Posts Tagged ‘David Newman’

HOFFA – David Newman

January 5, 2023 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa remains one of the United States’s most intriguing mysteries. Hoffa was a union leader with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Detroit, an important man with political influence, but who was also involved with a number of criminal organizations, including the mafia. Hoffa went missing in 1975 after leaving to have a meeting with two local organized crime kingpins; to this day his body has never been found and, although he was declared legally dead in 1982, speculation about his fate and what exactly happened to him remains rife. This film, directed by Danny DeVito and written by David Mamet, looks back at Hoffa’s life and ends with his mysterious disappearance. Jack Nicholson plays Hoffa, and DeVito plays Robert Ciaro, an amalgamation of several Hoffa associates over the years. The film also features John C. Reilly, Robert Prosky, Kevin Anderson, Armand Assante, and J. T. Walsh in key supporting roles. The film was a modest critical and commercial hit; it earned two Oscar nominations for Cinematography and Makeup, and Nicholson received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Read more…

WEST SIDE STORY – Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim

December 14, 2021 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Stephen Sondheim died aged 91, just a couple of weeks ago, the world of musical theater lost one of its best and most beloved practitioners. Although he was well-known for many of the scores he wrote himself – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, many others – possibly his most beloved work by the general public was the one on which he “only” wrote the lyrics: West Side Story. On it Sondheim collaborated with the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, creating a then-contemporary version of Romeo & Juliet transposed from renaissance-era Italy to 1950s New York, replacing the Montagus and the Capulets with street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. It debuted on stage in 1957, and then was turned into a screen musical in 1961 by co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. That film went on to become one of the most successful and popular Hollywood musicals in history, and eventually won ten Oscars, including Best Picture. And now, 60 years later, we have a new version of the same story, directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg. Read more…

MR. DESTINY – David Newman

November 5, 2020 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Mr. Destiny is a fantasy comedy written and directed by James Orr, about time-traveling wish fulfillment. It stars Jim Belushi as Larry, a completely ordinary middle class guy, married to his childhood sweetheart (Linda Hamilton), working a completely ordinary middle class job. However, despite his seemingly normal life, Larry has always felt he was destined for something more, and has settled on the idea that, back in high school, he struck out in an end-of-season baseball game. Larry believes that, had he not failed in that moment, his life would have become something truly special – he feels cheated out of his destiny. Everything changes for Larry when he stumbles into an unfamiliar bar on his 35th birthday, and meets a mysterious barman (Michael Caine) who gives him the opportunity to go back to that pivotal instant, and do his life over. The film has an interesting supporting cast – Jon Lovitz, Courteney Cox, Rene Russo – and has echoes of the cinema classic It’s a Wonderful Life, but has largely been forgotten today, having failed to make an impact with box office audiences at the time. Read more…


August 13, 2020 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Created in 1947 by legendary Disney animator Carl Barks, the character Scrooge McDuck was popular for many years before finally being given his own animated TV series, Ducktales, in 1987. The show followed McDuck – Donald Duck’s Scottish uncle, the richest duck in the world – and his three grand-nephews (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) on a series of adventures, most of which either involved seeking out treasure, or thwarting the efforts of various assorted villains who were themselves seeking to steal Scrooge’s fortune. The show was a smash hit over its first three seasons, and paved the way for other new high quality Saturday morning series to be commissioned, including Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin. Of course, a movie spin-off was inevitable, and so the summer of 1990 saw the premiere of Ducktales – The Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. Read more…

THE SPIRIT – David Newman

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A dark, highly-stylized super-hero action film, written and directed by comic book legend Frank Miller, The Spirit stars Gabriel Macht as rookie cop Denny Colt who, having been killed in the line of duty, returns from the dead to fight crime in Central City as the mysterious, shadowy Spirit. In this adventure, The Spirit locks horns with two master criminals: The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), as super-villain who wants to wipe Central City off the map, and Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), a sexy femme fatale who seduces and marries wealthy men, has them killed, and uses their money to fund her crime empire. Read more…

NORBIT – David Newman

February 9, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pity David Newman. No other working composer in Hollywood today has such a disparity between the size of his composing talent and the quality of the films he is asked, or agrees, to score. It has not always been this way. In late 80s and early 1990s, he scored a succession of generally well-regarded highbrow comedy films such as Throw Momma from the Train, Heathers, The War of the Roses, and even the occasional quality drama, like Hoffa in 1992. His career trajectory finally seemed to be taking an upward turn following his double Oscar nomination for Anastasia in 1997, but since then he has found himself in a continual and inexplicable rut, scoring the most inane comedies Hollywood has to offer: the likes of Daddy Day Care, Death to Smoochy and Monster-in-Law. Once in a while something comes along which briefly makes you think he might have turned a corner – Ice Age, or Serenity, for example – but before you know it he’s back again, scoring the new Eddie Murphy comedy. Which brings us to Norbit. Read more…

SERENITY – David Newman

September 30, 2005 Leave a comment

serenityOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A big screen re-working of the short-lived TV series Firefly, Serenity marks the return to the cinema of writer-producer-director Joss Whedon, whose first abortive attempts to crack the big screen market resulted in the laughable Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie in 1992. Of course, Whedon’s revamping (pardon the pun) of his own idea became a smash hit through the subsequent Buffy TV series, and as such his stock has risen to the stage where he can now develop his own projects without fear of studio meddling. To this end, and to many people’s surprise, Whedon hired David Newman to score Serenity – an assignment many people had been hoping would come Newman’s way, having been subjected to little more than pointless comedy and sequel scores from him for most of the new millennium. Read more…

GALAXY QUEST – David Newman

December 24, 1999 Leave a comment

galaxyquestOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

With all the fan-based hoopla that surrounds many of the classic science fiction serials, it was surely only a matter of time before someone made a spoof. So enter Galaxy Quest, Dean Parisot’s spot-on parody of the whole Star Trek merchandising industry. Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman star as the three most popular members of the hit 70s TV series “Galaxy Quest”, who still make the rounds on the sci-fi convention circuit twenty years after their show was cancelled. But a group of real aliens mistakenly believe that the TV show is for real, and kidnap the actors so that they may help them fight a deadly adversary who is threatening their planet. As the liner notes proclaim, “with no script, no director, and no clue about real interstellar travel, the make-believe crew of the NESA Protector has to turn in the performance of their lives to become the heroes the aliens believe them to be”. Read more…


August 13, 1999 Leave a comment

brokedownpalaceOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Over the years, the “innocent person in a brutal foreign prison” subject has resulted in some excellent movies, including the Oscar-winning Midnight Express, the Australian TV series Bangkok Hilton and last year’s Return to Paradise. Following purposely in their footsteps is Brokedown Palace, directed by Jonathan Kaplan and starring Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale as two friends travelling in Thailand who, after meeting a charismatic young Australian (Daniel Lapaine) and agreeing to accompany him to Hong Kong, find themselves in the unwitting possession of a substantial amount of heroin. Arrested by the Thai authorities and abandoned by their new friend, the women are sentenced to spend 33 years in a brutal prison chillingly nicknamed “The Brokedown Palace”, where they eventually realize that their only hope of freedom is through an expatriate American lawyer played by Bill Pullman. Read more…

BOWFINGER – David Newman

August 13, 1999 Leave a comment

bowfingerOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy have spent much of the last five years or so  attempting to recapture their respective glory days, when smash movies such as 48HRS, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, All of Me and Roxanne were the norm. Their first on-screen collaboration, the hit comedy Bowfinger, has helped kick-start both their careers and set them both back on the road to the top of the Hollywood tree. It is somewhat ironic, therefore, that their film should be about the people on the flipside of tinsel town, trying to make a buck and get a break in the cutthroat and unforgiving movie business. Read more…