Posts Tagged ‘Lorne Balfe’


April 4, 2023 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been surprisingly difficult to make a good adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons. In the years since the classic table-top roleplaying game was released in 1974 there have been several attempts; the 1983 animated TV series was fun, but barely resembled the game itself, while the 2000 live action version starring Justin Whalin was critically reviled and commercially disastrous, although it did spawn a series of straight-to-DVD sequels. This new film, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, is an attempt to finally – finally – convey the fun, excitement, and imagination of the game for movie audiences; it stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant, and was written and directed by self-proclaimed D&D nerds Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley; it’s a classic fantasy story set in a medieval world full of knights, wizards, rogues and thieves, and features a quest for treasure, numerous battles, and wonderous creatures a-plenty. Read more…

BLACK ADAM – Lorne Balfe

October 25, 2022 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The latest comic book super hero film in the DC Extended Universe is Black Adam, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, starring Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Sarah Shahi, Bodhi Sabongui, and Pierce Brosnan. Johnson stars as the titular character, a man from the city of Kahndaq circa 2500 BC, who helps lead a rebellion against a tyrannical king, and is endowed with magical powers by the Council of Wizards (the same wizards who gave similar powers to Shazam in another DC film). Thousands of years later Adam is brought back to life by an archaeologist who believes he can help defeat the oppressive regime currently ruling present-day Kahndaq; however, Adam’s new presence in the modern world catches the attention of the Justice Society of America (which is, apparently, different from the Justice League), and a team led by super-heroes Hawkman and Doctor Fate is dispatched to Kahndaq to determine whether Adam is a friend or a foe. The film has some potentially interesting things to say about the nature of heroism, and has some fun depicting a contemporary north African culture not usually explored in films like this, but by the end it devolves into yet another massive fight sequence between CGI avatars hurling each other through walls… ho hum. Such is the way with most DC films, although this at least does have a vein of humor in it which stops it being so dreary and self-serious. Read more…

TOP GUN: MAVERICK – Lorne Balfe, Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga, and Hans Zimmer

June 7, 2022 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the summer of 1986 the world fell head over heels in love for Maverick, Goose, Iceman, and the men and women of Top Gun – the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program of the United States Navy, which trains some of the best military combat pilots in the world. With its combination of intense jet fighter action, macho camaraderie, and steamy romance, the film was a massive box office blockbuster, and cemented its star Tom Cruise as one of Hollywood’s premiere leading men – a position he continues to hold, more than 35 years later. Fans of the film have been clamoring for a sequel for decades, and production on it finally began in May 2018, with an intended release date of July 2019 – but it was pushed back and back and back, initially to June 2020, then December 2020, then July 2021, then November 2021, due to the combined impact of re-shoots, the COVID pandemic, and then a clogged schedule. It eventually hit cinemas at the end of May 2022 – almost four years to the day since they started making it – but it was more than worth the wait: reviews were stellar, both from audiences and critics, and at the time of writing it has already grossed $291.6 million at the US box office alone. Read more…

RUMBLE – Lorne Balfe

January 11, 2022 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Rumble is a CGI animated action comedy based on the graphic novel ‘Monster on the Hill’ by Rob Harrell, directed by Hamish Grieve. The film is set in a world where monsters and humans peacefully co-exist, and where one of the most popular sports is monster wrestling. After the shark-monster Tentacular, who represents a small town called Stoker, becomes the new world champion, he suddenly announces his retirement. The townspeople are later told if they do not find a new wrestler to represent Stoker, they will lose the town’s stadium and its resultant revenue. This prompts a wrestling enthusiast named Winnie Coyle to search for a new monster representative for her town – which ultimately brings her into contact with Steve, the son of former champion wrestler Rayburn, who despite being a talented athlete in his own right lives in his late father’s shadow. Circumstances lead to Winnie and Steve eventually teaming up, training, and fighting, culminating in the underdog Steve having a shot at Tentacular’s title, with the future of the town on the line. The film features a voice cast including Will Arnett, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Terry Crews, and was supposed to premiere in cinemas in July 2020, but it was moved no less than four times due to the COVID-19 pandemic theatrical release debacle, and eventually premiered on the streaming channel Paramount+ in December 2021. Read more…

BLACK WIDOW – Lorne Balfe

July 13, 2021 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

After what feels like an eternity, the fourth phase of films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally begun with Black Widow. Chronologically it’s actually somewhere around 20th in the series – it takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War – and examines the backstory of the superhero Natasha Romanov, and looks at what she was up to in that intervening period. Scarlett Johansson returns to play the titular character for the ninth time, and sees her getting involved in a globe-trotting adventure as she reconnects with her adopted sister Yelena, and her “parents” Melina and Alexei – the latter of whom is a super soldier known as Red Guardian, the Soviet Union’s equivalent of Captain America. The mission involves Natasha returning to the ‘Red Room,’ the shadowy organization which conducted the training that turned her into a KGB assassin, and confronting those responsible. The film co-stars Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, and Ray Winstone, and is directed by Cate Shortland. Read more…


July 6, 2021 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Tomorrow War is one of those big, eye-popping, spectacular sci-fi action movies that Hollywood does so well. Set a couple of years in the future, it stars Chris Pratt as Dan Forester, a high school science teacher and US military veteran, whose life changes – along with everyone else’s – when time-travelling soldiers from the future appear during the 2022 World Cup final and declare that, thirty years in the future, humanity is on the brink of extinction following an alien invasion. Dan is drafted into the new military and, using a special technology called a jumplink, he and his fellow draftees are transported forward in time to join the battle against the aliens – vicious, carnivorous creatures nicknamed ‘white spikes’. What follows is an all-out action extravaganza as Dan becomes deeply involved in the effort to defeat the aliens. The film is the live action debut of Lego Batman Movie director Chris McKay, was written by Zach Dean, and co-stars Yvonne Strahovski, J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, and Edwin Hodge. Read more…

JUNGLELAND – Lorne Balfe

December 4, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Jungleland is a low-budget boxing-themed drama written and directed by Max Winkler, the son of legendary comedy actor Henry Winkler. It stars British actors Jack O’Connell and Charlie Hunnam as Walter and Stanley Kowalski, working class brothers who endure menial jobs to make ends meet, and then spend their evenings in the underground bare-knuckle fight scene of their tough Massachusetts home town. Seeking one last shot at fame and redemption, Walter learns of a bare-knuckle prize fight contest worth $100,000 taking place in the back-alleys of San Francisco’s Chinatown – but they don’t have the money to get there. In desperation the brothers throw their lot in with a local gangster, who agrees to fund their trip, with one proviso: they must transport a mysterious young woman to Reno, Nevada, along the way. The film co-stars Jessica Barden and Jonathan Majors, and was released briefly in cinemas in November 2020 before heading off to streaming services. Read more…


February 7, 2020 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Back in the spring of 1995, director Michael Bay and producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer brought the world Bad Boys, a buddy-cop action comedy starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, who at that point was still best known for his role in the TV sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and was making his ‘leading role’ debut. Lawrence and Smith played Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey, hotshot Miami detectives who leave a trail of bullets, bodies, and profane one-liners wherever they go. The film was a massive financial success at the time, and spawned a sequel in 2003, but no-one expected the boys to return for a third outing – and yet here we are, 25 years removed from the original, with Bad Boys For Life, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Lawrence and Smith return to the roles which made them famous; the plot revolves around Burnett, who wants to retire from police work, teaming up with Lowrey one final time as they investigate the murders of numerous people involved in an old drug cartel case. Read more…


July 31, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When actor/producer Tom Cruise got together with director Brian De Palma in 1996 to make a brand new big-screen version of the classic 1960s spy TV series Mission: Impossible, I doubt that even he expected that he would still be playing the role of action hero Ethan Hunt 22 years later – yet, here we are. We’ve gone through multiple director changes in the intervening two decades – John Woo, J. J. Abrams, Brad Bird – but for the time being the series appears to have settled on Christopher McQuarrie, who with this film becomes the first director to make two Mission: Impossible films. Fallout is, in many ways, a continuation of the story established during Rogue Nation in 2015, as it sees Hunt and his IMF compatriots again locking horns with the shadowy villain Solomon Lane, whose sinister Syndicate organization continues to be a threat to the stability of the world. The globetrotting adventure sees the action moving from Berlin to Paris to London to the foothills of the Himalayas – and what action it is! The staggering set-pieces in the film include a HALO jump over Paris which Cruise did for real, a brutal three-way fight sequence in a bathroom, a high-speed motorbike chase around the Arc de Triomphe and beyond, an epic foot chase through the streets of Britain’s capital that contains a scene where Cruise smashed his ankle – for real – jumping from one building to another, and an exhilarating helicopter dogfight weaving between the towering peaks of the Kashmir. The film co-stars Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, and Alec Baldwin, and has been widely acclaimed as one of the best action movies in recent years. Read more…

Best Scores of 2017 – United Kingdom, Part I

December 11, 2017 Leave a comment

The first installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world concentrates on music from films from my home country, the United Kingdom. There has been a wealth of riches from all four parts of the country – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – and this first set of reviews encompasses a rich and varied set of scores from Oscar winning favorites and talented newcomers, dramas, documentaries, comedies, and even a groundbreaking animation. There will be more to come from the UK later! Read more…


February 17, 2017 1 comment

legobatmanmovieOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Considering the combined box office success of both the Batman movies, and the 2015 Lego Movie, as well as the fact that the former character enjoyed a memorable extended plastic cameo in the latter, it was almost inevitable that the caped crusader would get his own Lego spinoff. Directed by Chris McKay, the film takes a fairly standard animated movie plot trope – Batman having to drop the ‘lone vigilante’ persona and work with his friends to stop the Joker – and surrounds it with a never-ending stream of pop culture references, in-jokes, cameos, and one-liners, some of which come so thick and fast that they barely have time to register as being funny before the next gag hits. Parts of The Lego Batman Movie are genuinely brilliant, creative and clever, and very funny, but the whole thing feels like a movie designed by a hyperactive six year old on way too much sugar. Visually, the movie veers from being astonishingly good to being a brain-smashing mess, while the action sequences feel like they are edited with an average shot length of less than a second. It’s a movie which, by the end, has relentlessly hammered you into submission, and left you gasping for breath and crawling for the exit. Read more…

MEGAMIND – Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A silly-but-fun animated action/comedy set in a world of super-heroes and super-villains, Megamind features the voice talent of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill. After their respective planets are destroyed Superman-style, two alien babies – one who looks human, one with a giant blue head and superior intellect – crash land on Earth. The human-looking baby grows up to be Metro Man, the savior of the fictional Metro City, while the other grows up to be Megamind, his arch enemy and super-villain. After kidnapping beautiful reporter Roxanne, Megamind hatches a typically hare-brained scheme to kill Metro Man but – as much to his own surprise as anyone else’s – actually succeeds in apparently dispatching his nemesis. However, rather than being happy with his triumph, Megamind quickly becomes depressed with having no-one to fight, and concocts a new scheme: to genetically alter Roxanne’s hapless cameraman Hal, turning him into a new hero… Read more…