Posts Tagged ‘Marco Beltrami’


October 19, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A slightly belated sequel to the fun but curiously overlooked original, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is the black sheep of the Marvel Cinematic Universe family – although this is likely to be change as the characters are absorbed into the mainstream MCU going forward. The film picks up the story immediately after the events of the first film, and sees San Francisco journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) living his new life in the company of the wisecracking brain-munching alien symbiote Venom, who now shares Eddie’s body – and occasionally takes over control of it, giving Eddie super-human powers. The plot of the film revolves around Eddie’s relationship with the incarcerated serial killer Cletus Kasady, played by Woody Harrelson, who appeared in the first film’s post-credits scene. After some exposition backstory involving Kasady’s adolescence in a home for unwanted children, and his relationship with Frances (Naomi Harris) – a young girl who has the power to generate a ‘sonic scream’ – the main crux of the story involves Kasady being infected by a second symbiote, named Carnage, breaking out of prison during his execution, and rampaging across the city – with only Eddie and Venom able to stop him. The film co-stars Michelle Williams and Stephen Graham, and is directed by actor and motion capture pioneer Andy Serkis. Read more…

FEAR STREET, PART THREE: 1666 – Marco Beltrami and Anna Drubich

August 13, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The third part of Netflix’s Fear Street, a trilogy of horror-thriller films based on the popular young adult novels by R. L. Stine and directed by Leigh Janiak, is set in 1666, and finally reveals the truth of what happened to the story’s overarching protagonist, Sarah Fier. The story is revealed in flashback to Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.); Sarah is a young woman living in the Puritan community of Union, the original town on which both Shadyside and Sunnyvale were based. Sarah is in love with Hannah Miller (Olivia Scott Welch), the local pastor’s daughter, a relationship forbidden by the ultra-religious townsfolk. A blight begins to afflict the town’s crops, and then Hannah’s father seemingly goes insane, gouging out his own eyes and murdering several of the local children, before he himself is killed by farmer Solomon Goode (Ashley Zukerman). In revenge for them rebuffing his romantic advances several nights previously, one of the villagers falsely accuses Sarah and Hannah of being witches, and the pair must run for their lives or be hanged by the superstitious and reactionary townsfolk. Eventually, the true evil behind Sarah Fier’s curse is revealed – the truth of which helps Deena break the curse back in 1994. Read more…

FEAR STREET, PART TWO: 1978 – Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts

August 4, 2021 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second part of Netflix’s Fear Street, a trilogy of horror-thriller films based on the popular young adult novels by R. L. Stine and directed by Leigh Janiak, is set in 1978. Following the events of the first film, the survivors are told the story of what happened 16 years earlier at Camp Nightwing, a summer camp on the outskirts of Shadyside. Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink) and her sister Cindy (Emily Rudd) are attending the camp along with their friend Alice (Ryan Simpkins), Cindy’s boyfriend Tommy (McCabe Slye), and Nick (Ted Sutherland), a camp counselor who has a crush on Ziggy. The Shadyside/Sunnyvale/Sarah Fier curse looms large over the camp, and is exacerbated when the camp’s nurse Mary Lane (Jordana Spiro) – whose own daughter murdered people in a killing spree years previously – attacks Tommy unprovoked, and tells him he is going to die. Sure enough, before long, Tommy has seemingly been possessed by the spirit of Sarah Fier and is viciously murdering the campers with an axe – leaving Ziggy, Cindy, and their friends to try to stop him. Whereas the first Fear Street film was filled with 1990s horror tropes, this film goes back to films like Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp, and is a ton of gory fun. Read more…

FEAR STREET, PART ONE: 1994 – Marco Beltrami and Marcus Trumpp

July 27, 2021 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the unexpected hits of the summer of 2021 was Netflix’s Fear Street, a trilogy of horror-thriller films based on the popular young adult novels by R. L. Stine, directed by Leigh Janiak. The first part of the trilogy is set in 1994 in the town of Shadyside, which has been plagued by murders and atrocities for hundreds of years, while neighboring Sunnyvale is safe and prosperous. Following yet another murder, this time at the local mall, Shadyside teenagers Deena (Kiana Madeira), and Sam (Olivia Scott Welch), Deena’s brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) and their friends Kate (Julia Rehwald) and Simon (Fred Hechinger) come to believe that the city is cursed, and that a legendary ancient witch named Sarah Fier is responsible. However, as the teens dig into the history of the curse, they find themselves plunged into a nightmare where their own lives are at stake. The film is a fun update of 1990s slasher movie horror tropes with plenty of pop culture references – director Janiak is married to Stranger Things co-creator Ross Duffer, natch – clever ideas, and blood-soaked gore. Read more…

A QUIET PLACE PART II – Marco Beltrami

June 15, 2021 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most high-profile cinematic casualties of the coronavirus shutdown was A Quiet Place Part II, which had had its world premiere and was all set to play in theaters in March 2020, before everything went away and the pandemic closed down the movies. Now, 14 months later, the film has finally been released, to a great deal of critical acclaim and encouraging box office figures. The film is a direct sequel to the 2018 original, and again stars Emily Blunt as Evelyn, who is trying to survive in the aftermath of an alien invasion. The vicious aliens – which are blind but possess incredibly acute hearing – killed Evelyn’s husband in the first film, but her deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) discovered a certain frequency that briefly incapacitate the aliens long enough for them to be killed. Now, Evelyn and her three children venture out into the world to tell people about Regan’s discovery in the hope that they can defeat the aliens, but encounter a number of equally dangerous human threats along the way. The film co-stars Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, and Djimon Hounsou, and is directed by John Krasinski, who also appears in flashbacks as Evelyn’s late husband. Read more…

A QUIET PLACE – Marco Beltrami

April 10, 2018 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A Quiet Place is an effective, exciting, and scary horror-thriller, directed by John Krasinski, hitherto best known as the easy-going Jim from the American version of the sitcom The Office. This film is a very different kettle of fish; it is set an indeterminate period in the future in the aftermath of an invasion by some sort of race of monsters – possibly aliens, possibly something else, it’s never quite explained. The monsters are blind but have intensely acute hearing, and attack and slaughter any living thing that makes a noise. Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt play Lee and Evelyn, a husband and wife with three children – one of whom is deaf and wears a cochlear implant – and a baby on the way. The film follows their efforts to survive – scavenging for food, maintaining their farmhouse home, and raising the children, trying to build a life in this nightmarish scenario – while all the while trying to remain utterly silent so as not to attract the monsters who roam the woods around their property. Read more…

The World of Film Scores – 2018 First Quarter Round-Up

March 30, 2018 5 comments

In a break with my usual convention, I have decided that instead of doing a series of geographical articles at the end of the calendar year highlighting the best under-the-radar film scores, I am instead going to write four quarterly articles which spotlight the same types of scores – unheralded works from outside the Hollywood film music mainstream – but which are spaced throughout the year so that they are more timely in terms of when the films are released. As such, here is the first – a look at ten outstanding scores from the first three months of 2018, encompassing a wide range of projects from all over the world, including works from Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Japan, Spain, China, Russia, and beyond! Read more…

LOGAN – Marco Beltrami

March 7, 2017 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although it is technically a part of the Marvel X-Men franchise of comic book movies, Logan is a very different type of super hero film than anything else in recent history, dark, violent, and profane. Set in the year 2029, the film sees the mutant Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) aged, burnt out, and sick due to adamantium poisoning, eking out a meager existence as a limo driver on the Mexican border. He lives with albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant), and cares for the very frail Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is beginning to suffer from a degenerative brain disease and is prone to devastating psychic seizures. No mutant children have been born for several decades, and no-one knows why. Logan’s life is turned upside down by the arrival of a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen), who is manifesting a mutation almost identical to Logan’s, and who is fleeing for her life from the agents of a biotech company, Transigen, and their ruthless head of security Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Reluctantly, Logan agrees to ensure Laura safely arrives at a supposed safe haven in North Dakota, and so, with Professor Xavier in tow, the trio heads across the United States, trying to stay one step ahead of the ‘reavers’ who are hunting them. Read more…

BEN-HUR – Marco Beltrami

August 26, 2016 8 comments

benhur-beltramiOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was, and remains, one of the most popular and successful novels in American literature. The story recounts the life of a fictional Jewish prince, Judah Ben-Hur, in 1st century Jerusalem. Ben-Hur grows up wealthy and privileged with his childhood friend, a Roman named Messala. Years later, Messala returns home from Rome as a newly-commissioned commander in the Roman army, and his new status and increasing prejudice against Jews causes a rift between the two former friends. Messala falsely accuses Ben-Hur of attempting to assassinate a Roman prefect, and conspires to have him sent away to serve as a galley slave, while simultaneously imprisoning his mother, Miriam, and sister, Tirzah. Ben-Hur vows revenge against Messala, and spends years training himself to be a warrior and charioteer, waiting until his opportunity to achieve redemption appears. To give it its strong religious undercurrent, Wallace’s story takes place simultaneously with the life of Jesus Christ, who was born and lived during the same time period, which allows Ben-Hur and Jesus to cross paths at several moments during the formation of Christianity. Read more…

GODS OF EGYPT – Marco Beltrami

April 12, 2016 5 comments

godsofegyptOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

For quite a long time I considered Alex Proyas to be one of the best ‘serious sci-fi’ directors working in the film business. From the gothic darkness of The Crow, to the time-bending mind-fuck of Dark City, to the examination of Isaac Asimov’s Laws of Robotics in I Robot, Proyas’s films have been challenging and thought provoking and enjoyable, not an easy triumvirate of achievements to successfully attain, especially across multiple projects. With this in mind, it was greatly disappointing to read the reviews of his latest film, Gods of Egypt, which called it everything from “a colossal wreck” “completely lacking in appeal,” and “noisy, chaotic, and meaningless” to – worst of all – “boring”. This is especially surprising because it’s basic plot sounds fascinating: using the ancient mythology of Egyptian Gods as its starting point, the film stars Gerard Butler and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau as Set and Horus, two warring deities. Set, the God of Darkness, launches a coup during Horus’s coronation, and takes over the Egyptian empire, forcing Horus to join forces with a human named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) to defeat him. Read more…

NO ESCAPE – Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

September 15, 2015 1 comment

noescapeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

No Escape is an action/thriller/drama directed by John Erik Dowdle, starring Owen Wilson as American businessman Jack Dwyer, who arrives in Southeast Asia to begin a new life with his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and their two young daughters. As his company plans to improve the region’s water quality, the family quickly learns that they’re right in the middle of a political uprising, a situation which reaches boiling point when armed rebels attack the hotel where they’re staying, ordered to kill any foreigners that they encounter. Desperate to survive amid the utter chaos, Jack must find a way to save himself and his loved ones from the violence erupting all around them. The film, which also stars Pierce Brosnan, has unfortunately opened to largely negative reviews, many of which call the film “xenophobic,” “borderline offensive,” and “unpleasant” – the latter of which could also apply to Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders’s difficult original score. Read more…

Best Scores of 2014 – Scandinavia

January 30, 2015 2 comments

My fifth article in my Review of the Year 2014 looks at the Best Scores from Scandinavia. Scandinavian movies and scores get pretty short shrift from the majority of mainstream audiences, and that needs to change, because the level of talent and craftsmanship at work in those countries is superb. While composers like Johan Söderqvist from Sweden, Jóhann Jóhannsson from Iceland, and Tuomas Kantelinen and Panu Aaltio from Finland have developed an international profile over the past few years, there are still a number of domestic composers doing excellent work within their own industry; as such, this year’s choices from the frozen north contain music by both established names and promising newcomers, and include a Danish TV mini-series, a Swedish comedy, and three scores from Norway: a children’s adventure, a historical thriller, and a wonderful classical documentary. Read more…

THE HOMESMAN – Marco Beltrami

November 24, 2014 3 comments

thehomesmanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Homesman, based on the acclaimed novel by Glendon Swarthout, is the third film directed by the Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones. Set in Nebraska in the late 1850s, in the earliest days of the American expansion west, it stars Hilary Swank as Mary Bee Cuddy, a middle-aged spinster from New York, a former teacher who journeyed to the Midwest seeking a new life, and a husband, but who has continually had her marriage proposals rejected. Following an especially harsh winter, three young women – Arrabella Sours (Grace Gummer), Theoline Belknapp (Miranda Otto), and Gro Svendsen (Sonja Richter) – begin to show signs of insanity due to the hardships they faced; in an effort to save the women, Mary Bee agrees to transport them across several hundred miles of rugged and dangerous terrain to Iowa, where the women of a church have agreed to take them in. To accompany and protect her on her journey, Mary Bee acquires the reluctant help of George Briggs (Jones), a disheveled claim jumper who she saves from being lynched, but who has a mysterious past of his own. Read more…

THE NOVEMBER MAN – Marco Beltrami

September 4, 2014 2 comments

novembermanOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Essentially a James Bond spy thriller under a different name, director Roger Donaldson’s latest film The November Man is based on the novel ‘There Are No Spies’ by Bill Granger, and stars Pierce Brosnan as Peter Devereaux, a retired CIA assassin now living a quiet life on the shores of a lake in Switzerland. Devereaux is brought back into action following a visit from a former colleague, and quickly finds himself embroiled in an international mystery involving an old flame working for a corrupt Russian diplomat, the Chechen civil war, a social worker looking after young female refugees in Serbia, and a former protégé, who has been charged with eliminating his old mentor. The film co-stars Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, and Will Patton, and has an original score by Marco Beltrami, the third of his four scores in 2014. Read more…

WORLD WAR Z – Marco Beltrami

June 27, 2013 3 comments

worldwarzOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite initially looking like a potentially disastrous movie, with the whole final third of the movie having to be re-written and re-shot following disastrous initial test screenings, World War Z is actually of the most intelligent and interesting zombie movies of recent years. With the 28 Days Later franchise, the Walking Dead TV show, and countless other imitators, zombies are de rigeur these days, but where World War Z differs is in the fact that it plays more like a tense medical thriller than a traditional zombie-slaughtering action flick, concentrating on the efforts to stem the tide of the potential apocalypse and save the afflicted rather than simply massacring them. Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations specialist who is called back into the fray from his quiet family life in suburban Philadelphia when a pandemic of global proportions erupts – people are turning into vicious, violent zombies at an alarming rate and if Gerry and his colleagues can’t find the source, or the cure, it could be the end of humanity as we know it. The film is adapted from the popular novel by Max Brooks and directed by Marc Forster, whose previous films include Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland and the flop James Bond film Quantum of Solace; it co-stars Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz and James Badge Dale. Read more…