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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

SEA OF LOVE – Trevor Jones

August 15, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review byJonathan Broxton

Sea of Love was a slightly sordid murder-mystery thriller directed by Harold Becker. Al Pacino stars as Frank Keller, a burned-out alcoholic New York City police detective who finds himself involved in the case of a serial killer, who finds victims through the singles column in a newspaper. As the bodies rack up and the investigation continues, Keller meets Helen (Ellen Barkin), the sexy manager of an upscale shoe store, who he meets on the job during a sting operation to identify potential suspects. Against his better judgment Keller embarks on a relationship with Helen – until the evidence begins to support the idea that Helen is the killer. The film co-starred John Goodman and Michael Rooker and was a box office success; critically, it was favorably compared with similar movies like Body Heat and Jagged Edge, and now fits comfortably into the ‘femme fatale’ genre that also includes movies like Basic Instinct. By the way, the title of the film is a reference to the 1959 song of the same name by Phil Phillips with the Twilights; the killer has a calling card where a 45RPM LP of the song is left playing in the victim’s home after the crime. Read more…

THE PACKAGE – James Newton Howard

August 8, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Package was an enjoyably tense political action-thriller directed by Andrew Davis from a screenplay by John Bishop. Gene Hackman stars as a US Special Forces army sergeant named Gallagher who is tasked with transporting a deserter named Boyette, played by Tommy Lee Jones, from West Berlin to the United States to stand trial. However, Boyette escapes en-route, and Gallagher quickly finds that he is being used as a pawn in a larger conspiracy: to assassinate the president of the Soviet Union and ultimately stop a disarmament treaty between the United States and the Soviets from being signed. The film co-starred Joanna Cassidy, John Heard, Dennis Franz, and Pam Grier, and was in many ways a dry-run for The Fugitive, which director Davis would make four years later with many of the same cast and crew. The Package has many of the same plot points as The Fugitive – a prisoner who escapes from custody, action sequences in Chicago, a dogged and righteous law enforcement operative tracking him down – which makes it an interesting comparison piece to Davis’s great, Oscar-winning classic. Read more…

THE ABYSS – Alan Silvestri

August 1, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review byJonathan Broxton

The third and best of 1989’s claustrophobic underwater action thrillers, The Abyss was director James Cameron’s long-awaited follow up to Aliens. It stars Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Bud and Lindsey Brigman, an estranged husband-and-wife who work on a hi-tech underwater oil drilling platform which sits along the lip of a massive marine trench deep beneath the Caribbean Sea. When a military submarine sinks in mysterious circumstances near the platform, the government sends a team of Navy SEALS in to investigate, using the platform as a base of operations. There is immediate tension between the rough-and-ready oil drillers and the aggressive and testosterone-fuelled soldiers, and this is exacerbated even more when they encounter a mysterious creature that can seemingly manipulate and control water. The film co-starred Michael Biehn, J. C. Quinn, and Leo Burmester, and was both a critical success and a box office hit; it received special attention for its then-groundbreaking use of CGI special effects, which won its creative team an Academy Award. However, the film production itself was notoriously troubled; the shoot went massively over-budget, and the actors were subjected to near-torturous conditions by Cameron, who made them spend literally hours on end in freezing cold underwater temperatures. Cameron also spent a great deal of time editing the film, removing whole swathes of footage to try to create a more coherent cut, including the original ending which featured enormous special FX shots of tsunamis (although much of this was restored in a subsequent director’s cut). Read more…

PARENTHOOD – Randy Newman

July 25, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

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…

LICENCE TO KILL – Michael Kamen

July 18, 2019 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second – and last – James Bond film to star Timothy Dalton was 1989’s Licence to Kill, directed by John Glen from a screenplay by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum. I have long been of the opinion that Dalton was a hugely underrated Bond who should have been given more opportunities to succeed and develop his gritty version of the character, and that Licence to Kill is one of the best of the entire series. In it, Bond finds himself disavowed by British secret service agency MI6 and ‘going rogue’ after his best friend, CIA agent Felix Leiter, and his new bride Della are viciously attacked on their wedding day. The perpetrator is Franz Sanchez, a drug lord and ruthless cartel boss in a fictional Central American country; seeking personal vengeance, Bond teams up with Pam Bouvier, an ex Army-pilot with a vendetta against Sanchez of her own, and crosses paths with two very different members of Sanchez’s entourage: the beautiful Lupe Lamora, and the sadistic henchman Dario. The film co-stars Robert Davi, Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto, and a very young Benicio del Toro, but unfortunately the film was not a commercial success; adjusted for inflation. It remains the lowest-grossing Bond film of all time, something which, sadly, hastened to the end of Dalton’s tenure and his subsequent replacement with Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye in 1995. Read more…

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS – James Horner

June 27, 2019 5 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most popular and successful children’s adventure films of 1989, Honey I Shrunk the Kids starred Rick Moranis as Wayne Szalinsky, a scientist and inventor who makes a machine capable of shrinking objects down to miniscule size. One day, Wayne accidentally shrinks his son Nick, his daughter Amy, and the two brothers who live next door, and throws them out in the trash. Stranded at the bottom of their back yard – which, due to their size, is now the equivalent of several miles away from their house and looks like the Amazon rain forest– the children must fight their way through this jungle of plants and enormous insects in order to return home; meanwhile, Wayne has realized what he has done, and desperately begins searching for his kids so he can restore them to their regular size. The film co-starred Thomas Brown, Amy O’Neill, Robert Oliveri, and Jared Rushton as the kids, and marked the directorial debut of Joe Johnston, a special effects genius who had previously worked on several Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. Read more…

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE – John Williams

June 20, 2019 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The third movie in director Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones series was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and whereas 1984’s Temple of Doom was a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Last Crusade was a direct sequel, set just two years later in 1938. Harrison Ford returns as the titular archaeologist-adventurer, who is sent off on a globe-trotting escapade when he receives news from American billionaire Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) that his long-estranged father Henry Jones (Sean Connery) has gone missing while searching for the holy grail. Jones teams up with his old friends and colleagues Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) on the quest to find his father, and quickly becomes embroiled in a vast labyrinthine plot involving ancient myths and legends, a brotherhood of religious warriors, way too many Nazis, and a beautiful Austrian art professor named Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) to whom there is more than meets the eye. The whole thing is a delight from start to finish, with several wonderfully exciting action set pieces, and beautiful location settings, but the cornerstone of the film is the father-and-son chemistry between Ford and Connery, whose outward gruffness and constant bickering masks a deep love and affection. Whereas Ford is an all-action matinee idol hero, Connery is a slightly bumbling academic, more at home with books and libraries than punching Nazis in the face, but who is still able to make his son feel like a 12-year old when he calls him ‘junior’. Read more…