Posts Tagged ‘Danny Elfman’


October 11, 2016 1 comment

girlonthetrainOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Girl on the Train was one of the best-selling and most controversial novels of 2015, a psychological thriller about the murder of a beautiful young woman, and the mystery surrounding her death; the inevitable film version stars Emily Blunt in the lead role as Rachel Watson, whose life fell apart when she separated from her husband Tom (Justin Theroux), due to a combination of his infidelity, their inability to conceive a child, and her increasing alcoholism. A year later, Tom is happily re-married to Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and has a young daughter; Rachel, however, is unable to let go, and repeatedly turns up at her old house, which she passes every day on the train during her morning commute. Rachel also fantasizes about Megan and Scott (Haley Bennett and Luke Evans), a seemingly perfect couple who live two houses away from Tom and Anna, and who she also sees from her train carriage. Things come to a head when Megan disappears and Rachel, who blacked out from drinking on the day of her disappearance, genuinely believes she may have had something to do with it. The film was directed by Tate Taylor, written by Erin Cressida Wilson from Paula Hawkins’s novel, and has an original score by Danny Elfman. Read more…


September 10, 2015 Leave a comment

peeweesbigadventureTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The story of how Tim Burton and Danny Elfman met has probably been turned into an urban myth, Chinese whispers-style, by now, but here’s my understanding of how it went down. In 1984, Burton was an aspiring filmmaker, a former animator for Disney who worked as an artist on films such as The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, and Tron, and who had impressed many with his animated short film Frankenweenie. One fan of Frankenweenie was actor and comedian Paul Reubens, who actively sought Burton out to direct Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, the planned big-screen spinoff of his popular Pee-Wee Herman character, which has become a cult-success on stage. Burton was a fan of the theatrical rock band Oingo Boingo and its charismatic lead singer Danny Elfman and, when it came time to decide on a musical direction for Pee-Wee, he approached Elfman to offer him the gig. Unknown to Burton, Elfman had basically grown up as a ‘film music fanboy’, having a special affinity for the work of Bernard Herrmann, and jumped at the chance to work in the genre that had fascinated him all his life. The rest, as they say, is history. Read more…

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON – Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman

May 5, 2015 8 comments

avengersageofultronOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Avengers: Age of Ultron, the eleventh film in the series since the first Iron Man film in 2008, and the second film featuring all the main characters after the first Avengers movie in 2012. Directed by Joss Whedon, the film sees the six heroes – Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – teaming up to take on Ultron (James Spader), a sentient robot created as part of an Earth defense system by Stark, which achieves consciousness and decides that the only way to save the Earth is to eradicate humanity. It’s a visual extravaganza, filled with spectacular special effects, complicated action sequences, and plenty of witty banter between the protagonists, as well as a host of cameos from earlier Marvel films, and the introduction of several new characters which will play larger roles in future movies. Read more…


February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

fiftyshadesofgreyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the most unexpected cultural touchstones of recent years. A badly written ‘romance’ novel originally conceived as a piece of Twilight fan fiction, the story somehow became an unstoppable phenomenon, despite receiving scathing reviews from every respected literary critic, catapulting author EL James onto Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012, and bringing bondage into the mainstream. The story involves literature student Anastasia Steele, who is asked by her roommate to interview a handsome young billionaire, Christian Grey, for their university newspaper. There is an immediate and fiery attraction between the shy, inexperienced Ana and the confident, intense Christian, and the pair begins a relationship, but there is a twist in the tale: Christian’s sexuality involves a healthy dose of kink, and before long he is introducing Ana to his world of BDSM – bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism. The film is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in the lead roles, and has a score by Danny Elfman. Read more…

EPIC – Danny Elfman

June 12, 2013 2 comments

epicOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Epic is an environmentally-themed animated adventure film for children, directed by Chris Wedge and loosely based on the novel ‘The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs’ by William Joyce . It follows the adventures of a young girl named Mary Katherine who, while on a visit with her eccentric scientist father, is magically shrunk down to tiny size by Tara, Queen of the Forest, who lives nearby. Entrusted with delivering an ancient prophecy regarding the queen’s heir, Mary Katherine soon becomes involved in an aeons-old war between the heroic Leaf Men, who protect the forest, and the Boggans, who want to destroy it. As all these animated films these days, the film boasts an impressive voice cast, including Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O’Dowd, Jason Sudeikis, and music stars Beyoncé Knowles, Pitbull and Steven Tyler. Read more…

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November 30, 2012 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Films about mental illness aren’t usually side-splitting laugh-riots, but David O. Russell’s film Silver Linings Playbook, based on the novel by Matthew Quick, manages to stuff plenty of humorous moments into an otherwise quite serious film about an unlikely couple who bond over their respective psychoses. Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a former teacher who had a complete mental breakdown after his wife had an affair with a colleague; returning home from the hospital to live with his Philadelphia Eagles-obsessed parents (Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver), and fully intending to try to reconcile with his wife, Pat unexpectedly meets and bonds with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister of his best friend’s wife, an equally-damaged young woman whose own problems stem from the recent death of her police office husband. The film features career-best performances from Cooper and Lawrence, whose flawed and off-kilter relationship is a satirical reflection of contemporary life – the pair’s first meeting results in them happily regaling each other with tales of prescription psychoactive drug experiences, and develops from there – and I fully expect the top-billed cast and crew to receive Oscar nominations for their work in the New Year. Read more…


January 30, 2011 2 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Studios execs used a significant salary increase and offer of creative control to induce resistant Tim Burton to reprise his role and direct the next installment in the Batman franchise. Burton rejected a sequel, stating “I wanted to treat this like it was another Batman movie altogether.” So, a new Batman, new villains and a grim and darker Gotham City were introduced. The plot pits Batman against an evil tycoon Max Shreck (Christopher Walken), who seeks to enrich himself by monopolizing the city’s power supply, the pathetic deformed and inwardly mutated Penguin who harbors unresolved anger for being abandoned by his parents, and lastly the schizophrenic and mercurial Catwoman played by Michelle Pfeiffer. The film was not a critical success, however it was a commercial success and so spawned a third installment in the franchise. Read more…


March 5, 2010 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Much has been written over the years about the creative partnership between director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman. It now stretches back 25 years and encompasses such successful and well regarded films as Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as the animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. Despite it having been repeated ad nauseum to the point that it’s almost a cliché, theirs is one of the most enduring and fruitful composer/director collaborations in cinema today; the two men complement each other intellectually and stylistically, and clearly Burton’s visual style brings out the best in Elfman’s music. Alice in Wonderland is a prime example of this. Read more…

THE WOLFMAN – Danny Elfman

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The story of the creation of the score for The Wolfman is a long and arduous one. Danny Elfman was attached to the project pretty much from its inception, and wrote a fully orchestral, Gothic horror score at the request of the film’s director, Joe Johnston. Originally scheduled to be released in November 2008, the film suffered numerous problems in post production, and was pushed back and back in the calendar; eventually, so much re-editing was done that Elfman’s score no longer fit the timings of the movie, meaning that much of it had to be re-written. However, a scheduling conflict with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland meant that Elfman could not undertake any re-writes, and with time running out the original score was rejected. Austrian composer Paul Haslinger was brought in to replace Elfman, but following its recording his primarily electronic score was deemed ‘wrong’ for the picture, and Elfman’s original score was restored. However, Elfman himself was still unable to re-work his music to fit the new film, so several other composers and orchestrators – including Conrad Pope and Edward Shearmur – were brought in to re-track the music, write additional cues, and basically finish off the project before its February 2010 release. It’s a mess of quite horrific proportions, and one can only hope that debacles like these are avoided in the future. Read more…

9 – Deborah Lurie and Danny Elfman

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A post-apocalyptic animated adventure, 9 is the first feature length film from director Shane Acker, who received a Best Animated Short Film Oscar nomination in 2005 for the short film on which this movie is based. The film is set in a future time when humanity has been wiped out following a devastating war, and has been replaced by a new species: sentient rag-doll like creatures known as Stitchpunks. The Stitchpunks – who are all named for the numbers 1 to 9 – spend most of their time running from the massive roving animal-shaped robots hunting them, until the youngest Stitchpunk, the 9 of the title, encourages the others to fight back. The film has an impressive voice cast including Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau and John C. Reilly, is produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, and has an original score by comparative newcomer Deborah Lurie. Read more…


August 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I missed out on being a part of the Woodstock generation by a good decade or more, having been born six years after it took place, but growing up I was acutely aware on how much the seminal 1969 music festival shaped the musical, social and political mindset of a generation. Calling Woodstock a ‘music festival’ is to underplay its significance: not only did it popularize the music of artists as varied as Jimi Hendrix, Crosby Stills & Nash, the Grateful Dead, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin, it also became a cultural touchstone for the hippie movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement. Ang Lee’s new film Taking Woodstock takes a gently comedic look at the events leading up to the festival; it stars Demetri Martin as Elliot Tiber, the actual organizer of the festival, Eugene Levy as Max Yager, on whose farmland the festival took place, and features Dan Fogler, Imelda Staunton, Henry Goodman, Liev Schreiber and Emile Hirsch in supporting roles. Read more…


May 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The fourth installment in the long-running Terminator film franchise, Terminator Salvation picks up the story following a nuclear holocaust, caused by the Skynet automated defense system that played an important part in the original trilogy. John Connor (Christian Bale) has survived the blast, and is now struggling to bring together a rag-tag band of human survivors to battle against the immense, unstoppable machines that now control the world. The film was directed by Charlie’s Angels helmer McG, and co-stars Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Joining the Terminator lexicon for the first time is composer Danny Elfman, replacing Marco Beltrami (who composed the third film’s score), who himself replaced Brad Fiedel, who composed the original movies’ iconic musical accompaniment. Read more…

MILK – Danny Elfman

November 28, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although many people nowadays will not know his name, Harvey Milk remains a hugely important figure in American political history. As the first ever openly gay man ever elected to public office in the United States, Milk served one term as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the late 1970s, and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city, before being assassinated by fellow city supervisor Dan White in November 1978. Having already been the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary, ‘The Times of Harvey Milk’, in 1984, director Gus Van Sant’s new film charts the life and death of a man who has since been labeled ‘a martyr for gay rights’ in dramatic narrative; the film stars Sean Penn as Milk, Josh Brolin as White, and features Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna and James Franco in supporting roles. Read more…

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July 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

After my first few listens through Danny Elfman’s score for Hellboy II: The Golden Army, I had pretty much decided that too much of it was unfocused noise; it was certainly written in Elfman’s easily-identifiable sound, but never quite seemed to gel together as a cohesive score. But then, quite suddenly, the whole thing opened up, and it hit me. I got it, and the wonders of this quite excellent work were revealed. This is probably the best Elfman super-hero score since Batman Returns some fifteen years ago, eclipsing such fan-favorites as Hulk, and his two massively popular Spider-Man scores. Read more…

WANTED – Danny Elfman

June 27, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Wanted is the American directorial debut of Timur Bekmambetov, the Kazakh director of the cult Russian-language science fiction action hits Night Watch and Day Watch. The film stars James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson, an office drone cube-jockey who lives a life of never-ending day-to-day tedium. However, everything is turned upside down when Wesley meets Fox (Angelina Jolie), a sexy assassin, who recruits Wesley into ‘The Fraternity’, an ages-old brotherhood of assassins.

Bekmambetov’s film is a flashy, glitzy, souped-up action flick, completely unlike anything one would expect from a filmmaker from the former Soviet Union, and although the film was not a groundbreaking box office success, it more than illustrates the way in which the language of cinema is becoming less and less separated. Read more…