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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

TOTAL RECALL – Jerry Goldsmith

May 28, 2020 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Total Recall is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi action films, and is one of the best movies Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made. Adapted from the short story ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’ by Philip K. Dick, it was the third English-language film from Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, following Flesh + Blood in 1985 and Robocop in 1987, and continued his explorations of American consumerism and capitalism through thinly-veiled satire, dressed up with large-scale action sequences. The film is set in a future time period where humans have colonized other planets, and have invented technology that allows ‘false memories’ to be implanted into the mind. Schwarzenegger plays Doug Quaid, a regular blue collar worker who has vivid recurring dreams of visiting Mars. One day Quaid decides to visit Rekall, a company which implants memories of vacations in people who have never been on them. However, the process goes wrong, and Quaid learns that he has already had his memory wiped; he is, in fact, a deep-cover elite secret agent with ties to Vilos Cohaagen, the corrupt and ruthless governor of the Mars Colony. Before long Quaid is knee deep in an inter-planetary adventure involving shady secret organizations and underground resistance movements seeking to overthrow the Martian government. The film co-stars Rachel Ticotin, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, and a pre-Basic Instinct Sharon Stone, and was a massive hit with both critics and audiences, who praised its clever story, vivid action sequences, impressive (if occasionally gory) special effects, and mind-bending distortions of what is real and what isn’t. Read more…

BACK TO THE FUTURE, PART III – Alan Silvestri

May 21, 2020 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Following the massive success of Back to the Future in 1985, director Robert Zemeckis shot a pair of sequels back-to-back, both of which continued the time traveling exploits of Marty McFly, the suburban kid from 1980s California, and his eccentric inventor friend Doc Brown, who built a time machine out of a DeLorean. Back to the Future II was less of an icon than the original, but has since proven prescient with its vision of a dystopian alternate world where Marty’s nemesis Biff Tannen becomes a Donald Trump-like multi-billionaire. The ending of the second movie saw the 1985 version of Doc, and the DeLorean, being hit by lightning and sent back in time to Hill Valley in 1885, when it was a newly-build town in the Old West. However, Marty discovers some devastating news about his friend’s fate, and manages to convince the 1955 version of Doc to send him back in time too. Marty finds Doc happily working as a blacksmith, unaware of his future, but before long the pair starts getting into trouble, with Marty encountering both his own great-grandparents, and running afoul of one of Biff’s ancestors, the ruthless gunslinger Mad Dog Tannen. With time running out to save the day and finally return home, one final issue arises when Doc falls in love with Clara Clayton, a beautiful schoolteacher played by Mary Steenburgen. Read more…

ANOTHER 48 HRS. – James Horner

May 14, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 1980s buddy-cop movie trend arguably began in 1982 with the film 48 Hrs., which paired gruff homicide detective Jack Cates (played by Nick Nolte) with smart-mouthed street criminal Reggie Hammond (played by Eddie Murphy, making his big screen debut). The mismatched duo had two days to find the men responsible for the murder of two of Jack’s colleagues – hence the title of the film – and the confrontational dynamic between the two leads led to box office gold; the film grossed almost $80 million in the US, launched Eddie Murphy’s movie career, and paved the way for future movies in the buddy-cop genre, notably Lethal Weapon. Nine years later Nolte and Murphy re-teamed with director Walter Hill for Another 48 Hrs., a somewhat belated sequel. In this story, Jack is accused of murder after killing a suspect while trying to capture ‘The Iceman,’ a vicious San Francisco drug lord. Meanwhile, Reggie is due to be released from prison, but discovers that the Iceman has put a bounty on his head, although Reggie doesn’t know why. To solve their mutual problems with the Iceman, Jack teams up with Reggie once more – to save Reggie’s life, and to clear Jack’s name and prove his innocence. Read more…

ROBOT JOX – Frédéric Talgorn

May 7, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The cinematic sub-genre of ‘enormous things fighting each other’ has a small but storied history. The Japanese do it best, with their myriad of monstrous kaiju in the enduring Godzilla series. Michael Bay’s risible Transformers movies made a ton of money at the box office but remain mindless, brain-dead Hollywood products. Director Guillermo del Toro tried to pump some life back into genre with yet more robots when he produced Pacific Rim in 2013, and did so to some acclaim, even though I personally didn’t care for them. However, one of the least-known efforts in the genre is this one: Robot Jox, which actually predates all the American entries. Written and directed by Stuart Gordon, the film is set in a post-apocalyptic future where traditional warfare has been outlawed and, instead, giant machines fight international battles to settle territorial disputes. The film follows the adventures of Achilles (Gary Graham), one of the ‘jox’ pilots who controls these robots in a series of gladiatorial encounters, and who is called on to take part in a vital contest against a Russian opponent for the fate of Alaska. Read more…

THE FIELD – Elmer Bernstein

April 30, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Field is a quietly devastating drama written and directed by Jim Sheridan, adapted from the 1965 play of the same name by John Keane. Set in Ireland in the 1930s, the film stars Richard Harris as Bull McCabe, an impoverished farmer who rents a dilapidated field on the cliffs by the sea. When the wealthy widow who owns the field decides to sell it, McCabe assumes that he will be given the first chance to buy it, but unknown to McCabe the widow has been holding on to a grudge for decades, and in a public display of spiteful pettiness directed at McCabe, holds an open auction instead. A rich American named Peter (Tom Berenger), who wants to build a factory on the site, outbids him, and so begins a bitter war which leads to betrayal, death, and madness, with the field itself acting as a symbolic representation of the desperately difficult lives the characters lead. The film has a terrific supporting cast including John Hurt, Sean Bean, Brenda Fricker, and a very young Brendan Gleeson, and was a critical success when it was first released. Read more…

A SHOW OF FORCE – Georges Delerue

April 23, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A Show of Force is a thriller directed by Bruno Barreto, based on true events which occurred in Puerto Rico in 1978. Amy Irving stars as television reporter Kate Ryan, who is investigating the circumstances surrounding the brutal deaths of two Puerto Rican teenagers, Carlos Enrique Soto-Arriví and Arnaldo Darío Rosado-Torres. The government claimed the victims were radical terrorists, while their families said they were pro-independence student activists, and as Ryan gets deeper and deeper into the mystery, she finds herself embroiled in a much larger political scandal and cover-up involving the local police, and which may eventually lead to the corridors of power at the CIA. The film is adapted from Anne Nelson’s book ‘Murder Under Two Flags’, and co-stars Andy Garcia, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Duvall, and Kevin Spacey. The film marked the English-language debut of Brazilian director Barreto, who would later go on to make the films Carried Away and One Tough Cop (both scored by Bruce Broughton). Read more…

TWIN PEAKS – Angelo Badalamenti

April 16, 2020 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There’s a case to be made for the notion that television as we know it changed on April 8th, 1990. On that date, on the American network channel ABC, Twin Peaks premiered. The brainchild of surrealist writer-director David Lynch, and TV producer Mark Frost, Twin Peaks was ostensibly a murder-mystery show that followed an investigation led by FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan) into the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), a teenage beauty queen from a fictional town in Washington state. But of course, it was much more than that. It touched on elements of horror and science fiction, offbeat comedy, and satirized many of the tropes inherent on American soap operas. It had a sprawling cast of eccentric characters, whose interlocking lives drive the plot. It was also deeply, deeply weird: there are giants delivering cryptic messages, dwarves talking backwards, demons possessing people, doppelgängers, fever dreams and horrific nightmares, and copious amounts of coffee and cherry pie. By the end of the second season the plot had become so incomprehensible and maddeningly obtuse that it hemorrhaged viewers and was eventually cancelled; I admit that I found the show incredibly frustrating, and by the end of it I was convinced that Lynch was playing an elaborate prank on his own audience – he created a show that was so impenetrable, was so confusing, had such a bizarre visual style, and contained so much ‘intentional bad acting,’ because he wanted to see how long people would tolerate it by convincing themselves it was ‘art’. Read more…