Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Young’

A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Last Saturday, March 26th, I had the honor attending the recording sessions for “A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project” at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, CA. The brainchild of composer Christopher Lennertz, the Symphony is musical fundraising project designed to help the people of Haiti in their desperate time of need.

A year after the terrible earthquake which destroyed the lives of thousands of Haitians, it was clear to Lennertz that the need for assistance was greater than ever. In response Lennertz came up with the idea of the “Symphony of Hope”, and invited 25 leading film composers to collaborate with him on a project to benefit the Haiti Earthquake Relief fund. Read more…

CREATION – Christopher Young

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The English naturalist and scientist Charles Darwin was a controversial figure even before he published his seminal work, “On the Origin of the Species”, in 1859. Darwin’s theories on human evolution and natural selection turned him into a divisive figure, especially in religious circles, to the point that the theological validity of his work remains controversial and strongly debated to this day. Creation, the latest film from director Jon Amiel, is a fairly straightforward biographical telling of Darwin’s life, with Paul Bettany in the title role, Jennifer Connelly as Darwin’s wife Emma, and supporting performances from the likes of Jeremy Northam, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jim Carter.

The music for Creation is by Christopher Young, who previously worked with Jon Amiel on films such as Copycat, Entrapment and The Core. 2009 was an especially good year for Young, with horror scores such as Drag Me to Hell and The Univited sitting comfortably alongside the jazzy Read more…

DRAG ME TO HELL – Christopher Young

May 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Drag Me To Hell is the best pure horror score I have heard in probably a decade – at least since Brian Tyler’s Darkness Falls in 2003, and probably since a great deal before then. It’s also one of the best scores of Christopher Young’s entire career – and that’s saying something for the man who wrote such stellar scores as Hellbound: Hellraiser II and Murder in the First. So, now that I have made these two potentially outrageous statements, let me clarify why I think this is the case.

Drag Me To Hell is Sam Raimi’s return to his roots. A clever, gory, and occasionally very funny horror story in the Evil Dead tradition, Drag Me To Hell stars Alison Lohman as Christine Brown, a New York loan officer with a decent job and a warm, loving boyfriend (Justin Long). Read more…

THE INFORMERS – Christopher Young

April 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second film to be based on one of Bret Easton Ellis’s novels after American Psycho, The Informers is an examination of the hedonistic 80s lifestyles of a group of twentysomethings in Los Angeles who treat life, sex and drugs as disposable commodities. The film, which was directed by Gregor Jordan, has an eclectic cast that includes such luminaries as Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke, Chris Isaak, and the late Brad Renfro. For the music, Jordan hired composer Christopher Young, who rarely gets the chance to take on dark personal dramas such as this, but is often very successful when he does. Read more…

THE UNINVITED – Christopher Young

January 30, 2009 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There is something in the work of certain composers which makes them predisposed to be great at horror movie music. There’s something in the way they write, in their personality, in their musical language, which somehow manages to capture both the subtle nuance and sheer outright terror that horror movies require from their scores. Christopher Young is one of those composers. Although he has enjoyed successes in a wide variety of genres over his long and successful career, Young keeps coming back to horror: from his early day on films like The Dorm That Dripped Blood and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, through his classic Hellraiser scores, to more recent and popular box office hits like The Grudge and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, horror has always been a fertile feeding ground for Young’s talents. To start 2009, Young has again dipped his toes into the chilling pool, and emerged with The Uninvited: one of the best, and downright scariest horror scores in quite some time. Read more…

SLEEPWALKING – Christopher Young

March 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

2007 was one of the best years of Christopher Young’s career in terms of his international profile, when he scored two of the highest grossing films of his career, Spider-Man 3 and Ghost Rider. Sleepwalking is a return to his indie roots; a coming-of-age drama directed by William Maher, the film stars Anna Sophia Robb as Tara, an 11 year old girl struggling to come to terms with her abandonment by her dropout mother Joleen (Charlize Theron), and the subsequent impact on Tara’s older brother James (Nick Stahl), who is left to pick up the pieces. As befits the film, Young’s score is small and intimate, making use of a reduced orchestra, augmented by solo guitar, solo piano, and ambient synth tones. Young has always been better than a lot of his contemporaries at making this kind of understated music interesting, and this is again the case here. Read more…

UNTRACEABLE – Christopher Young

January 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Gregory Hoblit’s “Untraceable” was a film that seemed to be made with good intentions, but it never really worked. The film stars Diane Lane as an FBI Agent investigating a website that allows it’s visitors to help kill a victim. How? All they have to do is go to the website. The more hits it gets, the closer some innocent victim comes to their death. The film is essentially a disgusted sermon about our horrible, desensitized culture (which I agree with in principle), but it too willingly revels in the very depraved violence that it seems to be condemning. Read more…

LUCKY YOU – Christopher Young

May 4, 2007 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In addition to his horror and thriller scores, for some reason, Christopher Young often gets hired to score films about playing cards, or which are set in Las Vegas: titles like Shade, Rounders, and The Big Kahuna, for example. Lucky You, the latest film from director Curtis Hanson, is both about playing cards AND set in Las Vegas, so it’s almost inevitable that Young would end up scoring it!

The film stars Eric Bana as hotshot poker player Huck Cheever, who arrives in Nevada to play in a major tournament. However, Huck has personal demons – recklessness, compulsiveness, and a long-term rivalry with his poker-playing father (Robert Duvall). Just as Huck seems to be fighting a losing his battle, waitress Billie (Drew Barrymore) enters his life, who inspires him to turn things around and set him on the road to both personal and professional recovery. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN 3 – Christopher Young

May 4, 2007 2 comments

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Is there any film in 2007 that has generated more simultaneous anticipation and dread than “Spider-Man 3”? Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” was a very good superhero movie, and his stunning “Spider-Man 2” raised the bar to a dizzying new level. After seeing the second film, I had two thoughts on my mind. The first was, “Wow, I can’t wait to see the next one!” The second was, “How on earth is he going to top that?” As someone once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Considering this situation, let’s go ahead and defuse a few bombs. Is “Spider-Man 3” as good as “Spider-Man 2”? Well, the answer is of course subjective, but in my humble opinion… no, it isn’t. Is it a round three stinker on the level of “X-Men: The Last Stand”? No, it most certainly is not. Read more…

GHOST RIDER – Christopher Young

February 16, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The first of Christopher Young’s two major 2007 releases, Ghost Rider is a super hero movie with a twist. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson and starring Nicolas Cage, Peter Fonda, Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott and Wes Bentley, the film follows the life of daredevil stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze (Cage). When his father falls terminally ill with cancer, Blaze strikes a deal with the devil: his soul to save his father’s life. The deal, however, backfires on Johnny, turning him into a skeleton-headed motorbike-riding demon with a blazing inferno raging from his skull and hands! If this sounds all a bit hokey, you could well be right, but the fight between Cage’s urban cowboy superhero and Bentley’s evil son-of-the-devil strikes the right balance between over the top action and downright silliness. Read more…

THE GRUDGE – Christopher Young

October 22, 2004 Leave a comment

thegrudgeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The story of The Grudge has a long history. Originally conceived as a TV movie in Japan in 2000 by writer/director Takeshi Shimizu, he adapted his own work for the big screen in Ju-On in 2003. Having been earmarked for the American re-make treatment by producers Sam Raimi and Bob Tapert, Shimizu was once again approached to give life to his subject, thereby putting him in the unique position of being the director of the remake of the remake of his own original film! Essentially a haunted house story, The Grudge tells the tale of Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an American nurse in Japan who, after visiting a seemingly catatonic patient in a everyday suburban neighborhood, finds herself experiencing terrible visions: a pallid, fish-eyed little boy named Toshio, who is virtually silent except when he meows like a cat, is hiding in a cupboard upstairs – and worse still, a ghastly, shadowy specter is hovering over the prone body of the old woman. Despite Karen fleeing the house, she – and everyone else who it comes into contact with – find themselves being haunted by these unearthly presences. Could it be that the house itself is causing these manifestations? And, if so, does it have anything to do with the murder of a mother and son at the hands of their husband/father there years previously? Read more…

THE SHIPPING NEWS – Christopher Young

December 28, 2001 Leave a comment

shippingnewsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Films set in Newfoundland are few and far between, and scores based upon the musical heritage of that uniquely isolated part of Canada are rarer still. The Shipping News, Miramax’s big Oscar movie of 2001, is not a film about the indigenous people of Newfoundland, but the white European settlers who moved there centuries ago, and as such embraces their culture wholeheartedly, allowing composer Christopher Young to explore a musical style he had never before attempted: Celtic music. Adapted from the novel by E. Annie Proulx and directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), The Shipping News stars Kevin Spacey stars as Guy Quoyle, a lonely New Yorker who returns to his childhood home in Newfoundland with his daughter after emerging from a tragic, loveless marriage to Petal (Cate Blanchett). Moving in with his long lost aunt (Judi Dench) and taking a job writing the shipping news column in the local newspaper, “The Gammy Bird”, Quoyle finds his world-vision slowly changing his life… that is, until he meets widow Wavey (Julianne Moore), an emotionally damaged woman with whom Quoyle begins to come to terms with his own life, heal the rift with his daughter, and put his past behind him. Read more…

BLESS THE CHILD – Christopher Young

August 11, 2000 Leave a comment

blessthechildOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Having passed the turn of the millennium without so much as a hint of Armageddon, it may seem a little odd for a film dealing with the end of the world on 31 December 1999 to make an appearance now – but Bless the Child has suffered such a turbulent post-production, with re-shoots, re-editing and re-writing galore, that this troubled supernatural thriller is only just now beginning to visit cinema screens across the world. Directed by Chuck (“The Mask”) Russell and starring Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits, Rufus Sewell, Ian Holm and Christina Ricci, Bless the Child tells the story of Maggie O’Connor (Basinger), a comparatively normal working woman whose world is turned upside down when her six year old niece Cody is kidnapped. As Maggie frantically searches for Cody, she slowly learns that the young girl is not all she seemed: apparently, Cody has special psychic powers which, when applied in a certain manner, can open a gateway between Earth and the Netherworld, where legions of evil demons are waiting to invade. Turning to a paranormal investigator (Smits) as a last, vain hope, Maggie tracks Cody down to the lair of a group of devil worshippers (led by Sewell) and engages in a battle for the soul of the child. Read more…

THE BIG KAHUNA – Christopher Young

April 28, 2000 Leave a comment

bigkahunaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

How does one write music for a film, 99% of which takes place in an anonymous hotel room, and which features a cast of characters that barely exceeds the three leads – in this case Kevin Spacey, Danny De Vito and newcomer Peter Facinelli? If your name is Christopher Young, you write a brilliant contemporary jazz score for a selected group of sixteen instrumentalists and invest it with more life, energy and pizzazz than any music for this kind of film has a right to contain. Read more…

THE HURRICANE – Christopher Young

December 31, 1999 Leave a comment

thehurricaneOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Over the years, Christopher Young has continually found himself scoring the most dismal films Hollywood has the cheek to release, which makes it all the more gratifying to see him attached to a movie of such genuine quality as The Hurricane. Already, The Hurricane has garnered a Golden Globe for Denzel Washington for Best Actor, multiple nominations in other categories, and it tipped to be a hot property at the Oscars. Brilliant but under-appreciated composers like Young need this kind of exposure to ensure that they continue to score high-profile, worthy pictures which actually befit the excellent music Young is able to provide. Read more…