Posts Tagged ‘Junkie XL’


August 31, 2022 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Three Thousand Years of Longing is a new romantic fantasy film from Mad Max director George Miller, based on the 1994 short story The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye by English novelist A. S Byatt. The film stars Tilda Swinton as Alithia, a British professor, who travels to Istanbul for a conference and inadvertently frees a genie from his captivity; the genie – played by Idris Elba – offers Alithia the traditional three wishes in exchange for his freedom, but this proves problematic because, as Alithia’s academic specialty is mythology, she knows all about the cautionary tales of ‘wishes gone wrong’. The djinn pleads his case by telling her fantastical stories of his past – dating all the way back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba – and eventually wins Alithia over, with surprising results. The film is an impressive visual masterpiece full of sweeping vistas, elaborate sets, and romantic tenderness, which stands at odds with Miller’s gritty and uncompromising work on his most famous films. Read more…

GODZILLA VS. KONG – Tom Holkenborg

April 6, 2021 5 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Shared multiverses are such an important part of contemporary cinema these days. It feels like every new successful film, no matter what the genre, feels the need to expand its scope to encompass a range of endless spinoffs, sequels, and prequels, and this is certainly the case in the world of fantasy and science fiction. Godzilla vs. Kong is the culmination of a near decade-long project by Legendary Pictures, and sees the timelines of the films Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) coming together in a battle for kaiju supremacy. The film is set five years after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters and follows a complicated (but patently ridiculous) plot about evil corporations building giant robots, and the theory that the center of the earth is actually hollow, but it’s really just all an excuse for Godzilla and King Kong to have an enormous on-screen fight amid the skyscrapers of Hong Kong, and using those basic prerequisites, it’s a success. The film is directed by Adam Wingard, stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Kyle Chandler, and Demián Bichir, and has a score by Dutch composer Tom Holkenborg. Read more…

SCOOB – Tom Holkenborg

June 2, 2020 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Scoob is the latest movie to star Scooby-Doo, the cowardly canine crime-fighter who, along with his best friend Shaggy and the other members of Mystery Inc., have been unmasking cartoon villains since they first debuted on CBS in 1969. There have been literally dozens of TV shows starring the character, as well as an astonishing 40 straight-to-video movies between 1987 and 2019, but only two projects premiered on the big-screen: the 2002 live-action film Scooby-Doo starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, and it’s 2004 sequel ‘Monsters Unleashed’. This film was intended to be the third cinematic outing, but the COVID-19 outbreak nixed that idea, and instead it premiered straight-to-streaming in May 2020. The film is a CGI animated adventure directed by Tony Cervone, and is a sort of re-imagined and re-booted origin story about how Scooby-Doo met Shaggy as a puppy, how they first teamed up with Fred, Velma, and Daphne to form Mystery Inc., and what happened on their first adventure and beyond. Scoob is also intended to be a launching point for a larger Hanna-Barbera ‘shared universe’ series, as the film also features such characters as Blue Falcon and Dyno-Mutt, Dick Dastardly and Muttley, and Captain Caveman, among others. It also has an absolutely stellar voice cast, including Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Amanda Seyfried, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Zac Efron, Henry Winkler, and many more! Read more…


February 26, 2020 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

So, I have a confession to make. I was one of those weird kids who, growing up, didn’t really play computer games. I had an Atari 800 back in the early 80s and I played precisely three games on it: Orc Attack, Zaxxon, and Paperboy, all of which came on a series of cartridges. When my friends graduated on to Commodore 64s and Sinclair ZX Spectrums, I stayed inside watching movies. I then skipped the entire console era and went straight to a Dell PC in 1995. Today, the only games I have are various iterations of FIFA Soccer, but I haven’t played them in years. I never had a Sega, I never had a Nintendo, I never even had a Game Boy, so all those classic cultural touchstones – Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong and so on – completely passed me by. As such, when it was announced that there was going to be a Sonic the Hedgehog movie, I was indifferent. I was similarly uninterested when a furore about the design of the little spiky speedmeister hit the internet in May 2019, causing a major delay in the film’s release due to the need for new special effects. Even now, and despite the generally positive ratings, the film holds little interest. It’s directed by Jeff Fowler, there’s a little blue hedgehog who can run incredibly fast, Jim Carrey plays the evil Dr. Robotnik who wants to capture Sonic, and James Marsden plays a kind-hearted cop who helps Sonic escape from Robotnik. Sonic runs fast, there’s action, comedy, hi-jinks, heartwarming pathos, and a set-up for a sequel… you get the idea. Read more…


November 8, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been a somewhat depressing experience to watch the once brilliant and groundbreaking Terminator franchise descend into one of the most risible series of films in Hollywood’s recent history but, unfortunately, that’s what has happened. In the aftermath of Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, there was a 12-year gap before Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines appeared in 2003, during which time creator James Cameron went off and began prepping Avatar and its 282 sequels, leaving directorial duties in the hands of Jonathan Mostow. Terminator Salvation came and went in 2009 amid Christian Bale’s on-set meltdown, and Terminator Genisys opened in 2015 with the hope that Emilia Clarke could transfer her Daenerys Targaryan Game of Thrones fan base to the big screen as a new version of Sarah Connor. Spoiler: she couldn’t. The only constant through all this has been the presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but as is often the case in this situation, his original terrifying performance as the ultimate unstoppable killing machine eventually morphed into something approaching self-parody, especially when you consider that the Governator was 68 years old when Genisys came out and was barely able to walk without limping, let alone do any stunts. Read more…

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL – Tom Holkenborg

March 19, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Hollywood’s increasing interest in bringing new versions of Japanese anime titles to an American audience continues with the release of Alita: Battle Angel, adapted from the eponymous 1990s comic book series by Yukito Kishiro. The film was written and produced by James Cameron, who originally intended to direct the project himself when it was first announced in 2003, but after sitting in ‘development hell’ for well over a decade, it was eventually helmed by Robert Rodriguez. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future and focuses on Alita (Rosa Salazar), a female cyborg who has lost all her memories and is found in a junkyard by cybernetics doctor Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz). Ido rebuilds Alita and takes care of her like she is his daughter; eventually, however, Alita discovers that she has immense strength and fighting skills, which leads to her becoming a bounty hunter, and eventually learning more about her past. The film co-stars Oscar winners Mahershala Ali and Jennifer Connelly, and has been a surprisingly popular critical and commercial success, overcoming the film’s misleading marketing that entirely omits the significant sports movie plot, as well as its potential for trips to the ‘uncanny valley’ in terms of Alita’s look and design. Read more…

TOMB RAIDER – Tom Holkenborg

March 21, 2018 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Back in the 1990s, someone had an idea to make a film based on a popular video game, and it was quickly seen as a fertile new ground from which to draw cinematic inspiration. Unfortunately, the first few films – 1993’s Super Mario Bros., 1994’s Street Fighter, 1995’s Mortal Kombat – were all significantly awful, meaning that it was not until 2001’s Tomb Raider that a video game movie saw any real traction, either with critics or at the box office. The original film starred Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, the eponymous globe-trotting adventurer searching for artifacts and hidden treasure among the ancient ruins of the world. Now, 17 years later, Lara Croft has been rebooted, and this new film stars Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, the eponymous globe-trotting adventurer searching for… well, you get the idea. The film is directed by Norwegian Roar Uthaug, co-stars Walton Goggins and Dominic West, and has done some brisk business, achieving the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any major video game adaptation movie to date, and taking in well over $100 million on its opening weekend. Read more…

THE DARK TOWER – Tom Holkenborg

August 8, 2017 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Dark Tower is an action/fantasy/sci-fi epic based on the massively popular series of novels by Stephen King. Directed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel, the film stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, a ‘gunslinger’ from a parallel universe who is trying to stop a sorcerer named Walter (Matthew McConaughey) from destroying the titular building, which stands at the center of the universe, and protects it from evil. Into this epic tale comes 12-year-old Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), a typical New York kid who has untapped psychic powers, and who finds a way to travel between dimensions to help the Gunslinger stop The Man in Black once and for all. Having not read the books, I can’t comment on the fact that the film apparently discards much of the stuff that made the original novels so compelling – the intricate world-building, the deep back-stories of each character – in favor of a fairly simple good vs. evil tale with morally black-and-white characters. The film was in development hell for more than a decade, and went through at least three directors and numerous potential stars prior to finally hitting the silver screen with a resounding ‘thud’ in August 2017. Read more…

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE – Hans Zimmer and Tom Holkenborg

March 29, 2016 10 comments

batmanvsupermanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In an attempt to compete with Marvel and their cadre of interlocking super-hero pictures, DC Comics have begun to develop their own version of a cinematic universe. It began with Man of Steel in 2013, director Zack Snyder’s re-imagining of the Superman story, and continues with this second film, which sees the introduction of Batman and several other DC characters into a single, shared story space, setting up what will eventually become the Justice League. Rather than continuing Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice takes yet another fresh look at Gotham’s cowl-wearing warrior, replacing Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne with Ben Affleck and Michael Caine’s Alfred with Jeremy Irons. The film inserts Wayne into the immediate aftermath of the finale of Man of Steel by having him witness the conclusive fight between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod over Metropolis, and the devastation that accompanied it, from the ground. Jump forward 18 months, and Wayne has committed himself to exposing Superman as an unstoppable threat to humanity. Meanwhile, Superman’s alter-ego, newspaperman Clark Kent, has become concerned with Batman’s personal brand of vigilante justice in nearby Gotham, and resolves to expose him. However, unbeknownst to either Kent or Wayne, their mutual plans are being manipulated by technology mogul Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who has megalomaniacal tendencies of his own, and wants both Batman and Superman out of his way. Read more…

DEADPOOL – Tom Holkenborg

February 27, 2016 Leave a comment

deadpoolOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

By far the biggest and most successful movie in the first quarter of 2016, Deadpool is an irreverent, massively entertaining super-hero film spinning off from the X-Men universe. Ryan Reynolds stars as Wade Wilson, a former special forces op and mercenary-for-hire who is tricked into undergoing a radical treatment as a last ditch attempt to cure his terminal cancer. However, Wade is betrayed by those who promised to help him, and is instead subjected to extended periods of torture on behalf of a shadowy organization attempting to create an army of invincible slaves; the ordeal awakens latent mutant genes which give him super-human powers of re-generation, and cures his cancer, but leaves him terribly scarred. Escaping from his captors, Wilson adopts a new persona as Deadpool and sets about bringing those who tortured him to justice. Meanwhile, Deadpool’s new mutations capture the attention of the X-Men, two of whom – Colossus and Negasonic – track him down and attempt to convince him to join their group. The film is directed by Tim Miller, co-stars Ed Skrien, Morena Baccarin, and Gina Carano, and has an original score by Tom Holkenborg. Read more…

BLACK MASS – Tom Holkenborg

September 27, 2015 1 comment

blackmassOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

James “Whitey” Bulger was a notorious and violent mobster who, basically, was the leading figure in organized crime on the south side of Boston, Massachusetts, throughout the 1970s and 80s, allegedly personally committing dozens of murders and being involved in everything from drug smuggling and racketeering to illegally exporting arms for the IRA. Throughout this time, however, Bulger was also an informant for the FBI, which turned a blind eye to Bulger’s own criminal activities, in exchange for the information he provided about other organized crime families in the area. This all changed in 1994, when a new district attorney decided to go after Bulger, who then fled the city. For the next 16 years Bulger remained in hiding, until he was finally captured in 2011 outside his apartment in Santa Monica, California, and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. The movie Black Mass, directed by Scott Cooper, tells Bulger’s life story; it stars Johnny Depp in a return-to-form performance as Bulger, Joel Edgerton as his FBI contact John Connelly, Benedict Cumberbatch as Bulger’s brother William, the former president of the Massachusetts State Senate, and has a superb supporting cast including Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jesse Plemons from Breaking Bad. Read more…

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD – Tom Holkenborg

May 31, 2015 3 comments

madmaxfuryroadOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been 30 years since the end of director George Miller’s original Mad Max trilogy – comprising Mad Max (1979), The Road Warrior (1981) and Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – which starred Mel Gibson as a former Australian highway patrol officer in a dystopian post-apocalyptic society, who gradually loses the last vestiges of his humanity as a result of his run-ins with various lawless biker gangs and opportunistic self-proclaimed leaders. Miller’s films were noted for their simple plotting, the monosyllabic central character, and the creative visual concept design, as well as for their mind-bogglingly spectacular chase sequences and car stunts, some of which are regularly cited amongst the most impressive ever filmed, and Fury Road continues the trend. In this latest film, which appears to continue the chronological adventures of Max, Tom Hardy takes over from Mel Gibson in the lead role; here, he finds himself involved in the civil war that develops between Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), the fearsome leader of a clan-like cult known as the War Boys, and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), the driver of a heavily armored War Rig gasoline tanker, who escapes from Joe’s Citadel with his five wives – women specially selected for breeding – and intends to take them to safety in a mythical ‘green place’ beyond Joe’s control. Read more…

DIVERGENT – Tom Holkenborg

April 6, 2014 Leave a comment

divergentOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Divergent is the latest “young adult” fantasy-action novel to be translated to the big screen, hoping to follow in the financially successful footsteps of The Hunger Games, and avoid the relative disaster that befell The Mortal Instruments. Directed by Neil Burger from the novel by Veronica Roth, it stars Shailene Woodley Tris, a young girl born into a post-apocalyptic society that defines and controls its citizens by their social and personality-related affiliation with five different factions representing selflessness, peacefulness, honesty, bravery and intelligence. When she comes of age, Tris discovers that she is a ‘divergent’ whose personality does not fit in with any one of the pre-determined factions, and is therefore a threat to the established order. Hiding her secret, Tris chooses to join the Dauntless faction associated with bravery, which is charged with the security of the city, but while she undergoes her training and initiation, Tris discovers a troubling plot which threatens to destabilize the world. The film co-stars Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz and Kate Winslet, and has a score by Dutch composer Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL. Read more…