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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Kamen’

LICENCE TO KILL – Michael Kamen

July 18, 2019 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second – and last – James Bond film to star Timothy Dalton was 1989’s Licence to Kill, directed by John Glen from a screenplay by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum. I have long been of the opinion that Dalton was a hugely underrated Bond who should have been given more opportunities to succeed and develop his gritty version of the character, and that Licence to Kill is one of the best of the entire series. In it, Bond finds himself disavowed by British secret service agency MI6 and ‘going rogue’ after his best friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter, and his new bride Della are viciously attacked on their wedding day. The perpetrator is Franz Sanchez, a drug lord and ruthless cartel boss in a fictional Central American country; seeking personal vengeance, Bond teams up with Pam Bouvier, an ex Army-pilot with a vendetta against Sanchez of her own, and crosses paths with two very different members of Sanchez’s entourage: the beautiful Lupe Lamora, and the sadistic henchman Dario. The film co-stars Robert Davi, Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto, and a very young Benicio del Toro, but unfortunately the film was not a commercial success; adjusted for inflation. It remains the lowest-grossing Bond film of all time, something which, sadly, hastened to the end of Dalton’s tenure and his subsequent replacement with Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye in 1995. Read more…

THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN – Michael Kamen

April 25, 2019 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The fictional German aristocrat Baron Hieronymus Karl Friedrich Freiherr von Munchausen was created in 1785 as a conduit for author Rudolf-Erich Raspe’s fanciful tales of absurdity and social and political satire. Munchausen had been a familiar name in literary circles for more than 200 years before writer-director and former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam embarked on making a film based on the ‘life’ of the Baron. A lavish and almost cartoonishly flamboyant adventure, the film stars John Neville as the elderly Baron, who interrupts a play based on his own life in order to correct the details. Munchausen regales the rapt audience with recollections of his astonishing life, during which he fought in a war against the Turks, traveled to the moon in a hot air balloon, was swallowed by an enormous sea creature, and much more besides – but by the end of the story many of the audience members are questioning whether the far-fetched tales really have any basis in reality. The film co-starred Eric Idle, Sarah Polley, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Jonathan Pryce, and Robin Williams, and was the third of Gilliam’s Imagination trilogy of films that also included Time Bandits and Brazil, and which were intended to explore the ‘battle between fantasy and what people perceive as reality’. Unfortunately the film was a commercial disaster, grossing less than $10 million at the box office, although its visual elements were praised and received Academy Award nominations for Art Direction, Costume Design, Visual Effects, and Makeup. Read more…

DIE HARD – Michael Kamen

August 16, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Die Hard is one of the most iconic, enduring, and ground-breaking action films ever made; it made an action star of former TV leading man Bruce Willis, launched the cinematic career of the late great Alan Rickman, and set the high benchmark for all the action movies that would follow it. The film is directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven de Souza and Jeb Stuart, based on the novel ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ by Roderick Thorp. Willis plays John McClane, a New York cop who has travelled to Los Angeles for his Christmas vacation, where he intends to try to reconcile with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). He arrives at his wife’s office skyscraper building, Nakatomi Plaza, where a Christmas party is underway. The party is disrupted by the arrival of a German terrorist group led by the suave but ruthless Hans Gruber (Rickman), which takes all the party-goers hostage – except for McClane, who escapes undetected onto a different floor. After Gruber brutally executes the company CEO, McClane becomes involved in a game of cat-and-mouse with the terrorists, picking them off one by one in an attempt to rescue the hostages. The film co-stars Alexander Godunov, Reginald Veljohnson, and Hart Bochner, and remains to this day one of my all-time favorite action movies. Read more…

LETHAL WEAPON – Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton, and David Sanborn

March 23, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although it was pre-dated by films like 48 HRS., Lethal Weapon is the film which for me best defines the 1980s buddy-cop movie sub-genre. It’s a thrilling, action-packed, funny, surprisingly moving film written by Shane Black and directed by Richard Donner, starring Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs, a loose-cannon LAPD cop and former Vietnam War sniper with a suicidal streak after the death of his wife. In an attempt to rein him in, Riggs is assigned a new partner in the shape of Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), a cranky, by-the-book homicide department veteran with a wife and three kids at home, and who doesn’t tolerate Riggs’s increasingly off-the-wall antics. However, things become more difficult for the new partners when they become embroiled in a plot which links the death of a woman who committed suicide by jumping from a high rise with a gang of vicious drug dealers, and which becomes personal when it is revealed that the drug dealers may be men from Riggs’s past. The film co-starred Mitchell Ryan, Gary Busey, Tom Atkins, Steve Kahan, and Darlene Love, and was an enormous box-office smash, grossing more than $65 million in the United States alone. Read more…

HIGHLANDER – Michael Kamen

March 10, 2016 1 comment

highlanderTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Despite only being a modest hit when it was first released during the early months of 1986, Highlander has gone on to be a cult classic, and is now considered one of the most influential and well regarded sci-fi action movies of the decade. Directed by Russell Mulcahy, the film stars Christopher Lambert as Conor MacLeod, born in Scotland in the year 1518, who gradually discovers that he is an ‘immortal’, one of many such men who are destined to fight one another across time, and who can only be killed by complete decapitation. When one immortal decapitates another, the survivor receives a transfer of power called a “quickening,” and eventually, after all the immortals have battled until there is only one left alive, the last survivor will receive “the prize” of immense knowledge about the nature of the universe. After receiving training and education from Spanish nobleman Ramirez (Sean Connery), a fellow immortal, MacLeod gradually battles his way to 1980s New York, where he lives under the assumed identity of an antiquities dealer named Russell Nash. However, a string of beheadings in the city brings MacLeod into contact with NYPD detective Brenda Wyatt (Roxanne Hart) and – worst of all – the evil immortal Kurgan (Clancy Brown), who will stop at nothing to claim the Prize for himself. Read more…

LIFEFORCE – Henry Mancini

July 2, 2015 Leave a comment

lifeforceTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

What do you think of when you think of the music of Henry Mancini? The gentle romance of Breakfast at Tiffany’s? The effortlessly cool jazz of Peter Gunn or The Pink Panther? The forbidden passion of The Thorn Birds? The playful “Baby Elephant Walk” from Hatari? I’d bet my bottom dollar that most people would come up with those classics long before they thought of an epic orchestral sci-fi horror score, but that’s exactly what Mancini wrote for Lifeforce, a British-American production directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by the notorious Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan for Cannon Films. The film is a loose adaptation of Colin Wilson’s 1976 novel The Space Vampires, and stars Steve Railsback as the head of a multi-national space exploration team sent to investigate Halley’s Comet as it makes one of it’s regular 75-year passes past Earth. The team finds a space craft concealed inside the comet’s corona, and inside the space craft they find the preserved bodies of three seemingly humanoid aliens in suspended animation, including one incredibly beautiful female. However, when the space exploration team’s ship returns home, Mission Control in London finds it empty, save for the three aliens, which soon awake and begin draining ‘life force’ energies from every human they encounter. The film co-starred Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Patrick Stewart, and Mathilda May, who spends almost the entire film completely naked; despite this obvious selling point, the film was a disaster, recouping less than half of its $25 million budget, and receiving terrible reviews from most critics of the time. Read more…

Michael Kamen, 1948-2003

November 18, 2003 Leave a comment

Michael KamenComposer Michael Kamen died on November 18, 2003 in London, England, after suffering a heart attack. He was 55.

Michael Arnold Kamen was born in New York in April 1948, where he attended The High School of Music and Art and the Juilliard School, where he specialized in composition and oboe performance. After being a part of the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble with fellow composer Mark Snow as a youth, Kamen moved to England in the 1970s and found work as ballet composer and as an arranger for pop and rock bands, notably for artists such as Kate Bush, David Bowie and Pink Floyd, for whom he arranged the album The Wall in 1979.

Having already dabbled in film music during the late 1970s, Kamen began embracing cinema fully in the early 1980s, writing the music for acclaimed films such as The Dead Zone and Brazil, and the TV mini-series Edge of Darkness, before cracking the Hollywood big-time with a trio of massively successful action scores between 1986 and 1989 – Highlander, Lethal Weapon and Die Hard. Read more…