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Posts Tagged ‘Mychael Danna’

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS – Mychael Danna

November 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The words ‘Dickensian Christmas’ often conjure up specific imagery. Crisply snow-covered cobbled streets, gentlemen and ladies dressed in their finery, handsome houses bedecked with wreathes and candles, great feasts centered around a roasted game bird. It’s fascinating to realize that much of the festive iconography we take for granted was popularized, if not outright invented, by the author Charles Dickens in his 1843 story A Christmas Carol. Even the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’, despite the words themselves obviously pre-dating Dickens, was only adopted as a common seasonal greeting following their liberal use by the story’s central character, Ebenezer Scrooge. In fact, the very concept of Christmas being a time for family gatherings, specific seasonal food and drink, and a festive generosity through present-giving, was not commonplace at that time, and it is only in the period since the novel’s publication that this aspect of the holiday has been given equal importance to the original religious meaning. Read more…

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LIFE OF PI – Mychael Danna

December 10, 2012 8 comments

lifeofpiOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Once in a while a film comes along which seems predestined to be scored by a certain composer; in 2012, that film is Life of Pi and that composer is Mychael Danna. Based on the successful novel by Yann Martel, and directed by Ang Lee, Life of Pi is a film which asks all the big questions – about life, death, religion, fate, identity, reality – and answers them through an incredible story told by Piscine Molitor Patel (Irfan Khan), commonly known as Pi, an Indian immigrant to Canada, who relates his life story to an enraptured journalist (Rafe Spall), who is researching a book. Born into a relatively wealthy family in Pondicherry, India, where his father owned a zoo, Pi’s life is thrown into chaos after the family decides to emigrate to Canada; the boat they are traveling on capsizes in a storm, leaving 16-year old Pi (Suraj Sharma) the only survivor – except for a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and an ill-tempered Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, who all are forced to share the same tiny lifeboat. What follows is an extraordinary story of friendship, trust, survival, faith and belief, as Pi must overcome his greatest fears and the overpowering forces of nature to reach safety. Read more…

MONEYBALL – Mychael Danna

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

You would think it would be quite difficult to make an interesting film about baseball statistics, but that’s what the makers of Moneyball have done. It tells the story of the wonderfully-named Billy Beane who, in 2002, having been recently made the general manager of the struggling Oakland Athletics MLB franchise, rocks the baseball world to its core by embracing a controversial new statistical method of choosing players to sign called sabermetrics in an attempt to turn around the fortunes of his team. Directed by Bennett Miller and based on a popular book by Michael Lewis, the film stars Brad Pitt as Beane, Jonah Hill as his assistant Peter Brand, and features Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt and Casey Bond in supporting roles. Read more…

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS – Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna

December 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Unfortunately for director Terry Gilliam, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is destined to be remembered as ‘the film Heath Ledger was making when he died’ rather than for any artistic merit the film may have itself, which is a shame because by the looks of things the film has all the magic one has come to expect from the former Python. The film is a fantastical tale about the owner of a travelling circus who, having made a deal with the Devil, takes his audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations. However, Parnassus harbors a dark secret; in exchange for immortality, he pledged the life of his daughter to the devil, and is now using the unsuspecting customers of his ‘imaginarium’ to trick the devil out of his prize. Following Ledger’s death, his part was taken over by three actors – Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law – all of whom apparently worked for free, alongside a quirky cast that also includes Tom Waits, Lily Cole, Verne Troyer, and Christopher Plummer as Parnassus himself. Read more…

THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE – Mychael Danna

August 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The belief that true love can conquer the boundaries of time and space is not a new one in the world of romantic cinema. Films like Somewhere in Time and Ghost have all toyed with the notion that a powerful interpersonal connection can survive beyond the realms of reality, beyond the realms of linear time, reveling in the strong emotions that such stories elicit. The latest such film to tackle the subject is The Time Traveler’s Wife, directed by Robert Schwentke and based on the popular novel by Audrey Niffenegger. Eric Bana stars as Henry DeTamble, a Chicago librarian with one unique feature: he involuntarily travels backwards and forwards in time, which obviously causes great problems for himself and his true love, Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams). Read more…

ADORATION – Mychael Danna

April 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’m listening to Adoration for about the sixth or seventh time, and I still don’t know whether I like it or not, which puts me in a quandary. Sometimes, in film music, you listen to a score and you know that, on an intellectual level, the score is wonderful. You know that the textures the composer creates with his instruments are perfectly intricate. You understand that the mood he brings to the film through his music is exactly what was needed to convey the emotions on screen. You know that the level of precision and technique the performers have is superb. But yet, despite all that, you find yourself completely unable to warm to the score. While listening to it, you find your mind wandering – not out of boredom, but because you are not engaged by what you hear. You’re not enjoying listening to the score, and are connecting with it on a purely academic plain. I’ve had this happen to me many times before, with the majority of Philip Glass and Michael Nyman’s output, and on more recent scores like Osvaldo Golijov’s Youth Without Youth or Jonny Greenwood’s There Will Be Blood; and it’s happening here with Mychael Danna’s score for Adoration. Read more…

SURF’S UP – Mychael Danna

June 8, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Yeah, I know, I know, yet another talking animal movie. There’s very few species left that haven’t all ready been covered by some sort of cutesy kid’s flick. And penguins… well, it’s not like we need more penguins. So, it was a nice surprise to discover that “Surf’s Up” offers a convincing argument for the worthiness of it’s existence. It tries to offer something new to the well-worn genre, and turns out feeling like a very good-natured cross between Christopher Guest and the Coen Brothers… it just happens to be animated, and features penguins.

The movie is creatively “filmed” in a documentary style, complete with lots of shaky, grainy footage and interviews throughout the proceedings. We are told the story of young Cody Maverick, voiced with refreshing calmness by Shia LaBeouf Read more…