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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – Patrick Doyle

November 10, 2017 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The concept of the ‘whodunit’ in contemporary literature was essentially invented by British author Agatha Christie, who during her lifetime wrote more than 50 detective stories and mysteries. Possibly her most famous work was the 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express, which features as its protagonist one of her most beloved creations, the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Without giving too much of the plot away, the story unfolds as Poirot is traveling from Istanbul to London on the famous eponymous train. A passenger is murdered in his cabin, and Poirot is implored by the train’s director to help solve the case. With the train stuck in a snowdrift, Poirot has time to investigate each of the other passengers in the first class compartment where the murder took place, and slowly develops a theory linking the murder to the abduction and subsequent death of a wealthy child heiress several years previously. This is the second big screen adaptation of the story, after Sidney Lumet’s 1974 film; it was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who himself plays Poirot, and has an all-star supporting cast that includes Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley. Read more…

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A UNITED KINGDOM – Patrick Doyle

March 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the things I love most about the movies is the fact that it often gives me the opportunity to learn a little bit about historical events I previously knew nothing about. Case in point: A United Kingdom, the latest film from British director Amma Asante, which is basically about the events leading up to the foundation of the Republic of Botswana. In 1947 Botswana was still known as Bechuanaland and was part of the British Empire, ruled by both a local royal family, and by a High Commissioner appointed by the British Crown. Seretse Khama, the heir to the throne, is in London studying law, and intends to return home once his studies are finished to take over from his uncle, who has acted as his regent since his father’s death. Things become more complicated when Seretse meets and falls in love with Ruth Williams, a middle class white woman; what unfolds is simultaneously a love story, a treatise on racism in the UK and Africa in the 1940s, and a political drama concerning the complicated diplomatic relationship between Britain and its Commonwealth colonies in southern Africa. The film, which was released in British cinemas in November 2016 prior to its worldwide opening in February 2017, stars David Oyelowo as Seretse, and Rosamund Pike as Ruth, and features an excellent supporting cast of British and African character actors including Vusi Kunene, Terry Pheto, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, and Nicholas Lyndhurst. Read more…

CINDERELLA – Patrick Doyle

March 18, 2015 1 comment

cinderellaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Walt Disney are currently undertaking an interesting exercise whereby they are re-making many of their animated classics as live action films; last year, Sleeping Beauty was re-imagined as the action packed Maleficent, and next year Beauty and the Beast is set to hit cinemas in an all-new setting. This year, however, it is the turn of Cinderella, which was originally produced by the mouse house in 1950, and is now receiving a lavish big screen re-telling from director Kenneth Branagh. For those who don’t know, the story is largely based on the popular fairytale novel Cendrillon by Charles Perrault, first published in 1697, and tells the story of a young woman who is mistreated by her cruel stepmother and her wicked step-sisters, and dreams of escaping her life of domestic drudgery. One night, when her family is away attending a ball given by a handsome prince, to which Cinderella has been expressly forbidden from going, she is visited by her kind fairy godmother, who uses her magic to create a ball gown and glass slippers for Cinderella to wear, and a carriage to take her to the palace. At the ball, the Prince sees and instantly falls in love with the beautiful Cinderella, but circumstances contrive for her to have to flee the palace at the stroke of midnight, before the Prince learns her identity. His only clue is one of the glass slippers, which Cinderella accidentally leaves behind in her haste… The film stars Lily James as Cinderella, Game of Thrones alumnus Richard Madden as the Prince, Cate Blanchett as the Stepmother, and Helena Bonham-Carter as the Fairy Godmother, and has a glorious original score by Patrick Doyle. Read more…

THOR – Patrick Doyle

May 4, 2011 8 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An epic comic book action-fantasy based on Norse mythology. Kenneth Branagh in the director’s chair. Patrick Doyle providing the score. For film music fans Thor was a mouth watering prospect that promised to be one of the most exciting and adventurous scores of the year. The film stars Chris Hemsworth as the eponymous hero, who is cast out of the Norse god stronghold Asgard after disobeying his father, King Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Arriving on Earth, and no longer able to channel the power of his hammer Mjolnir, Thor teams up with scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in an effort to reclaim his power and return to Asgard in time to stop his duplicitous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from overthrowing Odin. The film, which also features Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore and Samuel L. Jackson, is part of the Marvel Avengers series of movies which includes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and the upcoming Captain America, and will culminate in a combined Avengers movie slated for 2012. Read more…

IGOR – Patrick Doyle

September 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pity the poor sidekick. Throughout literary history, the role of the sidekick has been one of benign subservience, forever scuttling away to do the master’s bidding, or bear the brunt of the master’s ire, never allowed to express an opinion, or to become a true, rounded personality. In the world of classic literary horror, the sidekick role was invariably filled by an Igor, a hunchbacked, lazy-eyed, nasal-voiced nobody, assisting Victor Frankenstein or Count Dracula with their nefarious plans. In Anthony Leondis’s new animated film, Igor, the sidekick finally steps into the sunlight; this is a story where the clichéd hunchbacked evil scientist’s assistant finally has his own story – one in which he aspires to become a scientist himself, much to the displeasure of the rest of the evil science community. The film features a star-studded voice cast that includes the likes of John Cusack, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Sean Hayes, Eddie Izzard, Jay Leno and Christian Slater, and has been roundly praised for being a funny, clever movie, with plenty of subversive humor to keep the adults happy. Read more…

NIM’S ISLAND – Patrick Doyle

April 4, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

The rather silly family adventure film “Nim’s Island” tells the story of a young girl (Abigail Breslin) who is stranded on a deserted island when her father (Gerard Butler) is lost at sea. The girl requests the assistance of her favorite author (Jodie Foster), who in turn reluctantly attempts to rescue the young child.

The “Romancing the Stone”-influenced flick is scored by Patrick Doyle, who provides a perfectly pleasant lightweight action score. Things begin on a bit of a predictable note, with a sweet main theme for piano, strings, and acoustic guitar. It’s a nice piece, if not especially memorable. It pops up every now and then, but the album features a reasonably diverse array of thematic ideas. Read more…

SLEUTH – Patrick Doyle

October 12, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

Kenneth Branagh has always been a director with a lot of theatrical flair, so it sort of seemed to make sense that he would choose to remake “Sleuth”, the wonderful 1972 film starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. The original film is a terrific ride of dialogue and plotting. It makes the absolute most of its contained set (a mansion) by filling it with all kinds of trinkets, gadgets, toys, and games. Call it maximum minimalism, if you like. In a brilliant bit of casting, Branagh placed Michael Caine in the role originally played by Olivier, and Jude Law in the Caine role. Though I haven’t seen Branagh’s film yet, I was surprised to learn from reading early reviews that Branagh has emptied the mansion, cut the running time by 45 minutes, and turned out a generally leaner, meaner product. Read more…