Posts Tagged ‘Randy Newman’

PARENTHOOD – Randy Newman

July 25, 2019 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Parenthood was a successful and popular comedy-drama film directed by Ron Howard, based on the actual child-rearing experiences of Howard and his screenwriting partners Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, who between them had 17 children in 1989. The film starred Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen as married couple Gil and Karen Buckman, and looks at the various trials and tribulations of their extended family, especially as the story relates to parent-child relationships, romantic problems, sibling rivalries, and the pressures that careers have on family lives. The film had an outstanding supporting ensemble cast, including Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, Tom Hulce, Martha Plimpton, 25-year-old Keanu Reeves, 15-year-old Joaquin Phoenix, and Dianne Weist, who received a Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her performance. It is also worth noting that, more than 20 years later, the movie was loosely adapted into a popular TV series of the same name, which ran on the NBC network for six seasons, although many of the characters and situations were different. Read more…

AVALON – Randy Newman

January 7, 2019 1 comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Avalon offered Barry Levinson’s third installment of his semi-autobiographical tetralogy of ”Baltimore Films” – Diner (1982), Tin Men (1987), Avalon (1990) and Liberty Heights (1999) – which explored immigrant life in his hometown Baltimore from the 1940s through the 1960s. He served as producer, director and screenwriter for the project and his production company Baltimore Pictures financed the film. He brought in a first class cast, which included Leo Fuchs as Hymie Krichinsky, Lou Jacobi as Gabriel Krichinsky, Armin Mueller-Stahl as Sam Krichinsky, Joan Plowright as Eva Krichinsky, Israel Rubinek as Nathan Krichinsky, Eve Gordon as Dottie Kirk, Elizabeth Perkins as Ann Kaye, Aiden Quinn as Jules Kaye and Elijah Wood as Michael Kaye. The film offers a commentary on the challenges of immigrant Russian-Jews trying to assimilate in America. Sam, the patriarch of the Krichinsky family, arrives in 1914 to forge a new life, eventually settling in Baltimore where he works as a wallpaper man. Matriarch Eva is firmly grounded in the old ways and ensures the family stays true to its roots. Conflicts between old country familial culture and modern American culture are inevitable and elicit generational clashes as Sam and Eva struggle to balance the old with the new. Despite hardships, which include an armed robbery, a devastating home fire, and children abandoning their surname for an American one, the family holds together, weathering the storm, united in love. The film was a commercial success and secured four Academy Award nominations including Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Film Score. Read more…

THE NATURAL – Randy Newman

August 20, 2018 Leave a comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1982 Columbia Pictures studio executive Victor Kaufman created a joint venture, TriStar Pictures, with CBS and HBO. The goal was to pool their resources given the ever-escalating costs of making movies. For their first film they chose to celebrate America’s national pastime by adapting The Natural, a baseball biopic novel by Bernard Malamud. The film offered classic Americana and Kaufman believed it was the perfect vehicle for launching TriStar Pictures. Mark Johnson was given the reigns to produce the film, and Barry Levinson was tasked with directing. Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry were brought in to write the screenplay, which would be loosely based on the life of Roy Hobbs, a man of incredible “natural” baseball talent. Robert Redford, whose good looks and leading man talents were ascendant, was cast for the titular role. Joining him would be Robert Duvall as Max Mercy, Glenn Close as Iris Gaines, Kim Basinger as Memo Paris, Barbara Hershey as Harriet Bird, Wilford Brimley as Pop Fischer, Darren McGavin as Gus Sands, and Robert Prosky as the Judge. Read more…

CARS 3 – Randy Newman

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The creative relationship between Pixar Animation and Randy Newman goes back more than twenty years, all the way back to 1995 and their first foray into feature films with the original Toy Story. Their collaboration has since continued through titles like A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Cars, Toy Story 3, and Monsters University, each of which has been enriched with Newman’s tuneful songs and warm scores. Cars 3 marks the eighth Newman Pixar score (him having been dropped in favor of Michael Giacchino on Cars 2); the film, which is directed by Brian Fee, follows the continuing adventures of the anthropomorphic race car Lightning McQueen, who this time round finds himself locking horns – fenders? – with an upstart racer named Jackson Storm, who embraces all kinds of new racing technology and threatens to replace McQueen at the top of the grid. Read more…

TOY STORY 3 – Randy Newman

October 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second sequel to the groundbreaking Pixar animation comes 15 years after the original, but despite the passage of time has not lost any of its magic or charm. As well as being an excellent (and very funny) diversion for children, it’s also an imaginative, nostalgic, pathos-filled treat for adults, dealing with such mature themes as obsolescence and loss. The majority of the original voice cast – Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn – return to join up with newcomers Ned Beatty and Michael Keaton in a brand new story where the toys are accidentally delivered to a day care facility when their beloved owner Andy goes away to college. At first happy to be played with again, the toys quickly find out that life in the day care is not quite as rosy as it seems, and hatch a plan to escape. Read more…


November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Princess and the Frog is the 49th entry in the official canonical list of Disney animated features. Set in New Orleans at the turn of the century, and loosely based on the classic fairytale The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm, it tells the tale of Prince Naveen, who travels to the Big Easy in search of fun and jazz music, but who is cursed by the evil witch doctor Facilier, and turned into a frog. Knowing that only the kiss of a princess will return him to human form, Naveen searches desperately for the traditional cure for his ailment; unfortunately, he mistakes waitress Tiana for royalty and the kiss backfires and turns Tiana into a frog too! Desperate for answers, Naveen and Tiana journey deep into the bayou to search for an ancient voodoo priestess who may be the only one who can help… Read more…


April 4, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

George Clooney’s third film as a director – Leatherheads – is a real departure from his first two efforts, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck. Whereas those films were serious political dramas, Leatherheads is a light-hearted 1920s caper about the early days of professional American football. Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, captain of the struggling Duluth Bulldogs, who convinces a good looking college football star and war hero, Carter “the Bullet” Rutherford (John Krasinski), to join his team. However, before long, the two men find themselves competing for the attentions of Chicago newspaper reporter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), a stereotypical flapper whose beauty belies her hard-bitten journalistic temperament. Read more…