Posts Tagged ‘Craig Armstrong’

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN – Craig Armstrong

September 2, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The One and Only Ivan is an adventure-drama for children, directed by Thea Sharrock, and based on the successful and popular 2012 novel by Katherine Applegate. It is the story of a silverback gorilla, the eponymous Ivan (voiced by Sam Rockwell), who lives in a mall as a sideshow attraction, alongside an aged elephant named Stella (voiced by Angelina Jolie) and a friendly dog named Bob (voiced by Danny DeVito). Ivan is generally happy, as he does not remember his life before the mall, and he entertains guests by creating finger-paint artwork. However, the arrival of a baby elephant named Ruby kickstarts a desire in Ivan to be free – especially when he witnesses Ruby being mistreated by the mall’s owner, Mack (Bryan Cranston). Eventually, with the help of a young girl named Julia, Ivan hatches a plan to escape, not only for himself, but for all his friends. The film has been praised for its positive environmentalist tone, good teaching lessons for kids, and warm-hearted family values, and was a modest success when it premiered on Disney+ in August 2020, having been pushed there away from cinemas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more…

SNOWDEN – Craig Armstrong

September 27, 2016 1 comment

snowdenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Director Oliver Stone has been making films about American politics for more than 30 years, ruminating on the events and repercussions of American wars (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Heaven & Earth), looking at the lives of Presidents (Nixon, JFK, W.), or exposing significant events in recent US history (World Trade Center). His most recent film falls into that latter category, and revolves around the life of Edward Snowden, a brilliant computer scientist who worked for the CIA and the NSA until 2013, when he leaked classified information to the Guardian newspaper about the extent of the US government’s numerous global surveillance programs. Opinion about Snowden remains polarized. Some consider him to be a hero and a patriot, whose disclosures about the US’s use of mass surveillance on its own citizens rightfully bring to light the issues of government transparency and an individual’s right to privacy; others consider him to be a criminal and a traitor, whose illegal actions jeopardized national security and put lives at risk. This smart, timely film stars Joseph Gordon Levitt as Snowden, and has a strong supporting cast of character actors including Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, and Nicolas Cage. Read more…

ME BEFORE YOU – Craig Armstrong

July 1, 2016 Leave a comment

mebeforeyouOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A romantic comedy-drama based on the popular novel by Jojo Moyes, Me Before You stars Game of Thrones’s Emilia Clarke, taking a break from riding dragons to play Louisa, an eccentric and hopelessly optimistic young woman who is hired by a wealthy family to care for their son Will (Sam Claflin), who was paralyzed in a motorbike accident. Successful, handsome and adventurous before his accident, Will has become bitter and sullen in the time since, alienating his parents (Janet McTeer and Charles Dance), and causing endless carers to quit due to his hostility. However, despite some initial misgivings, Louisa manages to connect with Will and, unexpectedly, the two begin to fall in love – until Will drops a bombshell on Louisa that causes her to re-examine her life. The film is the cinematic debut of acclaimed London theatre director Thea Sharrock, and has an original score by Scottish composer Craig Armstrong. Read more…


April 25, 2015 3 comments

farfromthemaddingcrowdOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel Far From the Madding Crowd is one of the classics of Victorian-era English literature. The story is an examination of the changing British attitudes and morals of the time, looking at the cultural clash between traditional rural life, the power of the military, and the increasing dominance of wealthy city folk, through the eyes of the central character, the headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, whose relationships with several different potential suitors are intended to represent cross-sections of British society. Director Thomas Vinterberg’s film is at least the fifth theatrical version of the story; written by David Nicholls, it stars Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge and Michael Sheen as the suitors Farmer Oak, Sergeant Troy and Mr. Boldwood, and Juno Temple as Bathsheba’s servant girl Fanny Robin. Read more…


June 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Incredible Hulk is the second time they’ve tried to kickstart Marvel’s ‘Hulk’ character with a big-screen adventure after the popular 1970s TV series starring Bill Bixby; the first, critically maligned movie starred Eric Bana as the ill-fated scientist who turns into a green-skinned monster when he gets angry. This new version is directed by Louis Leterrier stars Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, William Hurt and Tim Roth, and stays more within the traditional realms of the accepted comic book history, with Dr Bruce Banner on the run from the US Government after experiments in gamma radiation and military weaponry left him susceptible to his little problem. Read more…

ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE – Craig Armstrong and A.R. Rahman

October 12, 2007 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The first Elizabeth movie, released in 1998, was a critical and a commercial success, receiving glowing reviews from the mainstream media, and being honored with Oscar nominations in numerous categories, including one for its composer David Hirschfelder. The first Elizabeth movie told the story of the early years following young Elizabeth’s coronation as the Queen of England, concluding with her betrayal by her lover Robert Dudley and her assumption of the iconic “Virgin Queen” persona. This “sequel” tells the story of what happened during the next years of her reign. Read more…

RAY – Craig Armstrong

October 29, 2004 Leave a comment

rayOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Ray Charles, who died on 10 June 2004, was inarguably one of the pioneers of “black” music of the 20th century. Born in extreme poverty in Georgia in 1930, and struck blind by glaucoma at the age of six, Charles overcame obstacles which would stop lesser men in their tracks and became a giant of music. By fusing Gospel music with jazz and rock & roll, he virtually invented a new style of music. With his soulful piano playing and unique vocal delivery, he won legions of fans, who bought records such as “Georgia On My Mind” and “What’d I Say” in droves. Jamie Foxx plays Charles in director Taylor Hackford’s biopic of the great man, and has been receiving accolades galore for his realistic, brave portrayal. The film, which also stars Kerry Washington, Regina King and Clifton Powell, looks set to become a major player at the 2004 Academy Awards, with all eyes on Foxx as a potential Best Actor nominee. Read more…

THE CLEARING – Craig Armstrong

July 2, 2004 Leave a comment

theclearingOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’ve been a big admirer of the work of Scottish composer Craig Armstrong throughout his relatively short career. From his early work on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, through great scores such as Plunkett & Macleane, The Bone Collector, The Quiet American, Moulin Rouge and Love Actually, Armstrong has continually displayed a mastery of the orchestra, superb use of electronics, and an aptitude for powerful and memorable themes. It comes as something of a shock, therefore, to discover that The Clearing is a quite horribly boring score, easily one of the worst for a mainstream release in 2004. Read more…

THE BONE COLLECTOR – Craig Armstrong

November 5, 1999 Leave a comment

bonecollectorOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Taking films such as Silence of the Lambs and Seven as its starting point, The Bone Collector is another entry into the “thriller noir” genre, in which saturated color, rain-soaked streets and grisly murders are the order of the day. Directed by Phillip Noyce, the film stars Denzel Washington as Detective Lincoln Rhyme, one of New York’s finest forensic cops, whose career is cut tragically short when he is paralyzed following a freak accident on the job. Now the recipient of round the clock care and confined to his state of the art apartment-cum-hospital, Rhyme’s skills are unexpectedly called upon once more after a beat cop named Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) discovers a murder victim within an elaborately staged crime scene. Uncovering her untapped potential for forensics, Rhyme urges Amelia to be his feet on the ground while he, with his intellect still very much intact, tries to piece together the clues and identify the murderer before he takes more victims. Read more…

PLUNKETT & MACLEANE – Craig Armstrong

October 1, 1999 Leave a comment

plunkett&macleaneOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The phenomenal success of the film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet was not only responsible for making bonafide movie stars out of its leading players, Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes – it also thrust the name of Scottish composer Craig Armstrong into the soundtrack limelight. Armstrong, who won a BAFTA Award for his work with Nellee Hooper and Marius De Vreis on that film, is an interesting and somewhat unconventional writer. He doggedly refuses to be labeled either as an orchestral or electronic specialist, and has proven that he is adept at creating both modern soundscapes, as in Romeo + Juliet and his other recent work, Best Laid Plans, as well as “proper” music, as heard in Peter Mullan’s acclaimed drama Orphans. With Plunkett & Macleane, Armstrong has shifted again and combined both these markedly different styles into one engaging whole. Read more…