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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 – Tyler Bates

May 9, 2017 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in which writer/director James Gunn blends epic space action and special effects with broad comedy and a whole host of unresolved daddy issues. In the aftermath of the events of the first film, the Guardians – Star Lord Peter Quinn (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and the newly-sprouted Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) – are now working as heroes for hire, saving planets for a price. Unfortunately for the Guardians, the aftermath of their most recent job results in them running from the haughty and arrogant High Priestess of the Sovereigns (Elizabeth Debicki), space pirate Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), and Gamora’s vengeful sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), all of whom have different reasons for wanting to find the Guardians. Unexpectedly, the Guardians receive help from an omnipotent and powerful creature named Ego (Kurt Russell), who claims to be Quinn’s father… Read more…

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM – Elmer Bernstein

May 8, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Actor John Garfield came across Nelson Algren’s novel The Man with the Golden Arm (1949) and was inspired to bring it to the big screen. He purchased the film rights and planned to take on the lead role of Frankie. He immediately ran into censoring problems as the Production Code Authority (PCA) and the Catholic National League of Decency (NLD) would not sanction the film because it featured drug trafficking and drug addiction. The film’s fate passed to renowned director Otto Preminger after he was bequeathed the film rights following Garfield’s death in 1952. Preminger related that he was attracted to the story because “I think there’s a great tragedy in any human being who gets hooked on something, whether it’s heroin or love or a woman or whatever.” Like Garfield, Preminger ran into a wall with the PCA and NLD, but he was determined to overcome all obstacles to fulfill his vision. He brought in Algren to adapt his novel, but personality clashes led to Algren’s replacement with screenwriter Walter Newman. Significant changes to the story were made, which led Algren to sue Preminger for the film rights, however the suit was later dropped as Algren could not afford the legal expenses. Read more…

EXTREME PREJUDICE – Jerry Goldsmith

May 4, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Extreme Prejudice is a western-flavored action thriller directed by Walter Hill, starring Nick Nolte as Jack Benteen, a grizzled Texas Ranger who teams up with a platoon of elite US Army commandos led by Major Hackett (Michael Ironside). Their mission is to take down a major trafficker running shipments of narcotics across the border from northern Mexico into El Paso; the only stumbling block, for Benteen at least, is the fact that the trafficker is Cash Bailey (Powers Boothe), Benteen’s childhood best friend. As the soldiers close in on Bailey’s compound, Benteen finds his loyalties tested, especially when a beautiful woman named Sarita (Maria Conchita Alonso) – both men’s ex-girlfriend – enters the fray. The film is a gritty, sweat-soaked, uncompromising thriller, and an homage to the great western The Wild Bunch, which received decent reviews when it opened in cinemas in May 1987. Read more…

VOICE FROM THE STONE – Michael Wandmacher

May 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Voice from the Stone is a supernatural thriller adapted from the novel La Voce Della Piera by Silvio Raffo, directed by Eric Howell. The film stars Emilia Clarke – Daenerys Targaryan from Game of Thrones – as Vera, a nurse in Tuscany in the 1950s who is hired by the recently widowed Klaus (Marton Csokas) to help his young son, Jakob (Edward George Dring), who has been mute and withdrawn since the death of his mother. However, as Vera comes to learn more about the boy and his father, and their relationship with the deceased wife/mother, she begins to discover ghostly goings on within the wall of Klaus’s imposing castle home, some of which begin to affect her on a deeply personal level. The film is a beautifully shot, handsomely mounted production that makes wonderful use of the evocative Italian locations, and features an impressively restrained and attractive score by composer Michael Wandmacher. Read more…

GODZILLA [GOJIRA] – Akira Ifukube

May 1, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Toho studio producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was greatly impressed by the film The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953) and resolved to create a Japanese version. He penned his own script and pitched it to Toho Studio executive Iwao Mori, who signed off on the project. Renowned special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya was hired and affirmed that it was financially and technologically feasible to create the monster, suggesting the use suitmation (an actor in a costume suit) over stop motion animation. Ishirō Honda was given the reigns to direct the film and he selected a fine cast which included Akira Takarada as Captain Hideto Ogata, Momoko Kochi as Emiko Yamane, Akihiko Hirata as Daisuke Serizawa and Takashi Shimura as Dr. Kyohei Yamane. The screenplay underwent several incarnations, evolving over time with contributions from many writers including Tsuburaya, science fiction writer Shigeru Kayama, Takeo Murata, and Honda. Read more…

THE PROMISE – Gabriel Yared

April 29, 2017 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Armenian genocide that took place between 1915 and 1917 was the systematic extermination of more than 1.5 million Armenians by the government of the Ottoman Empire in what is now Turkey. It’s one of the most overlooked examples of ethnic cleansing of the 20th century – and one which the current Turkish government still refuses to acknowledge – but it is now starting to become more widely recognized. Director Terry George’s film The Promise looks poised to be one of the first films to examine the historical importance of the period; it’s a sweeping epic set during the final years of the Ottoman Empire which focuses on the love triangle that develops between an Armenian medical student (Oscar Isaac), an acclaimed American journalist in Paris (Christian Bale), and an Armenian-born woman raised in France (Charlotte Le Bon), and which uses the backdrop of the genocide for social context. Read more…

PROJECT X – James Horner

April 27, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Project X was a genre-defying film – part action, part sci-fi, part-comedy, part drama – directed by Jonathan Kaplan from a screenplay by Lawrence Lasker and Stanley Weiser. Matthew Broderick starred as young US Air Force researcher Jimmy Garrett, who is assigned to a top secret project that involves teaching chimpanzees to fly planes. He bonds with one of the chimps, Virgil, after he discovers that it was taught sign language by its previous owner, graduate student Teri MacDonald (Helen Hunt). When Jimmy realizes that Virgil, along with all the other chimps, is supposed to die as part of the project’s research into the effects of radiation poisoning, he finds and contacts Teri; appalled by what the government is going to do to the animals, they agree to work together to rescue Virgil, and stop the project. The film co-stars William Sadler, Jonathan Stark, Stephen Lang, and Jean Smart, and was well received by critics at the time, who praised it as a ‘young person’s morality tale’ that tackles the important subject of animal welfare. Read more…