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Posts Tagged ‘Film Score’

MAGDALENE – Cliff Eidelman

September 6, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Do you remember what you were doing when you were 24? Maybe you were just starting out at your first proper job, maybe you just got your first apartment, maybe you were embarking on your first relationship. Maybe you were even still at university, dreaming of what your future life might bring once you leave academia and head out into the big wide world. Whatever you were doing, I’m pretty sure you weren’t doing what Cliff Eidelman was doing when he was 24 – which was conducting 120 musicians of the Munich Symphony Orchestra for his debut film score, Magdalene. To say that Eidelman’s rise was meteoric is an enormous understatement; just a year prior to scoring Magdalene he was still a student at the University of Southern California, but this all changed when German film director Monica Teuber somehow heard a performance recording of a ballet score Eidelman had written on commission for Santa Monica City College. On the strength of that music alone Teuber hired Eidelman to score her film; after it came out the score was so well received that it immediately led to other assignments, and within three years he was scoring major studio blockbusters like Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – and a career was born. Read more…

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THE NUN – Abel Korzeniowski

September 4, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the constant battles I have as a film music reviewer is between music I like and music that is good. Sometimes it’s easy, because the two are the same thing. Often I listen to a score and there are great memorable themes and big sweeping orchestras and powerful lush arrangements; there is a gorgeous love theme, and sometimes bold and exciting action music. This is the stuff I like. Then you get into the meat of it and it’s filled with really cool compositional ideas and contrapuntal writing and rhythmic devices, interesting ways of using the instruments through the orchestrations and via extended performance techniques, clever thematic interplay, and so on. This is when you know it’s good in purely musical terms – and that’s before you even get into things like in-film effectiveness. The problem arises when there’s a conflict, when the music is undeniably superb from a technical and compositional point of view, but it’s something I don’t particularly like listening to, and for me that arises most often in music for horror films. The latest score to give me that problem is The Nun, which is by the outrageously talented Polish composer Abel Korzeniowski. Read more…

OUT OF AFRICA – John Barry

September 3, 2018 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Notable directors such as Orson Welles, David Lean and Nicolas Roeg had long sought to bring to the big screen the 1937 novel Out of Africa by Isak Dinesan (Karen Blixen). None were successful in adapting the story into a cogent screenplay. Sydney Pollack however was determined to succeed, and after two years of struggle managed with the assistance of screenwriter Kurt Luedtke to fashion a screenplay drawing from Blixen’s “Out of Africa”, but also her novel “Shadows on the Grass” and Elsbeth Huxley’s novel, “The Flame Trees of Thika”. Mirage Enterprises agreed to fund the project, which would be produced by Kim Jurgensen and Sydney Pollack, who would also direct. A fine cast was assembled, which included the dashing Robert Redford as Denys Hatton, Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen, and Klaus Maria Brandauer as Baron Bror von Blixen. The story offers a sad testament to the life of a wealthy Danish woman Karen Blixen, and the love of her life, Denys Hatton. After she is spurned by her Swedish lover, Karen relocates to British East Africa and enters into a loveless marriage of convenience with his brother, Baron Bror Blixen. They plan to start a dairy cattle farm, but on the wedding day Bror informs her that he plans to instead start a coffee plantation. His infidelity leads to her contracting syphilis, which requires that she return to Denmark for treatment. She returns to find Bror more interested in Safaris than her and they separate. Read more…

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER – Craig Safan

August 30, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The fourth movie in the massively successful Nightmare on Elm Street horror franchise was A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master; it’s a direct continuation of the story from 1987’s Nightmare on Elm Street 3, in which the survivors of that film have been released from the psychiatric hospital, but still find themselves being stalked by the horribly disfigured child killer Freddy Krueger, who has the ability to murder people in their dreams. The film stars Lisa Wilcox, Danny Hassel, Tuesday Knight, and Robert Englund in his iconic role as Krueger, and was directed by Renny Harlin, who was helming his first major studio feature film following the success of his 1987 English-language debut, the low-budget horror movie Prison. The film was actually one of the best reviewed films of the series, with special praise being given to the surprisingly insightful screenplay by Brian Helgeland, and especially the special effects and design; the critic in the Los Angeles Times wrote at the time that the film was ‘by far the best of the series, a superior horror picture that balances wit and gore with imagination and intelligence’. Read more…

BLACKKKLANSMAN – Terence Blanchard

August 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Spike Lee doesn’t make subtle movies. He never has. He makes films about race and politics and social injustices and relationships and American life, and then hammers the point home, so that even the most culturally unaware viewer will be left with no doubt as to what his film is saying and – more importantly – why we need to listen. Films like Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and Jungle Fever established his credentials as an important filmmaker, while films like Inside Man, 25th Hour, and He Got Game cemented his box office potential. His latest film, Blackkklansman, is the first Spike Lee joint in quite some time to combine commercial success with a major cultural statement, and it has become a significant talking point in a year where race and politics have become vitally important in American society. The film tells the embellished but mostly true story of Ron Stallworth, a black cop in the Colorado Springs Police Department in the early 1970s, who successfully leads an investigation to infiltrate a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan by posing as a white supremacist – at least on the phone – while a white Jewish colleague, Flip Zimmerman, stands in for him when the time comes for Ron to meet the Klan in person. The film stars John David Washington and Adam Driver as the cops leading the charge; they are ably supported by Laura Harrier as Ron’s student activity girlfriend Patrice, Topher Grace as KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, and Ryan Eggold and Jasper Pääkkönen as local Klan members, with powerful cameos from Corey Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, and Harry Belafonte. Read more…

RAN – Tôru Takemitsu

August 27, 2018 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Ran, which translates as Chaos, was a passion project for the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, and most critics believe it to be his last great film. He had envisioned the film for many years, and he even made detailed paintings of the castles and sets he hoped to one day construct. He began writing the screenplay in 1976 but production was delayed by Tōhō Studios executives who balked at the estimated $5 million price tag, which would have made it the most expensive Japanese film ever made. The fact that his last film, Dodes’kaden, was a box office flop also served to harden studio resistance. Fortunately the great success of his film Kagemusha restored studio confidence in Kurosawa, and he was able to forge a partnership, securing funds from French producer Serge Silberman. There are recognizable parallels between Ran and Shakespeare’s King Lear, although Kurosawa related that the similarities did not become apparent to him until after he had conceived his script. Ran was Kurosawa’s last great epic film, one that offers a classic morality play, which affirms the truism that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. We are offered an excruciating tragedy, which reveals deception, envy, treachery, betrayal and hubris. Read more…

MIDNIGHT RUN – Danny Elfman

August 23, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Midnight Run was one of the best buddy action comedies of the 1980s, and was one of the first films to showcase the hitherto untapped comedy potential of the great dramatic actor Robert De Niro. De Niro plays Jack Walsh, a bounty hunter working for bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano), who is hired to find mob accountant Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin) in New York and bring him back to Los Angeles; Mardukas had embezzled $15 million from Chicago mob boss Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina) before skipping on the bail Moscone had posted for him. What initially appears to be an easy task – Mardukas is annoying but generally compliant – quickly turns into a nightmare when Serrano’s henchmen, FBI agent Alonso Mosley (Yaphet Kotto), and rival bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler (John Ashton) all converge on Walsh, wanting Mardukas for themselves. Thinking on his feet, Walsh finds himself taking Mardukas on an epic road trip, trying to stay one step ahead of his pursuers, while keeping ‘The Duke’ under control. The film was written by George Gallo and directed by Martin Brest, and was a critical and commercial success, with special praise being given to the chemistry between De Niro and Grodin. Read more…