Posts Tagged ‘John Ottman’

THE NICE GUYS – John Ottman and David Buckley

June 5, 2016 2 comments

theniceguysOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A comedy crime thriller written and directed by Shane Black, The Nice Guys stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as Healy and March, a pair of private detectives in Los Angeles in the late 1970s who become embroiled in a labyrinthine plot involving a dead porn star, the missing daughter of a local politician, sinister hit men, and the Detroit auto industry, all set against a backdrop of sex, drugs, and disco. The film also stars Matt Bomer, Kim Basinger, and the wonderfully spunky Angourie Rice as Gosling’s unfazeable 14-year-old-daughter; it moves along at a breezy clip, combining buddy-movie action with a healthy helping of humor, while the nostalgic setting allows director Black to luxuriate in the Los Angeles of his childhood, when large parts of it were still sleazy and seedy. Contributing enormously to the period atmosphere is the disco-jazz score by composers John Ottman and David Buckley, Ottman having worked on Black’s directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005. Read more…


May 26, 2014 14 comments

xmendaysoffuturepastOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the seventh film in Marvel’s “other” long-running super franchise, set in the world of mutants. The film begins in the future, long after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand and The Wolverine, in a world where civilization – both human and mutant – has been decimated almost to the point of extinction by massive machines known as Sentinels, which were initially created to combat ‘evil’ mutants, but eventually took it upon themselves to destroy all humanity. In a last, desperate attempt to literally save the world, the remaining mutants led by Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen) devise a complicated plan to send the consciousness of Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to inhabit the body of his younger self in 1973; once there, he will locate the younger versions of Xavier and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender), and task them with helping him avert the individual event they believe triggered the creation of the Sentinels: the assassination of industrial scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) by their fellow mutant Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). The film is based on the extremely popular X-Men comic storyline by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, co-stars Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters and Shawn Ashmore, and is directed by Bryan Singer, returning to the X-Men director’s chair for the first time since 2003. Read more…

ASTRO BOY – John Ottman

October 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An animated action adventure based on the classic 1950s Japanese cartoon series, which was itself loosely based on the Pinocchio story, Astro Boy tells the story of a robot child who is created by a genius scientist named Dr. Tenma after Tenma’s son is killed in an industrial accident. However, having been rejected by his family, Astro embarks on a planetary voyage of discovery, and uses his incredible powers to become a world famous super-hero when an alien race threatens Earth. Alongside an impressive voice cast that includes Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Charlize Theron, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland and Nathan Lane, director David Bowers sought out composer John Ottman to write the film’s original score. Read more…

ORPHAN – John Ottman

July 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Evil movie kids: don’t you just love ‘em? From Regan in The Exorcist and Damien in The Omen to those freaky twins in The Shining and anything starring Macaulay Culkin, the murderous minor has been a staple of the horror genre for decades, playing our worst fears and nightmares. The latest addition to the list is Esther, the protagonist of the film Orphan. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and starring Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard and the truly menacing 12-year old actress Isabelle Fuhrman, Orphan tells the story of a typical husband and wife Kate and John Coleman who, having lost their unborn child, instead decide to adopt a young girl instead; subsequently, into their lives comes Esther, a seemingly angelic child from an orphanage. However, before long, alarming events occur, leading the Colemans to think that there may be more to Esther than meet the eye… Read more…

VALKYRIE – John Ottman

December 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Valkyrie is a film based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a German aristocrat and officer in the Wehrmacht who, despite progressing to a position of some power during the Hitler regime at the height of World War II, was a leading member of the anti-Nazi resistance movement, and led a plot to assassinate the Führer in 1944. The film, which is directed by Bryan Singer, stars Tom Cruise as Stauffenberg, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp and Eddie Izzard as Stauffenberg’s co-conspirators in the resistance, and Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten and Thomas Kretschmann in supporting roles. Inevitably, with Singer directing, his frequent collaborator John Ottman is also part of the production team, pulling double-duty as film editor and composer. Read more…

THE INVASION – John Ottman

August 17, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The umpteenth remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers to reach big screens since Don Siegel’s 1956 original, the latest version – The Invasion – was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (the acclaimed German director of Der Untergang) and stars Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Jeremy Northam, and again tells the tale of an alien organism which comes to earth and begins to systematically overtake humanity by creating emotionless clones of people, which then murder their human counterpart and assume their identity.

John Ottman’s score is one of his better recent efforts, a creepy orchestral and choral score which also uses a healthy dose of electronics to impressive effect. The opening cue, “Life Goes On/Dance of the Cells”, is actually slightly reminiscent of the way Denny Zeitlin opened his score for the 1978 version of the story Read more…


June 15, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The popular sequel to the 2005 super-hero movie Fantastic Four, ‘Rise of the Silver Surfer’ sees super heroes Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis returning to do battle with another super-hero from another galaxy – the titular Silver Surfer – whose intergalactic travels invariably result in the destruction on whichever planet he visits. I wasn’t a huge fan of John Ottman’s score for the first Fantastic Four movie, and criticized it for its desperate over-use of choir and for the general limpness of the main super-hero theme. Two years later, and I’m afraid the problems haven’t really been fixed. Read more…


June 30, 2006 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As much as Marco Beltrami was walking into a film music minefield by being asked to follow on from Jerry Goldsmith’s score for The Omen, John Ottman’s task following in the footsteps of John Williams on Superman Returns was probably too daunting to imagine. John Williams between the mid 1970s and the early 1980s was enjoying arguably the most creatively fruitful period of his career, writing Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. within eight years of each other. The original Superman came right in the middle of this golden period in 1978, and became an instant classic, with Williams’ music providing the right amount of thrills and spills and heroic ebullience the film required. The Superman March has since gone on to become one of film music’s most well-loved and recognisable themes. Read more…


July 8, 2005 Leave a comment

fantastic4Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

All of a sudden, it seems, Hollywood is full of super-heroes. The comic book, once the exclusive domain of spotty teenagers and their escapist fantasies, is now the deepest well of cinematic inspiration for the movie making machine, having recently sprung forth with new versions of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Daredevil, Elektra, Blade, The Punisher, Hellboy, Sin City, and a multitude of others. In many ways, the Fantastic Four can lay legitimate claim to being the grand-daddy of them all, having first appeared in print way back in 1961. The quartet first appeared on film in 1994 in a movie which was made with the intent of it never seeing the light of day, purely as an exercise so that the production company could hold on to the publication rights. That debacle aside, director Tim Story’s 2005 summer blockbuster marks the first time the four have “properly” appeared on the big screen. Read more…

HOUSE OF WAX – John Ottman

May 6, 2005 Leave a comment

houseofwaxOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I realize the statement I’m about to make is a very sweeping generalization, but I’m finding that I don’t “get” John Ottman. When he first burst onto the scene back in 1995 with his score for The Usual Suspects, I was one among many who considered him to be a truly fresh and original talent in film music. Subsequent scores such as Incognito, Snow White, Apt Pupil and Goodbye Lover maintained the high standards, but recently I have been finding myself growing more and more disinterested in his music, and I can’t quite out my finger on the reason why. X-Men 2 was OK, and Gothika and Hide and Seek were competent but little more, but his music of late has been developing a disturbing “samey” quality that continues from project to project. While it’s important to have a voice of your own, it’s also important to have the compositional ability to switch genres effectively, and I still find it amazing how Ottman continues get himself attached to massive franchises like X-Men, Fantastic Four and the upcoming Superman Returns without really (in my opinion) showing himself to have a great deal of range. Read more…

HIDE AND SEEK – John Ottman

January 28, 2005 Leave a comment

hideandseekOriginal Review by Peter Simons

Hide and Seek is a new thriller-with-a-twist from director John Polson, who previously scored a hit with the “Fatal Attraction for teenagers” film Swimfan. Following the untimely death of his wife, psychologist David Callaway (Robert De Niro) and his young daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) find that life in the Big Apple is not helping them in the grieving process. Seeking solace and a fresh start, the father and daughter move from the city to the countryside of upstate New York, acquiring a rambling farmhouse away from everything that reminds them of their past. Eager for his daughter to settle in the community, David is at first delighted when Emily proclaims to have a new “friend” named Charlie. Though he only seems to exists in the girls imagination, Charlie quickly has a profound effect on the Callaway’s life, interfering with David’s tentative relationship with local woman Elizabeth (Elizabeth Shue), and attracting the attention of a fellow psychiatrist (Famke Janssen) and the local cop (Dylan Baker). Before long, Charlie’s mischievous antics turn very serious, leading David to believe that the relationship between Charlie and Emily may not quite be what it seems… Read more…

X-MEN 2 – John Ottman

May 2, 2003 Leave a comment

xmen2Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Following the musical debacle of the original X-men movie in 2000, in which the studio heads at Fox meddled so much with Michael Kamen’s score it rendered it almost redundant, it stands to reason that director Bryan Singer would return to composer John Ottman, for the sequel. Ottman, who had worked with Singer previously on The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil, had been away making his own movie, Urban Legends: Final Cut, and was unavailable to score X-Men 1. His efforts here bear all the hallmarks of a composer trying to stamp his own musical authority upon a series, and establish himself as the obvious composer of choice for future movies in the franchise. He has only partly been successful. X-Men 2 picks up where the original movie left off: the evil Magneto (Ian McKellen) is incarcerated in a plastic prison; Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is scouring the globe trying to unravel the mysteries of his past; and the various other mutant members of the X-Men continue to fight the fight against evil, under the benign authority of Dr. Xavier (Patrick Stewart). However, when a renegade mutant attempts to assassinate the President of the United States, it becomes apparent that past differences must be put aside, and the mutants loyal to Magneto and Xavier must join forces to stop a new enemy which could destroy all mutants. Read more…

LAKE PLACID – John Ottman

July 16, 1999 Leave a comment

lakeplacidOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In recent years, Hollywood has regurgitated the “mutant killer something-or-other” storyline for an alarmingly large number of films: cockroaches in Mimic, lizards in Godzilla, crustaceans in Deep Rising, sharks in Deep Blue Sea, the list goes on. Crocodiles are the newest addition, with the arrival of Steve Miner’s Lake Placid, a new horror thriller set in the very same mountain town that staged the Winter Olympics back in 1980. Read more…