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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Giacchino’

AN AMERICAN PICKLE – Michael Giacchino and Nami Melumad

August 11, 2020 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Something unusual has been happening to Seth Rogen lately: he’s becoming a really interesting filmmaker. The man who started as the guffawing stoner in films like Pineapple Express has, of late, been tackling much more challenging material, blending drama with comedies that have a much more satirical and intellectual undertone. The Interview almost started a political international incident with North Korea in 2014, and Sausage Party was a swipe at organized religion hidden behind raunchy sex jokes, while The Long Shot proved his potential to be a slightly more conventional leading man in a romantic comedy. Now, with his new movie An American Pickle, Rogen is taking a surprisingly deep look at themes relating to loneliness, family, heritage, and Jewishness, in the context of a fish-out-of-water comedy. Rogen stars as Herschel Greenbaum, a Jewish man who emigrates to New York from Eastern Europe with his pregnant wife in 1919. Having secured work in a pickle factory, disaster strikes when Herschel accidentally falls into a barrel of brine, which somehow manages to preserve him perfectly. He wakes up exactly 100 years later to find Brooklyn very much changed; his only living relative is his great grandson Ben (also Rogen), a lonely app developer who no longer considers himself a practicing Jew. However, despite their initial happiness at finding each other, problems soon begin to arise, most of which are exacerbated by Herschel’s old-fashioned attitudes, and Ben’s lack of interest in his heritage. Read more…

JOJO RABBIT – Michael Giacchino

November 12, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’m trying to imagine the pitch meeting that writer-director Taika Waititi had with the executives at Twentieth Century Fox regarding Jojo Rabbit. “It’s a comedy set in Germany during World War II where the hero is a little boy who’s a Nazi and has an idealized version of Adolf Hitler as an imaginary best friend.” This starting off point is utterly ludicrous but – contrary to every reasonable thought process – the film works. Waititi’s film is not only hilarious and clever and subversive, but it’s also profoundly emotional, and it has some vital and important things to say about racism and the power of propaganda that are just as pertinent today as they were in 1943. 11-year-old Roman Griffin Davis stars in the title role as young Jojo Betzler, who lives in Nazi Germany and has been so affected by the pervasive propaganda that he dreams of joining the Hitler Youth and has a friendly version of Der Führer as his imaginary best friend and surrogate father figure. However, things change enormously in Jojo’s when he discovers that his patient and loving mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is harboring a devastating secret that could have a profound effect on everyone’s lives. The film co-stars Thomasin McKenzie, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Stephen Merchant, as well as Waititi himself as old Adolf. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – Michael Giacchino

July 17, 2019 3 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

With Avengers Endgame having smashed almost every box office record in existence, it was always going to be difficult for Marvel to build on that movie’s enormous success. The two-part Avengers finale was one of those rare things that is both a commercial and cultural touchstone; it also marked the end of the ‘Third Phase’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which the existential threat of Thanos was finally eliminated, and the circle of movies that began with Iron Man in 2008 ended with Iron Man’s death. Spider-Man: Far From Home, despite being officially the last part of Phase III and the 23rd Marvel film overall, is actually something of a coda, acting both as a rumination on the events of Endgame and as a bridge to the Phase IV series which is scheduled to begin in 2020; it also seems to have successfully maintained the interest that peaked with Avengers, enjoying huge box office takings and good critical reviews. The film is set 8 months after Endgame and again stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man; he is still coming to terms with Tony Stark’s death and longs just to be a normal teenager again. As such, he agrees to go on a trip to Europe with his high school classmates, including his potential girlfriend MJ (Zendaya); unfortunately, Peter can’t escape from his responsibilities even there, and is called upon by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assist a multi-dimensional warrior named Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) in saving the world from creatures that wreak havoc by controlling the power of the four elements. The film is directed by Jon Watts and has an original score by Michael Giacchino. Read more…

THE INCREDIBLES 2 – Michael Giacchino

August 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

14 years ago, in 2004, Michael Giacchino became the first composer to successfully make the transition from video games to movies when he was asked to score a Disney-Pixar animated action adventure super hero film called The Incredibles. Giacchino’s career to that point had been filled with high quality scores for games such as The Lost World, Call of Duty, Secret Weapons Over Normandy, and several entries in the groundbreaking Medal of Honor series, plus work on TV shows like Alias, but The Incredibles was his first film work of any significance. It was a sensation – the combination of jazzy John Barry-style big band arrangements and broad, exciting action music was a breath of fresh air, and essentially launched a career which has seen him become one of the most in-demand and well-loved composers in Hollywood, with his musical fingers in multiple franchise pies comprising Star Wars, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park, several Marvel super hero movies, and many other Pixar films, including the Oscar-winning Up. Now, after all this time, Giacchino is returning to the place it all started, with his score for the long-awaited sequel The Incredibles 2. Read more…

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM – Michael Giacchino

July 20, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second film in the re-imagined Jurassic Park franchise is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, directed by Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona. It takes place several years after the events of the first Jurassic World film, in which the fully operational theme park was, as one would expect, fully overtaken and virtually destroyed by the genetically modified dinosaurs it housed. Claire Dearing, Jurassic World’s former operations manager, is now the head of a dinosaur rights organization; when a volcanic eruption on the Jurassic World island Isla Nublar threatens to wipe out the remaining animals, she is called to action by multibillionaire philanthropist Sir Benjamin Lockwood and his aide Eli Mills, who say they want her to help them move the dinosaurs off the island to a safe location. To this end Claire recruits Owen Grady, Jurassic World’s dinosaur expert and her former lover, to accompany her and a team of mercenaries on the mission. However, once Claire, Owen, and the team arrives back on the island, it quickly becomes clear that the priorities regarding the dinosaurs have shifted. The film stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, and James Cromwell, and has an original score by the composer of Jurassic World – Michael Giacchino. Read more…

COCO – Michael Giacchino

November 14, 2017 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Coco is a beautiful animated film from Disney and Pixar centered around the traditional Mexican holiday of Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead. The story centers around a young boy named Miguel Rivera, an aspiring musician who idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz, a popular singer/songwriter and film star, who died years previously. Unfortunately, Miguel’s family despises music because his great-great grandfather abandoned his family to achieve his musical dreams. On the Day of the Dead, Miguel plans to enter a talent contest in order to convince his family of his love of music, but things go awry, and circumstances contrive in such a way that Miguel finds himself ‘crossed over’ from the land of the living to the spirit world – not dead, but unable to return home without help. After reuniting with long-deceased members of his family, and meeting with an insouciant rogue named Hector who agrees to be his guide, Miguel embarks on an epic adventure in the Land of the Dead in a desperate attempt to cross back to the human world before time runs out and he is stuck in the afterlife forever. The film is a wonderful amalgam of music, emotion, humor, excitement, and staggeringly beautiful visuals; it’s directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, and features the voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, and Benjamin Bratt. Read more…

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES – Michael Giacchino

July 18, 2017 5 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third and – at the time of writing – final installment of the rebooted Planet of the Apes film series, inspired by the novels of Pierre Boulle and the 1960s film series originally starring Charlton Heston. It continues the story of Caesar, the leader of a community of increasingly intelligent apes. In the first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar was given increased intelligence and the ability to speak after being infected by a genetically modified virus intended to cure Alzheimer’s disease, but which accidentally killed a large portion of the world’s human population instead. In the second film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar is struggling to create a stable ape society while trying to broker an uneasy truce with the humans remaining in what is left of San Francisco. Now, in this new film, Caesar and his ape colony are embroiled in an all-out war with a platoon of human soldiers under the command of a brutal colonel, a situation so dire that Caesar resolves to find a new home for his people, far away from the conflict. Read more…

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – Michael Giacchino

July 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been just fifteen years since Hollywood released its first big-screen movie about the popular comic book super hero Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire took the web-slinger through his first three iterations before the story was ‘re-booted’ and the Spidey suit was passed on to Andrew Garfield for The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012. He only lasted for two movies as now, building from his cameo appearance in Captain America: Civil War, the character has now been re-booted for a second time in order to facilitate his full introduction into the Avengers universe. The new Peter Parker/Spider-Man is played by English actor Tom Holland, and the film is another “origin story” of sorts, in which Parker tries to prove his worth to the de-facto leader of the Avengers, Tony Stark/Iron Man, by battling with super-villain Adrian Toomes/Vulture, while simultaneously dealing with the usual high school issues faced by a 15-year-old kid. The film co-stars Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., and Marisa Tomei, and is directed by Jon Watts. Read more…

ROGUE ONE – Michael Giacchino

December 20, 2016 7 comments

rogueoneOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER WAITING UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE DONE SO TO READ IT.

When the Walt Disney company bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, the company’s new CEO Kathleen Kennedy announced that not only would they continue the Star Wars story by releasing episode seven, The Force Awakens, in 2015, but that they had also commissioned a handful of spin-off stories that flesh out the Star Wars cinematic universe and focus on side-stories not directly connected to the main saga. The first of these is Rogue One, written by Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll, and Gary Whitta, and directed by Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards. Although strictly not a part of the linear Star Wars saga, the film can be considered an immediate prequel to the original 1977 film, as it tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance took possession of the plans to destroy the original Death Star. Read more…

DOCTOR STRANGE – Michael Giacchino

November 11, 2016 4 comments

doctorstrangeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Doctor Strange is the fourteenth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series of super-hero films that includes the Iron Man, Captain America, and Avengers franchises, and is the first to depict the origin story of a completely new character since Ant-Man last year. Directed by Scott Derrickson, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon, whose life is shattered when he severely damages both his hands in a car accident. Seeking new and experimental procedures so that he can fix his hands and resume his career, Strange eventually finds his way to Nepal where he meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a student of the so-called Ancient One (Tilda Swinton); however, rather than simply fix his physical injuries, the Ancient One sees further potential in Strange, and begins to train him in various mystical arts which allow him to enter the astral plane, conjure objects out of pure energy, manipulate reality, and even bend time. Eventually, Strange’s proficiency in these new abilities bring him into conflict with Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of the Ancient One, who now seeks to use his powers in the service of evil. Read more…

STAR TREK BEYOND – Michael Giacchino

July 26, 2016 2 comments

startrekbeyondOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Star Trek Beyond is the third film of the ‘rebooted’ Star Trek series, and the thirteenth film overall since the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. Directed by Fast and the Furious veteran Justin Lin – taking over the helm from J. J. Abrams – the film sees the crew of the starship Enterprise half way through their five year mission to explore the farthest reaches of space, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). After briefly docking at the new starbase Yorktown, the Enterprise is dispatched to conduct a rescue mission inside a previously uncharted nebula, but falls victim to a surprise attack by a lizard-like warrior named Krall (Idris Elba), and crash-lands on a mysterious world. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off the hostile planet. Read more…

ZOOTOPIA – Michael Giacchino

March 22, 2016 Leave a comment

zootopiaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Zootopia is the latest animated film from Walt Disney, directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore. A comedy-crime caper with undertones that explore themes of racism, xenophobia, and political corruption (yes, really!), the film follows the adventures of Judy Hopps, an ambitious rabbit who wants to become the first leporine police officer in Zootopia, a city populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals. Before long Judy is embroiled in a case in which several animals have been reported as going missing and “turning savage,” reverting back to the old ways of predators and their prey. To solve the case, Judy must team up with a wisecracking and streetwise fox named Nick Wilde, find the missing persons, and discover how and why the animals are devolving to their “natural state”. The film features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, and J.K. Simmons, and has an original score by Michael Giacchino. Read more…

INSIDE OUT – Michael Giacchino

August 20, 2015 3 comments

insideoutOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The last couple of Pixar movies – Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University – have been comparative disappointments by their ludicrously high standards, and a turnaround in fortune was required. As such, directors Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen stepped up and produced Inside Out, a beautiful, moving portrait of what it means to grow up. The conceit of the story is built around the theory developed by renowned psychologist Paul Ekman that the human experience is built around six core emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and joy. The film follows Riley, a happy 11-year-old Midwestern girl, whose carefree life is thrown into turmoil when her parents move to San Francisco. Inside Riley’s head, the five emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) – try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event; throughout her life to date, Joy has been Riley’s dominant emotion, but ever since the move Sadness has been inexplicably compelled to move to the forefront. After one particularly traumatic event on the first day at her new school, Joy and Sadness are accidentally swept out of the Headquarters where Riley’s conscious thought is processed, and into the labyrinthine storage area where Riley’s long-term memories are kept; as such, the mis-matched pair must find a way to return to HQ, where Anger, Fear and Disgust have been left in control. Read more…

JURASSIC WORLD – Michael Giacchino

June 30, 2015 Leave a comment

jurassicworldOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In 1998 a 29-year-old producer and aspiring composer for Disney Interactive was hired to write the score for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, a video game spin off from the recently-released Jurassic Park sequel that had hit cinema screens the year before. The game was one of the first PlayStation console titles to feature an original live orchestral score, and the title was so successful that it led to the composer being given further video game assignments, most notably in the Medal of Honor series, and eventually prestigious TV and film scoring jobs. That composer was Michael Giacchino – the first composer to successfully blur the lines between scoring video games and theatrical movies – and, with the release of Jurassic World, his almost 20-year career has come full circle. The film is intended to be a direct sequel to the original Jurassic Park – ignoring entirely the events of The Lost World and Jurassic Park III – and is set 20 years later in the now fully-functioning, open and successful theme park that John Hammond envisaged, albeit with the events of the original film having been covered up and buried by Ingen’s PR department. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire Dearing, the park’s operations manager, who is visited by her two nephews Zach and Gray for a vacation. Unfortunately Claire is preoccupied with recruiting corporate sponsors for their new attraction, a genetically-modified dinosaur called Indominus Rex, and so essentially leaves the kids to their own devices in the park. Things change when Indominus apparently escapes from his paddock, and Claire calls on the park’s chief animal trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), to recapture the beast before it starts eating the tourists… Read more…

TOMORROWLAND – Michael Giacchino

May 29, 2015 1 comment

tomorrowlandOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Tomorrowland is a family fantasy-adventure film about the power of dreams and imagination. Directed by Brad Bird, it stars George Clooney as Frank Walker, a genius inventor who, as a child, was transported to a mysterious parallel universe known as Tomorrowland with the help of a young girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy), and a magical iconic pin badge. Years later, Frank joins forces with a rebellious but cheerful genius teenager named Casey (Britt Robertson), who has also come into possession of a Tomorrowland pin, in order to avert a possible catastrophe. However, forces are in play who do not want Frank and Casey to succeed. To reveal more of the film’s plot would do it a disservice, but it wouldn’t be revealing too much to say that Tomorrowland is very much a reflection of Walt Disney’s own personal philosophies about science, technology, imagination, and optimism, as can be seen in his theme park attractions in Disneyland in California, and Epcot in Florida. This celebration of youthful enthusiasm, curiosity about the environment around us, and the ways in which humanity can come together to make the world a better place, is the driving force of the film, which espouses a hopeful worldview limited only by what we can imagine is possible. The film is an enjoyable romp, and a visual triumph, anchored by Clooney’s laconic good natured central performance. Read more…