Posts Tagged ‘Howard Shore’


November 8, 2022 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton


The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is one of the most lavish, ambitious, and expensive television shows in the history of the medium. It’s a prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film series, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings histories, The Silmarillion, and its various appendices, and is set in the Second Age of Middle-Earth, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings took place. Essentially it tells the ‘origin story’ of several key events in LOTR lore: the fall of the Dark Lord Morgoth and subsequent rise of his chief servant Sauron, the creation of the land of Mordor, the fate of the island kingdom of Númenor, and the forging of the Rings of Power, as well as the relationships between various elves, dwarves, and men, who make and break alliances in an effort to combat the tide of evil. Numerous familiar characters from the film series appear, not least the elves Galadriel and Elrond, as well as a race of creatures known as ‘harfoots,’ the ancestors of the hobbits. Read more…

PRELUDE TO A KISS – Howard Shore

July 14, 2022 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A long-forgotten project for then A-list stars Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan, Prelude to a Kiss is a romantic comedy drama directed by the late Norman René, adapted from the acclaimed stage play by Craig Lucas. It’s essentially a more serious and thoughtful variation on the ‘body swap comedy’ genre, and sees Baldwin and Ryan playing about-to-be-married couple Peter and Rita. On their wedding day, Rita is approached by an elderly man named Julius, who requests a kiss with the bride; she obliges, but then she and the Julius magically switch places – his consciousness in her body, and vice versa. Before anyone else realizes what has happened Peter and ‘Rita’ jet off for their honeymoon, leaving the real Rita confused and disoriented in the Julius’s frail body. Eventually, Peter realizes what has happened, and brings Rita and Julius together in an effort to restore their souls to their correct places. What transpires thereafter touches on issues ranging from the nature of love, to living with regrets, and the inevitability of mortality, while also offering some thinly-veiled and (at the time) prescient commentary on the 1980s AIDS epidemic. Read more…


February 19, 2021 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite having first appeared on screen in 1986 in director Michael Mann’s Manhunter, the character Hannibal Lecter exploded into public consciousness five years later with this film, The Silence of the Lambs. Based on the best-selling novel by Thomas Harris and directed by Jonathan Demme, the film follows the investigation into a serial killer dubbed ‘Buffalo Bill,’ who abducts young women and methodically strips skin from their bodies before murdering them. Rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is tasked by Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn), the head of the Behavioral Science Unit, to visit and interview the incarcerated Lecter (Anthony Hopkins in a career-defining role); as well as being a cannibalistic serial killer himself, Lecter is also a brilliant psychologist, and it is believed his insight may help the FBI catch ‘Bill’ before he kills again. However, as well as helping build up a profile of the murderer, Lecter also convinces Clarice to provide details of her own life as part of a ‘quid pro quo’ arrangement, and the two begin an unlikely intellectual relationship that threatens to derail the investigation. Read more…

PIECES OF A WOMAN – Howard Shore

January 19, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pieces of a Woman is a serious, emotionally devastating family drama about a pregnant woman named Martha who, following a shocking event during her home birth, finds her entire life falling apart. Wracked with guilt, Martha finds herself becoming increasingly alienated from her husband and mother, receiving judgmental comments from people around her, and eventually contemplating legal action against her midwife – all while coming to terms with her own feelings about what happened to her and her baby. It’s a searing indictment of the issues many women have to face during their pregnancies, including the assignment of blame, and the extent to which many women are not given full control of what should be one of the most important and personal events of their lives. The film was directed by Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó, and was adapted from a 2018 stage play by him and writer Kata Wéber; it stars Vanessa Kirby as Martha, and features support from Shia LaBoeuf, Molly Parker, Sarah Snook, and Ellen Burstyn, all of whom have been mentioned as potential Oscar nominees. The film is also notable for its inclusion of a 24-minute opening birth sequence, which was shot in a single take and was largely improvised in the moment by the actors, director Mundruczó, and camera operator Benjamin Loeb. Read more…

Under-the-Radar Round Up 2020, Part I

March 24, 2020 3 comments

With the COVID-19 Coronavirus having decimated the 2020 theatrical movie schedule, as well as the general mood of the world, good music is more important than ever when it comes to getting us all through these difficult times. As such (and as I did last year under much different circumstances) I am very pleased to present the latest installment in my ongoing series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world – this time concentrating on the first quarter of 2020!

The titles include romantic comedies from both China and Vietnam, children’s fantasy films from both Germany and France, a serious drama from Japan, a period murder-mystery from Australia, and a children’s adventure from the Netherlands. I heartily recommend all of these scores to anyone who needs some outstanding film music to ease them though their quarantine period! Read more…

DEAD RINGERS – Howard Shore

November 29, 2018 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As a follow-up to the massively successful and popular The Fly, Canadian director David Cronenberg chose Dead Ringers, adapted from the novel ‘Twins’ by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, to be his next film. The film stars Jeremy Irons playing a duel role as Elliot and Beverly Mantle, identical twin brothers, both gynecologists, who run a successful medical practice in Toronto. The more charming and confident Elliot seduces women who come to him for fertility treatment, and ‘shares’ them with the more shy and introverted Beverly, without the women realizing that they are sleeping with two different men. Things change when a new patient, actress Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold), comes to their clinic. Claire is extremely sexually liberated, but is also addicted to prescription drugs; despite this, Beverly falls in love with her, and is shattered when she finds out about their duplicity and breaks off the relationship. Before long, Beverly’s world is crumbling in a mass of drug abuse, paranoid delusions, and horrific visions of mutated female genitalia – which causes Elliot to take drastic action to save him. Read more…

BIG – Howard Shore

June 7, 2018 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Big was one of the most popular and successful comedies of 1988 – in fact, of the 1980s as a whole – and was, in many ways, the film which made Tom Hanks a bonafide box office star. Directed by Penny Marshall from a screenplay by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg, Big is the story of childhood wish fulfillment, in which a regular 12 year old boy from New Jersey named Josh Baskin makes a wish ‘to be big’ on an old fortune teller machine at a traveling carnival, and then wakes up the following morning transformed into a 30 year old man (Hanks). After having terrified his mother, who believes that adult Josh is actually a kidnapper holding her son for ransom, he calls on his best friend Billy (Jared Rushton) for help, and together they travel to Manhattan to track down the carnival – only to be told that it will take months for the paperwork to come through. In the meantime, through a fortuitous set of circumstances, Josh manages to get a job at a toy company, working for the gruff but kindly Mr. MacMillan (Robert Loggia). He impresses his new colleagues – including the beautiful Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), who soon falls for Josh’s ‘child-like’ charm – but as much as Josh begins to enjoy his new adult life, he continues to search for the fortune teller machine so he can return home. Read more…

THE FLY – Howard Shore

August 11, 2016 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Fly is one of the greatest horror films ever made, a masterpiece of so-called ‘body horror’ and a cautionary tale about science gone wrong. Based on a short story by George Langelaan and directed by David Cronenberg, the film stars Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle, a brilliant but desperately eccentric scientist working on a teleportation device in an attempt to solve the world’s transportation problems. Brundle meets reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) when she comes to his laboratory to interview him, and the two develop a mutual attraction which blossoms into a romantic relationship. However, Brundle is frustrated with his lack of progress with the device, and rushes into trying new and increasingly dangerous experiments in order to speed up the process. One day, despite Veronica’s protestations, he tests the device on himself; after successfully jumping from one teleportation pod to another, he declares his machine a triumph – but, unknown to Brundle, a common house fly found its way into the machine with him. Now, having had his human DNA merged with that of the fly at a cellular level, Brundle begins to slowly, grotesquely, mutate, with terrible consequences for all. Read more…

SPOTLIGHT – Howard Shore

November 17, 2015 Leave a comment

spotlightOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In 2002 four journalists with the Boston Globe newspaper – Walter “Robby” Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Matt Carroll – uncovered a massive scandal involving the Catholic church in Massachusetts, specifically relating to the fact that the diocesan hierarchy in the city knew about, and helped cover up the acts of, dozens and dozens of priests who sexually abused literally hundreds of children over the course of several decades. The fallout from the investigation was known as the Massachusetts Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal, led to the trial and subsequent imprisonment of dozens of priests, and rocked the hierarchy within the Catholic church, in America, and across the world. Tom McCarthy’s film Spotlight looks at how the four journalists – who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service – broke the story. It stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d’Arcy James as the journalists, and has a wonderful supporting cast of character actors, including Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Jamey Sheridan, Paul Guilfoyle, and Billy Crudup. Read more…


December 20, 2014 3 comments

thehobbitbotfaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

And so, at last, after an astonishing 13-year trip across Middle Earth in the company of director Peter Jackson, through three Lord of the Rings films and two Hobbit films, we come to the conclusion of the saga with The Battle of the Five Armies, the third and final film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy story The Hobbit. The film picks up immediately where the second film in the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, left off last year, with the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf cohorts looking on helplessly as the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), having emerged from under the mountain of Erebor, decimates the city of Laketown, before finally being brought down by the brave Bard (Luke Evans). In the aftermath of the devastation, the survivors of Laketown regroup in the ancient city of Dale, while the newly-crowned dwarfish king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) jealously guards his new wealth from inside his impregnable stronghold. However, news of Smaug’s death quickly spreads across Middle Earth, and before long numerous different armies are massing outside Erebor’s gates, each claiming a valid right to the treasure inside, or having insidious ulterior motives of conquest and destruction. Read more…

Best of 2013 in Film Music – France

January 18, 2014 3 comments

flightofthestorksFLIGHT OF THE STORKS – Éric Neveux
Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Flight of the Storks (Le Vol des Cigognes) is a French TV mini series starring Harry Treadaway as Jonathan, a young English academic ornithologist who teams up with a colleague to follow storks on their migration from Switzerland to Africa. However, when his colleague is found dead in mysterious circumstances, Jonathan finds himself caught up in an international web of intrigue, travelling through Bulgaria, Turkey, the Middle East, and the Congo along the pathway of the migrating storks, with a dogged Swiss detective hot on his heels. This mini-series was directed by Jan Kounenm adapted from the novel by Jean-Christophe Grangé, co-starred Rutger Hauer and Perdita Weeks, and was scored by French composer Éric Neveux. Read more…


December 15, 2013 6 comments

thehobbitdosOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second film in Peter Jackson’s new Middle Earth trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is The Desolation of Smaug; it picks up immediately where the first film in the trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, left off last year, with the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) journeying to the ancient dwarf stronghold of Erebor in the company of the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), dwarfish king-in-waiting Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and his band of adventurers, to take back their homeland from the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Along way, however, the heroic company must traverse any number of dangers, including vicious orcs, unfriendly elves, a treacherous forest, and the inhabitants of an impoverished lake town in the shadow of the lonely mountain. Meanwhile, much to Gandalf’s consternation, the shadowy threat of a mysterious necromancer continues to grow, looming large over all of Middle Earth, and threatening its long-lasting peace. The film is a significant improvement over the first installment, eschewing some of its comic action material and embracing a more serious tone that befits a story that touches on much more adult themes involving obsession and corruption. It’s visually spectacular, of course (although the orc leader Azog still looks like a bad video game rendering), has a wonderful supporting cast that includes Stephen Fry, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans and a returning Orlando Bloom as Legolas, and – most importantly from this website’s point of view – sees Howard Shore returning to Middle Earth for the fifth time as composer. Read more…

JIMMY P. – Howard Shore

September 13, 2013 Leave a comment

jimmypOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Jimmy P., Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, is a French drama directed by Arnaud Desplechin. Based on the autobiography by Georges Devereux, an early French psychotherapist, it stars Mathieu Almaric as a doctor who specializes in ethnology and psychoanalysis, who is asked to treat Jimmy Picard (Benicio Del Toro), a Blackfoot Indian who has returned from World War II with debilitating symptoms that seem to indicate post-traumatic stress and possible schizophrenia. Although the movie sounds very talky and intellectual, the movie actually deals with very human emotions, as well as the development of ethnographic psychoanalysis as a legitimate field, and was critically lauded at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Read more…


December 17, 2012 13 comments

thehobbitaujOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

They say you can never go home again, but that’s not true for Howard Shore, the multi-award winning Canadian composer of the music for The Lord of the Rings. Prior to the release of the first LOTR film, The Fellowship of the Ring, in 2001, Shore was a respected but generally little-known composer, best known for writing a series of dark, brooding scores for director David Cronenberg, and thrillers like Seven and The Silence of the Lambs. Even when he was first announced as the composer for Fellowship, many commentators questioned whether Shore had the thematic strength to write the broad and expansive music the films required. Fast forward a decade, and Shore is a three-time Oscar winner and international film music superstar, with impressive album sales, sold-out concerts, and massive critical acclaim. When director Peter Jackson announced that he was making a new Middle Earth trilogy based on JRR Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, it was never a question of whether Howard Shore would return to score the films, but whether the music would stand up to the massive hype and sense of expectation that inevitably came with it’s release. For better or worse, the Lord of the Rings scores have become some of the best-loved of the new millennium, and for many fans whose first experience of film music came through those films and Shore’s now-iconic themes, there was bound to be an unimaginable sense of anticipation. So does The Hobbit continue the trend of excellent music in Middle Earth? The answer is yes and no, but not for reasons you might think. Read more…

DOUBT – Howard Shore

December 12, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A challenging religious drama, Doubt is the latest film from writer/director John Patrick Shanley, and is based on his own acclaimed stage play. The film stars Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, a nun who runs a Catholic school in New York in 1964, whose old fashioned traditional beliefs are challenged and is forced to make a difficult decision when she receives word from a fellow sister (Amy Adams) that one of the school’s teachers – the convention-challenging, progressive young priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) – may be abusing a young black student.

An actor’s dream – all four leads (Streep, Hoffman, Adams and Viola Davis have received multiple Award nominations) – Doubt is not a film which required a flashy, showy music to hammer home its challenging, weighty subject matter Read more…