Posts Tagged ‘Mark McKenzie’

Under-the-Radar Round Up 2022 – English Language Indies III

January 27, 2023 3 comments

My recurring under-the-radar series usually concentrates on the best scores for non-English language films in a given year, but doing so means that I sometimes overlook music written for British, Australian, and American films that are similarly low-profile, but also have outstanding scores. To rectify that, here is the final entry for this year in my ongoing series of review articles, this time looking at seven such scores from the second half of 2022, written for independent English-language features that you might have otherwise overlooked.

The scores are: a heartwarming family drama about the homelessness crisis, an Australian film about a the unlikely friendship between a girl and a fish, a British comedy set in the world of French high fashion, another British comedy set in the world of professional golf, scores for two experimental films by a talented newcomer, a seasonal fantasy-drama about a magical reindeer, and a hilarious mock-biopic of Weird Al Yankovic! Read more…


February 18, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’m somewhat astonished that I am able to actually write the following sentence, but here we are: there are now five Dragonheart movies in the world. This unlikely franchise began back in 1996 with the enjoyable original film, which starred Dennis Quaid, featured Sean Connery voicing the dragon Draco, and received an Oscar nomination for its special effects. The first sequel, A New Beginning, was released in 2000, and the first prequel, The Sorcerer’s Curse, came out in 2015, followed by a second prequel – Battle for the Heartfire – in 2017. This new film, Dragonheart Vengeance, is yet another prequel, and has been released straight-to-streaming. It is directed by Ivan Silvestrini and stars Jack Kane as Lukas, a young farmer whose family is killed by raiders and who sets out on an epic quest for revenge, eventually forming an unlikely alliance with a sword-fighting mercenary named Darius (Joseph Millson), and an ice-breathing dragon named Siveth, voiced by Helena Bonham-Carter. Read more…

MAX AND ME – Mark McKenzie

March 9, 2018 13 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Max and Me is an animated film from the Mexican production company Dos Corazones. It tells the story of Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan friar who during World War II was imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Nazis and became its de-facto priest. He became renowned for his kindness and, later, his bravery, when he volunteered to die in place of another prisoner who had been unjustly sentenced to be executed. Kolbe was canonized and made a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1982, and remains one of the most respected and admired Polish religious figures of modern times. In terms of this film, Kolbe’s life provides the contemporary frame of reference for the overarching story of an old man trying to help a young, rebellious teenager through some difficult life choices. As was the case with Dos Corazones’s last film, The Greatest Miracle, Max and Me wears its religious convictions proudly on its sleeve – it is an unashamedly pro-Catholic, pro-God, pro-faith film – and this sense of emotion and spiritual reverence informs its score, by composer Mark McKenzie. Read more…


March 22, 2015 1 comment

dragonheart3Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The enduring longevity of the Dragonheart film series is one of the most unexpected in current mainstream cinema. Surprisingly, we are now on the third film, following the original movie back in 1996, and the first sequel – ‘A New Beginning’ – in 2000. This new film is actually a prequel to the original film, and tells the story of a young squire named Gareth (Julian Morris), who goes in search of a ‘comet’ he observed falling from the sky, which he believes holds enough gold for him to train to become a knight. However, instead of finding a comet, Gareth finds a dragon named Draco (voiced by Ben Kingsley) who is being hunted by an evil sorcerer. After Draco saves Gareth’s life, the two quickly become friends, and begin to work together to defeat the sorcerer and stop his reign of terror. The film is directed by veteran British TV director Colin Teague, and has an original score by Mark McKenzie. Read more…


March 26, 2011 3 comments

greatestmiracleOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

I regularly have conversations with fellow film music aficionados about which composers don’t get the public acclaim, respect and – most importantly – regular assignments we feel they should. Time and again, Mark McKenzie’s name is repeated as one of those men whose music is so amazing, but no-one can adequately give a reason why he isn’t scoring the most important and acclaimed films Hollywood produces. He writes some of the most beautiful, lyrical and emotionally resonant music ever written for film – and I do mean ever written for film – but yet seems quite content to stay out of the limelight, orchestrating diligently for other composers, and writing one score of his own every couple of years. From a purely selfish point of view, this frustrates me immensely, because he quite obviously has the talent to be one of the all-time greats. As it stands, he has scored fewer than 20 films in his entire career, which spans back to 1991. Read more…


March 9, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Based on the best-selling book by Jim Stovall, The Ultimate Gift is the story of man being forced to find out what life if all about. When his impossibly rich grandfather Red Stevens (James Garner) dies, selfish layabout Jason Stevens (Drew Fuller) thinks he’s in for the financial windfall of his life; however, Red ha other ideas. Before he can receive his inheritance, Jason must successfully complete twelve tasks – “gifts” – which Red devised in order for his ungrateful, distant grandson to experience the reality of life, each challenging Jason in an improbable way.

Directed by Michael O. Saibel and with a quirky but impressive supporting cast that includes Abigail Breslin, Brian Dennehy and Lee Meriweather, The Ultimate Gift is one of those film music rarities: a feature film score from the massively talented Mark McKenzie. Read more…