Posts Tagged ‘Pino Donaggio’

RAISING CAIN – Pino Donaggio

September 15, 2022 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Raising Cain is a psychological thriller written and directed by Brian De Palma, starring John Lithgow, Lolita Davidovich, and Steven Bauer. Lithgow plays a highly regarded child psychologist, Carter Nix, who suffers a complete mental breakdown when he discovers that his wife, Jenny, is having an affair, and has also accused him of having an unhealthy scientific obsession with their daughter Amy. Nix’s mental issues manifest themselves via the emergence of various ‘split personalities,’ one of which – a violent criminal named Cain – starts to take over and forces Nix to kidnap his daughter, and commit murders to cover his tracks. It’s a typical twisty-turny and suspenseful De Palma thriller that, as always, owes a fair debt to Alfred Hitchcock, and it features a bravura lead performance by Lithgow, chewing the scenery for all he’s worth. Read more…

Under-the-Radar Round Up 2020, Part III

October 7, 2020 5 comments

As the COVID-19 Coronavirus is continuing still to decimate the 2020 theatrical movie schedule, as well as the general mood of the world, good music is more important than ever when it comes to getting is all through these difficult times. As such (and as I did last year under much different circumstances) I am very pleased to present the latest installment in my ongoing series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world – this time concentrating on the third quarter of 2020! The titles include a fantasy sequel and a historical drama/thriller from Germany, a super hero-themed serial killer thriller from Spain, a thriller from Vietnam, an emotional documentary from Turkey, and so much more! Read more…

DOMINO – Pino Donaggio

July 31, 2019 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Once upon a time, Brian de Palma was one of the most respected directors in Hollywood. From the late 1970s, all the way up through the mid 1990s, he made a series of critically acclaimed and commercially successful dramas, action movies, and thrillers, many of which starred the most popular box office draws of the day. Films like Obsession, Carrie, The Fury, Dressed to Kill, Scarface, Body Double, The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way, Mission Impossible. These films won Oscars, and took home prestigious trophies from film festivals in Berlin and Venice. However, recently, the luster has begun to wear off of De Palma’s career; he hasn’t directed a real box office success since 1996, and with each successive film dropping further and further down the prestige pecking order, he now finds himself consigned to making films like this one – Domino – a terrorism-themed thriller which apparently had its budget slashed during filming, and was edited against the director’s wishes during post-production to such an extent that the finished product barely makes sense. The film, such as it is, stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones as a detective from Denmark seeking vengeance for the murder of his partner, apparently at the hands of an ISIS militant. Although he can clearly still attract top notch casts to work with – Domino co-stars Guy Pearce and Carice van Houten – De Palma’s work here has been critically mauled, and has suffered the further ignominy of being consigned to ‘straight to streaming’ VOD services. How the mighty have fallen. Read more…

Best Scores of 2017 – Rest of Europe, Part I

January 18, 2018 2 comments

The sixth installment in my annual series of articles looking at the best “under the radar” scores from around the world sees us jumping around the European mainland. Whereas Spain, Britain, and France all had enough scores to warrant articles of their own, other countries had maybe one or two outstanding highlights, and this article is an attempt to cover several of them. As such, here are seven of those outstanding pan-European efforts, including a huge fantasy adventure score from Russia, a rousing sports score from Finland, a rich romantic drama score from Italy, a comedy adventure score from the Netherlands, a superb seasonal animation score from Poland, among others. There will be more to come from this cross-continental adventure later! Read more…

PASSION – Pino Donaggio

September 2, 2013 2 comments

passionOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The career of Brian De Palma confounds me. From his early-career highs crafting masterpiece movies such as Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow-Out and Scarface, in recent years his output has consisted mainly of a series of tawdry sex thrillers that either bomb at the box office, or go straight to video – The Black Dahlia, Femme Fatale, Redacted, and so on. His technical mastery remains unmatched however, as his latest film, Passion, attests. It’s a tawdry sexy thriller (of course), a remake of the 2010 French language film Crime d’Amour, and stars Noomi Rapace as Isabelle, an ambitious up-and-coming executive at an international company, who constantly suffers a series of professional and personal humiliations at the hands of her boss, Christine, played by Rachel McAdams. The tables begin to turn when Isabelle – who is secretly sleeping with Christine’s boyfriend Dirk (Paul Anderson) – hatches a plot to finally seek revenge on the manipulative Christine, one of the key parts of which is to seduce Christine herself… Read more…


November 28, 2008 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Dutch cinema doesn’t get much press beyond the confines of its borders. Similarly, Dutch film music gets fairly short shrift from the world at large, despite several acclaimed composers having worked there in recent years, notably Henny Vrienten, Loek Dikker and Fons Merkies. It’s also been quite some time since Italian composer Pino Donaggio had any time in the spotlight – at least since Up At the Villa in 2000, and in reality probably since Never Talk to Strangers in before that in 1995. So, it’s quite gratifying to see Donaggio’s score for the Dutch wartime drama Oorlogswinter (‘Winter in Wartime’) getting some attention.

The film is directed by Martin Koolhoven from the novel by Jan Terlouw, and stars Martijn Lakemeier as Michiel, a 14 year old boy living in a small town in the Netherlands in the winter of 1944, who witnesses an English fighter plane crash near his home. Read more…

UP AT THE VILLA – Pino Donaggio

May 5, 2000 Leave a comment

upatthevillaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In what is his most high-profile international outing since Never Talk To Strangers back in 1997, Italian composer Pino Donaggio has written a beautifully romantic score for the new film version of W. Somerset Maugham’s Up at the Villa. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Sean Penn and Anne Bancroft, the movie is an old-fashioned love story between a soon-to-be betrothed English rose and a brash, charming American set against the backdrop of a pre-War Italy that is beginning to embrace fascism with an alarmingly rapid pace. While the two lovers anguish over whether or not their illicit liaisons should continue, Maugham’s social and political commentary seeps through the rest of film, resulting in a motion picture which is emotionally engaging and intellectually stimulating. You know, from history, that their affair is ultimately doomed, but such is the strength of the performances you still care. There is also a twist in the story that I won’t reveal – suffice to say that it concerns the fate a young Austrian refugee played by Jeremy Davies. Read more…