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Posts Tagged ‘Film Score’

PARENTHOOD – Randy Newman

July 25, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Parenthood was a successful and popular comedy-drama film directed by Ron Howard, based on the actual child-rearing experiences of Howard and his screenwriting partners Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, who between them had 17 children in 1989. The film starred Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen as married couple Gil and Karen Buckman, and looks at the various trials and tribulations of their extended family, especially as the story relates to parent-child relationships, romantic problems, sibling rivalries, and the pressures that careers have on family lives. The film had an outstanding supporting ensemble cast, including Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, Tom Hulce, Martha Plimpton, 25-year-old Keanu Reeves, 15-year-old Joaquin Phoenix, and Dianne Weist, who received a Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her performance. It is also worth noting that, more than 20 years later, the movie was loosely adapted into a popular TV series of the same name, which ran on the NBC network for six seasons, although many of the characters and situations were different. Read more…

MIDSOMMAR – Bobby Krlic

July 23, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although horror movies are pervasive and very popular in cinematic culture, one particular sub-genre of horror is not explored with as much frequency as others, and that is ‘folk horror,’ where the crux of the plot is derived from characters’ adherences to ancient pagan rituals in an otherwise contemporary setting. The most popular and well-known of these prior to this year was probably the 1973 British film The Wicker Man (we’re forgetting the risible Nicolas Cage remake), but director Ari Aster’s Midsommar looks set to challenge its status as the pre-eminent example of its genre. Whereas Aster’s debut film Hereditary explored the dark corners of devil worship in contemporary America, Midsommar takes place in the bright sunshine of Sweden. Florence Pugh plays Dani, a college student struggling to cope with the murder-suicide of her sister and parents, and whose boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) is distant and disinterested. Christian and two of his friends, Mark and Josh, are invited by another friend, Pelle, to spend the summer at Pelle’s home in Sweden; Pelle grew up on a small isolated commune, and his family continues to observe ancient ‘midsummer’ rituals. Despite his initial reluctance, Christian allows Dani to come with them, and before long the friends are happily taking part in psychedelic mushroom trips, experiencing the commune’s curious customs, and wearing a nice line in white linen smocks. Of course, as always happens in films like this, the charming quaintness quickly descends into chaos, as the true nature of the commune and its inhabitants is revealed. Read more…

LICENCE TO KILL – Michael Kamen

July 18, 2019 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second – and last – James Bond film to star Timothy Dalton was 1989’s Licence to Kill, directed by John Glen from a screenplay by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum. I have long been of the opinion that Dalton was a hugely underrated Bond who should have been given more opportunities to succeed and develop his gritty version of the character, and that Licence to Kill is one of the best of the entire series. In it, Bond finds himself disavowed by British secret service agency MI6 and ‘going rogue’ after his best friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter, and his new bride Della are viciously attacked on their wedding day. The perpetrator is Franz Sanchez, a drug lord and ruthless cartel boss in a fictional Central American country; seeking personal vengeance, Bond teams up with Pam Bouvier, an ex Army-pilot with a vendetta against Sanchez of her own, and crosses paths with two very different members of Sanchez’s entourage: the beautiful Lupe Lamora, and the sadistic henchman Dario. The film co-stars Robert Davi, Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto, and a very young Benicio del Toro, but unfortunately the film was not a commercial success; adjusted for inflation. It remains the lowest-grossing Bond film of all time, something which, sadly, hastened to the end of Dalton’s tenure and his subsequent replacement with Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye in 1995. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – Michael Giacchino

July 17, 2019 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

With Avengers Endgame having smashed almost every box office record in existence, it was always going to be difficult for Marvel to build on that movie’s enormous success. The two-part Avengers finale was one of those rare things that is both a commercial and cultural touchstone; it also marked the end of the ‘Third Phase’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which the existential threat of Thanos was finally eliminated, and the circle of movies that began with Iron Man in 2008 ended with Iron Man’s death. Spider-Man: Far From Home, despite being officially the last part of Phase III and the 23rd Marvel film overall, is actually something of a coda, acting both as a rumination on the events of Endgame and as a bridge to the Phase IV series which is scheduled to begin in 2020; it also seems to have successfully maintained the interest that peaked with Avengers, enjoying huge box office takings and good critical reviews. The film is set 8 months after Endgame and again stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man; he is still coming to terms with Tony Stark’s death and longs just to be a normal teenager again. As such, he agrees to go on a trip to Europe with his high school classmates, including his potential girlfriend MJ (Zendaya); unfortunately, Peter can’t escape from his responsibilities even there, and is called upon by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assist a multi-dimensional warrior named Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) in saving the world from creatures that wreak havoc by controlling the power of the four elements. The film is directed by Jon Watts and has an original score by Michael Giacchino. Read more…

GOOD OMENS – David Arnold

July 12, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I have been a fan of the late great British author Sir Terry Pratchett ever since I was a kid. Titles like The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Mort, and Pyramids were among my most treasured literary discoveries in the 1980s and 90s; the combination of fantasy, science-fiction, and historical adventure with a distinctly Pythonesque brand of English humor and wit appealed to my sensibility greatly. Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, very few of his works have been translated into film or television projects, and even fewer of them have been seen outside of the UK, which means that while he remains massively popular at home, he is something of an unknown quantity to the rest of the world. This is why I’m so pleased that Good Omens has been so well received; it’s a 6-part TV adaptation of the novel Pratchett wrote with sci-fi author Neil Gaiman in 1990, and is a comedy about the end of the world. Michael Sheen and David Tennant star as Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, who have been living on Earth since the beginning of time as the official representatives of God and Satan. When they learn that the son of Satan has been born – an event which will in time trigger the apocalypse – Aziraphale and Crowley team up to stop it happening. It turns out that, over the millennia, the pair have become unlikely friends, and are not willing to give up their pleasant and comfortable lives in England – even if Armageddon is part of God’s ineffable plan. Read more…

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS – James Horner

June 27, 2019 5 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most popular and successful children’s adventure films of 1989, Honey I Shrunk the Kids starred Rick Moranis as Wayne Szalinsky, a scientist and inventor who makes a machine capable of shrinking objects down to miniscule size. One day, Wayne accidentally shrinks his son Nick, his daughter Amy, and the two brothers who live next door, and throws them out in the trash. Stranded at the bottom of their back yard – which, due to their size, is now the equivalent of several miles away from their house and looks like the Amazon rain forest– the children must fight their way through this jungle of plants and enormous insects in order to return home; meanwhile, Wayne has realized what he has done, and desperately begins searching for his kids so he can restore them to their regular size. The film co-starred Thomas Brown, Amy O’Neill, Robert Oliveri, and Jared Rushton as the kids, and marked the directorial debut of Joe Johnston, a special effects genius who had previously worked on several Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. Read more…

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE – John Williams

June 20, 2019 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The third movie in director Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones series was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and whereas 1984’s Temple of Doom was a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Last Crusade was a direct sequel, set just two years later in 1938. Harrison Ford returns as the titular archaeologist-adventurer, who is sent off on a globe-trotting escapade when he receives news from American billionaire Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) that his long-estranged father Henry Jones (Sean Connery) has gone missing while searching for the holy grail. Jones teams up with his old friends and colleagues Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) on the quest to find his father, and quickly becomes embroiled in a vast labyrinthine plot involving ancient myths and legends, a brotherhood of religious warriors, way too many Nazis, and a beautiful Austrian art professor named Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) to whom there is more than meets the eye. The whole thing is a delight from start to finish, with several wonderfully exciting action set pieces, and beautiful location settings, but the cornerstone of the film is the father-and-son chemistry between Ford and Connery, whose outward gruffness and constant bickering masks a deep love and affection. Whereas Ford is an all-action matinee idol hero, Connery is a slightly bumbling academic, more at home with books and libraries than punching Nazis in the face, but who is still able to make his son feel like a 12-year old when he calls him ‘junior’. Read more…