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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

STEEL MAGNOLIAS – Georges Delerue

October 10, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A classic Hollywood emotional melodrama based on the play of the same name by Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias is a close look at the lives of a group of women in a small town in Louisiana. It is a detailed examination of all aspects of life – weddings and funerals, children, husbands, and boyfriends, love and infidelity, loneliness, sickness, and death – and is mostly set around the town’s local beauty parlor, where the women often congregate to gossip, congratulate, commiserate, and mourn. The film is anchored by an astonishing ensemble cast of female acting brilliance, including Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and most notably Julia Roberts in the role that made her a star. It’s one of those three-handkerchief movies that is entirely intended to wring every drop of emotion out of its audience, and it is considered somewhat manipulative and mawkish today, but in 1989 it was a huge hit, earning Roberts her first Academy Award nomination. The film was also the biggest box office success of director Herbert Ross’s career – despite him having previously made such acclaimed films as The Sunshine Boys, The Turning Point, The Goodbye Girl, California Suite, and Footloose – and it had a score by the great Georges Delerue. Read more…

HENRY V – Patrick Doyle

October 3, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In 1989 Kenneth Branagh was a brash, handsome, dazzlingly talented young actor and director, who emerged from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in the early 1980s and set the British theatrical world alight with his electrifying Shakespearean productions. He was part of a group of talented contemporaries which included people like Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Rowan Atkinson, all of whom began to have a profound effect on British stage society through their respective careers in drama and comedy. Branagh then went on to create the Renaissance Theatre Company, which brought his troupe of players into the circle of beloved stage veterans like Judi Dench, Richard Briers, Derek Jacobi, and Sir John Gielgud. Together they made enormously successful stage productions of Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night, the latter of which directly led to Branagh receiving funding to make a big-screen adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved works, Henry V. Read more…

DAD – James Horner

September 26, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Dad was a sentimental family drama starring Jack Lemmon, Ted Danson, and Ethan Hawke as Jake, John, and Billy Tremont, three generations of fathers and sons who are brought together when Jake’s wife Bette, played by Olympia Dukakis, suffers a health emergency. Needing to fend for himself for the first time in decades, Jake finds a new lease of life through his forced independence, and bonds with his workaholic son and free-spirited grandson, as well as members of his extended family that he has been neglecting. However, when Bette returns home, she baulks at the formerly-passive Jake’s new assertiveness, which leads to conflict and – eventually – more medical drama. The film was written and directed by Gary David Goldberg (the creator of Family Ties), adapted from a novel by William Wharton, and was an unexpected critical success, with special praise reserved for Jack Lemmon’s performance, and for the Oscar-nominated old age makeup. Read more…

WE’RE NO ANGELS – George Fenton

September 19, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

We’re No Angels was a loose remake of a 1955 Humphrey Bogart film of the same name, which was itself adapted from a French play, La Cuisine des Anges, by Albert Husson. The film is set in the 1930s and stars Robert De Niro and Sean Penn as Ned and Jim, two amiable convicts who inadvertently escape from jail when they are caught up in a plot masterminded by Bobby, a vicious killer played by James Russo. The convicts eventually find themselves in a small upstate New York town near the Canada–US border, where Ned and Jim are mistaken for a pair of priests expected at the local monastery. Circumstances are such that crossing the town bridge into Canada is extremely difficult, so Ned and Jim decide to play the long game and embrace the misunderstanding until the time is right. However, as Ned and Jim spend more time in the town, they find themselves forming real bonds with the locals, especially a beautiful single mother played by Demi Moore, and soon they begin to wonder whether they have a shot at genuine redemption. The film was written by David Mamet and directed by Neil Jordan, but was unfortunately a massive box office flop, grossing just $10.5 million on a $20 million budget. Read more…

OLD GRINGO – Lee Holdridge

September 12, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Old Gringo was intended to be a lavish Mexican epic film marking the English-language debut of Argentine filmmaker Luis Puenzo, whose film La Historia Oficial had won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1985. It was based on an acclaimed novel by Carlos Fuentes and starred Gregory Peck as Ambrose Bierce, an ageing acclaimed writer who moves to Mexico just prior to the outbreak of the Revolution in 1910. Bierce is dying of a terminal illness, but keeps it secret as he wants to end his days on his own terms. He befriends a revolutionary named Arroyo (Jimmy Smits), and also crosses paths with an American schoolteacher named Harriet (Jane Fonda), and as the violence escalates so does his friendship with Arroyo, something which is complicated by the romantic feelings they both have for Harriet. Old Gringo tries to tackle numerous weighty subjects simultaneously – the politics of the Mexican Revolution, the regrets of old age, the concept of legacy and fame, a love triangle – but the consensus was that it tried to take on a little bit too much; Roger Ebert, in his review, wrote that ‘there is a potentially wonderful story at the heart of Old Gringo, but the movie never finds it. The screenplay blasts away in every direction except the bulls-eye. It’s heavy on disconnected episodes, light on drama and storytelling.’ The whole thing was a critical and commercial failure, and Puenzo never made another film in English. Read more…

BLACK RAIN – Hans Zimmer

September 5, 2019 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I’ve written this sentence about other scores before, so I apologize for the repetitiveness, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that there are very few scores in the world that you can point to as being a literal turning point in the history of film music. Black Rain is one of them. The film itself is not especially famous these days, despite actually being rather good. The film stars Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia as Nick Conklin and Charlie Vincent, two New York City cops who witness a murder in a bar and arrest the assailant. The killer is a man named Sato (Yusaku Matsuda), who is a member of the Japanese Yakuza crime syndicate. Sato is extradited to Japan, and Nick and Charlie agree to accompany the gangster back to Osaka for his murder trial. However, when they arrive at the airport, Sato’s fellow Yakuza free him from police custody by tricking Nick, which brings shame and tension to the already fraught relationship between Nick and his Japanese counterpart, Detective Masahiro (Ken Takakura). Determined to find Sato at any cost, Nick enters the dangerous underworld of Japanese organized crime. The film was directed by Ridley Scott, and was a box office success, combining a classic cop thriller revenge story with one of the first mainstream American depictions of Japanese Yakuza gangster culture. Read more…

MURDERERS AMONG US: THE SIMON WIESENTHAL STORY – Bill Conti

August 29, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Simon Wiesenthal had quite an amazing life. Born into a Jewish family in Austria in 1908, he was captured and sent to a concentration camp after the outbreak of World War II; after surviving against terrible odds, Wiesenthal spent the rest of his life as one of the world’s most famous ‘Nazi hunters,’ tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazi war criminals so that they could be brought to trial. He was involved as a key witness in the Nuremberg Trials, and instrumental in the 1960 capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the major organizers of the Holocaust who personally sent hundreds of thousands of people to die in Auschwitz. Wiesenthal was also a writer and philanthropist, and lent his name to a research and human rights center in Los Angeles. He died in 2005, but not before this acclaimed TV movie of his life was released on HBO in 1989. The film was directed by Brian Gibson and starred Ben Kingsley in the titular role, with support from Craig T. Nelson, Anton Lesser, Paul Freeman, and Renée Soutendijk as Simon’s wife Cyla. Read more…