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THE INCREDIBLES 2 – Michael Giacchino

August 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

14 years ago, in 2004, Michael Giacchino became the first composer to successfully make the transition from video games to movies when he was asked to score a Disney-Pixar animated action adventure super hero film called The Incredibles. Giacchino’s career to that point had been filled with high quality scores for games such as The Lost World, Call of Duty, Secret Weapons Over Normandy, and several entries in the groundbreaking Medal of Honor series, plus work on TV shows like Alias, but The Incredibles was his first film work of any significance. It was a sensation – the combination of jazzy John Barry-style big band arrangements and broad, exciting action music was a breath of fresh air, and essentially launched a career which has seen him become one of the most in-demand and well-loved composers in Hollywood, with his musical fingers in multiple franchise pies comprising Star Wars, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park, several Marvel super hero movies, and many other Pixar films, including the Oscar-winning Up. Now, after all this time, Giacchino is returning to the place it all started, with his score for the long-awaited sequel The Incredibles 2. Read more…

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CONAN THE BARBARIAN – Basil Poledouris

August 13, 2018 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Conan The Barbarian is based on the Conan stories penned by author Robert E. Howard. The movie adaptation tells the story of a young Conan who lives in the mythic Hyborean Age and suffers grievously at the hands of an evil ruler of the Snake Cult, Thulsa Doom, who kills his parents and sells him into slavery. Eventually after much suffering he gains his freedom and trains to become a mighty warrior. He then sets out to solve the riddle of steel and avenge his parent’s death. As such, this is a classic morality tale with an unambiguous hero and villain. The film was a commercial success, which spawned a sequel and served to reinvigorate the fantasy genre. Read more…

DEATH OF A NATION – Dennis McCarthy

August 8, 2018 11 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The world is in a strange place, politically. The rise of Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States has forced the country into a sort of ideological schism between Republicans and Democrats, red states and blue states, right wing and left wing. Across the world authoritarian leaders are flexing their muscles, from Vladimir Putin in Russia to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey. In Europe, Britain’s still-controversial Brexit is causing discord in the European Union. There remains political turmoil in the Middle East, while in places like China people like Xi Jinping are looking to consolidate their power in increasingly draconian ways. I’m not going to get into the meat of any of those thorny issues in this review, but I will ask this: where does art fall into this equation? Does art and music have a role to play? If so, what is it? Read more…

A FISH CALLED WANDA – John Du Prez

August 2, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A Fish Called Wanda is one of the best comedies of the 1980s – one part romance, one part crime caper, one part English farce – which teams several members of the classic Monty Python comedy troupe with several popular American stars. Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline play Wanda and Otto, American jewel thieves in London who, along with stuttering getaway driver Ken (Michael Palin) and East End gangster George (Tom Georgeson), plan an elaborate diamond heist. However, in-fighting and double-crossing within the gang leads to George being arrested, which proves to be a problem for everyone else as he is the only one who knows where the loot has been stashed. In order to get information about the location of the diamonds, Wanda decides to seduce George’s barrister, Archie Leach (the irrepressible John Cleese), a repressed middle-class Englishman stuck in a loveless marriage. Archie, flattered by the attention, immediately falls for Wanda, but shockingly Wanda also finds herself genuinely attracted in return – which causes more friction within the gang, not least because Otto and Wanda are also secretly lovers themselves. Read more…

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT – Lorne Balfe

July 31, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When actor/producer Tom Cruise got together with director Brian De Palma in 1996 to make a brand new big-screen version of the classic 1960s spy TV series Mission: Impossible, I doubt that even he expected that he would still be playing the role of action hero Ethan Hunt 22 years later – yet, here we are. We’ve gone through multiple director changes in the intervening two decades – John Woo, J. J. Abrams, Brad Bird – but for the time being the series appears to have settled on Christopher McQuarrie, who with this film becomes the first director to make two Mission: Impossible films. Fallout is, in many ways, a continuation of the story established during Rogue Nation in 2015, as it sees Hunt and his IMF compatriots again locking horns with the shadowy villain Solomon Lane, whose sinister Syndicate organization continues to be a threat to the stability of the world. The globetrotting adventure sees the action moving from Berlin to Paris to London to the foothills of the Himalayas – and what action it is! The staggering set-pieces in the film include a HALO jump over Paris which Cruise did for real, a brutal three-way fight sequence in a bathroom, a high-speed motorbike chase around the Arc de Triomphe and beyond, an epic foot chase through the streets of Britain’s capital that contains a scene where Cruise smashed his ankle – for real – jumping from one building to another, and an exhilarating helicopter dogfight weaving between the towering peaks of the Kashmir. The film co-stars Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, and Alec Baldwin, and has been widely acclaimed as one of the best action movies in recent years. Read more…

E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL – John Williams

July 30, 2018 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Steven Spielberg, like most kids, suffered with the divorce of his parents. He was 14, and to cope with his circumstances, he created an imaginary alien friend, who became a surrogate brother. Over time this evolved into a story, which his sought to film called “Growing Up”. After the success of Raiders of The Lost Ark, he returned to fashioning his childhood story, which would now incorporate elements from another story he had written called “Night Skies,” where aliens terrorize a family. He brought in screenwriter to Melissa Mathison to craft a story of a special needs child bonding with a friendly alien. The result was a story to be called “E.T. and Me,” which Spielberg pitched to Columbia Studios. Remarkably they rejected the project, believing that it would only appeal to small kids. Well, Spielberg was undeterred, and approached Sid Sheinberg of MCA, who saw the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and agreed to fund the project. They bought back the script from Columbia Pictures for $1 million dollars and granted 5% of the film’s net profits. Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy would produce the film, with Spielberg also directing. For his creative team, he brought in Carlo Rambaldi, who had created the aliens seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The story required Spielberg to cast child actors, and he screened hundreds. His patience and hard effort paid off as he managed to secure a perfect cast, which included; Henry Thomas as Elliot, Drew Barrymore as Gertie, Dee Wallace as Mary, Peter Coyote as Keys, and Robert MacNaughton as Michael. Read more…

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT – Alan Silvestri

July 26, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When cinematic scholars make lists of truly groundbreaking films, very few of them ever mention Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but in my opinion they absolutely should. It’s an anarchic action-comedy-murder mystery directed by Robert Zemeckis, adapted from a novel by Gary K. Wolf. Set in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the film stars Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant, a down-on-his-luck private detective who is hired by the head of a movie studio to investigate the wife of one of its box office stars; there are rumors that she is having an affair, and the studio feels that the scuttlebutt is affecting their star’s performances. But here’s the catch: the star in question is a cartoon rabbit named Roger, and this version of Los Angeles is an alternate universe where all the classic animated characters from Disney and Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes live side-by-side with humans. As the plot progresses Eddie and Roger team up when Roger is accused of murder; as Eddie tries to exonerate the bothersome bunny he crosses paths not only with Roger’s sensationally seductive wife Jessica, but a creepy law enforcement officer named Judge Doom, who has a pathological hatred of cartoons, and wants Roger to pay the ultimate price for his alleged crime. The film co-stars Christopher Lloyd and Joanna Cassidy, as well as the voices of Charles Fleischer and Kathleen Turner. Read more…