of the network TV channel ABC were treated to a 6-part mini-series imagining a horrific alternate reality for the United States where the country has been insidiously, but bloodlessly, overtaken by the Soviet Union. Amerika posits the country as being essentially a puppet state of Moscow, with the President and Congress mere figureheads for the Soviet regime; the population is kept under control by a UN peacekeeping force called the UNSSU, which is supposed to be multi-national but is in reality a Russian Communist military arm, which uses fear and intimidation tactics to suppress opposition. From out of this nightmare three heroes emerge: former politician Devin Mitford (Kris Kristofferson), who is released back into society after spending years in a labor camp for treason; administrator Peter Bradford (Robert Urich), who pretends to collaborate with the Soviets while working to bring down the regime from within; and Colonel Andrei Denisov (Sam Neill), a KGB agent becoming more and more disillusioned with his country’s politics. The series, which was written and directed by Donald Wrye, has been in the news of late after more than 20 years of relative obscurity, mainly due to the accusations of Russian influence in Donald Trump’s successful run for US President in 2016… this fiction couldn’t be happening in reality, could it? Read more…