Posts Tagged ‘Carter Burwell’


January 10, 2023 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Banshees of Inisherin is a dark comedy-drama written and directed by Martin McDonagh, set on a remote island off the coast of Ireland in 1923. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as Pádraic Súilleabháin and Colm Doherty, long-time friends and drinking partners. Colm is a folk musician and fiddle player, and dreams of writing a classic song that will seal his legacy. Things change for the pair when, out of the blue, Colm decides that he no longer wants to be associated with Pádraic, and begins to ignore him. Pádraic, distressed by the loss of one of his few friends, begins hounding Colm, to the point where an exasperated Colm gives Pádraic an ultimatum: if he doesn’t stop bothering him, he will start cutting off his own fingers. From there, things escalate further, with the entire town eventually becoming involved in their feud. The film co-stars Kerry Condon as Pádraic’s kind sister Siobhán, and Barry Keoghan as troubled local boy Dominic, and has been a massive critical success, picking up awards at the Venice International Film Festival, and receiving multiple Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations. Read more…

BARTON FINK – Carter Burwell

August 19, 2021 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Perhaps the best film ever made about writer’s block, Barton Fink is a nearly unclassifiable combination of drama, comedy, horror, romance, and existential philosophy, written and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. John Turturro plays the eponymous Fink, a New York playwright who moves to Los Angeles in the early 1940s, having been offered a job writing for the movies. Unable to find inspiration for his screenplay, he bonds with Charlie Meadows (John Goodman), an amiable salesman who lives next door to him in his rundown apartment building, and then tries to solicit advice from various writers and directors around Hollywood. However, an unexpected and shocking murder sends Fink into a spiral of surrealism, chaos, and death, as he tries to finish his debut script despite his world collapsing around him. The film co-stars Michael Lerner, Judy Davis, and John Mahoney among others, and was the darling of the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, eventually winning the coveted Palme d’Or; unfortunately, it was a box office disaster, its unusual genre and offbeat characters failing to connect with mainstream audiences in any meaningful way. Read more…

DOC HOLLYWOOD – Carter Burwell

August 12, 2021 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A fun romantic comedy intended to cash in on Michael J. Fox’s post-Back to the Future popularity, Doc Hollywood sees Fox playing Ben Stone, an aspiring surgeon on his way from Washington DC to Beverly Hills for a job interview with a prestigious clinic. While driving through a small town in rural South Carolina, Ben accidentally crashes his Porsche; the local judge sentences Ben to perform community service at the town’s medical clinic, which he does while waiting for his car to be repaired. Almost against his will, Ben begins to integrate into small-town life, successfully helping several of the locals with medical problems, and beginning a hesitant relationship with Lou (Julie Warner), a pretty ambulance driver. When the community service is up and Ben is free to head off to California, he finds himself torn between the lucrative career he always wanted, and the unexpected affection he develops for the small town he never intended to visit. The film is directed by Scottish filmmaker Michael Caton-Jones, has a fun supporting cast that includes Barnard Hughes, Woody Harrelson, David Ogden Stiers, and Bridget Fonda, and has a score from an unexpected composer – Carter Burwell. Read more…

MILLER’S CROSSING – Carter Burwell

August 20, 2020 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Miller’s Crossing was the third feature film directed by the Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel, following their debut Blood Simple in 1984, and their sophomore effort Raising Arizona in 1987. Like the others, it’s a crime thriller, but this one is a period piece, set amongst Irish gangsters during the American prohibition era in the 1920s. Gabriel Byrne plays Tom Reagan, the right hand man of ruthless mob boss Leo O’Bannon, played by Albert Finney. Problems arise when Leo finds himself in a territorial conflict with Italian gangster Johnny Caspar, an issue that is exacerbated by the fact that Tom is having an affair with Leo’s girlfriend Vera (Marcia Gay Harden), who is the sister of crooked bookmaker Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro), on whose head Caspar has put a bounty. As the stakes rise, Tom sees an opportunity for some personal gain, and begins to play both sides against each other – with potentially deadly results. The film was generally well-received by critics at the time, who praised its noirish atmosphere, dense plot, and intentional references to the works of Dashiell Hammett. Read more…

THE GOOD LIAR – Carter Burwell

December 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Good Liar is a complex thriller based on a popular novel by British author Nicholas Searle. It is directed by Bill Condon and stars Sir Ian McKellen as Roy, an elderly conman who uses his wit and sophistication to swindle women out of their inheritances and savings – a real life romance scam, as it were. For his latest target he chooses Betty McLeish (Dame Helen Mirren), a widowed former history professor who he meets via an online dating app. With the help of his long-time ‘business partner’ Vincent (Jim Carter), and despite the misgivings of Betty’s grandson Steven (Russell Tovey), Roy wheedles his way into Betty’s life, and when he discovers that her bank balance is in excess of £2 million, he redoubles his efforts at wooing her. However, before long, Roy finds himself having to face questions about his past, which lead to some shocking revelations. To disclose more would be a disservice to the story, suffice to say that the final half hour of the film goes in some completely unexpected directions that will either delight or dismay viewers, depending on how willing you are to accept plot twists so far out of left field they basically originate in the stadium parking lot. Read more…


November 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There’s a line in writer/director Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, spoken by a fairly minor character, which says “anger begets anger,” and this is the basic crux of what the story is about: how a single event can release years of pent up anger and hate in an entire community, and how that community then deals with the aftermath. The brilliant Frances McDormand stars as Mildred Hayes, a woman from the eponymous small town in Missouri, whose teenage daughter Angela was raped and murdered seven months previously. Frustrated by the police’s failure to track down her daughter’s killer, Mildred rents three disused billboards outside town and posts three enormous posters which read: RAPED WHILE DYING / AND STILL NO ARRESTS / HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY. This single act is the catalyst for a series of events that irrevocably changes the lives of dozens in the town. Read more…


October 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Over the past one hundred years or so since his creation, the character Winnie the Pooh has grown from humble origins to become a worldwide commercial phenomenon, the latter courtesy of the Disney company which purchased the intellectual rights in 1966. A good-natured, honey-loving, perpetually befuddled yellow bear, Pooh and his friends have been beloved childhood staples for generations, but few are aware of his origins. Director Simon Curtis’s period drama film Goodbye Christopher Robin explores them, looking at how British author A. A. Milne created the characters based on the interactions he had with his young son Christopher, whose collection of stuffed animals provided inspiration for his literature. The subsequent popularity of the books ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ turned Milne into something of a household name, and provided a small degree of comfort to an England still dealing with the after-effects of World War I – but, ironically, made Milne’s relationship with his son more difficult. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, and Kelly MacDonald, and has an original score by Carter Burwell. Read more…

RAISING ARIZONA – Carter Burwell

March 30, 2017 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Raising Arizona is the second film in the career of writer-director brothers Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, their sophomore feature film after Blood Simple in 1984. It’s a comedy crime caper starring Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter as Hi and Ed McDunnough, an ex-con and an ex-cop who meet, fall in love, marry, and desperately long for a child of their own. However, when it is discovered that Hi is unable to have children, they decide to steal one of the ‘Arizona Quints,’ a set of five babies born to locally famous furniture magnate Nathan Arizona. Hi and Ed, wanting to raise their child in as normal an environment as possible, try to keep their crime a secret, but a parade of co-workers, ex-cons, and bounty hunters contrive to make their lives impossible. The film, which also stars John Goodman, William Forsythe, Trey Wilson, and Frances McDormand, has become something of a cult hit over the years, and is fondly regarded as being the film which introduced many of the Coens’s idiosyncratic filmmaking touches, although personally I don’t like the film at all – it’s just too ‘weird’ for my taste. Read more…

CAROL – Carter Burwell

December 31, 2015 Leave a comment

CarolOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A romantic drama based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, and directed by Todd Haynes, Carol is a melodrama with a very modern slant. The film stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as Carol and Therèse, two women living in New York in the 1950s, both of whom are struggling in their relationships. Carol is estranged from her husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) after she had an affair with another woman, Abby (Sarah Paulson), and Harge is threatening to take away custody of their child. Meanwhile, Therèse is dissatisfied with her relationship with her boyfriend Richard (Jake Lacy), and dreams of something more fulfilling. Their lives intersect when Carol accidentally leaves her gloves at the department store where Therèse works while Christmas shopping; when Therèse returns them, Carol insists on buying her a drink to thank her, and the subsequent sexual tension between them is palpable, but the age gap between the two, as well as their gender, threatens to break the rigid social and moral taboos of the era. Read more…

MR. HOLMES – Carter Burwell

August 28, 2015 1 comment

mrholmesOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Mr. Holmes is a quiet, thoughtful film directed by Bill Condon, based on the novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, which features the famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes as a 90-year-old man looking back on his life in the aftermath of World War II. Sir Ian McKellen plays Holmes, long retired from his career as a sleuth, and now living simply on the south coast of England with his housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney), and her young son Roger (Milo Parker). As his mental health begins to deteriorate due to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, the increasingly frustrated and cantankerous Holmes struggles to recall the details of his last case, 30 years previously, the outcome of which led directly to his retirement; the only bright spot is his growing paternal relationship with the bright and inquisitive Roger, who he is teaching to tend to the bees in his apiary. Read more…


November 28, 2012 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The massively successful Twilight franchise reaches its conclusion with the the release of Breaking Dawn Part II, the fifth and final film based on Stephanie Meyer’s incomprehensively successful vampire romance novels that follows the relationship of Bella Swan and her undead paramour, Edward Cullen. Bill Condon returns to the director’s chair, picking up where the last film left off: following the birth of their hybrid child Renesmee, Bella begins her new life as a member of the Cullen vampire clan, and for a while life seems perfect for the newlyweds. However, before long, the Volturi – an ancient order of vampires who essentially set the laws of the vampire world – find out about Renesmee, and mistakenly believe that Edward and Bella have “turned” a human child, a terrible crime which carries the penalty of death for all involved. Fearing for their lives, the Cullens begin to traverse the globe, seeking out vampire allies, in the hope of convincing the Volturi that they have nothing to fear from Renesmee, thereby avoiding the unavoidable confrontation that could mean the end of Cullen family forever. Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson return to their most famous roles for the final time, and are supported by familiar faces Taylor Lautner, Michael Sheen, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellen Lutz, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Burke, Maggie Grace and Dakota Fanning. Read more…

BREAKING DAWN, PART I – Carter Burwell

December 8, 2011 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The fourth of the projected five Twilight movies, Breaking Dawn Part I is the first of a two-part series concluding the cinematic saga based on Stephanie Meyer’s massively popular horror-romance novels. Teen heartthrobs Robert Pattinson, Kristin Stewart and Taylor Lautner return as Edward, Bella and Jacob, the three protagonists in the never-ending love triangle between a vampire, a werewolf and the human object of their desires. The story revolves around Edward and Bella’s marriage and her subsequent pregnancy with a half-human half-vampire baby; not only does she have to contend with the implications of this hybrid, but Jacob’s werewolf clan – mortal enemies of the Cullen vampires – are planning to kill Bella and her unborn child before it becomes a threat to them. The film is directed by Bill Condon, and features the usual supporting cast – Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellen Lutz, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone – as well as Michael Sheen as the leader of the enigmatic vampire clan, the Volturi. Read more…

TRUE GRIT – Carter Burwell

December 21, 2010 2 comments

truegritOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

True Grit is the latest film from Joel and Ethan Coen, the writing-directing-producing brothers who brought us such classic movies as Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou and No Country For Old Men. True Grit is a new version of the well-respected 1968 novel by Charles Portis which chronicles the adventures of grizzled marshal Rooster Cogburn at the end of the Wild West era in the 1920s, who is hired by 14-year-old Mattie Ross to track down the drifter who murdered her father. John Wayne won his first and only Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Cogburn in the original 1969 version of the story. This time around, the cast features Jeff Bridges in the leading role, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin in supporting roles, and an original score from the Coens’ regular composer, Carter Burwell. Read more…


October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Review by Jonathan Broxton

A children’s fantasy based on author Maurice Sendak’s well-loved, but long-considered un-filmable novel from 1963, Where the Wild Things Are is a fable about a disobedient young boy named Max who, after an argument with his mother, creates his own fantasy world inhabited by giant, ferocious creatures who crown him king. Directed by Spike Jonze, the creator of such imaginative films as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, the film has a superb voice cast (James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker) supporting child actor Max Records, and features original music by composer Carter Burwell and songwriter Karen Orzolek, better known as Karen O alongside her band, The Kids. Read more…

A SERIOUS MAN – Carter Burwell

October 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A wry black comedy from the critically acclaimed Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel, and set in 1967, A Serious Man tells the story of an ordinary Midwestern man named Larry Gopnik, who watches helplessly as his life unravels around him: his wife Judith has left him for one of his colleagues, his feckless brother Arthur is sleeping on his couch, his son Danny is flunking out of school, one of his students is blackmailing him, and his pretty neighbor is not helping matters by continually sunbathing in the nude. It’s a typically quirky look at life, relationships, and the extraordinary situations in which everyday folks sometimes find themselves, and has been heavily tipped to be a major player at the 2009 Oscars, with lead actors Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick and Fred Melamed all receiving a great deal of critical acclaim. Read more…