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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

THE LIGHTHORSEMEN – Mario Millo

April 12, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Lighthorsemen was one of a series of critically acclaimed Australian films in the 1980s which looked at the experiences of that country’s soldiers during World War I and World War II, while also commenting specifically on the emergence of an Australian national culture and identity as it moved from being a British colony to attaining full independence. Capitalizing on the success of 1980’s Breaker Morant and 1981’s Gallipoli, which launched the international careers of directors Bruce Beresford and Peter Weir, The Lighthorsemen was directed by Simon Wincer and followed the experiences of four young and inexperienced Australian soldiers in a mounted brigade, fighting for the British against the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East as part of World War I. The movie culminates with an extraordinary depiction of the Battle of Beersheba, which has since come to be regarded as one of the greatest mounted infantry charges in history, and one of the finest moments of Australian military success. Read more…

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BEETLEJUICE – Danny Elfman

April 5, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Beetlejuice is an irreverent supernatural comedy, one of the best of the 1980s, and is the film which introduced the world to one of the most iconic characters of the period – the ghoulish, disgusting, undead horror-for-hire played by Michael Keaton at his most madcap. The film is set in an idyllic New England town, where blissful newlyweds Adam and Barbara Maitland are renovating their dream home; unfortunately, they are killed in a car crash on their way back from the hardware store, and become ghosts, stuck haunting their home for 125 years. Some time later the home is sold to a new family, the Deetzes, comprising the insufferable and talentless artist Delia, her henpecked developer husband Charles, and his goth daughter Lydia; immediately, Delia begins ripping out the country charm of the house, replacing it with garish modern art. Desperate to save their home, the Maitlands travel to the afterlife – a dreary netherworld set up like the universe’s worst DMV office – where they are advised that they can scare out the Deetzes if they so desire. To accomplish this, the Maitlands find and hire a ‘bio-exorcist’ named Betelgeuse, who can be summoned by saying his name three times – but the perverted, irreverent ghost quickly causes more chaos then he cures. Not only that, but it quickly becomes apparent that the introverted and sensitive Lydia can actually see the ghosts… Read more…

MASQUERADE – John Barry

March 29, 2018 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Masquerade is a now long-forgotten mystery-thriller directed by Bob Swain and written by Dick Wolf, just before he took over television with his expansive Law & Order franchise. The film is set in and around an elite New England yachting community, and tells the story of Olivia, a naïve, recently orphaned millionairess who returns home after many years away, and falls in love with a dashing young yacht racing captain named Tim. However, Olivia soon becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine plot of lies, deceit, and murder, the scope of which apparently extends to the entire community. The film stars Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly as the central pair, features Kim Cattrall, John Glover, Dana Delany, and Doug Savant in supporting roles, and has a lovely original score by John Barry. Read more…

THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR – Dave Grusin

March 22, 2018 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the annals of recent film music history, there is perhaps no more obscure a winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Score than Dave Grusin’s The Milagro Beanfield War. Even the film itself is virtually forgotten today, despite it being directed by Robert Redford and having a cast that includes Rubén Blades, Sônia Braga, Melanie Griffith, John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Christopher Walken. It’s a political comedy-drama – as Redford’s films often are – about the residents of a rural New Mexico town who find themselves in an ever-escalating confrontation with a group of unscrupulous businessmen. The businessmen want to buy tracts of land in order to invest in a series of lucrative property developments, but before they can do so they need the local residents to leave, so they divert the local water supply, leaving the farmers unable to irrigate their crops. It’s a very 1980s story about how the financial concerns of the wealthy ignore, and sometimes intentionally destroy, the rights of working class people. Read more…

SHOOT TO KILL – John Scott

March 15, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Shoot to Kill is a fun, enjoyable action thriller directed by Roger Spottiswoode, starring Sidney Poitier as FBI agent Warren Stanton, who is on the trail of a brutal jewel thief who killed two people during his last heist. Stanton discovers that the murderer is trying to escape north to Canada by joining a group of sports hunters on a guided expedition in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest; unbeknownst to the guide, Sara (Kirstie Alley), he has killed one of the hunters, and is now pretending to be him. In order to stop the killer before he crosses the border, Stanton hires Jonathan (Tom Berenger), a local outdoorsman – and Sarah’s boyfriend – to help guide him through the wilderness, and they set off in hot pursuit. The film has two quirks which make it stand out from other films of its type. The first is the constant bickering between the hardy Berenger and city boy Poitier, who don’t like each other but have to rely on each other to survive in true buddy cop fashion. The second is the fact that the audience doesn’t find out which of the group of sports hunters is the killer until well into the second half of the movie – a conceit made cleverer due to the producers casting four men known for playing ruthless movie villains as the hunters: Clancy Brown, Frederick Coffin, Richard Masur, and Andrew Robinson. Read more…

GOOD MORNING VIETNAM – Alex North

March 8, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Good Morning Vietnam was one of the greatest critical and commercial successes over the winter of late 1987 and early 1988. A showcase for the improvisational talents of the late great comedian and actor Robin Williams, the film tells the (mostly) true life story of Adrian Cronauer, a motor-mouthed DJ working for the United States Armed Services at the height of the Vietnam War in 1965. From his booth on an army base in Saigon, Cronauer uses his caustic wit and love of classic rock and roll to raise the morale of the troops – despite the misgivings of his superiors, who disapprove of his irreverent antics. The film was directed by Barry Levinson, co-starred Forest Whitaker and Bruno Kirby, and went on to bag Williams his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Read more…

EMPIRE OF THE SUN – John Williams

March 1, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

By the end of 1986, Steven Spielberg was probably the most famous and financially successful director in Hollywood. However, although he had directed a handful of the highest grossing films of all time – Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom –he privately expressed a desire to make more serious films. The comparative failure of The Color Purple in 1985 just magnified that desire, so in 1987 he decided to try again, by making a movie based on J. G. Ballard’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel Empire of the Sun. The film starred the then 13-year-old Christian Bale as Jim Graham, an upper class English schoolboy living with his diplomat parents in Shanghai in 1941, whose life is shattered by the outbreak of World War II, and who ends up desperately trying to survive in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Unfortunately for Spielberg, the film – which also starred John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, and Nigel Havers – did not ignite the passions of audiences like his popcorn blockbusters did, and it was only a moderate critical and commercial success; Spielberg would have to wait another five years for his breakthrough into cinematic respectability with Schindler’s List in 1993. In addition, the film was largely overlooked at the Academy Awards, receiving only six technical nominations, but not winning any. Read more…